It’s the middle of the week and I am dreaming of the weekend and a lie in. I spoilt myself with having two weeks off! The new job is going okay, I am picking stuff up, getting to know everyone and the six hour shifts are pretty nice. Sure I have to travel a bit further on the bus, but I get more of a chance to read and have finished one book already this week. When I get home I like nothing more than to cook a massive plate of food so I thought I would talk about a few meals I like to make at home.
Pasta is absolutely a staple in my diet, it’s simple comes in a variety of shapes and colours and is quite versatile. The only question is what to have with it, what sauce am I going to use? I don’t particularly like tomato based pasta sauces so I tend to experiment and have recently come across two pasta sauces that I really like, I thought I would share them with you.
The first is a recipe from Thug Kitchen’s cookbook, the cauliflower pasta sauce. You can mix extra veggies into this sauce but I think it’s absolutely fine just as it is. I have even just had the sauce in a bowl by itself as a soup. It is ridiculously easy to make, tastes fantastic and provides a creamy, silky texture. Below is the recipe as written in the book, I make mine without the spinach.
1 pound pasta
4 cups chopped spinach
Salt and pepper
1/2 head cauliflower cut into little trees
1/2 cup unsweetened plain non-dairy milk
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon miso paste
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley
You cook the pasta in its own pan, adding the spinach when it’s done if you are using the spinach. In a separate pan, you boil the cauliflower for five to seven minutes, when it’s done you drain it and add it to the blender with the milk, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, miso paste and one-eighth of a teaspoon of salt. Run the blender until all the ingredients are combined and it turns creamy. It’s really as simple as that, then you can just add the sauce to the drained pot of pasta and finish with parsley, salt and pepper.
The second way I have been enjoying pasta is with pesto, pesto is generally not vegan and the free from jars are so expensive. This recipe developed from me wanting to try making pesto with things I had around the house and I think it turned out pretty well. Instead of basil I have used rocket and baby spinach as the base, I have also tried using kale as the base but I find massaging the kale to rid it of bitterness just takes too long. I added a little bit of dried basil to the mixture in place of the fresh basil. Instead of pine nuts, I have used both pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds and once I made it with toasted seeds and that was really nice. I don’t always have olive oil so once or twice I have substituted this for vegetable oil. I replaced the usual cheese with nutritional yeast. I don’t like to measure things when I cook, I like to go by eye so I will list what I used without measurements.
Rocket, baby spinach or kaleDried basil
Sunflower or pumpkin seeds
Olive or vegetable oil
Garlic- fresh or granulated
Salt and pepper
Lemon juice- I use bottled
This is another easy one to make, especially in the Nutribullet, I pulse the greens, basil, seeds and garlic then add a little oil at a time until I get the consistency I want. After this, I add the salt, pepper, lemon and nutritional yeast and pulse the mixture for a little longer.
In addition to these recipes, I have been enjoying making a variety of soya based creamy sauces with tapioca starch for added thickness and stringiness. I don’t have a recipe because I just cook it by eye and what I am feeling like on the day. The base is made with soya milk, a lump of soya spread, apple cider vinegar and lemon juice. Then I add in whatever herbs and seasoning I feel like, this is usually onion, garlic and chives. I also throw in a healthy amount of nutritional yeast, I find this helps to add a yellow colour to the sauce reminiscent of cheddar macaroni cheese, if you want to make the sauce even darker you could add a pinch of turmeric as well.
What are your favourite home cooked vegan meals? Let me know in the comments below!