Vegan Tuscan-Inspired Pasta Salad

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.

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.

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.

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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!

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Vegan Tuscan-Inspired Pasta Salad

Course Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Keyword pasta salad, tuscan pasta salad, vegan pasta salad
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6 servings
Author Hannah

Ingredients

  • 10 oz farfalle pasta
  • 1 (15oz) can cannellini beans drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 large red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup julienne-cut sun dried tomatoes, in oil oil drained*
  • 1-2 cups baby spinach
  • 1 (6oz) 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

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

Notes

*You can substitute 2 cups of sliced cherry tomatoes for the sun dried tomatoes
*Can substitute red wine vinegar for the white wine vinegar

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!

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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
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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.


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!

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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.


Buffalo Chickpea Pita Pizzas

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

These crispy buffalo chickpea pita pizzas are SO fun to make and eat. Grab some hummus and pita bread, whip them up in 30 minutes, and top with red onion, celery, a drizzle of ranch, and greens.

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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.

What you’ll need:

  • a can of chickpeas
  • garlic powder
  • onion powder
  • paprika
  • salt
  • cayenne pepper
  • a drizzle of olive oil
  • plain hummus
  • hot sauce
  • pita bread
  • red onion
  • celery
  • vegan ranch
  • and some greens!
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What to do:

Preheat your oven to 375F. Then, on a lined baking sheet, toss chickpeas with garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, cayenne pepper, and a drizzle of olive oil. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring halfway. (PS – the chickpeas are going to get crispier on the pita pizzas later)

While the chickpeas are in the oven, mix together hummus and hot sauce to make buffalo hummus. Go ahead and chop your onion and celery, too.

Remove the chickpeas from oven. Place pitas on a baking sheet and spread with buffalo hummus, then top with the roasted chickpeas and red onion. Bake (again at 375F) for 10 minutes, broiling for the last 2 minutes or so.

Remove the pita pizzas from the oven and top with celery, ranch, extra hot sauce if you want, and greens. Enjoy!

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Buffalo Chickpea Pita Pizzas

These crispy buffalo chickpea pita pizzas are SO fun to make and eat. Grab some hummus and pita bread, whip them up in 30 minutes, and top with red onion, celery, a drizzle of ranch, and greens.
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Keyword buffalo pizza, pita pizza, pizza
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 pitas
Author Hannah

Ingredients

Chickpeas

  • 1 (15oz) can chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper to taste
  • a drizzle of olive oil

Buffalo Hummus

  • 1/2 cup plain hummus
  • 2 tbsp hot sauce* to taste

Everything Else:

  • 4 pieces pita bread
  • 1/4 red onion chopped
  • 1 stalk celery chopped
  • vegan ranch dressing
  • extra hot sauce
  • greens (microgreens, cilantro, arugula, etc.)*

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375F
  • Toss chickpea ingredients on a lined baking sheet and bake 15 minutes, stirring halfway. They’re going to get crispier on the pizzas later.
  • While the chickpeas are in the oven, mix together hummus and hot sauce to make buffalo hummus. Chop your onion and celery.
  • 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.
  • Remove pitas from the oven and top with celery, ranch, extra hot sauce, and greens.

Notes

*For the hot sauce, I used Frank’s Red Hot
*For the greens, I used micro cilantro because I received it in a PR package, but you can use whatever you’d like.
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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!

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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.


Vegan Mac & Beer Cheese Bites

It’s almost finger food and funny commercial day! Also I hear there are sports involved. Whether you’re here for the snacks or the football, you’ve gotta make some fun food! Personally, I think no Super Bowl is complete with two things: cheese and beer. Thus, vegan mac & beer cheese bites! These bites definitely make enough to serve a crowd, or for you to have leftovers all to yourself (what I’ll be doing on account of covid).

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Makes about 48 bites. Spread out to two mini muffin tins or bake a second batch.

