Potlucks Tailgates and Road Trips

Baked Zucchini Macaroni

sdfThis past weekend I went with my friend Kelly to the DC State Fair where she won first prize for the heaviest watermelon. Later that night, I somehow ended up with the fourth place heaviest vegetable. The details of that story are for another blog altogether, but for now, check out this very large zucchini-like squash vegetable. I’m not really sure what it is. Does anyone know?

 

I used less than half of it to make a baked zucchini (er, squash) macaroni dish. The original recipe is from Vegetarian Times, but I’ve modified it somewhat, so here is my version.

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz pasta like macaroni, penne or ziti
  • 1/2 lb zucchini, chopped (about 2-3 zucchini… doesn’t have to be perfect!)
  • 2 cups black beans cooked (or just use one can, although that’s only 1.5 cups)
  • 1 15 oz can diced or crushed tomatoes (fire roasted are my favorite)
  • 1 cup tomato sauce or marinara sauce
  • 1 teaspoon crushed garlic, or more
  • 1/4 cup chopped black olives
  • 3 handfuls greens such as arugula or spinach
  • a few leaves fresh basil, if you have it on hand
  • nutritional yeast, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons breadcrumbs

Instructions:

  1. Cook the pasta according to directions. Coat an 11 x 7 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Preheat the oven to 350.
  2. Heat about 1/4 cup water in a medium to large saucepan on medium-high heat and add the zucchini. Cook for a few minutes.
  3. Add the beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, garlic, olives, greens and basil. Turn down heat to medium low, stir together and simmer for about 5 minutes.
  4. When the pasta has finished cooking, add it to the pot with the zucchini mixture and mix together.
  5. Add the nutritional yeast — I used several shakes, maybe 2 tablespoons to 1/4 cup. Mix together.
  6. Pour the entire mixture into the baking dish and top with the breadcrumbs
  7. Bake at 350. Then serve!

Before baking:

After baking: 

 

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Categories: Dinner, Easy, Potluck, Potlucks Tailgates and Road Trips | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Food for the Road: Bean Salad and Sun-dried Tomato Quinoa/CousCous

If you’ve ever been on a road trip with me, you know that I travel with food. Here are two dishes you can prepare in a hurry to take with you on a road trip. Bring reusable forks, spoons and bowls, then pull over at a rest stop to eat this healthy food instead of getting fast food. It makes plenty so that you can eat it for lunches or snacks throughout your weekend getaway. These dishes are also perfect for a cook-out, tailgate, or potluck because they yield plenty to share.

(Please forgive the low quality, iphone photo!)

Image

Bean Salad

Ingredients

  • 6 cups cooked beans, or 4 cans of beans rinsed and drained. Use a mix of beans such as chickpeas, kidney beans, black beans, or white cannelloni beans
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 1/2 jar roasted red peppers, diced …
  • and/or 1/2-1 jar artichoke hearts (either marinated or non-marinated is fine), chopped in halves or quarters
  • 1 jar pitted olives, chopped (either kalamata, black or green are fine, it depends on your preference)
  • olive oil (start with 1 teaspoon and add more to suit your preference)
  • vinegar (try white wine, red wine, apple cider, and/or balsamic, starting with 2 teaspoons and adding more to suit your preference)
  • lemon juice (start with 1 teaspoon and add more to suit your preference)
  • dried herbs such as oregano and basil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Mix everything together. Shake/stir until well coated. Eat immediately or let marinate for added flavor. This will stay good for at least 5 days, but you probably won’t let it last that long!

Sun-dried Tomato Quinoa Cous Cous

Ingredients

  • 2-4 carrots, shopped into rounds or half moons
  • 1 cup cous cous (preferably whole wheat)
  • 1 cup mix of red and white quinoa, rinsed and drained
  • 1 jar oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (I prefer the jar from Trader Joe’s) Note: the oil is important here because it flavors the rest of the dish. If you don’t have oil-packed jar, then you’ll need to add in oil (such as olive oil).
  • 1-2 TBS pine nuts (or more!)

Instructions

  • In a medium saucepan, add about 1-2 teaspoons of oil or 1-2 tablespoons water and heat over medium heat. Add carrots and shake them around while they cook a couple times a minute, for about 3 minutes or until carrots are soft and beginning to brown
  • Add 3 3/4 cups water to the saucepan with the carrots and bring to a boil
  • Add the quinoa and cous cous, return to the boil, stir, then reduce the heat to a low medium (just at a simmer) and cover. Cook for about 10-15 minutes
  • Meanwhile, drain about 1/3 of the oil out of the jar of sun-dried tomatoes. If you want this to be especially tasty and are not as concerned about the fat content, leave in more oil. If you are more concerned about fat content, use less oil.
  • Once the quinoa and cous cous are done cooking, pour them into a large travel dish container (I use a glass 8 inch by 8 inch pyrex). Stir in the sun-dried tomatoes and remaining oil from the jar. Add the pine nuts and mix.

