Zucchini Noodles with Pesto & Sun-dried Tomatoes

zucchini noodlesI’d often see recipes using zucchini noodles and of course, they look delicious. I finally broke down and spent the $15 (minus 20% coupon from BB&B) and got the spiralizer.
20140607_085217This fancy little thing also works with carrots, potatoes, squash, etc. We planted zucchini this year, so I have a feeling this will come in handy this summer. We loved the noodles and even The Tenth Grader said he liked them more than pasta. It’s very easy to use and it gives you the option of making thin or thick noodles. We found that the thick noodles worked better. I had the teenager on it:
20140606_171842All I had to do was make the pesto and chop up the sun-dried tomatoes and dinner was ready in no time. Since there was only the two of us for this meal, we used just 2 zucchinis, but the pesto recipe makes enough for about 6 zucchinis. I also didn’t peel the zucchini, but you certainly may if you wish. The noodles can be pretty long, so you may want to cut them as you go for more manageable strands. Another thing, is that I slightly sauteed the noodles, but feel free to make this a raw meal by skipping that step.

INGREDIENTS:

2-6 medium zucchinis (depending on how many servings you’d like; about 1 zucchini per serving)
1/4 to 1/2 C sun-dried tomatoes in oil, chopped
Optional: Vegan Parmesan
1-2 Tbs Earth Balance

Pesto:

2 C fresh basil leaves
1 C spinach
1/4 C olive oil
1/4 C lemon juice
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs nutritional yeast
1/2 C pine nuts or sunflower seeds

DIRECTIONS:

To make the pesto, combine all of the ingredients in a food processor, except for the pine nuts, and blend until smooth. Then add the pine nuts and process another minute.
20140606_172810In a large skillet, melt the Earth Balance and add the spiralized zucchini.
20140606_173521Saute for only 3-4 minutes–just enough to warm the noodles. Again, you can omit this step for a raw-licious version. Zucchini cooks down fast, so don’t overdo it. Serve with a scoop or two of pesto, a few sun-dried tomatoes, and vegan Parmesan (if you’d like). Enjoy!

 

Homemade Fettuccine with a Pesto-Butter Sauce

Homemade Fettuccine with a Pesto-Butter Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan

It’s hard to believe we’re nearing the end of August. Right now, I can see a few leaves on the Sumac trees outside my window, already turning red. I feel as though I missed a great deal of our Colorado summer, spending it rather, in different parts of the U.S. (and in one case, another country). We experienced the gorgeous summer days of Victoria, BC, Seattle, San Francisco, a couple balmy days in San Diego, Sacramento, Napa, and finally wrapped up the season’s fun in New York City. I feel truly blessed that I was able to go on these trips with the people I love and adore. This morning, I was reminded of how lucky I am to have such times and that my family and I have our health. A young teacher at my son’s school, passed away last night from cancer. He had just celebrated his one-year anniversary with his wife. I didn’t know him, but he was to be my son’s English teacher this year. My heart goes out to his wife, who is also a teacher at the school. It makes me appreciate even more, the times spent together as a family. One of my favorite times is cooking with the Ninth Grader and the fun we have together making messes in the kitchen. This meal would not have come together without his help; him holding up the sheet of pasta dough while I crank it through the pasta maker. It may have looked like a circus stunt, but the results were nothing less than spectacular.

INGREDIENTS:

Pasta dough:

2 C semolina flour
1 C whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp salt
1 C warm almond milk
2 Tbs olive oil

Pesto Sauce:

2 to 2-1/2 C fresh basil leaves
1/2 C parsley
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/8 C lemon juice
1/4 C olive oil
1 C pine nuts (sunflower seeds, walnuts or almonds would work great, too)
3 Tbs Earth Balance margarine

The rest:

2-3 C mushrooms, sliced
1 C green onions, sliced
1 Tbs olive oil
1 large tomato, diced
1 C walnuts, chopped and toasted

DIRECTIONS:

To make the dough, whisk together the flours and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the warm almond milk and olive oil. I recommend using your hands to then blend everything together thoroughly. Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. I divided the dough into fourths and proceeded to feed each section through the pasta maker to make long sheets, then through the fettuccine portion. I found that four hands make this job much easier, if not necessary. You’ll want to let the pasta dry up a little. I don’t have any pasta drying racks, so I improvised . . .

