Tag Archives: Cook

Baked Shells Stuffed with Cheesy Butternut Squash

These baked shells are packed full of creamy, cheesy, herby butternut squash goodness in every bite. This dish is easy to throw together and easy to customize.IMG_5250 _Snapseed

First I preheated the oven to 450 degrees. Then I sliced a whole butternut squash down the middle and de-seeded it. Wash the outside of the butternut squash and nuke it for 3 minutes to make cutting easier.IMG_5202 _Snapseed

I roasted the butternut squash for about 45 minutes (until tender). While it was roasting I prepared the macaroni shells, the big kind used for stuffing. I just followed the directions on the package.IMG_5212 _Snapseed

After the butternut squash got all tender and delicious, I scraped both sides all out into a bowl. I then mixed in 1/2 cup of pre-made cashew cheese (recipe below), a handful of chopped basil and chives and salt and pepper to taste.  You don’t have to use basil or chives, get crazy and try different herbs, use more, use less…don’t use any at all. I used what happened to be in the fridge. You also don’t have to use butternut squash, try pumpkin like I did here.butternut_squash_cheese_mix

Then I stuffed ‘dem shells and placed them in a baking pan. The amount of filling I made stuffed about 12-14 shells. I poured some store-bought marinara sauce over it and baked it at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes.pre_bake_shells

And then I stuffed them stuffed shells into my mouth. These were so flippin’ delicious. It’s really the cashew cheese that brings this dish to that next creamy delicious level. The recipe (below) for the cashew cheese is based on Tal Ronnen’s but without having to prepare it for days because I don’t use probiotics.
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Cashew Cheese

  • 2 cups soaked cashews, drained (A couple of hours is best but it works just as well if you only soak it for 20-30 minutes and use a high speed blender)
  • 2 tbs nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbs lemon juice
  • 2 tbs almond milk
  • 1 tsp tahini
  • 1/2 tbs onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Throw everything in food processor or high speed blender and blend until smooth. Stick it in the fridge and use in meals like above or as a veggie dip or cracker spread.

Sweet Potato Salad with Tangy Ancho Chili Sauce (Virtual Vegan Potluck)

Hey vegan potluckers! We are thrilled to be participating in the third virtual vegan potluck!

One of my favorite dishes is the classic potato salad. But Neal won’t go near it because most versions have vegan mayo in them and he detests mayo. Even if the potato salad is mayo-less, he won’t go near it because he associates it with mayo. Challenge accepted! IMG_5164 _Snapseed

This potato salad is a twist on the classic version. Instead of russet and/or red potatoes, I used sweet potatoes.
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And instead of the classic mayo, onions and pickle relish mixture, I used Mexican inspired ingredients like dried Ancho chili, cilantro, lime juice, harissa (technically, this ingredient is Moroccan)IMG_5127 _Snapseed

and black beans.IMG_5161 _Snapseed

The tangy sauce is cashew based and comes out nice and creamy but not in a mayo kind of way. IMG_5156 _Snapseed

Sweet Potato Salad with Tangy Ancho Chili Sauce

Ingredients (approximates)

  • 4-5 medium to large peeled and cubed sweet potatoes
  • 1-2 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2-1 tbs chopped dried ancho chili
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp harissa
  • 2 1/2 tbs lime juice (+ a couple of splashes at end)
  • 3/8 cup of water
  • 14.5 oz can of rinsed and drained black beans
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Directions

  1. Boil sweet potatoes until tender (about 5-7 minutes in boiling water). You want them tender but not too tender that they turn to mush. Drain and let cool.
  2. In a small blender or food processor (I used the small cup with my magic bullet), pulse the garlic, salt and ancho chili.
  3. Add the raw cashews and blend until it’s powdery/pastey.
  4. Add the olive oil, harissa, lime juice and water and blend until smooth.
  5. In a large bowl, add the sweet potatoes, black beans, cilantro and all the sauce. Gently fold ingredients until the sauce is incorporated.
  6. At this point, I tasted it and ended up mixing in a few more splashes of lime juice (to up the tang factor) as well as some salt, pepper and more harissa.

This salad is great warm or cold, by itself or inside a tortilla! If you want it more spicy, add more ancho chili. It is super tasty and best of all, it passes the Neal test. Finally. A potato salad that he will eat!

IMG_5193 _SnapseedStill hungry? There are more good vegan eats in the Virtual Vegan Potluck. Click the button below to see the dish before mine by Farmer’s Market Vegan.

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Click this button to see the dish after mine by The Vegan Gypsy.

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Or if you’re just joining in, click below to start from the beginning with our gracious host, Vegan Bloggers Unite.

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Happy virtual eating!

Nacho Ordinary Sandwich!

This nacho-cheese, tempeh-bacon and guacamole grilled sandwich is one of THE best sandwiches I have ever eaten.  Every bite is bursting with a wonderful combination of Mexican flavors. It was inspired by this non-vegan version. Read on to see how simple it is to make.

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The first thing I did was grill up some store-bought tempeh bacon. Homemade is cool, but store-bought can be a good time-saver if you’re a poor planner like me.

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For the cheese, I made a batch of “Nacho Mmmm Sauce” from Peas and Thank You. Neal’s step-mom sent me a newspaper article from The Seattle Times that included four different Mmmm sauce recipes. I’ve tried most of them and the nacho is my favorite.
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I slathered a thick layer of the nacho sauce on one side of each bread.IMG_4887 _Snapseed

Then I added a thick, generous layer of homemade guacamole. I didn’t follow a recipe for the guac. It’s just two ripe avocados (mushed) mixed with about a 1/2 cup of chopped cherry tomatoes (seeds removed), a handful of chopped cilantro, some diced red onions, minced garlic (clove or two), lime juice, cumin, salt and pepper.IMG_4888 _Snapseed

Next, I layered on the grilled tempeh bacon, closed the sandwich and grilled it for about 4 minutes on each side to heat it through. While it grilled, I lightly patted down on the bread to get the nacho cheese and guac to mush together.

I cut the sandwich on the diagonal and then asked if it was ready for its close up.
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This is a great sandwich for summer and is lovely with a cup of lemonade and some tortilla chips on the side.  No napkins are needed because you’ll want to lick your fingers clean.IMG_4889 _Snapseed

Come back Saturday for the Virtual Vegan Potluck May 2013 edition! There will be plenty of vegan food to go around from bloggers all over the world!