Vegan Tuscan-Inspired Pasta Salad

This Tuscan-inspired pasta salad is summer’s best bud.

It’s packed with cannellini beans, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh basil, red onion, black olives, vegan parmesan, and baby spinach.

For the dressing, you’ll just throw olive oil, vinegar, dijon mustard, and a handful of other seasonings into a jar and give that baby a shake. Easy, right? Plus the only things you’ll have to chop are the onion and basil.

Advertisements

Occasions I like to make pasta salad for include:

Picnics, backyard BBQs, family get-togethers, and potlucks.

But more often than not, I’ll just make a big batch during the week so I have something to snack on or use as a side dish for days.

So if you’ve got time to boil some pasta and throw some stuff in a bowl, this recipe’s for you!

I’ve used bowtie/farfalle pasta, but you can use any short pasta that has nooks and crannies for the dressing and other ingredients to stick to. Think fusilli, rotini, penne. I also really recommend using fresh basil here because the flavor is unbeatable. You can ultimately do whatever you like, though!

Advertisements
Advertisements

Ingredients:

  • 16 oz dry farfalle pasta
  • 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 of 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup julienne-cut sun dried tomatoes in oil, oil drained*
  • 1-2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 (6 oz) can sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup vegan parmesan, shredded
  • 1/4 cup tightly packed fresh basil, chopped

Dressing:

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup white wine vinegar*
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp agave or maple syrup
  • 2 tsp garlic granules
  • 2 tsp dry oregano
  • 1 tsp kosher salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. In salted water, cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain, toss with a little bit of oil to prevent sticking, set aside, and allow to cool.
  2. Add all dressing ingredients to a jar and shake to combine.
  3. Toss all ingredients and the dressing in a large bowl.
  4. Let sit in the fridge for at least an hour before serving.

Notes:

*You can subsitute 2 cups of sliced cherry tomatoes for the sun dried tomatoes

*Can substitute red wine vinegar for the white wine vinegar


Vegan Caesar Dressing

Not to be dramatic, but this is the best vegan caesar dressing I personally have ever had. It’s egg-free, dairy-free, and anchovy-free! Just plop all of the ingredients in a blender, blend until smooth, and you’ve got a tasty and easy caesar dressing.

Bonus points for homemade sourdough croutons! Just tear up some day-old sourdough, toss with olive oil/salt/pepper, and bake at 350F until toasted and golden brown.

This recipe makes a decent amount, so you can store it in a glass jar in the fridge for salads/wraps/dipping all week.

Advertisements

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews, softened*
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • the juice of 1 small lemon, about 2 tablespoons, and its zest
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 large clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce*
  • 1 heaping tablespoon capers
  • 1 teaspoon hemp hearts
  • 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 tsp each of salt and freshly ground pepper, or to taste

Instructions:

  1. Add all of the ingredients to a blender, and blend until smooth.
  2. Enjoy!

Notes:

*To soften cashews, you can soak them in water overnight or in very hot water for 30 minutes.

*My favorite vegan Worcestershire sauce is by Annie’s. If you can’t find a vegan Worcestershire sauce, you could try substituting balsamic vinegar or a mixture of soy sauce and sugar.



Garlic Scallion Noodles

These noodles come together in 15 minutes and are so easy. Feel free to add in extra veggies and/or protein of choice – some crispy tofu would be perfect.

I don’t know about you, but I definitely have wasted my fair share of green onions simply because I didn’t feel like prepping them. Now I try to make sure to wash and chop them all the same day or the day after purchase, then I put them in a reusable silicone bag in the freezer. That way I have green onions chopped and ready whenever I need them. Make sure you save the bulbs because you can replant them and have free onions!

Advertisements
Advertisements

Ingredients:

  • 6oz spaghetti or ramen noodles, cooked according to package instructions
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil
  • 3-5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 scallions/green onions, chopped (sauté white parts and reserve green for serving)
  • 1.5 tbsp unseasoned rice vinegar
  • 2-3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce, to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Crushed red pepper, to taste
  • Sesame seeds
Advertisements

Instructions:

  1. Heat sesame oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Sauté onions and garlic for 1-2 minutes, then add the rice vinegar to loosen the brown bits up.
  2. Add the noodles to the pan. Mix together soy sauce (start with 2 tbsp) and sugar. Pour mixture over the noodles and stir to incorporate. Taste and add more soy sauce if needed.
  3. Serve topped with reserved green onions, crushed red pepper, and sesame seeds.

Notes:

Feel free to add in extra veggies and/or protein of choice! Some crispy tofu would be perfect.