For both of these dishes, be flexible and creative when you making them. Taste as you go. Serve together, or eat separately.

Categories: Dinner, Easy, Lunches, Potlucks Tailgates and Road Trips, Sides | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Kale and Tofu Quinoa with Walnut Pesto

This recipe is from the cookbook, Color Me Vegan. It makes a huge amount of food. Enough for three people to eat dinner and three lunches after that. So, six full servings.

First you make the walnut pesto in the food processor, using fresh basil, chopped walnuts, garlic, oil and lemon juice.

Meanwhile, cook two cups of quinoa, saute the tofu, then saute 1 bunch of kale separately. Mix together, add chopped sun-dried tomatoes, then stir in the pesto.

Categories: Dinner, Potlucks Tailgates and Road Trips | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Baked Cashew Mac n’Cheese

“I love my mac n’ cheese!”

I said this over and over again the night I made it for my friend Laura’s 30th birthday party.

And would you be surprised to learn that I was not the only one talking about how good it was? And those folks were surprised when they found out it was vegan. Man did that make me feel proud.

The full recipe for the cashew-based, non-dairy cheese sauce is at this link, from the the Real Food Daily Cookbook. (You can use 3 tbs corn starch instead of agar agar flakes, and I don’t think 1/4 cup miso paste is necessary. I use about half of that.) Once you make the sauce, you mix it with about 20 ounces cooked elbow macaroni, bake for 15 minutes, then top with  3/4 cup bread crumbs, and bake for 10 more minutes.

It is not low-fat, low-calorie, or low-sodium, but it is delicious and less animals were harmed in the process. Even vegans get to indulge, and this is probably my favorite home-made indulgence.

Categories: Indulgence, Potlucks Tailgates and Road Trips | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Cabbage and Herbed Tofu Slaw

We had half a head of cabbage in the fridge that we needed to use, along with some black beans and carrots that also needed to be used soon. So Matt made a summer slaw with the following:

  • Herbed tofu, marinated and grilled
  • Half a head of cabbage
  • 4+ carrots, grated
  • 1 cup or so black beans
  • Spring onions
  • Sliced almonds
  • Fresh cilantro
  • Fresh mint
  • Lime juice

Combine and… that’s it. With the marinade from the tofu, it doesn’t need oil or seasoning other than lime juice and the fresh herbs. It is so light and refreshing that way.

Categories: Potlucks Tailgates and Road Trips, Sides | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Simple Lentil Salad

If you’ve ever been to a potluck with us, or seen us after a road trip, you know that a bean salad is one of our staples. For some reason, I haven’t featured it on the blog. However, I’ve recently discovered lentil salad as an alternative. The reason these are important staples is: (1) they are high in protein and fiber so they are super filling and therefore reliable when we may be stuck in an environment without many vegan options; and (2) it is easy to make from non-perishables you have on hand.

The lentil salad is modified from a recipe in the April/May 2012 issue of Vegetarian Times.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups green or black lentils, rinsed
  • 2-4 tablespoons oil (you can use more to make this for other people, such at a party)
  • 4-5 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, or more, to taste
  • 3-4 tablespoons honey, more or less to taste (again, I use up to 4 when I make this for other people, such as at a party)
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 or more chopped carrots (half or quartered moons) – optional
  • 2 scallions/green onions, chopped
  • walnuts
  • dried cranberries
  • approx 1/2 jar roasted red peppers, sliced and chopped (you could also use dried and reconstituted or fresh and diced peppers. Roasted is best, and you can get those in a jar)

Steps:

1. Cook the lentils with the bay leaves following instructions on the package, or, cover with about 3 inches of water, boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes total, but after about 25 minutes…

2. … throw in the carrots, if using. Finish cooking for the remaining 5 minutes. Drain out any extra water and remove the bay leaves.

3. Mix lentils with the oil, vinegar, and honey in a bowl.

4. Then add in scallions/green onions, red peppers, walnuts, dried cranberries.

5. Season with salt/pepper to taste.

6. Let cool and marinade for a few hours before serving if possible.

Variations: play around with substitutes such as artichokes, beans, onions, cucumber, olives, etc…

And you have an easy, high protein, high fiber, traveling meal. Pictured below with carrots, but without green onions.

The oil and sweetener is usually more than I’m comfortable with. However, until I figure out alternative seasoning, it’s still pretty healthy and easy so I’m not going to worry about it.

Categories: Easy, Lunches, Potlucks Tailgates and Road Trips | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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