Raw Zucchini Pasta with Sun-dried Tomato Sauce

Pasta is delicious, don’t get me wrong, but it often leaves me feeling stuffed to the brim and on a carb overload. That’s why when my friend Brooke, author of Naturally Wholesome Life, mentioned that she recently made zucchini pasta, I didn’t wait another day to give it a try.

In the past I’ve oohed and aahed over raw pasta recipes, but I thought since I didn’t have a spiralizer, I couldn’t make those dishes. Quickly I found that a spiralizer isn’t necessary because the same thin, yet textured, effect can be created with a peeler.

I chose zucchini and heirloom carrots to make the pasta and whipped up a sun-dried tomato sauce with cashews which added a whole new level of flavor. Enjoy!

Raw Zucchini Pasta

Ingredients:

> 2 medium-sized zucchini
> 1 heirloom carrot
> 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, in olive oil
> 2 tablespoons raw cashews
> 1 clove of garlic
> salt and pepper
> 8 cherry tomatoes, sliced
> 1/2 cup chickpeas

Instructions: 

Peel zucchini and carrot into thin, pasta-like strands, and mix together.

To make sun-dried tomato sauce, add sun-dried tomatoes, cashews and garlic to food processor and season with salt and pepper. Process until pureed and smooth.

Assemble veggie pasta, sun-dried tomato sauce, tomatoes and chickpeas on plate, and season with salt and pepper.

Makes 1 serving.

Original recipe.

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Sweet Potato-Cauliflower Gratin

Roasted vegetables are one of the easiest and most satisfying meals. Regardless of the veggie, roasting in the oven retains the genuine flavor and nutrients while having filly yet healthy qualities. A go-to meal for me is roasted veggies (typically carrots, zucchini and/or kale) and chickpeas. A little salt and pepper with these bad boys goes a long way.

Sometimes it’s fun to stray from the norm, so this time I tried different veggies and seasoned them in a new way. While the recipe is a variation of a gratin since I replaced the flour-whole milk sauce with a soy creamer sauce, the revised sauce still penetrated into the sweet potato and cauliflower.

Sweet Potato-Cauliflower Gratin

Ingredients:

1 cup soy creamer
> 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
> 2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
> 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1/4-inch thick rounds
> 1 head cauliflower, quartered and sliced 1/4-inch thick

Instructions:

Heat oven to 350°F. Heat soy creamer and 1 cup water in small pot over medium heat. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in 1/4 cup mozzarella and chopped rosemary. Season with salt and pepper.

Spray a 9-by-13 inch baking pan with nonstick spray and pour a third of the sauce in the bottom of pan. Arrange the sweet potato and cauliflower slices along the bottom, making sure to distribute evenly. Pour the remaining sauce on top. Cover dish with parchment-lined foil and bake until vegetables are tender, about 1 hour.

Raise over temperature to 425°F and remove foil. Sprinkle a little mozzarella on top and bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Whole Living.

Creamy Curry Cauliflower Soup

On a cold winter day, the most satisfying meal is often a large bowl of soup that warms the body, heart and soul. Besides its warming factor, this curry cauliflower soup has nutritional perks that will keep you healthy all year long. Cauliflower is known to prevent cancer. How? Because it detoxes, provides antioxidants and reduces inflammation. Cauliflower and curry paired together make the perfect disease-fighting combo. Curry helps control blood sugar, prevent cancer, lower cholesterol, and remove toxic heavy metals.

Now that we know why we should eat this delicious soup, let’s get on to the recipe.

Curry Cauliflower Soup

Ingredients:

3 cups unsweetened almond milk
> 3 teaspoons curry powder
> 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
> 3 cloves garlic, chopped
> 5 cups cauliflower florets
> salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions:

Heat 1/2 cup almond milk in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, and cook until soft, about 10 minutes.

Add cauliflower, curry powder and almond milk, cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with more curry powder, if desired, and season with salt and pepper.

Puree half of batch in a blender until smooth. Add second half and puree. Transfer to bowls and serve.

Makes 5 cup-sized servings.

Adapted from Whole Foods Market.

