Cashew Alfredo and Roasted Asparagus

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The Alfredo recipe is from The Kind Life and is probably the best vegan Alfredo sauce I’ve tried thus far. The taste and consistency is perfect. The only thing I added was some nutritional yeast and some sliced mushrooms. Paired with the asparagus, it was a fantastic meal!

INGREDIENTS:

Alfredo:

1 C raw cashews

2 Tbs pine nuts

1-1/2 C water

4 tsp lemon juice

1 tsp garlic, minced

1/16 tsp nutmeg

1-1/2 tsp salt (I used 1 tsp)

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/4 C nutritional yeast

4 C pasta (I used 16 oz of orecchiette, a.k.a “suction cup pasta)

1 to 2 C mushrooms, sliced

Asparagus:

1 bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed

1-2 Tbs olive oil

Salt

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DIRECTIONS:

Preheat the oven to 400. In a large bowl, coat the asparagus with the olive oil and season with salt; set aside. To make the sauce, grind the nuts in a blender until you reach a fine powder. Add the nutritional yeast, water, lemon juice, garlic, nutmeg, and salt. Blend until completely smooth—about 1 minute. Transfer to a medium saucepan and whisk over medium heat until it begins to boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 5-7 minutes; stir in the black pepper and mushrooms. It won’t take long to thicken up and stir it often to keep it from burning.

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Transfer the asparagus to a baking sheet and as soon as you add your pasta to a pot to boil it, throw the asparagus in the oven. Incidentally, they’re both take about 14 minutes to cook.

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Turn the asparagus halfway through—about 7 minutes. Cook another 7 minutes.

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Perfect!

Drain the pasta and serve with sauce ladled on top. (The Eighth Grader cut up his asparagus and added it to the pasta and loved it). Enjoy!

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Flaky Harvest Vegetable Squares

These were amazing! I thought they’d be a pain in the butt to make, but actually, they were pretty easy. They took some time, but other than that, they were simple to make. And so delicious! The recipe is from Vegetarian Times and I substituted the Brussels sprouts with asparagus and elephant garlic with just two large cloves of garlic. Next time I make these, I’d probably chop the carrots  smaller than the recipe says, but otherwise, theses were fantastic! And why wait until next Thanksgiving? These are great as a fall/winter meal.

INGREDIENTS:

1 head of cauliflower, broken into small florets

1 medium onion, sliced

3 Tbs + 1/2 tsp olive oil, divided

1-1/4 tsp salt, divided

3/8 tsp black pepper, divided

2 heads elephant garlic (again, I used 2 regular cloves of garlic)

2 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce, divided

3 Tbs white wine

1 Tbs cornstarch or arrowroot

1 tsp thyme

10 stalks of asparagus, cut into thirds or fourths

10 baby carrots, cut into thirds or fourths (rather than in half on the diagonal)

10 button mushrooms, halved

6 shallots, peeled and quartered

2 sheets of frozen puff pastry, thawed

Almond milk, for brushing dough

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. Set aside about 20 cauliflower florets in a bowl. Toss the rest with the onion and 1 Tbs olive oil; season with 1 tsp salt and 1/8 tsp pepper.

(I’d break up the cauliflower more than this)

Spread onto a baking sheet. Wrap up the garlic and 1/2 tsp of the olive oil in some foil and place on the baking sheet.

Roast 30 to 45 minutes. I roasted them for about 25 minutes—the onions were getting too browned. (Another reason to break the cauliflower up smaller).

Squeeze the warm garlic from it’s skin into a food processor and add the cauliflower/onion mixture and 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper, if you’d like.

Combine the wine, cornstarch, remaining 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce, thyme, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/8 tsp pepper, and 1/2 C water in a small bowl; set aside.

Heat remaining olive oil in a wok or skillet. Add the reserved cauliflower, carrots, mushrooms, asparagus, and shallots. Stir-fry for 5-7 minutes, then add the cornstarch mixture and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool.

Roll out the puff pastry into a 12-inch square. Cut into four squares. Chill for 15 minutes on parchment paper.

