Vegan Pumpkin and Sage Cheesy Pasta Bake

I get so excited when an experiment works. I’ve been wanting to make the Mac Daddy (mac & cheese recipe) recipe from Veganomicon for awhile, but never got around to it. This week is Pumpkin Week on Pink Stripes and I was trying to think of a vegan pumpkin recipe for Vegan Tuesday. I wanted to cook something savory because I’ve plenty of sweets hanging out in my freezer, counter, and workplace.

I came up with the idea to make Mac Daddy, but substitute 1/2 of the Cheesy Sauce with pumpkin puree.  I also added in chopped fresh sage and used pumpkin pie spice to flavor it. I used whole-wheat linguine because I didn’t have any macaroni in the pantry.  The result was amazing. The pasta was very creamy and it smelled and tasted how Fall should taste. And it’s not just me saying that.  I bring in lunch to work at least once a week and feed some of my work friends (it’s so I can cook and not have endless leftovers that go on and on and on). They couldn’t believe it was so creamy and vegan. I made half of the pasta recipe and the full recipe of the Cheesy Sauce, which is great for nachos or pizza.

Vegan Pumpkin and Sage Cheesy Pasta Bake

Adapted from Veganomicon
  • 3/4 cup Cheesy Sauce, see below
  • 3/4 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 12 ounces whole-wheat linguine
  • 8 ounces extra-firm tofu
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot of boiling salted water. Pre-heat oven to 325° F.
  2. Meanwhile, combine Cheesy Sauce with pumpkin puree and spice.
  3. When pasta is ready, drain and set aside.
  4. In small baking dish, crumble tofu until it resembles ricotta cheese. Add sage, salt, oil, and lemon juice. Stir to combine. Stir in sauce and then add pasta, mixing well. Flatten down the top and place in oven, baking for 30 minutes until top is lightly browned and bubbly.

Serves 4.

Cheesy Sauce

Adapted from Veganomicon
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Several pinches freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon tumeric
  • 3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  1. Combine water and flour and whisk until flour is dissolved. A few lumps are okay.
  2. Heat oil in small saucepan over medium low heat. Add garlic and stir cooking for 2 minutes, making sure garlic doesn’t burn. Add spice, salt, and pepper and stir to combine. Add flour/water mixture, tumeric, and nutritional yeast. Increase heat to medium and whisk continuously for 3 minutes. The sauce will start to bubble and thicken. Remove from heat and add lemon juice and mustard. Taste for seasoning.

Makes approximately 3 cups.

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Dinner Party!

I hosted my first dinner party last week. It was small, just me and three guests. I worried about the menu because one of the guests is a picky eater. I only cook vegetarian and he doesn’t like/won’t eat vegetables. I also wanted to make something that would go with French Bread so I could get the next bread on my list from The Bread Baker’s Apprentice Challenge done–nixing pizza or cheese enchiladas (as suggested by picky eater).

The Menu:

Edamame

Rosemary Roasted Almonds (From September 2009 issue of Cooking Light)

Olives (From Whole Foods olive bar)

French Bread (From The Bread Baker’s Apprentice, made into 2 oz rolls)

Toasted Goat Cheese Ravioli with Red Pepper Dip (from September/October 2009 issue of Clean Eating magazine)

Creamy Rigatoni with Gruyère and Brie (from September 2009 issue of Cooking Light)

Slow-roasted Tomatoes with Sea Salt and Ground Coriander (from Orangette)

Dessert was the Chocolate Caramel Crunch Tart for next week’s Tuesdays with Dorie…more on that on Tuesday. As for wine, I threw myself on the mercy of the wine guy at the 3rd/Fairfax Whole Foods in Los Angeles. He asked me questions on my menu and walked me around the entire wine section. For a starter wine, he suggested the 2008 Marquis de Goulaine Rosé d’Anjou.  For dinner he suggested the 2007 Protos Verdejo, a Spanish white wine. The wine choices were excellent and reasonably priced. I’m definitely going back to him.

The dinner was a big success and loved every minute of it. I prepped most of the day, but was relaxed and carefree for the party. The guests enjoyed everything and we’re all looking forward to doing it again.

