Posts tagged ‘pesto’

Vegan Pesto

Ever eat something that is super tasty, but no so photogenic? Can’t always judge a book by its cover, and that is certainly true for this dish! The spaghetti squash absorbs a little more of the color from the pesto than pasta does, which gives everything a strange green hue. Regardless, this pesto was so good that I didn’t even miss the cheese!

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I roasted up a small-sized spaghetti squash, and then pulled it with a fork into short spaghetti noodles. While that was happening, I used up a clamshell of basil left in my fridge from my friend’s New Years Bruschetta, and brainstormed how to make a pesto sauce with no Parmigiano. I remembered seeing a vegan pesto made with white beans, and thought chickpeas would make an interesting substitution, since that was all I had on hand! I still added the pine nuts and the olive oil, and threw in a pinch of salt since the cheese usually adds that salty component. I surprised myself with how much I enjoyed this! Confession: I may or may not have eaten a spoonful of pesto straight out of the food processor… The chickpeas added some heft to the sauce, making this all-veggie, vegan delight very filling. This is also a cheaper alternative to the classic pesto I have raved about before, no matter what your dietary preferences are. Give it a try, over spaghetti squash, regular pasta, or even with tomato slices on toast… Being a vegan for the month is really helping me to think outside of my food box!

Question: Do you ever get stuck in food ruts? What do you do to break out of them?

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Vegan Pesto

inspired by my classic pesto, serves 3-4

1 cup packed fresh basil

1/4 cup olive oil

1/2 cup chick peas

2 tbsp pine nuts

1/4 tsp salt

Combine all ingredients in a food processor until a smooth sauce is formed. Serve over pasta, spaghetti squash, or use as a spread.

January 9, 2012 at 9:00 am 6 comments

WIAW in the Future

How is it Wednesday already? This week has been long, but at the same time is flying. Because of scheduled school events, I have had no good days to take pictures of my food. (Not really appropriate to explain to your professor over a lunch meeting why you are photographing your vermicelli bowl…) Don’t wanna miss out on Jenn’s party though! So for this week, I am switching it up a little bit. Instead of showing you what I have been eating, I will share what I will be eating!

I got my Boston Organics delivery today. It is like Christmas every other Tuesday! I love getting home and finding a big box of produce, love having a full fridge of healthy food, and love that it is mostly local and all organic. I usually get half fruits and veggies, but I am still stocked up on a bunch of apples and clementines from the grocery store, so switched to the 2/3 veggie box for the week. In the box this week:

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  • 3 small delicata squash
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 2 big beets
  • head of lettuce
  • bunch of kale
  • 3 big carrots

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  • 1 large tomato
  • clamshell of basil
  • 3 apples
  • 2 plums
  • 4 bananas
  • 1 bag cranberries

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Many of my friends are curious about how I cook through a box in a week, having been recent CSA or Boston Organics customers themselves, or skeptics of a program like this. I get my box every other week, supplementing the later part of the last week with some frozen veggies, and adding a few bulk seasonal fruits (either through the delivery program or from the grocery store) to round everything out. I find this to be the perfect system for me, but starting a program like Boston Organics will take some experimenting with how much you eat, how often you want your delivery, what you want your mix to be, etc.

Here are some thoughts of what I will make from my produce box this week…

My mind is easily changed, though! Have you made anything lately with these veggies that was outstanding? Let me know in the comments section below!

One thing my mind can’t be changed over… how to use the basil. It is already gone! I made Chelsey’s vegan pesto, which I am nicknaming the poor student’s pesto. My classic pesto can become quite pricey thanks to the fancy cheese and pine nuts, and this is a nice weekday alternative for a pesto craving. I cut down a bit on the olive oil and added a big scoop of hummus for creaminess, but otherwise kept the recipe the same. I mixed this in with some leftover broccoli and diced tomato (from last week’s farmer’s market trip) and some angel hair pasta. This will definitely be a favorite spread/sauce from now on!

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Question: What will you be eating this week? Any ideas for my box? Like I said, my plans are flexible!

October 18, 2011 at 11:23 pm 18 comments

WIAW While Sick

It’s amazing how fast a head cold can strike you down. I was feeling fine on Saturday – studied, met a friend for coffee, ran 11.5 miles. Then I sneezed, and all of the sudden all I wanted was my bed and a tissue box. I slept 9 hours Saturday night and 10 hours Sunday night in hopes of shaking this cold early. Here is a glimpse into my Monday eats while I was sick! Make sure you check out Peas and Crayons to see other bloggers creative meal ideas!