Ingredients:

  • 1 (16 oz) box cooked elbow pasta, minus 1 cup
  • 1 cup soaked cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 cloves garlic or 1 teaspoon powder
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons spicy brown mustard
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 cup beer (lager)
  • Grated vegan cheddar cheese

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  2. Add all ingredients except for beer to a blender and blend until smooth.
  3. Pour the cheese sauce into a saucepan with the beer, and heat over medium-low until thick and bubbly (5-10 minutes). Taste and season with more salt if needed. Stir the pasta noodles into the sauce.
  4. Lightly oil a mini muffin tin and spoon the mac and cheese into each hole. Pack the mac and cheese down tightly with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle some grated vegan cheddar cheese over the tops. Don’t skip this step because the cheddar shreds help keep the tops of the “muffins” together.
  5. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove and let cool for 10 minutes before gently removing each bite with a butter knife or the handle of a spoon. Repeat until all the mac and cheese is gone and you’re left with lots of mac and cheese bites.
  6. Serve alone or with a sauce like marinara or ketchup, and enjoy!


Lemony Chickpea & Cucumber Salad with Dill

If there’s one thing I could eat every day, it’d probably be this chickpea salad. That or curly fries. Or guac. Or pasta. The cucumber and red onion are crunchy, the dressing is fresh and tangy, and it all just makes for a really refreshing side dish. Also, bonus points for using up a decent amount of dill! Is anyone else always left with SO much after buying a bundle at the store? I don’t know if I’ve ever successfully finished one.

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This salad is also very meal prep worthy! I make it at the start of the week and use it as a side with dinner, throw it in wraps or pitas, top some hummus toast with it, or just eat it by the spoonful straight out of the bowl. Double the recipe if you’ve got more mouths to feed or just want more for longer.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Cucumber
  • Red onion
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Cooked chickpeas
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon juice
  • Stone ground mustard
  • Maple Syrup or Agave
  • Dill
  • Salt & Pepper
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Here’s how you make it:

Prep your veggies – slice the cucumber and onion, chop the tomatoes, etc.

Drain and rinse your chickpeas.

Make the dressing, then toss it all together and refrigerate for an hour before serving so the flavors can become even more delicious.

Enjoy!

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Lemony Chickpea & Cucumber Salad with Dill

Course Salad
Cuisine American
Keyword chickpea salad, cucumber chickpea salad, cucumber salad
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 6 servings
Author Hannah

Ingredients

  • 1 large cucumber seeds removed, sliced into half moons
  • 1 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 1 pint/container cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas drained and rinsed

Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp stone ground mustard
  • 1 tsp maple syrup or agave
  • 1/4 cup fresh dill
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Prepare the cucumber, onion, tomatoes, and chickpeas. Place in a large bowl.
  • Whisk together dressing ingredients and pour over the chickpea/vegetable mixture.
  • Stir to combine, cover, and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

Green Sandwich with Vegan Pesto Cream Cheese

Making this pesto cream cheese is as simple as locating your favorite brands of non-dairy cream cheese and vegan pesto. Yep, most pestos aren’t vegan (or even vegetarian) due to the inclusion of parmesan cheese. Authentic parmesan cheese is made with animal rennet, an enzyme that’s found in the lining of a goat or calf’s stomach… But it’s easy to find a great vegan pesto at a variety of stores, or you could always make your own if you find yourself with lots of basil and a bit of time.

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Not sure which non-dairy cream cheese to buy? I’ve tried a bunch over the years, and am always here with the recommendations! Since you’re mixing it with pesto, you can get away with a cream cheese that’s good but not your favorite. Ultimately, you just have to explore a bit with vegan options to find what you like! Hate one brand? Try another next time it’s on sale, or mix up how you’re serving it. If you have been eating dairy cream cheese on plain bagels your entire life, it’s going to be a bit hard to find a vegan cream cheese that replaces that experience 1:1 at first. Try it on a bagel sandwich with lots of fresh herbs, capers, veggies, red onion, vegan deli slices, carrot lox if you’re feeling adventurous, or whatever tickles your fancy. Or, duh, mix it with pesto and make this!

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Ingredients:

  • Sliced bread
  • Non-dairy cream cheese
  • Vegan pesto
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • Cucumber, sliced
  • Avocado, sliced
  • Arugula

Instructions:

  1. Toast your bread. While it’s toasting, whisk together equal parts cream cheese and pesto, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a few cracks of pepper. Adjust amounts depending on how many sandwiches you’re making.
  2. Spread pesto cream cheese on bread, top with veggies, and eat!


