Tag Archives: pasta

Pesto Pasta Salad

30 Jun

Pasta salad is an excellent way to incorporate various vitamins and minerals into your diet. You can include whatever vegetables you want and then smother it all in your dressing of choice. Having been raised with Italian dressing on my pasta salad, I grew tired of it and wanted to try something new. Enter pesto. The result is a burst of flavor that accents the various vegetables included within and makes for an excellent, refreshing salad you can enjoy on any spring or summer day.

Pesto Pasta Salad

Pesto Pasta Salad
Yields approximately 8-10 cups

1 (14-ounce) package extra-firm tofu, drained
1 (12-ounce) box farfalle pasta (or pasta of choice)
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
salt and pepper or seasoning of choice
1 (14-ounce) can artichoke hearts marinated in water, drained and chopped
1 (10.5-ounce) container cherry tomatoes, washed and halved
1 (8-ounce) bag fresh broccoli, separated into small florets
3/4 cup extra-large black olives, halved

3 ounces fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons pine nuts
2 medium cloves garlic
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 rounded teaspoon salt (adding more to taste)

Begin with tofu by pressing out excess liquid. You may either use a tofu press or wrap the tofu in cloth or paper towels and place a heavy item, such as a plate or two, on top and allow to sit for 15-30 minutes.

While tofu is being pressed, prepare pasta according to manufacturer’s directions. Drain, set aside and allow to cool completely.

Prepare pesto by first processing basil, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. Add olive oil and salt, and continue processing another 10-15 seconds, or until oil is incorporated. Set aside.

Slice pressed tofu into small cubes. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add tofu in a single layer and fry until golden brown on all sides. Season with salt and pepper, or the seasoning of your choice (I use a chicken-style seasoning). Set aside on a paper towel-covered plate in order to remove excess oil. Allow to cool.

Once pasta and tofu have cooled, combine with prepared pesto and remaining ingredients.

Pesto Pasta Salad


Hearty Chickenless Noodle Soup

1 Oct

Now that fall (or autumn, if you prefer) is upon us and the days are getting cooler, we now look to enjoy warmer foods. Nothing warms you up like a hot bowl of soup like mom used to make!

With subtle smoky notes, this version of the classic chicken noodle soup replaces chicken with tofu and is completed with carrots, celery, onion and noodles in a savory vegetable broth.

Hearty Chickenless Noodle Soup

Hearty Chickenless Noodle Soup

1/2 (14-ounce) package extra firm tofu, frozen then thawed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning (yes, it’s vegan!)

6 ounces long pasta of your choice, broken into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped white onion
1 large clove garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable broth
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Begin with the tofu by pressing it. Either wrap in a dry towel and place on a stable surface, covering with a couple of heavy plates, or, use a tofu press. Allow tofu to be pressed for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, place olive oil, soy sauce and poultry seasoning in a small bowl, whisking to combine. Roughly chop pressed tofu and add to mixture, carefully stirring to coat. Set aside and allow tofu to absorb flavors.

Preheat oven to 350° F. Place tofu mixture in a single layer on baking sheet and cook for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from oven and set aside.

Next, start the soup by heating oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add carrots, celery and onion, cooking and stirring often for 3-5 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Add garlic, stirring often, and continue to cook an additional minute.

Add remaining soup ingredients (with the exception of noodles) and bring to a boil over high heat. Add noodles and boil according to manufacturer’s directions. Remove soup from heat and stir in tofu. Allow to cool slightly before consuming.

Award-Winning “Cheese” and “Sausage” Ravioli

25 Jul

Ahhhhh ravioli, how I missed you! Up until recently, I hadn’t had ravioli since before I went vegan for a New Year’s resolution in 2009. This seems to be the case with most other vegans as well, simply because there is a lack of vegan ravioli on the market. Though making ravioli can be a rather time-consuming task, it is rewarding to devour afterwords and makes you appreciate this bite-sized pasta even more!

So without further adieu, here is the recipe for my award-winning ravioli which was made for the Chicago Vegan Chef Showdown.

Ravioli | White Wine & Mushroom Sauce | Marinara Sauce



“Cheese” and “Sausage” Ravioli
Yields approximately 156 (1-3/4 inch) ravioli

2 cups semolina flour
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups water

1-1/2 cups roasted, unsalted cashews, soaked in water overnight then drained
1 large clove garlic
1/2 rounded teaspoon salt
1/2 – 3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 (8 ounce) package Italian-style seitan

Begin with the pasta by combining the semolina flour, white flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Slowly add water, mixing until dough forms into a ball. Knead until dough becomes firm and smooth, approximately 5 minutes. Form into 2 inch round balls and place on a clean work surface underneath an overturned bowl for 30-45 minutes, allowing dough to rest.

Meanwhile, for the filling, combine the soaked cashews, garlic and salt in a food processor. Pulse to combine. Slowly add almond milk, 1/4 cup at a time, until mixture comes together. Continue to process for 1-2 minutes or until mixture is smooth. Add seitan and process an additional 30-60 seconds, or until incorporated.

Once dough has finished resting, check to see if it is sticky. If so, coat each ball with all-purpose flour and knead until incorporated and smooth. Repeat if necessary. Using a pasta roller or a clean, lightly floured work surface, roll out a dough ball until 1/8 inch thick. Using a shot glass or something similar in size, cut as many 1¾ inch circles as possible. Using half of the circles, place approximately 1 teaspoon of filling onto the center of each. Using water, moisten the outer edges of each remaining circle, then place on top of the circles that have filling. Seal each ravioli by pressing firmly around the edges. Place finished ravioli in a single layer on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Continue with remainder of dough until all has been used.

If consuming immediately: Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add half of the ravioli and stir. Allow to boil for 2-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until all ravioli float to the top and become slightly enlarged. Drain and repeat with remainder of ravioli. Combine with your favorite pasta sauce immediately.

If consuming at a later date: Freeze ravioli in a single layer on the cookie sheet. Once frozen, place ravioli into a sealed container and store in the freezer until ready for use.


"Cheese" & "Sausage" Ravioli with Creamy White Wine & Mushroom Sauce

Creamy White Wine and Mushroom Sauce
Yields approximately 3 cups

3 tablespoons vegan buttery spread
1 cup chopped baby bella mushrooms
1/3 cup diced shallots
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1-2/3 cups unsweetened almond milk
1/3 cup sauvignon blanc wine
1/4 teaspoon salt
black pepper to taste

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms and shallots, cooking and stirring for approximately 1 minute. Add wine and continue cooking and stirring until mushrooms are tender and onion is translucent. Whisk in flour (mixture will be somewhat dry) and then add almond milk, whisking until smooth. Add salt and black pepper and continue to stir until thickened, approximately 1-3 minutes.


"Cheese" & "Sausage" Ravioli with Marinara Sauce

Marinara Sauce*
Yields approximately 5 cups

2 (14.5 ounce) cans stewed tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, minced
6 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup diced white onion
1/2 cup syrah wine
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
pinch sugar

Combine stewed tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley and garlic in a food processor, processing until smooth, approximately 1 minute. Set aside.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add onion, cooking until translucent, approximately 2-3 minutes. Add tomato mixture to saucepan along with wine, oregano, salt, pepper and sugar, cooking and stirring until heated through, approximately 5 minutes.

*Adapted from AllRecipes.com

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