I was never a pasta junkie in college. Sure, I loved smearing spaghetti sauce all over my face when I was five (and still do, to an extent). And I loved packing my 5th grade thermos with ramen noodles, despite the condemning looks my mom would give me. And I really loved boxed mac & cheese once I hit high school, a period where my friends lived off of the creamy convenience. But once I hit college, I really started getting into my cooking groove, and while pasta and sauce was cheap and quick, I began preferring a little more experimentation. (Hence, my blog was born!)
However, lately I’ve rediscovered a love for noodles, especially in the form of thin, whole wheat strands. You can read more of an explanation about this here, but basically, by keeping the noodles on the skinny side, that nutty taste of using whole wheat becomes pleasant, rather than overbearing. With the pungent components in this recipe, the slight nuttiness is actually ideal for balancing out of all the flavors.
I’ve kept this one simple because I do think that’s the best part about pasta. It’s an easy base that lends itself well to so many flavor combinations. With the notes of sun-dried tomatoes, shallots, and tuna, you really don’t need to add too much else. A few simple seasonings and a hit of freshness from diced spring onions, and this becomes a meal that comes together in no time. Filling and delicious…I.e., what makes pasta and sauce a college kid’s dream team, although this one’s just a tad bit spruced up. A perfect step up for what I forgot to mention… I graduated from college on Thursday!! Goodbye four years of j-school. Whew and woohoo!
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I nearly always have at least one can of beans in the cupboard. There are often 10 for $10 deals at the grocery store, so frequently I’m lugging home a backpack full of different varieties of beans. (I’ve learned to love the balancing act on my bike that these trips ensue.) But even without the sales, I’d still be stocking up. Beans are cheap regardless. Invest in a pressure cooker (something I need to do), and you can get them even cheaper by purchasing them dried. Either form, they hold up super well, which for me is welcoming. For some reason, too much fresh food in the kitchen leaves me stressed. How am I going to use it all before it starts molding and wasting away!? I rarely have this much fresh food at a time, unless it’s summer and I’ve scooted by my parent’s garden. But when I do, I feel the demanding need to plan, and I’ve never been a huge fan of menu planning. My lack of planning is hence how this dish first came about.
By the time Sunday afternoon rolls around, I’m generally in dire need of groceries. This is great when the weather’s nice, but when it’s not, I generally resort to getting creative with the few ingredients I have left. (Living in a city has pretty much eliminated driving from my repertoire.) These days often yield some of the best results. This is one of my favorites, concocted on one of those Sundays when I didn’t counter rain into my plans for picking up groceries. I’ve continued to make this dish whenever I’m looking for a quick and healthy meal. It’s super simple, and once you add liquid smoke to your list of household ingredients, it becomes a no-plan/anytime recipe.
This time around I decided to create a breakfast-like burrito, adding scrambled eggs and rice to the beans, and wrapping them up in a whole wheat wrap. Delish!
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Come celebrate Cinco de Mayo with me! No, not with tacos, but with the red, white and green from this Golden Tempeh and Rice with Triple Green Avocado Sauce.
I am in love with how beautiful this sauce turned out, and while not spiced with Mexican seasoning, I couldn’t help but think of the country’s illustrious flag. I did contemplate making tacos with the ripe avocados I had, but then opted for something a little different. Although, now that I think about it, this would make a great burrito filling. Regardless, it’s still totally sombrero-worthy.
The sauce, jam packed with a triple dose of green — arugula, cilantro and avocado — is full of flavor and incredibly creamy, without one ounce of dairy or olive oil. The avocados, full of healthy, unsaturated fats, lend the smooth fiesta to this dish, while the arugula kicks in a lot of the flavor. The cilantro was added because it’s my favorite addition to fresh guacamole, and while it’s not a prominent part of this dish, it does add a subtle palate-cleansing freshness.
This year I’m partying with the red, white and green party on my fork. Take a bite with me?
I’m a huge fan of Horizon’s Tofu Spice, which I make in large batches and store in my spice cabinet to use quite frequently. I recommend you do so too because it makes whipping up tofu an incredibly easy task. Within minutes, it can take a blocky blank canvas and turn it into a flavorful, steak-like centerpiece of a meal.
With this particular instance, I placed my tofu atop a simply seasoned plate of brown rice. Another ingredient I recommend adding to your kitchen is toasted sesame oil. It’s the one flavored oil I try to always keep on hand. It has an aromatic, rich, nutty flavor that’s exceptionally pungent, so a little goes a long way when seasoning food. It’s great for Asian stir-frys, but here I simply use it as is to flavor rice along with a touch of spicy Sriracha.
Once the spice mix is concocted, together, the tofu and rice make my kind of meal — easy, quick and healthy. Vegetarian protein from the tofu, fiber from the brown rice, and flavor from all of the wonderful seasonings makes this an easily satisfying meal for any night of the week. Serve alongside a light salad or your favorite veggie.
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