Breakfast: 9:15 am

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Coffee makes my throat even more scratchy than it already is, so I decided to have some chai tea with a splash of rice milk instead. I had a whole grain English muffin with a bit of homemade peanut butter (my second batch, since we used the first up hiking!) and an orange on the side. Load me up with fluids and vitamins please!

Lunch: 1:45pm

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My fridge is looking pretty sad right now. My Boston Organics delivery is on Tuesdays, so I only had white and sweet potatoes in my veggie drawer by Monday. Time for some back up green stuff from the freezer! I saw this recipe for Coconut Curried Potatoes with Peas on Daily Garnish a few weeks ago and couldn’t wait to try it. It was so good! I ended up following the recipe more loosely, using what I had on hand rather than running out to the store. I cooked the potatoes in a bit of water, used regular coconut milk, used a little less curry powder (because I ran out), added some curry paste, and used fresh instead of powdered ginger. Even so, this turned out amazing, and now I have lunches for the rest of the week! I enjoyed my lunch with more tea – this time, green tea with slivers of fresh ginger.

Magic nap: 3:30pm

I slept for an hour and a half, choosing to listen to my body rather than my self-imposed study schedule. I went to bed sick and woke up feeling so much better! Still with a runny nose, but no longer feeling sick.

Dinner: 6:15pm

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I made plans to meet a few friends from undergrad who are still in school at BU. We met up at my old favorite study spot, the student union. Of course there is a food court there, but it is a bit overpriced if you are no longer on the meal plan. Creature of habit, I packed my dinner into a Tupperware, threw it in my backpack, and biked over to campus! Remember the freezer pesto cubes from yesterday? I threw one in with my hot pasta to let it melt a bit, and then fully mixed it in when I re-heated my meal before eating it. A little broccoli to follow the 1:1 pasta rule… yum! Apple for dessert (the no-sugar thing is much easier this week than last!) Like my veggie supply, my fruit is also running low. I always eat my apples and oranges at the end of the box, since they have a longer shelf life than bananas, berries and stone fruits. Seasonal fall apples are always a treat!

Snacks: 10pm

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A handful or two of peanuts and raisins before bed to keep my stomach from rumbling, and a cup of Sleepy Time Tea! Sleep and tea – the best cure for the common cold.

I have been thinking a lot about last week’s post and love the feedback I have gotten so far! I would love to hear more thoughts, and will be back tomorrow or Friday with an update of some of my own thoughts and musings about the problem of obesity in America and how doctors should address it.

Question: What was the best thing you ate today?

September 28, 2011 at 7:43 am 13 comments

Freezing Summer

What would I do without a freezer? As we plunge into chillier weather, I have been freezing summer time favorites to reach for when I am in the depths of the winter time blues. My first piece of frozen summer was the Summer No ‘Smore, and now I have made Freezer Pesto. It is so simple, great for fast lunches and single serving dinners as my basil plant gives up for the winter.

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I used what is likely the last of my crop of basil leaves to make my classic pesto. Then I cleaned out an ice cube tray and coated it with cooking spray. I spooned the pesto into 6 of the cubes, and then stashed it in the freezer overnight. The next morning, I covered the cubes to the top with water and then put it back in the freezer. I am hoping that this will help prevent freezer burn! Once fully frozen, I transferred the cubes to a Tupperware to keep for longer (and get my ice cube tray back!)

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Each cube is perfect for a single serving of pasta. Simply add it to cooked, hot pasta in the pot and stir over low heat until it is melted and the pasta is well covered. Serve with some freshly grated cheese and enjoy, savoring a bit of summer sunshine and fresh basil in every bite.

In more exciting news, I was given the Liebster Award by Rufus’ Food and Sprits Guide! I love so many of the recipes on their blog and am really excited for this recognition. This award is passed onto bloggers with fewer than 200 followers, and it is my job to pass it on to 5 more deserving blogs! Check out some of these blogging friends and hopefully you will find a new page or two to enjoy reading!

Going Steady – one woman’s ups and downs on a journey to a healthier lifestyle

mixxedtape – great photography and meal ideas from a college girl in Belgium

Little Sacred Space – great thoughts on faith and life from a graduate student living in China

Real Fun Food – a woman’s fun and healthy eats from London

Snotting Black – a college friend’s journey learning Arabic in Cairo, with witty and clever posts about things most of us would overlook on a daily basis (you may have seen her recently on Freshly Pressed!)