Whole-wheat Pasta with Summer Vegetables

This recipe was inspired by the Gnocchi with Summer Vegetables recipe from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon cookbook. I didn’t have the time to make the gnocchi and I wanted to veganize it for Vegan Tuesdays so I used some whole-wheat penne I had on hand instead. I also used Earth Balance instead of butter.

This is not a quick recipe, but it is simple and delicious. The flavors are fresh and the addition of the olives and lemon juice really make this dish. You can find the original recipe HERE.

Edited to add: I’m mentioned and quoted in today’s Washington Post Food Section. You can find the article HERE. Thanks to  Cheryl for writing a great article!

Pasta with Basil-Cilantro Pesto and Artichokes (and Cookies!)

vegantues

Okay, I know it doesn’t look like much. It’s actually a little too green, with the roasted asparagus on the side. The original recipe calls for spinach linguine which would have significantly upped the green-ness factor of this dish. However, the only spinach pasta for sale at Trader Joes was not vegan, so I ended up with sprouted wheat pappardalle. Linguine or spaghetti would have been a better shape but it doesn’t matter because this dish was delicious.

And it’s not just cooked pasta with pesto sauce thrown on it. You sauté a thinly sliced onion and some garlic. Add a bit of wine, salt, and lots of pepper. Pour a glass of wine for yourself. Throw in the cooked pasta and pesto, mix it all up , and add in some artichoke hearts. Even if you don’t make the pesto ahead of time, the whole thing can be done in less than 30 minutes. This is my kind of dinner.

Pasta with Basil-Cilantro Pesto and Artichokes

Adapted from Veganomicon
  • 1/2 pound of pasta (spaghetti or linguine would be best, but use whatever you have on hand. Make sure it is vegan)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced into half-moons
  • 5 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of white wine (or vegetable broth or water)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • Several pinches of freshly ground pepper
  • 1 recipe Basil-Cilantro Pesto (see below)
  • 1 15-ounce can of arthichoke hearts, drained and sliced in half
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package directions. When done, reserve a bit of the pasta water and drain. Set aside.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until soft, about 5-6 minutes. Throw in the garlic and sauté for another minute. Toss in the wine, salt, and pepper and cook for another minute or two. Turn down the heat to low.
  3. Alternating, add in a bit of the cooked pasta and a bit of the pesto, sautéing all the while until you’ve added it all in. If  it seems dry at any point, add in some pasta water.
  4. Gently mix-in the artichoke hearts and cook for approximately 3 minutes until they are heated.

Serves 4 to 6.

Basil-Cilantro Pesto

  • 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro
  • 1/3 cup of sliced almonds
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil

Put everything except the olive oil in the bowl of a food processor. Process until pasty, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. With the machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil and process until smooth.

wheatfree-chocolate-chip

Something else that was really quick were these vegan wheat-free chocolate chip cookies. I made these in the morning before work. You’ve read about my busy Vegan Tuesdays. Add-in making cookies this week and the miracle is that I made it in to work on-time. I wasn’t even late. That’s how quick vegan baking is. These cookies should convince you try your hand at it. I brought them in the same day for a co-worker’s birthday.

An example of the praise these cookies are getting:

>>>  3/24/2009 9:32 AM >>>
The cookies are scrumptious!  Thanks for bringing them in for DJ’s birthday.  Is the recipe on Pink Stripes?  I think Michael and R would love them.

Cheers,
D

Vegan Wheat-Free Chocolate Chip Cookies

Adapted from Veganomicon

Note: If you don’t have oat flour, you can grind your own using rolled oats and your food processor. I used rice milk instead of the soy milk called for in the original recipe, use whatever you have on hand. Also, I added in chocolate extract which upped the chocolate flavoring of the cookies.

  • 1 3/4 cups of oat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup rice milk
  • 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon chocolate extract (optional)
  • 3/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven with rack in center to 375 F.
  2. Sift the oat flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium-sized bowl.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the rice milk and ground flaxseeds.  Add in the sugars and stir. Add in the canola oil and extracts. Whisk vigorously until mixture is emulsified, about a minute.
  4. Add the  wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  5. Drop dough by the tablespoon onto cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, spacing each approximately 1 1/2 inches apart from each other.
  6. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Place cookies on cooling rack and cool completely.

Makes 18 cookies.