Alfredo Pesto Pizza

There isn’t nearly enough vegan food out there with artichoke hearts. I adore artichokes…who doesn’t? My husband wanted pizza this week, so I came up with this Alfredo Pesto PIzza using a bit of left over ingredients we had from other meals this week.

Alfredo Pesto Pizza (makes 1 large pizza):

  • One half recipe for pizza dough from Vegan with a Vengeance (or any kind you like–or premade–whatever works!)
  • One half recipe of alfredo sauce from the Happy Herbivore
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup garlic cloves (I’m not joking)
  • 1 small sweet onion, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 (15 oz?) can of artichoke hearts (in water–not the marinated in oil kind)
  • 1/2 cup white/navy beans
  • 2 T daiya mozzarella or cheddar (optional)

First, make your pizza dough. If you bought the premade kind–lucky you!

Second, make the alfredo sauce, adding the basil leaves when you puree everything. Don’t bother to cook the sauce at all after this step, just pop it in the fridge to wait.

Now, take all those garlic cloves and your onion and bake in a 350 degree oven until they are nice and soft. You’ll want to spray them with cooking spray, and use the veggie broth to deglaze your pan. When they are roasted, let them cool and then roughly chop up the garlic. At this point you can also cut the artichoke hearts into quarters, so they’re more manageable for the pizza.

Assuming you rolled out the pizza dough and have it on your pan/stone, you can now assemble! Obviously put on the sauce first, then do the beans, then the artichoke hearts, then garlic, and top with the onions. That seemed to be the easiest way to get everything on evenly. Don’t put on the daiya yet!

Heat the oven to 500 degrees (crazy, right?) and put your pizza in there. Check for doneness at 15 minutes, it will probably need another 3 minutes after that. If you’re putting the fake cheese on, do it in those last three minutes. That will give it plenty of time to melt, but no time to get weird.

You can also top this (after it comes out of the oven) with some chopped roasted cashews. I love cashews and basil together–they are magical!

 

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Spaghetti and Leanballs

I believe the Happy Herbivore‘s original recipe calls this dish “Spaghetti and Meatless Balls” which sounds kinda sad, right? I don’t like to think about meatless balls. Who would? It focuses on what you’re missing, not what you have. So, I suggest from now on this dish is called Spaghetti and Leanballs, since you make it with Gimme Lean.

I love Gimme Lean. First, the adorable name (cause it’s vegan Jimmy Dean!). Plus, it is actually lean. And rather close to meat, if you are into that. The flavor of Ground Beef-style Gimme Lean is like soy sauce mixed with Worcestershire sauce. If you like those two items, you’ll be golden. Since I do, Gimme Lean and I get along great.

I don’t believe the original recipe gives you a marinara sauce, but I always make my own anyway. And this simple combo (with a little earth balance buttered bread) made me incredibly happy. I was literally skipping down the street after eating this dinner. Or maybe I was just excited about my awesome trip to Trader Joe’s that morning. Yes, Kansas has a Trader Joe’s now! And all is right with the world.

Lazy Lasagna

This dish has many names and many forms: Spaghetti Casserole, Spaghetti Bake, Noodle Pie, etc. But I like to think of it as Lazy Lasagna, because it tastes a lot like lasagna, but you don’t have to fight with those huge crazy noodles. Or worry about layer after layer of application. It’s just a couple simple steps, a lot of dirty dishes, and then you’ve got 8 servings of heaven!

Lazy Lasagna (serves 8):

  • 8oz (dry) spaghetti noodles
  • 14 oz block of firm tofu
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 T dehydrated onion
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh italian parsley
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup unmilk
  • 2 T lemon juice
  • 1/2 head cauliflower (or about 2 cups), cut into florets
  • 1 recipe of Mushroom Marinara sauce
  • 1/3 cup shredded vegan mozzarella cheese (optional)

For the filling:

First, preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Put the cauliflower on a cookie sheet and spray with cooking spray. Roast until tender. Now, start a large pot of water boiling on high. Cook your pasta according to directions, drain, and set aside. In your food processor, combine tofu, nutritional yeast, spices, onion, lemon juice and 1/4 cup unmilk. Blend until creamy. If your processor is on the large side, just add the cooled cauliflower to this mix, with the fresh basil and parsley. (If it’s small, pour out the tofu mixture and add in the cauliflower. You can blend them together by hand after pureeing everything.) Add unmilk in small doses if cauliflower/tofu seems really dry. You’re looking to get the texture of a moist ricotta cheese. Taste for salt, and add pepper if needed.