Vegan Roasted Garlic Aioli with Shoestring Parsnip Fries

It’s parsnip season! If you’ve never cooked with parsnips, they’re very closely related to carrots. They have a sweet taste like carrots, but with an earthy nutty flavor.

I say aioli in a cheater’s sense, because this recipe uses prepared vegan mayo. Traditional aioli is made from egg yolks emulsified with olive oil.

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For the Roasted Garlic Aioli:

  • 1 small head of garlic
  • 1/2 cup vegan mayo
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice, or to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • A pinch of salt

Instructions:

  1. Cut the top off the head of garlic to expose the cloves and place on a square of aluminum foil, drizzle lightly with olive oil. Wrap the foil tightly over the head of garlic, then roast in the oven at 400F for 30-40 minutes or until very soft.
  2. Allow it to cool and then remove the cloves (I squeeze them out) from the skins, and place them in a bowl. Mash into a paste with a fork and mix in with the vegan mayo, lemon juice, dijon mustard, and salt.
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For the Parsnip Fries:

  • 2-3 large parsnips, cut into shoestring pieces
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Instructions:

  1. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, toss the parsnips with olive oil and salt.
  2. Bake at 400F for about 30 minutes, stirring halfway

Roasted Chickpea and Broccoli Bowls

As I’m sure a handful of people close to me would tell you, this is basically my go-to meal. On the semi-rare occasion that I’m cooking only for myself, this recipe is such a staple!

Not only is it really tasty, it leaves my body feeling good afterwards.

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This Roasted Chickpea and Broccoli Bowl is:

crunchy

savory

tangy

healthy

and delicious!

The variety of flavors and textures come together so nicely in this easy to make, quick to clean up meal. I make my own little hummus dressing for it, but you can use whatever!

Place the chickpeas and broccoli on your parchment-lined baking sheet, then season and toss. You could use a silicone baking mat in place of parchment paper, of course!

Make sure all of the chickpeas and pieces of broccoli are spread out some and touching the parchment paper. This will help them roast evenly and get crunchy.

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While the chickpeas and broccoli are in the oven, whip up this simple hummus dressing. It consists of: hummus (duh), lemon juice, water, black pepper, dijon mustard, and garlic powder. Bet you have all those things at home!

If not, you can use a dressing you already have or just skip it altogether. The chickpeas are already very flavorful, and I’d recommend squeezing some lemon juice on the broccoli when it’s done. Or sprinkle it with some lemon pepper seasoning before baking.

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When you’ve finished baking them, add the chickpeas and broccoli to a big bowl and throw in any other good stuff you have laying around. Then drizzle it with the hummus dressing and enjoy!

Sometimes I’ll add a few handfuls of baby spinach, hemp hearts, chia seeds, flax seeds, kalamata olives, or some cherry tomatoes like I did this day. I’ll make some roasted potatoes to throw in as well if I’m extra hungry or am serving it to more than just myself.

Bowls like this are a good way to get some additional nutrients, eat your colors, and use up whatever odds and ends you have sitting around in your kitchen.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 can of chickpeas (15oz), drained and rinsed
  • A few handfuls of frozen broccoli florets
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • a dash of cayenne pepper
  • salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

For the hummus dressing:

  • 1 tbsp hummus
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1/4 tsp dijon or stone ground mustard
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • a crack of fresh ground pepper
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Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Place chickpeas and frozen broccoli on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  2. Add garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper, and salt to the chickpeas. Sprinkle the broccoli with salt. Toss everything to coat with spices. No need for oil!
  3. Bake for 25 minutes, making sure to toss halfway through the cook time.
  4. Eat a chickpea and examine your broccoli. Are they roasted and crunchy enough for your liking? If not, add them back to the oven for another 5 minutes.
  5. Assemble a nice little bowl with the chickpeas, broccoli, and whatever yummy odds and ends you’d like. I threw in some cherry tomatoes.
  6. Crack some pepper and drizzle the hummus dressing over top. Then enjoy!

Notes:

  • Sometimes I’ll add a few handfuls of baby spinach, hemp hearts, chia seeds, flax seeds, kalamata olives, or some cherry tomatoes like I did this day. I’ll make some roasted potatoes to throw in as well if I’m extra hungry or am serving it to more than just myself!