Oil Free Avocado Pasta Salad

I made this super delicious pasta salad and I was smart enough to write down what I used so I could make it again. The kids and I gobbled this right up! 
 

Oil Free Avocado Pasta Salad


Oil Free Avocado Pasta Salad


Makes about 4 lunch size servings
- inspired by Vegan Italian Kitchen 

8 oz dry pasta, cooked according to package directions to al dente then rinsed with cool water
1 large avocado cut into cubes (or two small)
2 roma tomatoes, chopped (about 1 cup) 
1 english cucumber cut into thin half circles (about 3/4 cup) 
juice of 1 lemon
1 clove garlic minced or microplaned
1/3 cup sliced kalamata olives
2-3 Tablespoons minced Italian parsley (I'm sure basil would be delicious but dang its way more expensive than parsley!!) 
salt to taste - I used about 1/2 teaspoon
red chile flakes to taste

Put your pasta, avocado, lemon juice, garlic, salt and red chile flakes in a large bowl together and smash around with your hands to mix well. The avocado will get creamy and make a nice sauce but make sure to leave a few chunks of avocado! 
Add all of the other ingredients and mix well. Then eat. I think it works best the day of because the avocado and still go brown on you. Not like you won't eat it all in one day! 

**To make this into a heartier meal add in a can of drained chickpeas when you add the vegetables (or about 1.5 cups!) 

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Thai Peanutty Quinoa with Tofu

Hey guys! I'm still here, still kicking it and still cooking. I'm on INSTAGRAM if you aren't following yet. And shit is getting FO REALS over there. FINALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!! Anyway this is delicious. I can't stop eating it. And sharing it. So here, go make your own. 

 

Sauce (adapted from Isa Does It): 
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 cloves of garlic (peeled duh) 
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1/2 cup water
3 Tablespoons lime juice
2 Tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 Tablespoon liquid sweetener (agave, maple syrup, whatever)
1 Tablespoon sriracha
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste 

Blend together until smooth and set aside!

 

Quinoa: 

Cook 1 cup of dry quinoa in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes (follow package instructions) Drain and set aside to cool. 

 

Veggies: 

4 cups mixed veggies cut into bite sized pieces - red bell pepper, cucumber, steamed broccoli, steamed green beans, steamed asparagus, etc - it all sounds amazing but use whatever you have and love
1 large carrot, grated
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 bunch of cilantro minced
1 handful mint or basil leaves minced (chiffonaded or whatever..)

optional - chopped roasted peanuts and/or toasted sesame seeds - however much you like! 

 

Tofu - 

1 package of firm tofu, drained

Preheat oven to 410 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silpat baking mat. Cut up tofu to whatever sizes you like. I don’t even bother pressing the liquid out here, just blot it quick and cut it up. Then line it up in a single layer and bake for 25-30 minutes. Take it out and cover with your favorite asian style marinade. Woah what?! No recipe. Nope, I use Trader Joe’s soyaki marinade. NOMS! Marinate at least 20 minutes then brown in a nonstick pan over fairly high heat. I just use a quick spray of coconut oil here to keep it from sticking anywhere. 

 

Get out a HUGE bowl. Throw the quinoa, veggies, tofu, peanut sauce and optional roasted peanuts & sesame seeds in there and mix until totally combined. 

 

THEN DEVOUR!!!!!!!!!!!

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Apple Fritter Muffins (vegan of course!)

Vegan Apple Fritter Muffins

1 large apple cut into tiny pieces (1/4")
1/3 cup sugar + 2 teaspoons
2 teaspoons cinnamon, divided
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup vegan yogurt (unsweetened if you can find some)
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1 Tablespoon non dairy milk (or more if necessary for the glaze) 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 9 muffin liners in your muffin pan (yup, only makes 9.)
Toss the diced apples with the 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon then set aside. 

In a large bowl mix the 1/3 cup sugar, flour, baking powder, baking soda and 1 teaspoon cinnamon together.  In a small bowl mix the yogurt, oil and vanilla then dump into the large bowl. Mix until it just comes together but don't overmix.  Now fold in the apples with a turn or two of your spoon or spatula. You don't want them perfectly mixed in. 

Spoon into muffin liners and bake 20-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with just crumbs, no goo. 

Let cool. Meanwhile mix the powdered sugar and non dairy milk together. Drizzle a bit on each muffin and ENJOY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Super freaking good warm.) 

Calculated to be 5 ww points plus each. Noms! 

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Vegan Smokey Mac and Greens

Vegan Smokey Mac and Greens

Now I know that if you're a fan of this page you probably assume that all recipes are vegan (YOU WOULD BE CORRECT!) but then think "well why the heck does she put "vegan" into every recipe title?" Well it helps with search engine stuff. So there, now you know! I'm sure I could figure out a different way but I like having that info right there. 

Anyhow on to the food! I don't really know what to say about it. It's super creamy silky smokey and greeny? It's comfort food all grown up. It's ... it is what it is. It's my new favorite cheesy sauce. It's my jam. 