Drying pasta -- Epicurean Vegan

These methods worked beautifully. Time-consuming, perhaps, but a necessary step—otherwise, you’ll have a bunch of fettuccine noodles stuck together in one big mess. While the pasta drying, make up the pesto. You can also make this earlier in the day to save time. Toss the basil, parsley, oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor and blend for about a minute. Add the nuts and blend until smooth. Transfer to a covered dish and refrigerate until ready to use. To make the sauce, I added about half of the pesto and 3 Tbs of Earth Balance to a small saucepan over medium to low heat. Let the butter melt, stirring often.

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Now would be a good time to get a large pot of salted water boiling. While you’re waiting, heat the one tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet and add the mushrooms and green onion.

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Saute 3-5 minutes, depending on how cooked you want the mushrooms to be. Meanwhile, the Ninth Grader toasted the walnuts in a small, dry skillet.

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Have your dinner plates ready because once the water is boiling, the small batches of pasta will cook quickly. I think I cooked all of the pasta in 4 batches. This recipe will easily feed 6 people. The pasta will stick together if you cook it all at once, so I recommend having everyone dish up as you go. You can also drizzle a little olive oil over the cooked noodles to keep them from getting sticky. Top each serving with a tablespoon or two of pesto sauce, mushroom mixture, tomatoes, and walnuts. Enjoy!

Homemade Fettuccine with a Pesto-Butter Sauce -- Epicurean Vegan

Pesto-Potato Soup

Pesto-Potato Soup -- Epicurean VeganI told you I’d find a way to use the pesto—or at least some of it. This soup, from Crash Test Vegetarian has become a mainstay around here. I’ve made small changes during the half a dozen times I’ve made it and I have to say, adding the pesto is probably my favorite variation. It reminds me of the Pesto-Potato Bread that is so delicious. Served with bread or croutons, this is a fabulous fall dinner.

INGREDIENTS:

4-5 C potatoes, peeled and diced
2 C celery, sliced
1 C onion, diced
4 tsp Better than Bouillon vegetable base
4 Tbs Earth Balance
6 Tbs flour
2 C almond milk
2 Tbs basil pesto
Salt and pepper
Vegan cheddar shreds, optional

DIRECTIONS:

In a large soup pot, whisk together the bouillon base with 6 cups of water. Add the celery and onions and bring to a boil. Stir in the potatoes and simmer 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes become tender. You should have just enough water to cover the potatoes and veggies, so if it’s too watery, you’ll want to drain some of the liquid. In a medium saucepan, melt the Earth Balance, slowly whisk in the flour; blend well. You’ll end up with a paste. Blend in the pesto. Little by little, add the almond milk and whisk thoroughly. Cook over medium/high heat and stir constantly until thickened, about 5 minutes. Pour into the soup and bring to a boil; cook 2 minutes until soup is thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!

Pesto-Potato Soup -- Epicurean Vegan

 

Vegan White Lasagna

Vegan White Lasagna -- Epicurean VeganSo there are moments in history where you want to slap your forehead and say, “Seriously?” The OJ Simpson acquittal. . . Lady GagGag’s meat dress . . . the recent attacks on Sesame Street . . . Oh, and the terrible call that cost cost the Green Bay Packers the game against the Seattle Seahawks a couple of weeks ago . . .(that’s for you, Jessie)! I had a moment of forehead-slapping-followed-by-a-REALLY? when I forgot a key ingredient in this meal. Pesto. See . . . I even made it:

But I made it earlier in the day and forgot to use it. Wheresma pesto? In the fridge. For those of you unfamiliar with “wheresma,” let me give you a brief history. My dear and wonderful husband apparently earned the nickname, “Wheresma” because he often asked, “Where’s my (this)?” “Where’s my (that)? Enduring, right? No. Wheresma makes an appearance every once in while . . .

Anyhoo . . . I have to admit, the lasagna just wasn’t the same without the pesto. I highly recommend you don’t forget this ingredient. It was still tasty and leftover-worthy, but it didn’t have the flavor I was hoping for, so don’t forget the pesto!

