rants & recipes

Archive for the ‘pasta’ Category

Asparagus Cashew Pilaf

Posted by trktos on 19-September-2010

Fixed a pilaf last night, it was pretty tasty. And relatively easy (except for the oddly un-roast-able cashews I ended up trying to brown on the stovetop, after about 4 or 5 10-minute sessions in the oven at 350 to 425??? Maybe our oven is broken?)

Adapted from this recipe.


  • 3 ounces spaghetti noodles, broken into quarters or smaller
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, diced
  • handful sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 2 1/4 cups water + 2 vegetable broth cubes
  • 2 bunches asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup roasted cashews
  • 1/4 c vegan margarine
  • salt, pepper


  1. Melt margarine over medium-low heat.
  2. Add noodles, cook until they start to turn golden brown.
  3. And onions, garlic and tomatoes. Cover and cook a few more minutes.
  4. Add rice. Cook about 5 minutes, to toast.
  5. Add water, cubes. Cover and bring to a simmer.
  6. Reduce heat, cook without removing cover, 20 minutes.
  7. Meanwhile, stir-steam asparagus.
  8. Combine rice, asparagus and cashews.
  9. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Cashew Ricotta Lasagna

Posted by trktos on 28-November-2009

Ok, I’ve had my eye on this lasagna recipe for a while. I wanted to make it for Vegan MoFo, but like a lot of recipes, I never got around to it during October but I finally made it yesterday.

I should note that imprecise recipes annoy me just a little and I’d usually pass up on a recipe that calls for “2-3 jars of sauce” – did you use 2 or 3? what size?? – but check out that original picture – it looked way too tasty to pass up. So I compared the ingredients with a lasagna recipe I’ve made a few times, and came up with a game plan concerning what tomato products I was going to use.

One thing I was really suspicious about, though, in the original recipe, was the pan size. 11 x 7 pan for all that food? You’ve got to be kidding me. I’m no great judge of volume, but, but – that’s smaller than a sheet of paper?! I suspected there was no way all that food would even fit in my standard 9 x 13 pan. And I was right. I purchased a 10 x 14 deep dish pan – sadly, plentiful this time of year for turkeys and roasts – and even though I didn’t use quite all the ingredients compared to the original, the new pan was full to the brim.

So, here’s what I used. Please see notes, below, for future improvements.

Ingredients, cashew ricotta:

  • 3/4 cup cashews
  • 1 14oz tub extra-firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • ~ 1/2 tsp soy sauce

Instructions, cashew ricotta:

  1. Soak cashews (I used raw, unsalted cashews but roasted, unsalted would probably be good, too) – for an hour or two in cold water and drain. (I added this step because my food processor has problems and I was hoping it would do better with softer nuts).
  2. Blend ingredients in food processor, until smooth.
  3. Set aside.

Ingredients, other cheesey filling:

  • 1/2 pound carrots, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ~ 2 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 8-oz container vegan cream cheese
  • approx. 1/3 cup diced, reconstituted dried mushrooms and the approx. 1/2 cup water from reconstituting them (in place of vegetable broth, in original)
  • 1 14-oz container extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg (argh, I forgot this. Will add next time!)

Instructions, other cheesey filling:

  1. Saute carrots and garlic in some olive oil for about 5 minutes or until tender. Add parsley, mushrooms and “mushroom-recon” water.
  2. Add remaining ingredients, crumbling tofu.
  3. Cook until cream cheese melts.
  4. Set aside.

Other Ingredients:

  • 8 oz spinach
  • 12-14 lasagna noodles
  • 1 25-oz jar pasta sauce (I used Roasted Garlic)
  • 1 15-oz diced tomatoes (I used Fired Roasted tomatoes)
  • 1 15-oz can tomato sauce
  • optional – vegan shredded cheese to top

Other Instructions:

  1. Wilt spinach in microwave or on stove-top. Set aside.
  2. Combine all tomato ingredients. Set aside.
  3. Cook lasagna noodle until nearly done, remembering they will cook more in the oven. Rinse in cold water. Set aside.