Can’t wait to see who you guys pass this along to!

September 27, 2011 at 7:00 am 13 comments

Green Goddess

There is nothing I love more than watching someone fall in love with a healthier lifestyle. It only takes a few small changes that eventually add up into a lot of healthy habits! This recipe is what pushed my little sister over the edge to be an adventurous, veggie-cooking college student. She has found her own veggie delivery program in Philly, and says that she is excited to try new recipes and new foods as she begins to cook for herself this year! I hope that she finds inspiration from what I make with my box, as well as from her own amazing culinary creativity.

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I have seen recipes for all types of green goddess dressings popping up everywhere, whether they are low-fat, vegan, gluten-free… you name it! I had some leftover cashew cream from my pasta sauce, and decided to try my own hand at it! It is a little more inspired by the flavors in pesto than in a traditional green goddess dressing, but is absolutely delicious in its own right. Plus, I got to try out my new Whole Foods purchase – nutritional yeast! This strange, flaky ingredient is super good for you – rich in B vitamins and packed with protein. It has an interesting, almost cheesey flavor, making it a perfect addition to dressings and pasta sauces! If you are not so adventurous, you can definitely try substituting a bit of grated cheese in the dressing, or just leave it out and add a bit more salt! I really like the flavor that it adds in recipes, but am not at a point to use it sprinkled over pasta. A little to earthy for me…

Try this recipe. It is really, really good. My sister exclaimed, “I just want to stick my face in it!” She had me make extra before I left, and is dreaming up ways to use it. We dipped some roasted broccoli in it, but she thinks it would make a great chip dip, or could even be a great pasta sauce.

Question: What do you think it would go well with?

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Green Goddess Dip

1/3 cup basil

1/3 cup parsley

1/2 cup cashew cream

1/2 tsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp garlic powder

Chop basil and parsley finely in a food processor. Add the remaining ingredients and combine until smooth. Adjust seasoning to taste.

August 16, 2011 at 8:00 am 3 comments

Classic Pesto

Inspired by my recent travels in Italy and a beautiful pot or three of basil growing in my backyard, I present to you, as promised, homemade pesto. It is so incredibly simple with absolutely heavenly results. My sister and I are convinced that we could live solely on pasta with pesto for about a month, it is that good. The most important part of this dish is splurging a little bit on high quality ingredients, especially the pine nuts, cheese, and basil.

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Pine nuts are on the expensive end, but really take pesto to a whole new level. To help with the cost factor of pine nuts, they can be bought in larger sizes and then frozen. This website recommends freezing for only 2 months, but admits that they can be kept for much longer while maintaining freshness. Another important factor here is the cheese – get real cheese! Fake American Parmesan cheese (you know, the stuff in a plastic tube…) will simply not substitute here. Lastly, find really fresh basil! As the pasta is cooking, start making the pesto. The closer the basil is chopped to when you mix it in the pasta, the more the aromatic flavor will absorb into the pasta. Simple, fresh ingredients that lead to heaven on a fork.

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This meal was special for two other reasons – real Parmigiano Reggiano cheese from Bazzano and trofie pasta from Vernazza. Instead of buying my family souvenirs, I brought home things for a meal I could make for and enjoy with them. I have told you all about the making of the cheese, and was in heaven as the aroma escaped from my first open package. I couldn’t help but sneak a few slivers of fresh cheese as I grated it for the pesto! The trofie pasta was also really special, and unlike any pasta I have seen before. The noodles are short and twisted, and hold the sauce so nicely. They take forever to cook – 18 minutes! – compared to typical pastas, but were well worth the wait. To truly bring home the Italian spirit to my family, I served dinner the way my friend’s parents served us each night. We began with a primo – the trofie with pesto sauce. After we had practically licked our bowls clean, I brought out a simple garden salad with balsamic vinegar and olive oil, enjoyed with a small hunk of bread. I can’t wait until my basil plant recovers so that I can make this pesto again!

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Classic Pesto

lightly adapted from here

1/3 cup olive oil

1 garlic clove

2 tbsp pine nuts

scant 1 cup packed basil

1/2 cup shredded Parmigiano Reggiano

Chop garlic in food processor. Add pine nuts and basil and process until chopped. Blend in cheese. Add olive oil slowly to bring all ingredients together as a sauce.

August 12, 2011 at 7:00 am 5 comments


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