INGREDIENTS:

Ricotta:

1 12-oz extra firm tofu, drained and pressed
1/3 C nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 Tbs lemon juice
1/4 C vegan mozzarella

Pesto:

4 C basil leaves
1 C Italian leaf parsley
1 C pine nuts
4 cloves garlic cut into small pieces
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 C lemon juice
2/3 C olive oil
6 Tbs vegan Parmesan cheese

White sauce:

3 Tbs Earth Balance
1/4 C flour
2 C almond milk
1/2 C white wine
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Dash of nutmeg
1/3 C nutritional yeast (this is in the ricotta, so if you can leave this out, otherwise, I think it’s a great addition)

The rest:

12 lasagna noodles
5 C kale, cut into 1-2″ pieces
2 C sliced mushrooms
1 C onion, diced
olive oil
Vegan mozzarella, optional

DIRECTIONS:

Save yourself a headache by making the ricotta and pesto a day ahead, or at least earlier in the day. (Just don’t forget about them). For the ricotta, combine everything but the vegan mozzarella in the food processor. Blend until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and stir in the cheese. To make the pesto, combine everything but the pine nuts and Parmesan cheese. Blend until smooth. Add the nuts and Parm and blend well.

I like using traditional lasagna noodles, as opposed to the no-boil variety. The trick is to not boil them too long. They’ll cook the rest of the way later on in the oven. I also made a small batch (8″x8″) pan, which meant cutting 2-3″ off the noodles in order to fit the pan. I ended up with 4 layers, but feel free to make 3 layers in a 9×13″ pan. So . . .to begin, start the noodles. Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and cook 5-7 minutes, or until the onions get tender. Add the mushrooms and kale and cook a few more minutes, until the mushrooms soften and the kale wilts.

Vegan White Lasagna -- Epicurean Vegan

To make the sauce, melt the Earth Balance. Slowly whisk the flour, a little at a time until you reach a thick paste.

Vegan White Lasagna -- Epicurean Vegan

Whisk in the milk a little bit at a time until there aren’t any clumps left. Stir with a whisk over medium-high heat until thickened, about 7 minutes.  Season with salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

Vegan White Lasagna -- Epicurean Vegan

Preheat the oven to 350. Drain the pasta and rinse it with cold water. Pour about half of the sauce mixture on the bottom of an 8×8″ baking dish. Lay 3 lasagna noodles (you’ll need to cut the noodles to fit) on the bottom of the pan. Spread on about 2 Tbs of ricotta on each noodle, then a layer of the pesto. Top with a thin layer of  the mushroom/kale mixture.

Vegan White Lasagna -- Epicurean Vegan

Repeat layers, ending with the final three lasagna noodles. Pour the rest of the sauce on top. Sprinkle with some vegan mozzarella if you’d like.

Vegan White Lasagna -- Epicurean Vegan

Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Enjoy!

Pesto and Green Olive Pasta Salad

Pesto and Green Olive Pasta Salad -- Epicurean VeganIt’s so nice to be back home after two weeks; particularly, back in the kitchen. I escaped the snow to California, now I’m back in it and to add insult to injuries, we’re to have a high of 12 degrees today. Minus 18 is predicted tonight. Yippee. I hate winter. I made this salad for a fund-raising event because it was quick and easy, but now I’m thinking it was really my way of sticking it to Old Man Winter. Who says who can’t have a summery pasta salad during the ugly winter months? Certainly not me. I love to make pasta salads so that they last a few days in fridge, providing a quick snack or lunch when I don’t have a lot of time. I used a 10-oz bag of Garden Time organic, colored/veggie bowtie pasta and another 4-oz of regular bowties. Oh, and did I mention that it’s snowing right now? This means you’ll probably be seeing lots of baked recipes and soup recipes from me in the coming days . . .

