Creamy Carmelized Onion Pasta

The more I try dairy free recipes, the more amazed I am at how you can get super creamy food from veggies and nuts! In this case, eggplant is the base of a super creamy pasta sauce. I got the idea for this recipe <a>href=”http://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-caramelized-onion-mac-n-cheese/”>here</a&gt;, but naturally, I made my own changes!  I am not a fan of eggplant, at all, so if you’re like me, please try this! It tastes nothing like eggplant and just makes for a super creamy, HEALTHY sauce!

1 onion, thinly sliced
2T olive oil
1 box of pasta (I used a 12oz box of veggie elbow macaroni)
1 eggplant, peeled and cubed
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes
2T Olive oil
4T nutritional yeast
1T garlic powder
1T cornstarch
1 cup unsweetened plain almond milk
3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup panko
Cooking spray

Sautée onions in olive oil until carmelized, stirring frequently (I like to really cool them, at least 30 minutes)

Toss cubed eggplant, garlic cloves, and cherry tomatoes in olive oil and place on a sheet pan, roast at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until golden, stirring half way through. While the veggies are roasting, boil water to cook the pasta.

In a blender, place garlic powder, nutritional yeast, cornstarch, almond milk, and chicken broth. Once the veggies are cooked and have cooled slightly, add them to the blender and purée until smooth. Season to taste.

Combine the cooked pasta, carmelized onions, and eggplant purée. Stir well and pour into a baking dish. Top with panko and spray with cooking spray. Place in the oven until bubbly, about 10 minutes, then broil until the panko is golden.

Serve and enjoy!! (I apologize for the lack of pictures, I was too eager to eat, and I’m having trouble uploading the one picture I did take!)

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Meal Plan: July 27-29

My mom is here this week to visit and help out before I go back to work next week (sad day, it’s been so nice being off for 15 weeks!). I asked my mom to pick some of the recipes I’ve been making that she wanted to try, so here they are!

Sunday: Grilled Ginger Sesame Chicken Salad
I know, not vegetarian, but the dressing makes it all ok! This salad could easily be made sans chicken and would be just as good, or use the marinade for tofu if you’d like! It’s the perfect amount of salt and vinegar that you want in a Chinese chicken salad!
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Monday: CauliPower Alfredo
One of the things I craved most while pregnant (and still do) is fettuccini Alfredo. While this is definitely not as soon as the real deal, creamy, fattening Alfredo sauce I know and love, it is a great alternative until I can eat dairy again! It has a similar mouth feel to dairy Alfredo and is thick and creamy, but is made from cauliflower so it’s much healthier! I like to add broccoli to it, but you could add anything you’d like!
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Tuesday:Taco Chicken with Zucchini Pasta
This dish is so easy and delicious, and comes together super fast! I bought a mandolin with a julienne part that works great for making the zucchini noodles! This recipe is with chicken but you could just as easily use tofu or shrimp!
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Unfortunately I won’t be cooking the rest of the week, but here is a bonus recipe! I made this delicious dessert while my mom was visiting so she could try a vegan raw dessert! I added an extra tablespoon of maple syrup to the filling, and also added about 1/4 cup of cocoa powder 🙂
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cheesecake Bars
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Stay tuned for next week’s meal plan!

Meal Plan: July 20-25

Alright, so the plan from here on out (or for now, at least, until we have time to start experimenting again), is to post our weekly meal plan with links to the recipes we are using! I apologize for the lack of pictures this week…I had every intention of taking daily pictures, but a crying baby, my hunger, and my lack of patience kept interfering!

Sunday: Zucchini with Garlic Lemon Vinaigrette
We added grilled chicken to make it our main dish, otherwise it would be great as a side dish!

Monday: Quinoa Black Bean Tacos
These tacos were incredible! I baked shells using Mission Artisan Whole Wheat tortillas (our favorite), and topped them with avocado and vegan sour cream.
With the leftovers I made baked flautas one day (place avocado and filling on a tortilla, roll is tightly, place on a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray. Bake until crispy), and had enough leftover after that to make quesadillas another day! (And there is still more in the fridge!)
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Tuesday: Vegan Crispy Potato Pizza
This was so much fun to make! From the homemade baked potato chips to the beer pizza crust, it was all delicious, and surprisingly we didn’t even miss the cheese! I added thin sliced onions under the chips for a little extra flavor, and next time would add more and maybe a little spinach!
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Wednesday: Spinach Barley Salad
I followed the recipe but used pearl barley instead of wild rice which I think was a great choice because it really absorbed the delicious dressing!
We went to the LA Galaxy vs. Manchester United soccer game and this was the perfect healthy tailgate food because I was able to make it ahead of time and stick it in the cooler!
Tip: the salad minus the spinach was even better leftover the next day!
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Thursday: Grilled Thai Chicken with Coconut Jasmine Rice
This chicken marinade was so good! Next time I would reserve some of the marinade and reduce it to make a sauce to drizzle over the chicken when I served it, because it was that good! It would also be a great marinade for veggies like zucchini!

Friday: BBQ Crock Pot Ribs, Grilled Corn on the Cob, and High Protein Garlic Mashed Potatoes
These ribs are always requested for special occasions, and are AMAZINGLY easy and delicious! (No picture because it was way too good to wait and eat…we are working on our patience!)

All the meals this week cost about $60 and made enough for both of us to have leftovers for lunch the next day! The biggest tip was waiting for the ribs to go on sale and then I had a Just For U coupon on top of that (from Vons)

Tomato Sauce

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I don’t even know the last time we bought pre-made tomato sauce. After realizing how easy it is to make and how healthy it can be, we just can’t justify buying it!

What you need:
1 can no salt added diced tomatoes, mostly drained
1-2 cloves of garlic
A handful of fresh basil
1 tsp chili powder
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp white sugar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup red wine (optional)

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Place the peeled garlic cloves and basil in a blender or bullet (we use our bullet all the time, love it!). Blend until finely chopped, then add all other ingredients (except wine), and blend until combined (good chunky or very smooth).

Place in a small pot, add the red wine if desired, and cook about 10 minutes to eliminate the raw garlic flavor. Great as a dipping sauce, on pasta, on pizzas, in calzones, etc! ENJOY!

Orzo Salad with Spicy Ranch Dressing

I’m not a huge fan of pasta salad, but this dish completely changed my mind!

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1 C uncooked orzo
1 can of corn, drained and rinsed
1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
3 green onions, diced
6 cherry tomatoes, diced
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
2 T mayo
1/4 C ranch
3 T lime juice
1 t chili powder
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 avocado, cut in wedges

Cook the orzo, drain and rinse. Combine orzo, corn, beans, tomatoes, green onions, and bell pepper (also good with broccoli)

Combine ranch, mayo, lime juice, chili powder, and garlic. Pour the dressing over the other ingredients and mix. Service and top with avocado! ENJOY!