Tag Archives: pine nuts

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


Oil-Free Pesto-Grilled Potatoes

8 Aug

Oh, how I love pesto! And potatoes. And a hot grill. Grab some aluminum foil and you’ve got a great dish.

Living in a climate with a rather ugly winter, we make the most out of summer in our home. Fresh basil, just the scent of it, is the spirit of summer in herb form. I’ve always loved pesto but I don’t want all the oil found in all the recipes. The beauty of this recipe is that you get the bright, verdant flavor of pesto without the oil because we will be using an aluminum packet over a grill, locking in the flavors and the moisture of the sauce.

NOTE: For those without a grill, you can achieve the same results with a parchment packet in the oven at 425 degrees, cooking the same length of time as on the grill recipe below.

Pesto-Grilled Potatoes

Oil-Free Pesto-Grilled Potatoes
Yields 4-6 Servings

2 cups fresh basil
1 cup spinach
1/4 cup pine nuts, lightly toasted
1/4 cup low sodium vegetable stock
3 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 teaspoons organic lemon rind, grated
1-2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds Yukon Gold or baby potatoes

First, make your pesto by placing all of the above ingredients, except for potatoes, into a food processor and process until it is a paste. Add stock by the tablespoon if it is too dry and not coming together.

Wash potatoes and slice into halves or quarters. Very small potatoes can be left whole.

In a large bowl, add the potatoes and 1/3 – 1/2 cup of pesto.

Lay a large sheet of foil, add the potatoes and fold over the edges to make one sealed package. Cook over a hot grill for 20 minutes, turn with tongs and cook for 15 more minutes. Enjoy!

Marla RoseMarla Rose is a writer, mother and activist.
She recently relaunched VeganStreet.com and is co-founder of Chicago VeganMania.

Curried Chick’n Salad with Roasted Pine Nuts and Dried Cranberries

12 Jul

Introducing…Anne Marie!

Anne Marie (bootiemcgee) is a fellow vegan food addict who has been vegan since 2008. As a personal trainer with a master’s degree in public health, she brings to the table an additional perspective on food and the health knowledge to back it up. Please welcome Anne Marie to the Vegan Food Addict team and check out her version of Curried Chick’n Salad below!

Chik'n Curry Salad on Toast

Curried Chick’n Salad with Roasted Pine Nuts and Dried Cranberries

10 ounces of your favorite chicken substitute, shredded or chopped into 1/2 inch cubes (I recommend Gardein Chick’n Scallopini or Gardein Chick’n Strips) (can also use extra firm tofu, well-drained, patted dry and cubed)
3-5 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
1/4 cup water
1 large stalk celery, diced
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 cup pine nuts or other nut of choice, roughly chopped and pan-toasted
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar or sweetener of choice
1-1/2 tablespoons high-temperature oil (i.e. refined coconut oil or vegetable oil)
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
1-1/2 teaspoons yellow curry powder
1/2-1 teaspoon dried cayenne pepper (depending on how spicy you like it)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds (use ground if you don’t have the seeds)
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds (use ground if you don’t have the seeds)

Add oil to a pan in a dollop (don’t spread it out) and turn heat to medium.

When oil is hot, add cumin seeds, coriander seeds, fenugreek, turmeric, ginger, and curry powder to the oil, and toast spices for 1 minute (don’t allow to burn, take pan off of heat if spices start to burn, and turn heat down).

Add your shredded or diced mock-chicken, or tofu to the pan, stir or toss to coat with spices.

Add sugar to the pan, then add the water, stir well and cover to allow the spices and water to absorb, about 2 minutes. Then, taste and add some salt to your liking.

Remove lid and turn up heat to high, allowing the protein to caramelize on some surfaces.

Remove from heat, transfer to a bowl and chill in either the freezer or the fridge depending on your time schedule (don’t let it freeze, you just want it cold).

Once chilled, add the celery, cranberries, nuts and mayonnaise by the tablespoon, adding more based on your preference of creaminess, mixing well, and adding salt and cayenne pepper to taste.

Serve on toasted bread or crackers, or wrap up in crisp lettuce. Bon Apetit!

Cheesy Pesto Pizza Bites

8 Jun

Galaxy Nutritional FoodsGalaxy Nutritional Foods is at it again! Having introduced their fabulous cream cheese in 2011, they’re showing no signs of slowing down with their latest debut, their Vegan Shreds, available in Mexican and Mozzarella styles. Perfect for those avoiding gluten and soy, these “cheeses” are not only free from gluten and soy, but also hydrogenated oils, saturated fats, trans fats, preservatives and GMO ingredients.

Upon first trying these new “cheese” shreds, I noticed a slightly buttery, but mostly smokey flavor. If you like smoked cheeses, I would think you will enjoy these, and they are nice in a variety of dishes. Galaxy’s shreds are great on veggie burgers and melt wonderfully (just as advertised) when baked. The cheese even stretches nicely! Furthermore, 1/4 cup of these babies provides 25% of your daily calcium intake! Who says vegans don’t get enough calcium? Pssshhh!

Following is a recipe I created that utilizes Galaxy’s Vegan Shreds:

Cheesy Pesto Pizza Bites

Cheesy Pesto Pizza Bites
Yields approximately 20 pieces

1 french baguette (approximately 2-3 inches in diameter and 20 inches long)
1/2 cup prepared vegan pesto (recipe below)
1 cup tomato sauce
1 – 1-1/4 cups non-dairy shredded mozzarella cheese (I used Galaxy Nutritional Foods’ Vegan Shreds)

Vegan Pesto:
4 ounces fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 medium cloves garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

Process 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.

Next, preheat oven to broil and prepare a baking sheet by either lightly greasing with oil or lining with aluminum foil. Set aside.

Meanwhile, slice baguette into 1-inch slices. Place in a single layer on prepared baking sheet and spread approximately 1/2 – 1 teaspoon pesto on each slice. Next, top each with approximately 1-2 teaspoons tomato sauce, then sprinkle with cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 5-10 minutes or until cheese has melted. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before consuming.

NOTE: The Vegan Shreds used in this recipe was a free sample provided by Galaxy Nutritional Foods, Inc. The views and opinions expressed herein are strictly my own and do not necessarily reflect that of others.

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