November 21, 2014 By This Vegan Girl
As a vegan, you sometimes have to take a deep breath and go to a normal restaurant. I met up with my sister at a local restaurant in Stuart, FL at a restaurant in the downtown area called Eighteen Seminole Street Italian Bistro. Italian restaurants are almost completely safe for vegans, as you can always settle for spaghetti and veggies if they don’t have much to offer.
They had a dish called Linguini Puttanesca, which was the only menu option I could eat. I’ve never had it before. Linguini alla Puttanesca is literally “linguini of the whore” in Italian. Well, smack my ass and call me a whore, because this dish was fantastic. It was salty and tangy, which was a fun change from the plain ol’ spaghetti sauce I’ve been eating for 25 years.
Here is my version, “fattened up” with some lentils to give it a meaty texture. This one is A+ husband/boyfriend approved. It’s so easy to make: in fact, this recipe is only broken up into 3 steps! Enjoy!
Linguini Puttanesca in a Meat(less) Sauce
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 4 servings
For the food processor:
- 4 Roma tomatoes, quartered
- 3 oz, or 1/2 cup, tomato paste
- 3 tbs lemon juice
- 1 tbs coconut oil
- 1 tbs, or 1 sprig, fresh oregano
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1 pound of pasta (I use Ancient Harvest Gluten Free Quinoa Linguini)
- 1 15oz can of lentils, drained
- 1 cup of Castelvetrano olives, pitted and cut into thirds
- 2 tsp capers
- basil, for garnish (optional)
Step 1: Make the tomato sauce.
Throw in all the food processor ingredients into your food processor. Mix until fully incorporated.
Traditional Italian cuisine dictates that Puttanesca is made with olive oil. However, since Puttanesca is a salty dish, I decided to use coconut oil instead of olive oil. The coconut oil has a subtle sweetness that can help offset the tang a bit, so it complements the sauce well. Not only that, but apparently, olive oil doesn’t do well in high heat, but coconut oil does. I’ve been trying to mix up my recipes to only use olive oil in raw dishes.
Once your sauce has been mixed, pour the sauce into a sauce pan set at medium heat. When the sauce starts bubbling, set heat to low.
Step 2: Cook your pasta.
In a separate pot, boil your pasta until cooked. Strain and rinse your noodles when finished. Set aside, if necessary. Normally, my everything seems to be finished by the time the noodles are finished cooking, so I jump right in and serve!
Step 3: Add the olives, capers, and lentils to your sauce.
I’m an olive snob; I only buy my olives from Whole Foods’s olive bar. These were the olives that turned me on to liking olives in the first place, so it’s been hard to endure low-quality olives when I’ve already had the best. Therefore, I refuse to buy my olives anywhere else. Their Castelvetrano olives are out of this world!
I also buy my lentils canned. It sounds sketchy as f, but it’s actually not that bad! The lentils are organic and come in a non-BPA lining can, so I trust the source. A sad amount of attempts were made (years of trying) to try and transform dried lentils into that texturally-perfect plump consistency, but it never, ever worked for me. Ever since I’ve found organic canned lentils in my local grocery store, it has changed my life. It’s quick, easy, delicious, and perfect for a perpetual lentil failure like me.
Anyway, add in the olives, capers, and lentils. Mix. Cover the sauce and let it sit until your pasta is ready.
Step 4: Serve!
Pour some sauce on top of the pasta, garnish, and serve!
Before you go…
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November 17, 2014 By This Vegan Girl
This Thanksgiving will be my second vegan Thanksgiving. Last year, I spent my Thanksgiving at Matt’s aunt’s house, which was very nice. I contributed a dish, and Matt’s mom made several gluten-free vegan dishes. No pressure.
This year, the pressure is on me: I’M HOSTING. I’m hosting both Matt’s family and my family, where our parents will meet for the first time. Not only that, but I will be the only vegan in attendance, so all my vegan dishes are going to need to be kickass in order to please the omnivores. I get the sweats just thinking about all the pressure.