 

The recipe says to place a 1/4 C of the cauliflower puree in the center, but I found that when I got close to last four (of the 8 squares) I was running low, so I recommend using a bit less than a quarter cup per square. Top the puree with about a 1/2 cup of the vegetable mixture. Again, so easy on the 1/2 cup–it was close.

Fold corners of the dough over the vegetable mixture, pinching the corners together.

I made these ahead of time, so I covered and refrigerated for about 2 hours before baking them. When it comes time to bake, brush with almond milk and bake at 425 for 12-15 minutes. Delicious!! Enjoy!

Couscous and Roasted Asparagus Salad

This salad is great because it can be served hot or cold—perfect for a pot luck or feeding a crowd.

INGREDIENTS:

1-3/4 C Israeli/pearl couscous (I used a mixture of whole wheat and regular)

2 shallots, minced

2-1/2 C vegetable broth

3 green onions, sliced

1 small bunch asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces

2 tomatoes, diced

1/2 C pumpkin seeds, toasted

zest from one medium lemon

Dash of cinnamon

2 Tbs fresh basil, minced

2 Tbs Earth Balance margarine

1 Tbs garlic

White pepper, black pepper, and salt

Olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. In a small bowl combine the asparagus, black pepper, salt, and enough oil to coat the asparagus. Line a baking sheet with foil; layer on the asparagus and roast for 10 minutes. Set aside and let cool.


Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pan, melt the margarine and add the shallots and garlic. Cook over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, or until the shallots begin to brown. Add the couscous and combine with the shallots. Pour in the broth, stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Dry-toast the pumpkin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat until they begin to brown.


Remove from the heat and stir in the zest, basil, and cinnamon. Transfer to a bowl and stir in green onions, asparagus, and tomatoes. If serving cold, cover and chill for a few hours and stir in the pumpkin seeds before serving. If serving warm, stir the seeds in now. Season with white pepper and salt. Enjoy!


Coq Au Vin Fondue & Dipping Sauces

This is one of those meals that will make you wish you wore your elastic waistbands pants. It’s actually pretty easy to throw together because you can do a lot of the prep work ahead of time. So invite your friends over and don’t be shy, put on some sweatpants or yoga pants and sit down to a long evening of fondue!

INGREDIENTS:

Coq Au Vin Fondue:

3-1/2 C vegetable stock

1/2 C Burgundy wine

1/2 C mushrooms, sliced

1 Tbs garlic, minced

2 green onions, sliced

Cilantro-Yogurt Dip:

1 C soy yogurt

4 green onions, minced

1/4 C cilantro, chopped fine

2 tsp fresh ginger

1/4 tsp garlic powder

Salt and pepper, to taste

Sour Cream & Horseradish Dip:

1-1/4 C Tofutti sour cream

5 tsp prepared horseradish

2 Tbs lemon juice

2 Tbs red onion, chopped fine

1/4 tsp cayenne

Salt and pepper, to taste

Sesame-Soy Sauce:

1/2 C tamari

1/4 C rice wine vinegar

2 tsp toasted sesame oil

1 tsp agave

1 Tbs garlic, minced

1-1/2 tsp fresh ginger

1 green onion, sliced thin

1 Tbs sesame seeds, toasted

2 Tbs fresh chives, chopped

Butter-Mustard Sauce:

1/2 C Earth Balance margarine

3 Tbs Dijon mustard

5 Tbs Worcestershire sauce

The rest:

Whole mushrooms

zucchini/yellow squash

asparagus

potatoes

bell peppers

broccoli


DIRECTIONS:

It’s best to make the dipping sauces ahead of time. The Butter-Mustard Sauce is served warm, so you can do that one last minute. To make the Cilantro-Yogurt Dip, combine all the ingredients and refrigerate. To make the Sour Cream Horseradish Dip, combine all ingredients and refrigerate. To make the Sesame-Soy Dipping Sauce, combine all ingredients and set aside. Refrigerate if not using right away. To make the Butter-Mustard Sauce, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and melt together–takes only a few minutes.

When you’re ready to eat, make the Coq Au Vin Fondue, by combining all the ingredients in a fondue pot and bring to a boil.

Divide the dipping sauces evenly among everyone.


The potatoes will take the longest, so it might be best to zap them in the microwave first, just to soften them a little. Everything else will take 3-5 minutes. Enjoy! (And you’ll know you’re done eating when you pass your fondue forks over to The Husband who will most likely continue to eat for another 45 minutes)!