INGREDIENTS:
14 oz bowtie pasta
1-1/2 C pesto, jarred or homemade (If using jarred, check the label–they often contain Parmesan and other milk ingredients)
8 green onions, slices (both white and green parts)
2 C halved or quartered cherry tomatoes
1-14oz can green olives, sliced
1/2 to 3/4 C Daiya mozzarella
Salt and pepper, to taste
For some crunch, add some pine nuts or toasted walnuts or almonds

DIRECTIONS:
If not using jarred, make pesto. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and rinse with cold water. In a large bowl, combine green onions, tomatoes, and olives.

Pesto and Green Olive Pasta Salad -- Epicurean Vegan

Stir in the cold pasta, pesto, salt and pepper. Stir in the cheese and enjoy!

Spinach and Mushroom Tarts

Spinach and Mushroom Tarts -- Epicurean VeganI was inspired by Veggie Test Kitchen’s Mini Pizza Tarts back in November and bought some 4″ tart pans. Well, I finally got around to making some tart pizzas and they were a huge hit! I love that these are so versatile—you can make pizzas, savory or sweet tarts, or even breakfast quiches. I have some leftover dough, so I think I know what I’ll be making for New Year’s Day breakfast. :) The recipe is for about 9-10 tarts, so feel free to halve the recipe, or freeze the leftovers for future, fabulous tarts!

INGREDIENTS:
Dough:
3 C flour
1-1/2 C Earth Balance margarine
1/2 C ice water

The rest: (optional)
Sliced mushrooms
Potatoes (I nuked 3 small red potatoes, then diced them up)
Pesto
Tomato, diced
Spinach
Almond feta
Vegan mozzarella, shredded
Olives
Artichokes

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350. For the dough, place the flour and margarine in a food processor and pulse several times until the dough is crumbly. While the machine is running, pour in the water and combine about 30 seconds until the dough forms. On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough for 2-3 minutes. Divide the dough into about 9 equal pieces and roll out thin. I lightly sprayed the tart pans with cooking spray, then line the inside of the pan with the dough.

Spinach and Mushroom Tarts -- Epicurean Vegan

Press down along the edges to cut the dough and pull away from the pan.

Spinach and Mushroom Tarts -- Epicurean VeganStick each crust with a fork a few times, then bake for 8-10 minutes. For mine, I spread on some pesto, spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, almond feta. The guys added some potatoes and vegan mozzarella to theirs.

Spinach and Mushroom Tarts -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake for 22-25 minutes and enjoy!

Pesto and Almond Feta Pizza

Pesto and Almond Feta Pizza -- Epicurean VeganAfter the craziness of the holidays, a quick, easy meal is a welcome reprieve. I usually have homemade pesto in the freezer, so it paired perfectly with the almond feta I made a few days ago. I had one flat bread left and a loaf of French bread which made the perfect pizza “dough.” You’ll love the softness of the cheese and the absence of all grease–this is probably my favorite kind of pizza.

INGREDIENTS: (For 3 pizzas)
3 flat breads or 3/4 of a loaf of French bread
1 C basil pesto
1-1/2 to 2 C almond feta
2-3 tomatoes, diced
1 C black olives, sliced
Shredded vegan mozzarella, optional

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 400.  On each piece bread, layer 1/3 C of the pesto, then equally divide the rest of the ingredients among the pizzas.

Pesto and Almond Feta Pizza -- Epicurean Vegan

Bake for 15 minutes, or until the feta begins to brown. Enjoy!

Pesto and Almond Feta Pizza -- Epicurean Vegan

 

Potato-Spinach Bake and Pesto Pizzas

Potato-Spinach Bake and Pesto Pizzas -- Epicurean VeganI stared at a bag of small red potatoes, wondering what I should make with them before they go bad (and before getting more tomorrow from our CSA). It’s hard not to think of comfort food when making something with potatoes, so I threw together an easy casserole using stuff just sitting around in the fridge and pantry. I was going to make just regular garlic toast with some pesto butter,  but the Sixth Grader had the idea to make little pesto pizzas and they were amazing!

