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“Meaty” Veggie Pasta

The best thing to do when you get into a cooking rut is to buy a bunch of veggies at the store—whatever looks fresh—slice them up with garlic and onions, and get it all talking with some extra virgin olive oil in a pan. This simple process alone is enough to make your whole kitchen smell like something revolutionary is cooking on the stove. Add a few grinds of salt and pepper, and you’d be surprised at how easy a plate of veggies could go down.

Once you get started, it’s easy to get going. For me, this mindset applies to nearly everything in my life. From running to writing to cooking, after the first few tricky minutes, the rest of the cruise typically turns into a smooth and pleasant sail. I can’t count the number of times I’ve come home from work and forced myself to opt for a run over a nap. Or the number of occasions I’ve made veggie-chopping rather than toaster-plopping a mandatory evening activity. I’m always happy with these decisions. And the enjoyment usually comes no more than 5 minutes into the process.

When sauteing, once the veggies start releasing their aromatic allure, the creative juices may begin to flow. Perhaps you keep it simple, or maybe you add soy sausage, oregano and mozzarella like I did here. All of the ingredients that followed made this pasta spark, but it was the veggies that got the dish rolling. With the summer garden season still thriving, there’s really no better time to look towards the soil-rooted ingredients for a little culinary inspiration.

Click here for recipe…

Vegetable Pot Pie

A little late on this holiday post…but this is definitely a meal worthy of any time of the year, especially during the cold winter months when you need a hearty meal to warm you up. For me, I’m generally entirely satisfied at holiday meals as a vegetarian. Turkey, and especially ham, were never personal stars of the meal, even for the few years I did dabble in the meat department. With stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, and apple and pumpkin pie, it’s impossible to say I’ve ever gone home remotely hungry. It’s always quite the opposite, and even though I’m not cracked out on tryptophan like the rest of my turkey-induce fam., I’m still always ready for a long crash on the couch.

So for me, a special vegetarian main is never a mandatory component to a Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. However, if I had it my way, the entire meal would be vegetarian-based, with all the traditional holiday dishes alongside some more innovative counterparts. Kale and garlic mashed potatoes? Yes please. These kinds of deviations don’t always fly in my family though, which is understandable because there’s something special about the standard annual traditions.

However, with all the cooks in my family, the basics always get covered, leaving me to put on my thinking toque and allowing me to put my experimental cooking skills to work. Plus, I’m always jumping on the opportunity to cook for a crowd and make crowd-worthy dishes like this pot pie. Vegetarian pot pie might just be my all-time favorite comfort food. So even if I don’t have to have a vegetarian main dish at a holiday meal, a veg-friendly pot pie like this is always more than welcomed!

Dare I say this is one of the best meals I’ve ever made? It takes a couple steps, but every step of the way is entirely worth it. Feel free to substitute the butter to make this irresistible comfort meal entirely vegan.

Click here for recipe…

Vegan Roasted Vegetable Lasgana

Lasagna’s one of those time-consuming dishes that I wish I had time to make more often. While the Italian classic is really not hard to prepare, it does take multiple steps + ingredients = time.  It’s one of those perfect, rainy day off recipes, just like I had the other day when I decided to tackle this lasagna.

Creating a vegan version of this layered dish requires the extra step of creating a soy-based ricotta. We all know that cheesy lasagna tastes good, but it’s certainly not ideal in terms of health. Luckily, creating a tasty, vegan filling isn’t too difficult.  This ricotta recipe exhibits another way a blank canvas block of tofu can be entirely transformed into creamy deliciousness.

If you’re not making this recipe in the summer, feel free to use jarred sauce (or start freezing sauce now!).  Also, you can substitute the fresh herbs for dried.  A general rule to follow is 4 parts fresh for every 1 part dried. But take advantage of the late summer/ early fall veggies and herbs now while you still can.  This is a great meal for that first chilly, fall day when your tummy (and mood) could use a little warming (and cheering) up.

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