Now, mix the cauliflower and tofu with the noodles. Make sure to get them really mixed together well, or you’ll have dry patches of just noodles, and wet patches of just “cheese.”

To assemble:

Layer a small amount of the marinara sauce on the bottom of a 13×9 casserole dish. Then, pour the noodle filling over that. Pour the rest of the sauce over the top, smooth to make it even. Sprinkle on vegan cheese, if using.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until very bubbly around the edges, and hot all the way through. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before eating. You may need to salt and pepper it again before serving, since this dish is weird and seems to require more salt than you would think possible.

This recipe is wonderful to make changes to–there is so much opportunity for variety! I think a pesto version would be amazing, or with zucchini, eggplant, you name it. I’m excited to see what you come up with! Oh, and I should tell you: it tastes a lot better the next day. Great make-ahead meal.

Broccoli Pesto

Can the Happy Herbivore cookbook do no wrong?

I’ve never made anything from it that wasn’t totally easy, healthy, and delicious. This dish tastes almost EXACTLY like one I used to make all the time. But that recipe wasn’t vegan, featured (sigh) goat cheese, and was tough to make. Well, probably because my food processor at that time was as small as a baby’s fist.

But Broccoli Pesto! It’s vegan! It’s magical! It somehow tastes like it has goat cheese in it, when it doesn’t! It’s also a little spicy, probably because of the raw garlic and basil. Also, I totally roasted the broccoli, since I like that little flavor boost from the browning.

Did I mention that it’s also packed with protein? And that the recipe says it serves two, but it actually made four servings for us? The only downside is that it doesn’t reheat easily the next day, but I’ll find a solution for that. Because I should not be denied left-overs!

Finally, a use for my Thai Holy Basil!

And what a great use for it! Oh baby. My husband rated this dinner a “9.5” on the vegan scale. Which is impressive, since he usually isn’t that fond of green beans or tofu. I think the real standout here was the Pineapple Rice, which I didn’t even make with fancy rice at all. Just with plain old short grain brown rice. You’d think that wouldn’t work, but it gave the whole deal a lot of creaminess–almost like you’d doused it with coconut milk.

Also, pineapples. Is there anything they can’t do? I think I should belong to some sort of tropical fruit fan club. And the more I get to mix it into dinners, the better.

But what about that basil? You know, I didn’t notice the taste too much. I think it has sort of a basil and licorice taste to it, but my plant had gotten rather withered in the 100+ degree heat we’ve been experiencing lately. So maybe if you had a nice, robust thai basil plant, it would give off more characteristic flavors? Oh well. I will for sure be making this dish again!

Recipes from Appetite for Reduction.

Basil Bowl

Pesto Bowl? AMAZE-O BOWL? Who knows.

This was so, so delicious. And I feel extra proud, because it was sorta my own invention. Taking the formula (and edamame pesto recipe) from Appetite for Reduction, I have created my own spectacular bowl!

Here are the steps:

  1. Make corn grits/polenta. I use Bob’s Red Mill!
  2. Make the edamame pesto from AfR
  3. Add 1 can, or 2 cups, of navy beans
  4. Roast cauliflower and cherry tomatoes in a 400 degree oven for 30 mins
  5. Toast 2 T of pine nuts (or burn them, gently, like I did)
  6. Assemble bowl
  7. Eat bowl
  8. Love bowl

Just note, the texture is a little on the mushy side. I’ve been trying to think of an addition that would combat that, but so far haven’t thought up anything. Ideas?

 

Edamame Pesto

Oh, yeah. That’s basil from my garden. Eeek! My little plants look so good, I should totally take more pictures. Anywho, this is a modified version of the Edamame Pesto Pasta from Appetite for Reduction. This is the second or third time I’ve made it, though I never actually follow the recipe (sorry!). I have tons and tons of spaghetti in the house from Costco, and it seems silly to buy any other pasta when I have that on hand. But the mod that I’m the proudest of? Those beautiful roasted tomatoes. This recipe NEEDS roasted tomatoes. I’m going to to this every time, probably putting on twice as many next time. YES! Also, you can totally use button mushrooms. It doesn’t really change the flavor at all.

But you know what does? Hot Sauce. My husband put hot sauce on this! And it was GOOD.