One of my favorite comfort foods is a dish I call “Pasta Roni” which is a play on the classic decades-old “beefaroni” dish made of macaroni, beef, and tomato sauce except that my version tastes better, is plant based, and more nutritious! Oil and dairy free, Pasta Roni is the dish everyone wants on a cold night when nothing but a tummy-warming bowl of pasta will do.
Inspired by Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s recipe for Lentil-A-Roni in Isa Does It, the Pasta Roni recipe showcases whole grain pasta, lentils, tomatoes, and greens for a delicious and nutritious meal. Isa uses raw cashews that have been soaked in water, drained and then blended with vegetable broth in a high-powered blender to make the sauce creamy but I am not a cream sauce person so I don’t use cashews. If your preference is for a creamy sauce, then by all means, soak 1/2 cup of raw (not roasted) cashews in water for a few hours and then blend away before adding to the sauce.
But first, a few words about other ingredients: Read more
Shepherd’s Pie – that quintessential British favorite made with lamb, vegetables, and spices in a gravy sauce topped with mashed potatoes – is one of Britain’s most well-known comfort foods. Tradition dictates that a Shepherd’s Pie cannot be a Shepherd’s Pie without lamb (if beef is used, then the dish is called Cottage Pie) but I beg to differ.
A Shepherd’s Pie made with a variety of vegetables, beans, and spices in a vegetable broth sauce topped with mashed potatoes is one of the all-time great variations of this traditional favorite. And, the plant-based option is more nutritious (no meat, oil, or dairy) than the original version, easy to make, and totally delicious. Read more
Put the word “Paris” on anything and I’m there, especially where food is involved. Paris conjures ups thoughts of perfectly seasoned shallots sautéed in a copper sauce pan which is almost exactly what Sunny Paris seasoning by Penzey’s Spices adds to dishes. A blend of purple shallots, chives, green peppercorns, basil, tarragon, chervil, bay leaves, and dill week, Sunny Paris takes the work out of properly seasoning a dish. Read more
The Purple Carrot meal kit service continues to inspire me with the weekly delivery of ingredients and recipe cards to make delicious plant-based meals with three noteworthy changes: I use less oil than the recipes call for, omit the jalapeño or hot peppers, and add more vegetables which generally turns a meal meant for two persons into four servings, or as a side dish for 6-8. The meals rely heavily on spices which add flavor to the dishes (which is why I leave out the jalapeño or hot peppers) and is a great way to introduce plant-based dishes to carnivores and vegetarians as a side dish. Read more