January 27, 2015 By This Vegan Girl
I do my best to support local family-owned restaurants. However, most of the restaurants I go to are vegan; therefore, when it comes to eating out with omnivorous family and friends, sometimes the easiest decision is to go to a chain restaurant. I have been impressed the past few times I’ve been to Carrabba’s Italian Grill.
For those of you who have been to Carrabba’s, have you ever had to consciously tell yourself to put down the bread and step away from the dipping oil full of herbs? I swear I could make that dipping oil my entire meal.
This pasta is inspired by the dipping oil at Carrabba’s. I basically made my own dipping oil with tons of herbs, added some tomatoes, olives, spinach, and homemade cream cheese, and mixed in some pasta. It’s so, so good and has lots of health benefits:
- Oregano – has both antibacterial and anti fungal properties that make it effective against some forms of food-borne illnesses and even some antibiotic resistant infections
- Thyme – full of antioxidants, which prevent cellular damage that can boost overall health and help prevent cancer, inflammation, signs of aging and more
- Parsley – contains chlorophyll, myricetin, and vitamin K, which can help prevent cancer and diabetes, as well as improve bone health
- Basil – reduces inflammation and swelling, contains anti-aging properties, and is rich in antioxidants
- Garlic chives – helps prevent prostate, esophageal, and stomach cancer, as well as regulating sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory; folate, found in chives, also helps prevent excess homocysteine, which helps with depression and production of feel-good hormones, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
Carrabba’s Dipping Oil Pasta
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Yield: 3-4 servings
For the dressing:
- 3 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced
- 3 tablespoons fresh thyme, minced
- 3 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, minced
- 2 tablespoons fresh garlic chives, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1-2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 pound of pasta (I used GF Ancient Harvest quinoa rotelle)
Optional add-ins (all highly recommended!):
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut into thirds
- 1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
- 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
- 1/2 cup Castelvetrano olives, cut into thirds
- 2 tablespoons of 5-minute cream cheese (recipe here)
Step 1: Chop the dressing ingredients.
I picked all the herbs straight from my herb garden. Here in Florida, all these herbs are easy to maintain as long as they are watered a few times per week.
Place all the herbs, and other dressing ingredients, in a large boil with the olive oil, mix, and let it sit and relax in there. The idea is to mildly infuse the flavors into the oil.
Step 2: Start boiling the noodles.
Boil your noodles of choice according to packaged directions. When the pasta is finished boiling and it’s time for straining, I like to spray cold water on the noodles for a lukewarm pasta salad experience.
Step 3: Chop/add optional ingredients.
While the noodles are boiling, chop/add the optional ingredients you would like to add to your dish. This might be the perfect time to make your 5-minute homemade cream cheese. I love adding this stuff to pasta!
Step 4: Mix and serve!
Once all ingredients are in finished, add all ingredients to the large bowl, mix, and serve!
If you love what you see, you might want to:
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December 14, 2014 By This Vegan Girl
I was out of cream cheese. I realized this when I was already toasting my toast and slicing my avocados. I was making avocado toast, and unless I could come up with cream cheese quickly, our avocado toast would be uncomfortably dry.
I came through, though. I came through like a super hero who treated bad meals like crimes.
With things I already had in my kitchen, I whipped this up in 5 minutes. I saved breakfast that day.
Now, it’s time for me to teach you what I learned that day. I learned that I don’t need processed ingredients that I don’t understand in my store-bought vegan cream cheese. I can have the same great taste in something I can quickly make at home; no fancy kitchen appliances required.
If you’ve been feeling weird about eating processed cream cheese lately as I had, I encourage you to give this a try. I hope you love this as much as I do.
Cream Cheese with Chives
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Yield: 2 cups
- 2 cups almond meal
- 4 tablespoons unsweetened coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
Step 1: Mix the milk and apple cider vinegar.
Something science-y happens when you mix these two ingredients. The milk begins to experience its very beginning stages of coagulation. When you don’t mix these two ingredients together aside from the other ingredients, the bound flavor won’t happen the same way. Whisk these two ingredients together for about 30 seconds.
By the way, the apple cider vinegar is the unsung hero in this recipe. Surprisingly, this odd ingredient is the key to achieving that cream cheese flavor.
Step 2: Mix the remainder of the ingredients.
Add the oil, almond meal, salt, and fresh chives to the milk.
Depending on what kind of consistency you’re looking for, you can use different utensils to mix these ingredients together. If you’re after a light and fluffy consistency, use a fork to mix and fluff. If you would rather have a smooth consistency, use a spoon to mix and press the ingredients together.
Step 3: Serve and/or store!
It was great with crackers and salad on top! As mentioned earlier, this was also fantastic on toast. Use it for breakfast or lunch; I don’t care!
If you have any fun ways to use your herby cream cheese, I’d love to see your creations. You can tag me on your cream cheese photo on Instagram @thisvegangirl or use the hashtag #thisvegangirl. You can also add me on Facebook or comment on this pin on Pinterest. Better yet, comment below! It’s so exciting to hear from you guys.