Strawberry & Vegan Basil Ricotta Crostini with Balsamic Glaze

Crostini is one my favorite appetizers because:

1.) it’s easy

2.) it travels well, and

3.) it’s cute as heck.

I opted for a half cashew/half tofu ricotta because honestly I just think it tastes good, but also it’s more cost effective than using entirely cashews. If you’d like to only use tofu, you can just add the onions and garlic in with the rest of the ingredients and process once.

If you’re not wanting to make crostini today, you can use this ricotta in lasagna, pasta, on toast, in sandwiches, or however else you see fit!

Advertisements
Advertisements

For the Balsamic Glaze:

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup

Instructions:

  1. Add balsamic vinegar and maple syrup to a small sauce pan over medium heat. When it starts to bubble, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until the liquid reduces by half, about 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool before using.

For the Vegan Basil Ricotta:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 of a yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup raw cashews, softened*
  • 7 oz (1/2 block) firm tofu, drained and broken into chunks
  • 1/2 cup plain unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 tbsp white miso paste
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • Black pepper, to taste

Instructions:

  1. Sauté onion and garlic in oil over medium heat until the onions soften and the edges are beginning to brown. Remove from heat.
  2. Add cashews, milk, and the cooked onion and garlic to a food processor and process until smooth.
  3. Add tofu, basil, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, miso paste, salt, and pepper and process again until smooth. Taste and adjust the amount of salt, pepper, and/or lemon juice if needed.

For the Crostini:

Ingredients:

  • 1 baguette
  • Vegan basil ricotta
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Balsamic glaze
  • Fresh basil

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Slice the baguette on a bias into 1/2 inch thick pieces, brush each side with oil, and bake for 3-5 minutes per side until edges are golden brown.
  3. Top crostini with the ricotta, sliced strawberries, a drizzle of balsamic glaze, and fresh basil.

Notes:

*To soften cashews, either soak overnight in water or place in very hot water for 30 minutes.


Lemony Garlic And White Wine Spaghetti

Words I love to see in a recipe: garlic, lemon, butter, wine, pasta.

Make this lemony garlic and white wine spaghetti in the time it takes to boil some noods and have a glass of wine. Seriously, it takes 15 minutes. You’ll need lots of garlic, a lemon, crushed red pepper, vegan butter, white wine, vegan parmesan, herbs, and some noods (don’t pour out the pasta water).

If you like lemon and garlic, this one’s for you. If you’re not a mega fan like me, then feel free to scale back on the amount of lemon juice and cloves of garlic as it’s pretty intense!

Advertisements
Advertisements

Prep Time: 5 minutes – Cook Time: 10 minutes – Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz thick or regular spaghetti (reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water)
  • 4 tbsp salted vegan butter
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (scale back to 1/4 tsp if you’re sensitive to spice)
  • The juice of 1 lemon and its zest
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup grated vegan parmesan, plus more for serving
  • Salt and black pepper, to taste
  • Fresh herbs like thyme or parsley for serving

Instructions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package instructions and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
  2. Melt butter in a pan over medium heat.
  3. Add garlic and crushed red pepper. Cook for about 2 minutes until fragrant.
  4. Pour in lemon juice and white wine. Turn the heat up to medium high and simmer until the liquid is reduced by half.
  5. Remove from heat and add in cooked pasta, lemon zest, and parmesan. Toss to coat, gradually adding a bit of the pasta water as needed to loosen the sauce (you likely won’t need the full 1/2 cup).
  6. Give it a try and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Serve with extra parmesan and herbs if using. Enjoy!

Serving suggestions: Prepare a green salad with roasted chickpeas or tempeh to go alongside the pasta and balance the meal out.


Irish Whiskey Mules

Sláinte! Put down the green beer and make these Irish whiskey mules this St. Paddy’s Day instead.

I’m not sure I’ve shared it on my blog, but I recently moved all the way to Indiana from my hometown of Savannah, GA. St. Patrick’s Day is especially making me miss it, but that’s okay. Cheers to new adventures!

PS: If you’ve seen the word before but didn’t know, sláinte is a toast that means health. Here’s what the ol’ Wikipedia has to say: “Sláinte means “health” in Irish and Scottish Gaelic. It is commonly used as a drinking toast in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man.” Now you know! Let’s make drinks.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Ingredients:

  • 2 oz Irish whiskey
  • 4-6 oz ginger beer, to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime (about 1 oz)
  • For serving: ice, lime slices, fresh mint sprig (optional)

Instructions:

  1. Fill a glass or copper mug with ice.
  2. Pour in the whiskey, ginger beer, and lime juice. Stir.
  3. Garnish with lime slices and a sprig of fresh mint.


