Vegan Creamy Pasta

Creamy stuff is so so hard to replicate without dairy, so when we first tried this creamy pasta dish, we stared at each other in shock as we shoveled it into our mouths, repeating over and over how good it was. It’s super easy and quick, and one of those recipes that I think even dairy lovers would enjoy. It’s not trying to be dairy or cheese, it’s very much it’s own type of creamy sauce, but it’s perfect.

  • 1C raw cashews – TJ is the cheapest by weight
  • 1-2 C water (if your food processor is 7C or smaller, start with less water first)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • lots of cracked black pepper
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • 1-2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • whatever other spices sound good to you! Seriously, it’s forgiving

Start with just the cashews and water in the food processor until creamy (1-2 minutes for us). Add the spices in the little top hole while it’s still running. Once it’s really creamy, stick your finger in to taste and see what else it needs. If I’m going for tangy or cheesy, I’ll add nutritional yeast, miso, and apple cider vinegar. It’s also good with thyme, sage, and oregano. The sauce should be fairly runny, not super thick. It thickens up really quickly as it’s heated, so if you’re adding it to pasta or warming it up at all, you want to start with a runnier consistency.

We like pouring the sauce over a bowl of pasta and adding some roasted veggies for a one-bowl meal. Our favorites are roasted brussels sprouts, sauteed mushrooms and onions, or broccoli.

I promise, you’re going to take one taste of this sauce and immediately try to figure out what else you can put it on. I made a weird version of potato leek gratin in the dutch oven this week, and it wasn’t the worst thing. The sauce was great, the potatoes could’ve used a little more flavor, and the leeks basically caramelized into nothing at the bottom of the pan, but there was some potential. I’ll work on that next and hopefully figure out a good version. Until then, I’m going to keep pouring this sauce on EVERYTHING.

PS: when you’re eating it and inevitably thinking oh wow this is thick and heavy and must have a lot of calories….. NO!!!! That’s the best part! It’s just nuts and water!!! Ugh so good. Now go eat some more of it to wash away your guilt.

**recipe idea credit to Anna Pippus who posts the best recipes in her stories!

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Vegan Collard Greens – Southern Style

Up until this past week, I would’ve read the title of this post and immediately written it off because there couldn’t be any possible way you could replace the deliciously smoky fatty bacon and pork that belong in collard greens. I can now confirm that vegan collard greens are possible and just as delicious as the meaty version. We made our own stock, but I honestly think you could get away with a strong bouillon version and be just fine.

Stock – simmer for at least an hour

  • 1-2 pieces of Kombu
  • couple dashes of soy sauce
  • 2 carrots, 2 celery stalks, 1 large onion – roughly chopped
  • 2 leeks – greens only
  • 2 bay leaves
  • parsley and thyme (fresh or dried)
  • 12 ish oz of dried mushrooms – shiitake work well
  • enough water to cover by an inch

Prep

  • couple glugs of olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion – roughly chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic – minced
  • the reconstituted mushrooms pulled out of the stock and chopped up
  • soy sauce
  • miso
  • smoke powder
  • smoked paprika
  • salt
  • pepper
  • collard greens – 1 huge bunch or 2 small

Sautee all that deliciousness above til its smoky and soft. Add the stock, simmer for 20 minutes. Add the chopped collard greens, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes or til the greens are soft.
Add the soy sauce, smoke powder, and smoked paprika to taste. We upped the soy sauce and salt quite a bit since I think that’s one of the key seasonings that you typically get from meat.

We served ours with cornbread and some mashed potatoes and it was heavenly. Very very pleasantly surprised with how this turned out!

 

**Two posts in one day?!?!? Unheard of. We’ve been on a roll lately and I don’t want to forget any of these recipes! I write them down and then immediately lose the scrap of paper, so that doesn’t work. I need my own cookbook.

vegan enchiladas

These started as a really great idea when we had some leftover tortillas that were getting hard in the fridge and begging to be used. I’ve made enchiladas in the past that we’ve loved, with chicken, green chiles, sour cream, and loads of cheese on top. I figured it wouldn’t be too hard to make a vegan version and just forego the chicken, make an avocado/cilantro sauce in place of the sour cream, and up the veggies, fajita style. My plan was to smear some refried beans on a tortilla, load it up with veggies, black beans, enchilada sauce, wrap it up, and boom. Enchiladas.

Like all great meals, this one was destined for failure almost immediately. I was too far in when I realized that our black beans and refried beans had gone bad in the fridge and we had none in the pantry. Our fake mozzarella had mold on it, and the tortillas had a weird crispy edge on one side. I had tried scrambling some tofu with taco seasoning and that was bombing hardcore. I gave up and left everything on the counter.

About an hour later, Brian texted that he was leaving work, so I hauled myself up off the couch and went to see what I could do to salvage dinner. I reached way back into the deep dark corners of the pantry and found a can of corn and a can of lentils. Not the beans I was hoping for, but I could make it work. I cut the moldy corner off the fake mozzarella, gave it a sniff, and deemed it fine. I sliced 2″ off all of the tortillas and tossed them in the oven with a wet towel to soften them up. I threw everything in a bowl with enchilada sauce, wrapped it in the tortillas, dumped sauce on top, loaded it with cilantro and green onions, and LO AND BEHOLD IT WAS DELICIOUS. Seriously, it was like really really good.

Like Brian said, some of my best meals have stemmed from desperation when I’ve had to get a little creative with what we have available. I’m not saying ALL of my creative dishes turn out this well….. (promise they do NOT) but experimenting can be a great thing and it’s usually worth a shot. In this case, I think enchiladas are generally a pretty forgiving meal, especially if you have a solid enchilada sauce that can add great flavor to whatever weird ingredients you ended up choosing. Bottom line, recipes are not the be-all end-all of cooking. Also, get yourself some good reliable sauces that you can pull out when all else fails.

 

VEGAN ENCHILADAS

1 can of corn*
1 can of lentils*
1 can of beans
1 can of vegan green enchilada sauce
1 red onion, sliced into strips
1 green pepper, sliced into strips
1 red pepper, sliced into strips
Couple shakes of your favorite mexican seasoning
Flour tortillas, burrito sized
Lots of cilantro, roughly chopped
Green onions
Lime
Garlic
Avocado
Dairy-free plain yogurt, or sour cream, or something medium thick
*or whatever other cans you have laying around!

  • Sautee the onions, peppers, and garlic in olive oil with a bunch of seasoning til the veggies are super soft.
  • Rinse and drain the cans of corn and lentils (or whatever cans you have on hand)
  • Dump it all in a bowl with like 1/3 of the enchilada sauce, mix it up
  • Scoop a few spoonfuls into a tortilla, wrap it up, and lay in a rectangle baking dish until all the filling is used
  • Spread the rest of the enchilada sauce on top, and sprinkle half of the chopped cilantro and green onions. Sprinkle some of your fave seasoning on top too.
  • Pop the pan in the oven for 40 ish minutes or until everything is bubbling
  • Meanwhile, throw one avocado, half the cilantro, half the green onions, a few cloves of garlic, juice from a lime, and a few scoops of yogurt into the blender and blend til smooth. Add water/salt/pepper to taste.
  • Drizzle the sauce on top of enchiladas and OMG YUM

 

By the time dinner is finally ready, neither of us ever have the patience to take photos. Brian, however has a knack for catching my best eating moments, so even though I’m pretty sure this photo was from breakfast, it very well could have been me eating these enchiladas. Enjoy!