INGREDIENTS:
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
4-5 C red and/or russet potatoes, diced
5 C fresh spinach, chopped
8-10 mushrooms, quartered
1-1/4 C Tofutti sour cream
1 C vegan cheddar, divided
1/4 C almond milk (or other nondairy milk)
1-1.8 oz pkg. leek soup mix
2 Field Roast Italian Sausage links, diced (optional)
Pesto/tomato pizzas:
2 round flat breads, each cut into fourths
1/4 C pesto
1/3 C Earth Balance margarine
1 /2 large tomato, thinly sliced
3/4 C vegan mozzarella, shredded
Olive oil
Garlic salt

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350. Heat olive oil and garlic in a large skillet. Add potatoes and cook until somewhat soft, about 10-15 minutes. In the meantime,  combine the sour cream, 1/2 a cup of the cheddar, milk, and the leek soup mix. If using, add the Field Roast to the skillet and cook just a few minutes.

Potato-Spinach Bake and Pesto Pizzas -- Epicurean Vegan

In a large mixing bowl, combine the potato mix, spinach, mushrooms, and sour cream mixture. Pour into a 9×13″ baking dish, cover, and bake for 40 minutes.

Potato-Spinach Bake and Pesto Pizzas -- Epicurean Vegan

Add the rest of the cheese and bake uncovered until cheese melts, about 2-3 minutes.

Potato-Spinach Bake and Pesto Pizzas -- Epicurean Vegan

To make the pesto pizzas, preheat broiler on high. Combine pesto and butter in a small bowl.

Potato-Spinach Bake and Pesto Pizzas -- Epicurean Vegan

Brush flat bread with olive oil and sprinkle with garlic salt. Spread about a tablespoon of pesto onto flat bread pieces, then some cheese and a tomato slice.

Potato-Spinach Bake and Pesto Pizzas -- Epicurean Vegan

Place under the broiler about 3 minutes, or until they begin to brown. Enjoy!

Spinach Fettuccine with Creamy Pesto Sauce

Spinach Fettuccine with Creamy Pesto Sauce -- Epicurean VeganThis is such an easy meal to whip up when you have very little time. I typically keep prepared pesto in the freezer for such times and of course, I still I have the huge block of cashew cheese that is conveniently stored in the freezer as well. Done in less than 25 minutes!

INGREDIENTS:
12-14 oz spinach fettuccine, cooked
1-1/2 Tbs cornstarch
2/3 C non dairy milk (not rice milk–too thin)
1/3 + 1 tsp vegetable broth
1/3 C prepared basil pesto
2 Tbs olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
Cashew cheese, shredded (Optional)

DIRECTIONS:
Heat olive oil in a small saucepan. Whisk in cornstarch, salt, and pepper; cook 2 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in milk and broth. Add pesto and whisk thoroughly. Return to low to medium heat. Season with salt and pepper, if desired. I added the 1 teaspoon of broth here to thin out the sauce just a little. Ladle sauce over individual bowls of pasta and top with cashew cheese. Enjoy!

Pesto Pizza with Artichokes and Sun-dried Tomatoes

This is an easy pizza to make and will please even the non vegans–I guarantee. The recipe makes about 6 personal-sized pizzas so I tend to either refrigerate/freeze half the dough for another night, or make up all 6 pizzas for the next day’s lunch.

INGREDIENTS:

Dough:

2 C flour

1 C whole wheat flour

1 pkg quick-rise dry yeast

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dried rosemary

3/4 C hot tap water, divided

2 Tbs olive oil

The rest:

1-14oz can artichokes, chopped

6-oz jar sun-dried tomatoes, diced

8-oz vegan mozzarella, shredded

1-1/2 C pesto

Optional toppings: mushrooms, olives, spinach, roasted red peppers

DIRECTIONS:

In a small bowl, combine yeast with 1/4 C of the hot tap water; set aside.  In a large bowl, combine flours, salt, and rosemary. Add yeast and olive oil to the flour mixture and combine, adding the remaining 1/2 C of hot tap water. You may need a little more. Once ingredients are thoroughly combined, place in a large greased bowl and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400. Punch the dough down and knead for 5 minutes. Divide into 6 sections; roll out each section and place on a greased pizza pan or baking sheet. Using a fork, stick each piece of dough several times. Bake for 4 minutes.

Spread each baked crust with a layer of pesto, then top with cheese, artichokes, and sun-dried tomatoes. Bake 8-10 minutes. Enjoy!