Curry Cauliflower

Lentil and Red Pepper Bake

Lentils are one of those foods that I often order at restaurants since I hardly ever prepare them. Lentil soup, lentils in Indian cuisine, and lentils in veggie burgers are the first dishes that come to mind, so when I stumbled upon this recipe, I knew I had to try it. This baked dish requires some preparation but is perfect for having a hearty warm meal, full of flavors.

Lentil and Red Pepper Bake

Ingredients:

> 1 teaspoon olive oil
> 1 large onion, finely chopped
> 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
> 1/2 cup green lentils
> 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
> 3 red bell peppers, chopped
> one 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes
> 1 ounce shredded mozarella cheese
> rosemary twigs, separated
> salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°.  Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add onion and garlic and cook for 5 minutes until the onions are translucent.

Add lentils and vegetable broth and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Add red peppers and canned tomatoes and mix well.

Transfer the mixture to a 9-by-9 baking pan and sprinkle cheese on top. Cook in oven for 30 minutes.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from FitSugar.

Lentil and Red Pepper Bake

Spiced Chickpeas with Quinoa and Yogurt

Chickpeas are a staple in my kitchen. Just ask my roommate who found a drawer filled with nine cans of chickpeas after a Costco trip! Nonetheless, I’m always looking for new ways to cook with chickpeas. A classic go-to meal for me is roasted or steamed vegetables with chickpeas — simple yet flavorful and healthy. One night when I was in the mood for a dish with more texture and spice, I stumbled upon this recipe. This is a simple recipe that doesn’t require many ingredients. Plus it can be modified in many ways to satisfy your tastebuds.

Spiced Chickpeas

Ingredients: 

> 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
> 1 large onion, finely chopped
> 3 large garlic cloves, minced
> 1 teaspoon ground cumin
> one 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained
> 3 handfuls fresh spinach
> 1 cup water
> 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
> salt and freshly ground pepper
> 1 1/3 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt

Instructions:

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook over medium-high heat until softened, about 7 minutes. Stir in the cumin and cook for 1 minute. Add the chickpeas, spinach and water and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes.

Stir in the lemon juice and boil, uncovered, until the liquid is thickened, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Serve alone or over a cooked grain (I chose quinoa) and top with yogurt.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Food & Wine.

Noodleless Veggie Lasagna

I have always loved my mom’s veggie lasagna, filled with zucchini, tomato and a plethora of other colorful veggies. When I came across a recipe for veggie lasagna without noodles, I knew I had to try it out of curiosity. Aren’t noodles a defining factor of lasagna? While the end product was not comparable to my mom’s lasagna, it’s brilliant colors and perfect flavors make a wonderful warm meal.

The recipe was greatly adapted to accommodate for personal taste preferences and to play with some different flavors.

Noodleless Veggie Lasagna

Ingredients:

> 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
> 2 cans cremini mushrooms, drained, trimmed and sliced
> 5 cloves garlic, chopped
> 1 pound spinach
> 1 can cannellini beans, drained
> 1 can diced plum tomatoes, drained
> 6 ounces ricotta cheese (optional)
> salt and pepper

Instructions:

Heat a small nonstick skillet over high heat, and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add half the mushrooms, and saute, stirring occasionally  until mushrooms are golden brown and tender, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat, and repeat with second half of mushrooms.

Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a skillet, and add 1 teaspoon olive oil. Add garlic and a dash of salt, cooking until fragrant, about 1 minute. Raise heat to medium-high, and add 1/2 cup water. Add half of the spinach, and cook until wilted, about 1 minutes. Add remaining spinach, and cook until spinach is wilted and tender.

Preheat oven to 375°. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to bottom of a 8-by-8-inch baking dish. Spread half tomatoes in baking dish, and top with half of spinach. Spread half of the beans over the spinach, and scatter evenly with three-quarters of the mushrooms. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Continue layering with a third of the tomatoes, the remaining spinach, and a quarter of the beans. Spread the ricotta cheese, if desired. Repeat layering to finish off ingredients.

Bake until tender, 30 to 35 minutes. Turn on broiler, and cook 1 to 2 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 servings.

Adapted from Whole Living.

Noodleless Veggie Lasagna 3