Orzo Pilaf with Roasted Red Peppers and Peas

This is from one of my favorite cookbooks, The Vegan Table. Orzo is actually a rice-shaped pasta and has a risotto-like texture. It’s perfect for soups or even for Asian dishes such as stir-fry. I loved the flavor of this dish and the fact that it’s super versatile. Next time, I’ll add mushrooms, herbs, and maybe even asparagus.

INGREDIENTS:

2 Tbs olive oil

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped (I just used my garlic press)

12 oz orzo

3 C veggie stock (I used Better Than Bouillon brand)

1-1/2 C frozen peas, partially thawed

7.5 oz jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped (I used 2 large peppers)

Salt and pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the olive oil in a large, deep-sided skillet. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the orzo and stir for 2 more minutes.

Add the stock, peas, roasted red peppers, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover, and simmer, stirring every so often for 12-15 minutes, or until the orzo is tender. The liquid will also be absorbed.

I served this with the Baked Truffle Polenta Fries and a green salad.

Enjoy!

Creamy Macaroni and Cashew Cheese

You’re probably thinking. . .how many non-dairy mac and cheese recipes can there possibly be? Turns out, quite a few, but as most of us know, they’re not all that tasty. This one, however, from The Vegan Table, is the first cashew cheese sauce I’ve tried (but close to the Hurry Up Alfredo) and I really, really, love it. I ate way too much of it, too. :) By the way, if you need to omit the miso because of a soy intolerance, you can use a chickpea (garbanzo) miso or a barley miso. Another alternative is to use tahini mixed with a bit of salt.

INGREDIENTS:

1-1/4 C raw cashews
1/2 C nutritional yeast
2 tsp onion powder
1 to 2 tsp salt, to taste
1 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp white pepper
3-1/2 C nondairy milk (I use 3 cups)
3 Tbs cornstarch
1/2 C canola oil (I use about a 1/4 cup and will often use olive oil instead)
1/4 C light (yellow or white) miso
2 Tbs lemon juice
12-16oz macaroni, cooked (I used about 16 ounces of both small shells and rotini)
I added 1-1/2 tsp of truffle oil, but it’s optional (I recommend it)!

DIRECTIONS:

Place cashews in a large-sized bowl of the food processor and finely grind–just don’t let the cashews turn to a paste. Add nutritional yeast, onion powder, salt, garlic powder, and white pepper. Pulse three more times to blend in spices.

In a heavy saucepan, combine milk, cornstarch and oil(s). Bring to a simmer over high heat. Decrease heat to low-medium, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, or until cornstarch dissolves.

With the food processor running, gradually add milk/oil mixture to cashew/nutritional yeast mixture. Blend for 2 minutes or until smooth and creamy. Next blend in miso and lemon juice.

Combine cashew cheese with macaroni noodles and serve. You may also bake it: Preheat oven to 325 and place macaroni mixture in a 8 or 9″ square baking dish (I recommend a 9″x13″ one). Cover and bake 20 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with 1/2 C herbed bread crumbs. Continue baking, uncovered, for 15-25 minutes until topping is golden brown. (I’m going to do this with the leftovers)! Enjoy!

Recipe source: The Vegan Table

UPDATE: I baked the leftovers and it was good, but I think I like it better unbaked.