Penne Alfredo with Kale and Mushrooms

While I was at the grocery store yesterday, someone mentioned they wanted pasta, and I came to the conclusion that I, too, wanted pasta.  I felt like a mushroomy, creamy, sauce was just what I was in the mood for, so I stocked up on crimini mushrooms and headed home.

Mushrooms are one of my favorite things to base dishes around, since I have found them to be very versatile, as well as totally delicious.  Before I stopped paying for cable, I used to watch a lot of Food Network TV shows.  A lot.  I actually attribute this to my ability to cook, since I really never did it beforehand.  Alton Brown’s show, Good Eats, was always a favorite, and one year I remember him making my favorite holiday dish from scratch – green bean casserole.  Since then, I have always made it with fresh ingredients, and it’s been super simple to adapt to my veganism.  I’ve made the mushroom cream sauce and mixed it with pasta before, but I recently decided to play around with it and try to get the flavor of an alfredo sauce with the mushrooms in it.  I feel like I nailed it, and was in the mood for this delicious sauce again last night.

Something about pasta with a cream sauce was just begging for greenery, however, so I added about half a bunch of lacitano kale. Really the only reason I used this kind of kale was because it’s so much easier to cut up into strips than curly varieties of kale, and I was going for that abundance of kale that only thinly shredded bits would be able to give me. Served with a side salad, this was a delicious, hearty, and vitamin filled vegan meal worthy of writing about.

kale mushroom alfredo

Without further ado, here is the recipe for my Penne Alfredo with Kale and Mushrooms.

Ingredients:

  • 1 serving of the vegan alfredo sauce (recipe here)
  • 1 serving penne (or other pasta of your choice, but the sauce will stick really well to penne)
  • about 150g, or 1-1.5 cups, sliced mushrooms (I used crimini, but you could cut up portobello mushrooms or use white button.  Nothing with too strong of a flavor, though)
  • 1/2 of one large bunch of kale (I used lacitano, but any kind will work, and you can also adjust the amounts for your taste)
  • oil to saute the mushrooms and kale in
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • optional: some kind of vegan protein source (I used smokey tempeh strips, because I thought the smokey flavor would lend well to the sauce)

Directions (makes one serving):

  1. Cook your pasta according to the package.
  2. Follow the directions included for the vegan alfredo to make the sauce, but add the dried rosemary as well.  It works beautifully with the mushrooms and kale, and although optional, it shouldn’t be!
  3. In a large saute pan, cook your mushrooms until they’re browned and have expelled liquid.  Add the kale on top and cover, allowing it to steam for a while.  ***If using a protein, cook during this time.
  4. When the pasta, sauce, and vegetables are done, test for seasoning and combine ingredients.
  5. Enjoy!!

Vegan Alfredo Sauce

After going to a few restaurants with my friend and finding that most places didn’t have a vegan alfredo sauce, I decided to try to make my own.  How hard could it be?  I’ve already got the basics of a bechamel sauce down, so it seemed like a no brainer.

Here’s the recipe for this basic, yet totally freakin’ delicious, sauce.  Try it on your favorite pasta, or instead of red sauce on pizza! Yum!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon vegan butter (I use earth balance)
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 cup plain, unsweetened, non-dairy milk
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy cheese, mozzarella flavor (I used Follow Your Heart shreds)
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Directions (creates enough for 1 serving; multiply ingredients to serve more):

  1. Melt the butter in a small sauce pan.
  2. Once melted, add the flour, and stir until all flour is completely covered in the fat.  Cook on a low heat until it forms a thick paste, or roux.
  3. Add in your milk and stir until well combined.  Turn to a medium-low heat and allow to come to a low simmer.
  4. Add in the cheese and nutritional yeast, and stir until the cheese melts into the sauce.
  5. Stir in your seasonings, and allow to simmer for 3-5 minutes.  In this time, the sauce will thicken, and should easily coat the back of a spoon.  Once it has reached your desired thickness, add it to your recipe!

Banana Blueberry Oatmeal Cookies

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I’m back.  I really wanted to start posting here more for the new year, but between preparing to move and losing my cat, I didn’t really have time.  So much has happened in the last few months, it’s been insane!  I moved from Los Angeles to Denver a month ago, and I’ve started working from home – which gets my cooking and baking juices flowing, I guess, because I can’t stop creating.  I’ve got a handful of recipes I’ve been working on, and I do plan on posting a little more often.

So, blueberry cookies.  Berries were on sale at my local Sprouts when I went this week, and I couldn’t resist buying up a few packages.  I’d also been staring a mostly full container of oatmeal and several very ripe bananas in the eyes, and I got the itch to bake.  I’ve been working on perfecting my banana bread muffin recipe, but wanted something a little more… cookie.  That’s how we got to this little creation.

Ingredients:

  • 1 mashed banana
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted to liquid form
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 “egg” (whichever vegan egg substitute is your favorite)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract (optional; replace with additional vanilla extract if necessary)
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (non-pastry flour is fine, too, but I wanted them super light)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 3/4 cup oats
  • 1 cup of blueberries

Directions (makes approximately 2 dozen medium sized cookies):

  1. Preheat your oven to 375.
  2. Mash the banana together with the oil, “egg,” sugar, and extracts.  Make sure mixture is as smooth as possible.
  3. Sift the dry ingredients into a medium bowl.  Then mix in the oats.
  4. Add the dry into the wet in two doses.  When the second dose is almost  mixed in, carefully fold in the blueberries.
  5. Scoop onto parchment lined baking sheets in approximately 1 inch balls.  Make sure dough doesn’t touch, but they won’t really spread.  I pushed mine down to make them flat before baking.
  6. Bake for about 12-14  minutes, depending on your oven.  I would check them after 9, because I am baking at a high altitude, this worked best for me.
  7. Let them cool on a baking rack, and enjoy!!!

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