Oh yeah one thing - the liquid smoke. Some people get all freaked out about it and if you buy some brands you should be. The one I get (this one!) is just what it should be LIQUID SMOKE. They make it by condensing smoke vapor. No crazy weird stuff in it. It's essential to the flavor or this though I suppose if you don't want smokey cheesy then you could leave it out. Of course if you don't want smokey stuff then why did you click on the recipe? Muahahah! 

Vegan Smokey Mac and Greens

1 large (fist sized) potato, peeled and cubed
1 large carrot, peeled and chopped
1/2 large onion, chopped (not sweet! If you use a sweet onion it will be gross. Trust me.)
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (not in the shells!)
1 clove garlic
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1.5 cup unsweetened soy milk (or almond or whatever you drink)
5 oz baby kale (or 1 bunch of regular kale with the stems removed and the leaves finely chopped)
16 oz elbow noodles

Let's start out by making the sauce. Put the potato, carrot, onion and sunflower seeds in a large pot and add enough water to submerge everything. Bring to a boil and then turn it down to medium and let simmer until everything is tender, about 15 minutes. When done, drain the water out.
Place the potatoes, carrots, onion, sunflower seeds, garlic, lemon juice, salt liquid smoke, black pepper AND soy milk into your blender and blend until nice and super smooth. Taste and add additional salt or pepper or liquid smoke to taste. 
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for your noodles. Cook them until al dente (according to the packages directions.) Right when they are finished add the kale to the pot and stir it. Immediately drain and then add back to the pot.  Pour the sauce over it all and stir to combine. It may seem super saucey at first but it kind of gets sucked into the noodles as it cools so you want all that sauce. 
At this point you could pour into a casserole dish, covered with breadcrumbs and bake at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until the crumbs are browned and everything is bubbly. 
OR you can just eat it. Because you're hungry already and no one wants to wait to eat. 
It makes "8" servings. More like 4.75 

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Cookbook Review: Salad Samurai

The BKT Salad

The BKT Salad

How do you feel about salads? Drooling yet??? 

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Orange Poppyseed Dressing 

Strawberry Spinach Salad with Orange Poppyseed Dressing 

So if you've been following along on Facebook  you may have noticed that I've been posting a lot of pictures from cookbooks I've been cooking. I decided that it is about time that I get out my books and USE THEM, am I right? So my plan is to give you a review on what I'm cooking from so you can get out your copy (or buy a copy!) and cook along with me! 

Tempeh BBQ & Dilly Slaw Salad 

Tempeh BBQ & Dilly Slaw Salad 

First up is Salad Samurai by Terry Hope Romero. The first thing that I want to tell you is that I AM NOT A SALAD PERSON. Well, scratch that. I WAS not a salad person. In fact I didn't even crack open this book for a long time because it seemed like a painful thing to me at the time to eat salads. Now that I know how to make a GOOD salad I'm all about salads. I never thought it was possible to love salads this much. I crave SALAD. If you already love salads then what are you waiting for?! If you don't know how you feel about them yet then get your book out and get cracking! (IF you think you aren't a salad person then prepare to be amazed at how hearty a salad can be!!!) 

Reubenesque Salad 

Reubenesque Salad 

Here's some things you may want to know about the book: 

How are the pictures?
Awesome. Beautiful and they make you super hungry. 
How easy are the recipes?
If you take a bit of time to do some extra prep on the weekend before work then you can have awesome salads all week with very little effort. It's really not bad!
Does it have a lot of hard to find ingredients?
Not really at all! While some call for tempeh, miso or other products like that you can always use substitutes.
Can this easily fit into my dietary guidelines (gluten free/oil free/sugar free/etc?)
Many recipes are gluten free by nature and with what is on the market you can find gluten free substitutes for most things. Oil free is a tiny bit trickier but you just need to find suitable substitutes for the oil in salad dressings. One sub I like to use is 1/2 teaspoon guar gum (you can buy it online or by all of that gluten free baking stuff) in a salad dressing plus some water, juice or broth to make up the difference. It thickens up nicely.
How did your kids like it?
Ahh so kids and salads are weird. At least my kids. My 8 month old doesn't have teeth to chew greens or anything so he gets ingredients smashed up. Whatever. My almost 5 year old doesn't really like to eat a salad but she always requests them. The trick i've found is to put the individual components in her food trays (these are what we use!) and let her make her own salad. She tends to eat more. Oh or putting it all in a wrap works too. 
How did the Mr. like it?
He loved the salads! AND they are hearty enough that he didn't complain about eating one for dinner after a hard day of work. 
Would you make any of the recipes more than once?
Uh heck yeah and I already have. I'm kind of obsessed with this book and these recipes. I make at least 3 a week right now and that's a ton with how many other things I'm trying to cook in the meantime. 
What are your favorite recipes from the book?
The BKT is my absolute favorite right now but I'm also obsessed with the Reubenesque. The Mr. loved the BBQ Tempeh with Dilly Slaw.  

Have any other questions you'd like me to answer about the cookbooks?! Comment and let me know! 

Tempeh Taco Salad

Tempeh Taco Salad

Okay and just one more... how I turned my salad into a wrap! 

Reubenesque Salad turned into a wrap!

Reubenesque Salad turned into a wrap!


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