5 plant-based (vegan) recipes

With Earth Day right around the corner, I’m making a conscious effort to think about my impact on this amazing earth of ours. I grew up in a family who recycled religiously, reused sour cream containers (and sugar bags for lunch bags – which was SO embarrassing!) and even composted. So at a young age, it was instilled in me that leaving as little of footprint as possible was of the utmost importance.

These days, I make the best effort I can to reuse, reduce and recycle. (And I’m proud that I’ve almost kicked my plastic water bottle habit!) But there is always room for improvement and that’s what is important to look at. In the coming months, my goal is to buy more local food – preferably straight from the source through a CSA membership or more frequent visits to the farmer’s market.

So why the plant-based recipes? It seems that every spring, I’m drawn to more plant-based foods and less meat. The term ‘plant-based eating’ has been growing in popularity but the phrase is a bit confusing – and I think that’s the idea. The short explanation is that it’s a vegan diet (while some may consume a limited amount of animal products like eggs or dairy) and it seems to me that it’s a vegan diet without the vegan junk food and without the (sometimes polarizing) vegan label. It’s real, whole, unprocessed food – full of plants – and most of the time it’s beautiful. (Learn more about plant-based diets here.)

But it’s not just about me. (Wait, what?!) A diet with more plants and less meat helps to reduce our ecological footprint (animal products require a lot of land, water and resources). As Mr. Pollan so wisely tells us, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” And also? It’s delicious. Here are 5 plant-based (ok, vegan!) recipes that are so tasty and gorgeous that even the most stubborn of carnivores won’t miss the meat.

 

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

1. This Vegan Green Chili Mac and Cheese has been on my list of recipes to make since…the first time I laid eyes on it. And while we typically think of mac and cheese falling into the junk food category, this cheese, made with cashews, is anything but. (image & recipe via Minimalist Baker)

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

2. I know. I’m craving tofu now too. This Crispy Baked Salt & Pepper Tofu is much easier than it seems – simply toss and bake – and enjoy. (image & recipe via Heartbeet Kitchen)

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

3. Herby, Peanutty, Noodly Salad is just that. This colorful salad is filled with fresh veggies and nutritious buckwheat noodles for a meal that screams spring to me. This post also gives some great insight on not giving yourself a vegan label and I pretty much love it.  (image & recipe via Eating for England)

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

4.  These Not-So-Sloppy Tempeh Joes made such a satisfying lunch, I’ve got to make them again soon. Don’t be put-off by the steps and ingredients, it’s worth it! In fact, I’d recommend doubling the recipe. (image & recipe via Chickypea)

5 Plant-Based (Vegan) Recipes | A Nutritionist Eats

5. No matter the label, almost all of us love dessert and I think that Banana Split Ice Cream Pie is the perfect way to end things. (Both a meal and this post.) I mean, bananas are roasted and then turned into banana ice cream which is laid into an almond flour crust and topped with coconut whipped cream and chocolate sauce. Come on! (image & recipe via The First Mess)

What is your favorite plant-based recipe or meal?

warm farro & artichoke salad

I was visiting some friends at Intelligentsia (super cool coffee shop) a few weeks ago and I decided to stay and work through lunch after they left. There was a farro salad on the menu which sounded amazing.

I normally don’t order grain salads when I’m out, but the Warm Farro & Artichoke Salad on their menu sounded too good. As luck would have it they were out, so I had the pear salad (also delicious) but I couldn’t get the Farro & Artichoke Salad out of my mind. And when that happens, I usually find myself needing to make it the following day.

You may be wondering – what is farro? It was certainly my first time cooking with farro and I’m not even so sure that I had ever eaten it before! Farro is a whole grain that is similar to barley. It has a nice chew to it – like al dente pasta – and is related to wheat. Nutritionally speaking, farro has 100 cal, 27 g carbohydrates, 3.5 g fiber, 4 g protein per 1/2 cup cooked. More fiber than quinoa and almost as much protein!

This warm grain salad, with marinated artichokes, shallots, leeks and parmesan was just the salad I was craving. And it was really good. Really good! I packed it in Richie’s lunch (yes, I pack his lunch), I ate it for lunch, I ate it for brunch with wilted arugula and a fried egg on top (amazing!) and we ate it alongside vegetables for dinner.

 

 

Warm Farro & Artichoke Salad

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 30 min

 

Ingredients (4-6 servings)

  • 1 cup farro
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small leek, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups artichokes, roughly chopped (I used marinated artichokes)
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • parmesan cheese
  • parsley for garnish

Instructions

Bring farro and water to a boil.

Lower to a simmer, cover and cook for about 30-40 min, until tender and all water has been absorbed.

Heat oil in pan.

Add shallots and leeks, sauteing for about 3 minutes.

Add artichokes and cook for another 2 minutes.

Remove from heat and set aside.

Whisk together juice of lemon, olive oil and salt & pepper.

Toss farro, artichoke mixture and dressing together.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

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spaghetti cakes

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Food was the main priority at our wedding. Well, I guess you could say our priority was that our guests have a great time, and to me, that means eating and drinking well. :)

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We didn’t have a sit-down meal, but instead had stations – each station had a few different items (salad, entree, sides) with lots of passed hors d’oeuvres. One of the sides that our catering planner strongly suggested was angel hair pasta cakes. She said that they were a big crowd-pleaser and while I thought it would go over well with kids, I really didn’t think adults would be into it. I cut the order way down, but somehow she convinced me to order more and I’m so glad we did. Everyone loved them. It was actually one of the only things I ate that night and even I thought they were delicious.

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Sometimes the simplest foods are the best.

When you combine the pasta with an egg, some cream and parmesan, it bakes into portable little cups that can work as an appetizer, main meal or packed in a lunch. I served our spaghetti cakes with some roasted tomatoes (tomatoes + olive oil + s & p), but marinara or a drizzle of pesto would be delicious as well.

spaghetti recipe, recipes with pasta, recipes for pasta, spaghetti recipes, recipe for spaghetti

 

 

Spaghetti Cakes

by Emily Dingmann

Prep Time: 10 min

Cook Time: 30 min

 

Ingredients (6 appetizer portions)

  • 6 oz spaghetti
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp 1/2 & 1/2
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • marinara or roasted tomatoes for serving

Instructions

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cook pasta and garlic in boiling water until al dente, about 5-6 minutes.

Drain (but reserve a bit of the cooking water) and return to pot.

Whisk together egg and 1/2 & 1/2.

Add egg mixture and parmesan to pot, stirring to combine.

Spray muffin tin with cooking spray (only need 6 wells) and divide pasta mixture between the 6.

Bake for about 15-20 minutes, until cakes have set.

Serve with marinara sauce or roasted tomatoes and extra parmesan if desired.

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top uses for prepared pesto

(source)

Pesto is one of those staples that everyone should always have on-hand. It comes in handy for so many things and adds such fresh flavor to everything it meets!

While homemade pesto is usually better, I rely on prepared pesto from the store a lot. Here are some of the ways I use it:

  • Tossed with pasta (tortellini is my absolute favorite, but any pasta is good)
  • Spread on a tortilla, topped with a little cheese, rolled up and microwaved for 30 seconds
  • As a sauce for pizza
  • Thin with a bit of olive oil and serve with roasted vegetables
  • As a sandwich spread
  • On meat, chicken or fish
  • Blend into white bean dip
  • As a crostini topping with parmesan or goat cheese
  • Mixed into shredded chicken with a touch of mayo (recipe)
  • Tossed with a grain, topped with goat cheese crumbles

What is your favorite way to use pesto?