Assembly Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (at some point during noodle-boiling stage).
  2. Spoon a small amount of tomato sauce into the bottom of a 10 x 14 inch (4 qt) casserole dish, to keep first layer of noodles from sticking.
  3. Start layering with noodles.
  4. Make sure each layer gets one of the cheeses and tomato sauce. I only added spinach to two layers. Top with noodles and repeat.
  5. End with noodles and pasta sauce and/or vegan shredded cheese, if using. (I used about half of a block of FYH mozaralla but I could have used more. I even tossed the shredded cheese with a little oil, but it did NOT melt, at all. Big disappointment. Oven must’ve needed to be hotter. It melts on pizza but that’s baked at 450 degrees!)
  6. Bake at 375 degrees for about 1 hour, 1 hour 20 minutes. (Another draw back of a recipe calling for impossible amount of food to fit in a small pan – cooking times are likely to be off!)

Notes for next time:

  • I could have used a little more veggies. I’ll try to use the 16 ounces of spinace the recipe called for.
  • I’ll make up my half-pound of carrots with onions, carrots and fresh mushrooms. (Not half-pound, mind you. But about 2 cups’ worth?)
  • This could have been a little less-soupy. Next time, I will squeeze “other cheesey” tofu in a cheese cloth.
  • I will use petite diced tomatoes next time, and drain them. I will probably use 2 jars of pasta sauce and 1 can of tomato sauce, plus the drained tomatoes, because I could have used a little more sauce – yes, while simultaneously needing to be less soupy. This is not a contradiction! =)
  • I will plan to cook at 350, covered, for about an hour. Maybe uncovered, 375, for another 30 minutes (checking frequently.)
  • I might also try 2 recipes of cashew ricotta and leave out the other cheesey tofu mixture. (Still using spinach and veggies, of course.)
  • If I want *melted* cheese on top next time, I’ll either go pick up some Daiya from Pangea or melt the FYH on the darn stovetop first, and pour on during last 15 minutes or so of baking.

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Ravioli with Pumpkin Sauce

Posted by trktos on 11-October-2009

Today we made ravioli. Evin says, every once in a while, “we should  make ravioli sometime” so I put “ravioli” in my list of ideas for vegan mofo. Incidentally, I hardly ever say “we should make ravioli” because it’s, well, to be honest, a pain in the ass. I could get into making homemade pasta, I think, if I had more space in the kitchen, space for pasta to dry and we could find a stainless steel pasta machine instead of this chrome steel one that we have to constantly worry about rusting. But that’s just homemade pasta, which is quite a bit easier than first, making homemade pasta and then making ravioli filling, stuffing raviolis AND having them not breaking apart while boiling.

But, anyway, we managed to make a meal’s worth of ravioli … so here are the details.

Filling consisted of:

  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • about 10 button mushrooms, diced
  • olive oil
  • about 1 tbsp Earth Balance and 2 tbsp flour
  • about 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • black pepper and salt to taste
  • 1 recipe Sausage crumbles (minus a little for snacking, I mean, testing for doneness)

Saute onion and mushrooms in oil. Add Earth Balance and flour, cook for maybe 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Add parsley, salt, pepper and sausage.



Sausage crumbles were a slight modification of this recipe. I’ll post their ingredients in another post soon. I’ve posted the newer sausage recipe here. They had good ‘sausage’ flavor, without so much ‘Italian sausage’ flavor.

Pumpkin Pasta Sauce:

  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • about 2 tsp Better Than Bouillon, chicken
  • 1/2 tsp powdered sage
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp Better Than Cream Cheese
  • 1 tsp lecithin (optional – my oil, pumpkin and water didn’t want to combine very well)

Saute onion and garlic in oil until translucent.