Buffalo Chickpea Pita Pizzas

We love a double chickpea recipe. This one’s got roasted chickpeas AND buffalo hummus.

Pita pizzas are basically the savior of work from home lunch. I know so many people this year feel like they are just constantly making food, then cleaning the kitchen, making food, then cleaning. Pita pizzas create little mess in the kitchen and are easy to mix up. You can make BBQ pita pizzas, margherita pita pizzas, taco pita pizzas, cheeseburger pita pizzas. Now say pita pizzas 5 times fast.

They’re also great for kids to help make (I imagine – I am only mother to cats).

Advertisements
Advertisements

– makes 4 pita pizzas –

Ingredients:

Chickpeas

  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Drizzle of olive oil

Buffalo Hummus

  • 1/2 cup plain hummus
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce, I used Frank’s Red Hot

Everything Else

  • 4 pieces pita bread
  • 1/4 red onion, chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, chopped
  • Vegan ranch
  • Extra hot sauce
  • Greens (microgreens, cilantro, arugula, etc.)*

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Toss chickpea ingredients on a lined baking sheet and bake 15 minutes, stirring halfway. They’re going to get crispier on the pizzas later.
  3. While the chickpeas are in the oven, mix together hummus and hot sauce to make buffalo hummus. Chop your onion and celery.
  4. Remove chickpeas from oven. Place pitas on a baking sheet and spread with buffalo hummus, then top with chickpeas and red onion. Bake (again at 375F) for 10 minutes, broiling for the last 2 minutes.
  5. Remove pitas from the oven and top with celery, ranch, extra hot sauce, and greens.

Notes:

*For the greens, I used Bright Fresh micro cilantro because I received it in a PR package, but you can use whatever you’d like.



Vegan Jalapeño Burgers

Here’s how I level up a package of vegan ground beef! Jalapeño, garlic, onion, optional vegan Worcestershire sauce, and lots of fresh ground pepper make these juicy plant-based burgers. I opted to melt some vegan pepper jack over top and toss on some pickled jalapeños, but you can top however you see fit.

PS: These freeze well, so Peter and I like making a large batch to thaw out whenever we’re craving burgers.

PPS: I got this vegan pepper jack nice and melty with the help of a mini melting dome, which is a game changer!

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Makes 5-6 patties

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 package vegan ground beef (I used Impossible which is 12oz, but have also used Beyond which is 16oz)
  • 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup finely minced onion
  • 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce (optional, I use Annie’s)
  • A few cracks fresh ground pepper

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and form into patties.
  2. Heat an oiled pan over medium-high and cook burgers 2-3 minutes per side.


Cara Cara Kombucha Cocktails

I was at the grocery store this past weekend and saw a sign in front of the kombucha that said “try kombucha in a cocktail!” so I did that. These cocktails are made with freshly squeezed cara cara orange juice, ginger kombucha, ginger beer, lime juice, and vodka. Leave out the vodka out of this one for a mocktail.

It’s citrus season! Cara cara oranges are seedless and have a red flesh. They are supposedly sweeter in taste and less acidic than navel oranges, plus cara caras have undertones of red fruits like cherries and cranberries.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Ingredients:

  • The juice from 1 cara cara orange (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup ginger kombucha
  • 1/4 cup ginger beer
  • 2 oz vodka
  • 2 tbsp lime juice

Instructions:

  1. Makes one cocktail.
  2. Add ice to a glass, then all other ingredients. Stir and garnish with slices of cara cara orange or lime.


Roasted Garlic & Dill Cashew Sauce

I’m always down for a new sauce. This roasted garlic and dill sauce is so good with sweet potato fries, crackers, veggies, as a potato salad dressing, a pasta sauce, or a sandwich spread.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cashews, softened*
  • 1 head of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1/4 cup roughly chopped dill
  • 1/2 tsp salt, to taste
  • fresh ground pepper

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Roast garlic by chopping the top of the head off to expose the cloves. Place garlic on a square of foil and drizzle oil over top. Wrap the garlic in the foil and place in the oven for about 35 minutes or until very soft. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool before squeezing out the cloves into a blender.
  2. Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add salt if needed, or more lemon juice for brightness.
  3. Serve with sweet potato fries, crackers, veggies, as a pasta sauce, or as a sandwich spread.

Notes:

*soften cashews either by soaking over night or placing in hot water for 30 minutes