One of the attendees requested green bean casserole, so I went to work searching online. With disappointment, I looked through a lot of recipes that just fell short. I need to blow the socks off these people, and I refuse to make a subpar dish.
I decided to take a chance with a non-vegan recipe and to veganize it. I took the great Alton Brown’s “Best Ever Green Bean Casserole” recipe and made some gluten-free & vegan changes.
Now, I’m confident that my green bean casserole is awesome. If you need a gluten-free vegan green bean casserole for your Thanksgiving, look no further. This recipe is creamy, cheesy, flavorful, and has a pleasant little crunch from the crispy onions.
Cheesy Green Bean Casserole
Prep Time: 25 mins
Cook Time: 45 mins
Yield: 6-8 servings
For the Crispy Onions:
- 2 medium onions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs or seasoned coating
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- a teeny bit of coconut oil (or grape seed oil), for greasing
For the Cheesy Cashew Cream:
- 1/2 cup cashews, milled
- 2 heaping tablespoons of nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 2 tbs grape seed oil or melted coconut oil
All Other Ingredients:
- 24 oz green beans, trimmed and halved
- 16 oz mushrooms, sliced
- 2 tbs grape seed oil or coconut oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- 2 tbs all-purpose GF flour
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- salt and pepper, to taste
Step 1: Prepare and bake the onions.
Preheat the oven to 450/232 degrees Fahrenheit/Celcius. Chop the onions thinly and separate with your fingers. Brace yourself for this step. I had to walk away with burning tears in my eyes THREE TIMES.
Take your chopped onions, put them in a large tupperware container, pour in the breadcrumbs/coating, and shake it up, baby. Go ahead and twist and shout while you’re at it.
Once the onions are perfectly coated, take out a greased baking sheet, spread the onions out on it evenly, and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, shifting the onions halfway through. When you remove the onions from the oven, reduce the heat to 400/204 degrees Fahrenheit/Celsius.
Step 2: Blanch the green beans.
While the onions are cooking, get to making those beautiful, lush beans! Bring a big pot of water to a boil. Boil your beans for only 4-5 minutes. I did 4 minutes and 30 seconds, and my green beans were perfect.
While those green beans are boiling, get out a big bowl and fill it with ice water. Once the green beauties have steamed their way to perfection, quickly strain them and immediately place them in ice water. This will keep them cooked, yet firm.
You can keep them in the water for a while, since you’ve got other things to worry about.
Step 3: Prepare the cashew cream.
Once step 4 comes along, things will escalate quickly, so we’ll want that cashew cream ready to go.
I don’t believe in soaking cashews to make cashew cream. The whole thing can be done without soaking as long as you have a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder.
Start by placing the cashews into your milling machine of choice. Mine is a NutriBullet, which has an amazing milling blade that does the job beautifully. Mix the cashews until they become a pulp.
After that, add all other cashew cream ingredients (coconut milk, oil, salt, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika). Set aside.
Step 4: Cook all remaining ingredients on the stove.
But WAIT! There’s an order!
Start with the 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan on medium heat, followed by the mushrooms. Season those mushrooms with a little bit of sea salt and pepper.
Once the mushrooms start to sweat (4-5 minutes), add in the minced garlic and nutmeg and cook for another 1-2 minutes. After that, sprinkle the gluten-free all-purpose flour in there, letting it cook for 1 minute.
Pour in the vegetable broth and let it simmer for 1 minute. Decrease the heat to low and add the cashew cream, mixing it all together and letting it cook for about 5 more minutes.
Step 5: Put the dish together and bake.
Remove the pan from the stove and mix in the green beans and 1/4 of the crispy onions. Place the mixture in a baking pan and sprinkle the rest of the crispy onions on top. Bake for 15 minutes. Serve it hot.
It’ll look something like this:
Oh, man. This was awesome. I can’t wait to serve this on Thanksgiving!
In the meantime, I’ll be enjoying this as my leftovers tomorrow for lunch. 🙂
Before I go, FREE PLUG PARTY! (Right, fellow Tosh.0 fans?)
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