Add remaining ingredients (except for “cream cheese”) and heat well.

Stir in “cream cheese” before serving.

So here are some raviolis being made:


Raviolis have been covered and being pressed:



And here they are … the picture below was taken about 5 seconds before …


we realized we’d made them “upside down” and they were now stuck in the plastic piece! Apparently, in the correct method, a rolling pin is involved … or something.

So here are the pitiful ones, after much struggling to free them.


And here are a few “dough balls” after our patience was wearing thin on dislodging them:


We revised our method of subsequent trays. And after quite a bit of work, finally set down to dinner!


And you know what? The little dough balls were the best ones – didn’t have to take a bite of “edge” before getting to the middle. And I’ve gotten enough vitamin A for, like, a month.

Posted in 0: Recipes, grains, starches, meat subs, pasta, pumpkin, sauce, seitan, VeganMoFo, vegetables | Comments Off on Ravioli with Pumpkin Sauce

Asparagus Noodle Casserole

Posted by trktos on 7-September-2009

This never photographs very well but it’s one of my favorite dishes and we have it fairly often. I usually double as it makes enough to eat for a few days, we really like it and I buy a lot of asparagus at the time, whenever it goes on sale. (I refuse to pay $3+ for a pound of asparagus!!)


  • 2 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1  onion, chopped
  • 1 pound asparagus, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 5-6 sun-dried tomatoes, diced
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 vegetable broth cube
  • 1 1/2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp miso
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp marmite
  • 1 pkg asceptic tofu
  • 8 ounces pasta, partially cooked (it will bake more in the oven)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Boil carrot in water until tender, set aside.
  3. Saute garlic, onion and tomatoes in some oil.
  4. Add asparagus and cook, but leave under-done, as dish will bake.
  5. Add remaining ingredients (expect pasta) to carrot/water and blend in blender until smooth.
  6. Place vegetables and pasta in a 9*13 baking dish.
  7. Cover with tofu sauce.
  8. Bake 20-30 minutes.


  • I usually double this recipe.
  • I add some roasted garlic bits to the sauce mix before blending.
  • Also good with added kale or spinach, briefly cooked before going into oven.

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White Mushroom Lasagna

Posted by trktos on 30-August-2009

This recipe is an adaptation of Ste Martin’s Mushroom Lasagna.


  • ~ 12 cooked lasagna noodles (or fewer, see Notes)
  • 1 pound of mushrooms – I used 1 pound fresh cremini and about 1/4 cup of some mystery dried mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 4 cups liquid – I used the water from rehydrating mushrooms, plus the liquid given off from cooking fresh mushrooms plus plain, unsweetened soymilk to equal 4 cups
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh nutmeg
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 recipe tofu ricotta (optional – see notes)
  • 6-8 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Sauté mushrooms in olive oil. Reserve liquid, set mushrooms aside.
  3. Melt Earth Balance in pan.
  4. Stir in flour and yeast.
  5. Slowly add 4 cups liquid, whisking to combine with flour/yeast/earth balance.
  6. Add pepper and nutmeg.
  7. Simmer sauce until slightly thickened.
  8. Pour a small amount of white sauce into a 9*13 pan. Layer with noodles and 1/4 of your sauce.
  9. Sprinkle on about 1/4 of tofu ricotta. Top with 1/4 of your mushrooms and tomatoes.
  10. Repeat – noodles, sauce, ricotta, mushrooms and tomatoes.
  11. Bake for 45 minutes.


  • The original recipe doesn’t call for tofu ricotta, but we wanted this meal to be our “meat” as well as our “grain”. With the ricotta, I made a 4 layer lasagna. I could have used more than 1 pound of mushrooms but the amount of sauce seemed ok. Perhaps do 3 layers, if you leave out the tofu.
  • Tofu ricotta – mix together 14 oz. extra firm tofu, 1/2 cup nutritional yeast, 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1 tbsp soy sauce.

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