Savory Vegetable Tart

Like the Savory Asparagus Tart, this one is to die for. I think that pretty much sums it up.

INGREDIENTS:

1 puff pastry sheet, thawed according to package instructions (allow for about an hour to an hour and a half)

1/2 a bunch of asparagus

1 large tomato, thinly sliced

5 mushrooms, thinly sliced

1 C Daiya mozzarella

2 Tbs olive oil

1-1/2 tsp truffle oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400. Cut up the asparagus into bite-sized pieces; steam for 10-12 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the puff pastry sheet to fit a an 11×7″ baking sheet. Don’t worry about getting it perfect—you can tuck in the sides if they overlap the edges of the pan. Prick the dough in several pieces with a fork and bake for 4-5 minutes. It will puff up:

Layer on the cheese, then the tomato:

Next, layer on the mushrooms and the steamed asparagus:

Combine the olive oil and truffle oil in a small bowl. Using a pastry brush, brush the tops of the veggies with the oil mixture. Bake for 15 minutes. Let cool a few minutes, then enjoy!

Savory Asparagus Tart

When I open my own vegan restaurant, this tart will be a signature item on the menu! And look, I’m sharing my secret recipe with all of you now! The Husband was on a conference call when I took this out of the oven and took a bite. You have no idea how difficult it was to not eat his portion; he would have never known. But of course, I couldn’t do that to him—it’s a recipe you’ll want to share and enjoy with others.

INGREDIENTS:

1 puff pastry dough, thawed

1 C Daiya or other vegan cheeze, shredded

1 bunch asparagus

2 Tbs olive oil

1-1/2 tsp truffle oil

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400. Roll the pastry sheet out to about 11″x7″. Place onto a baking sheet. Using a fork, puncture the dough all over.

Bake for 5 minutes, or until it begins to brown. You may need to press down on the dough with a spoon if it puffed up in places.

Sprinkle the cheese onto the dough, then line the asparagus—close together—on top. I just cut the stalks in half (after cutting of the thick ends) and placed them like so:

In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, truffle oil, salt, and pepper. Brush the mixture onto the asparagus , thoroughly coating the tops. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges of the tart begin to brown. Remove from the pan (I used two spatulas on either end) and transfer to a large cutting board. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Baked Tofu and Roasted Asparagus Pasta Salad

This is a flavorful salad that is ideal for those summer get togethers, both served cold or warmed up. Roasting the asparagus only takes 10 minutes and is perfect in this salad.

INGREDIENTS:

16-oz farfalle, cooked, drained and rinsed in cold water

1 pkg Westsoy Garlic and Herb baked tofu, cubed

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces

2 Tbs fresh thyme, chopped

2 Tbs balsamic vinegar

1 Tbs lemon juice

2 Tbs olive oil, divided

3-4 Tbs jarred or homemade basil pesto

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 C walnuts, chopped and toasted

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheeting with foil.  In a small bowl, mix asparagus pieces with 1 Tbs of olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste. Layer onto baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the pasta with the pesto, bell pepper, and tofu. Once asparagus has cooled (it won’t take long) add to the pasta mixture. Mix in the thyme and salt and pepper to taste. In a small bowl, combine balsamic vinegar, lemon juice and remaining 1 Tbs of olive oil. Pour over pasta mixture and combine well. Refrigerate for a couple hours and when ready to serve, mix in the walnuts. Enjoy!

“Bacon” Wrapped Roasted Asparagus

I usually don’t mind putting a little work into a dish, especially when I know it’s worth it. These take about 15 minutes or so to prepare, but you won’t be sorry.  There are a few different ways to secure the “bacon” to the asparagus: I broke toothpicks in half and secured each end of the bacon strip to the asparagus stalk. You can also wrap the bacon just around the middle and secure it once. Lastly, you can also use bamboo skewers through the middle to secure. Either way, they’ll make the perfect accompaniment to any meal.

INGREDIENTS:

1 pkg Smart Deli Bacon

1 bunch asparagus, ends trimmed

Olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400. Slice each bacon slice in two, lengthwise. Wrap around each asparagus slice and secure with toothpicks. Place on a foil-lined, lightly oiled baking sheet.

Brush with olive oil and bake for 25-30 minutes.  Enjoy!

Roasted Veggies and Baked Tofu with Sesame-Ginger Rice

This was one of those “clean-out-the-fridge” meals that despite the different flavors, meshed extremely well together. I had an abundance of fresh vegetables in the crisper (I swear they multiplied in there) and some baked tofu. Add some pilaf and there you go–an easy, satisfying and healthy meal.

INGREDIENTS:

Any veggies you want. I cut up (thickly): asparagus, red onion, green and yellow bell peppers, and mushrooms. If using potatoes, I recommend cooking them a bit first since they take longer to cook. Other ideas: zucchini, yellow squash, carrots, sweet potatoes, or brussel sprouts. I coated them with some olive oil, salt, pepper, dried thyme and dried rosemary.

2 pkgs Westsoy Baked Tofu, Italian Garlic & Herb flavor

1 C snow peas, cut into 1″ pieces

Near East brand Sesame-Ginger Pilaf

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 400. Line a large baking sheet with foil and placed prepared vegetables on the pan and bake for about 20-25 mins. Potatoes can take about 40-45 mins. The rice took about 20 mins and in the meantime, I diced up the tofu and added it to a large skillet over medium heat and a tiny bit of olive oil. After a couple of minutes, I added the snow peas. Saute until tofu is golden brown. Enjoy!

Pasta with Asparagus and Lemon Sauce

Chances are, you already have the ingredients for this light and easy meal. You can also add your favorite other veggies like broccoli, tomatoes or mushrooms.

INGREDIENTS:

1-2 Tbs olive oil

2 tsp minced garlic

1/2 C chopped fresh parsley

3/4 C coarsely chopped fresh basil

1/2 C white wine

1/2 C lemon juice

1/4 C soy milk

1 to 1-1/2 tsp red pepper flakes

1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 2″ pieces

8-oz spaghetti

DIRECTIONS:

Steam the asparagus–about 15 mins. Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet and add the garlic, parsley and red pepper and cook for 3-4 mins. Add the steamed asparagus and saute for another 3 mins . Add the white wine and lemon juice–simmer until about 1/2 of the juices are cooked off. Stir in the soy milk and cook for 1 min. Stir in basil and cook a few minutes more.

Toss with the pasta and if desired, top with vegan Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Tarragon Pasta with Roasted Asparagus


This is a wonderful take on pasta salads! With the flavor of the roasted asparagus, the baked tofu and shallots, there’s no need for a heavy, rich mayo-sour cream dressing. The lemon juice and cayenne dressing is the perfect accompaniment to the other flavors. I just made a couple of small changes to the recipe for convenience, but I’ll list the original recipe and my changes.

INGREDIENTS:

8 oz rotini pasta (I used about 16oz because I just didn’t think 8oz was quite enough)
1/4C plus 1 Tbs olive oil
1 lb thin asparagus, bottoms trimmed (I cut them into about 1 1/2″ pieces as well)
Salt and pepper
2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
Cayenne, to taste (I used about 1/8 of a tsp)
1/2 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 shallots, minced
1 large, ripe yellow tomato, seeded and diced (I used a large roma tomato)
8 oz baked tofu, cut into small cubes (I used Westsoy’s Garlic and Herb baked tofu–so yummy)!
2 Tbs minced fresh tarragon leaves

DIRECTIONS:

Cook pasta until al dente, 8-10 mins. Drain and rinse under cold water. Place in a large bowl, toss with 1 tsp of the olive oil and set aside. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place the asparagus on a lightly oiled baking sheet, season with salt and pepper to taste, drizzle with 1 tsp of the olive oil. Roast until soft and lightly browned, about 10 mins. Set aside and cool. (I did this while the pasta was cooking). In a small bowl, combine the lemon juice, salt and cayenne to taste. Whisk in the remaining olive oil until well blended and pour over the pasta. Add the bell pepper, shallots, tomato, tofu and tarragon and toss to combine well. Divide among 4 individual plates and top with the asparagus. Serve immediately. (I added the asparagus with the other ingredients). Enjoy!

Recipe source: Vegan Planet