Tag Archives: entree


12 Mar

There is a restaurant near me that I’ve been to a couple times who serves a “cheeseless” mac ‘n cheese. They are by no means a vegan restaurant – not even vegetarian – but this dish seems to be a staple and a favorite among many.  Not surprisingly, because it is DELICIOUS.  Recently, I decided I wanted to try and recreate it.  All I knew was that it contained butternut squash… and pasta… so, I briefly browsed through recipes online for vegan mac ‘n cheese, to see what people were using to give it the “cheese-like” consistency.  I came to two conclusions: nutritional yeast, and daiya vegan cheese.  Ugh.  Since I refuse to use overly processed vegan “cheese”, and something about nutritional yeast weirds me out… maybe it’s the name, maybe I should start calling it by it’s ethiopian name “yeshi”… or maybe I should just (wo)man up and use it… but either way, the point is I didn’t want to use it in this recipe.  So, off to my own drawing board!

I just decided to wing it, and see what would come of it!

….first step, roast the squash!

Since I was making this dish vegan, I used almond milk (hoping it would give a little nutty creamy flavor), and thickened it with arrowroot powder, adding a little turmeric for color (and anti-inflammatory benefit!).  Onions and garlic? sure… might add a nice touch…I suppose I’ll sauté those together…  now it’s time to turn to my ever-so-handy cuisinart and blend everything into oblivion. tasty oblivion.  cook pasta. mix together. bake….. voila!

Ok ok, but let’s back up, and go over those ingredients and process in list form :)  Also, you can totally still add cheese if you just want a healthier mac ‘n cheese and don’t need/want this to be vegan.  I tried it both ways, one dish as just the squash mixture, and the other I added sharp cheddar cheese. Both were really good! Have fun with it, adjust the ingredients to your own taste, if you wish. Also, this recipe is gluten free if you use a gluten free pasta!!


makes an 8×14″ baking pan, 6-8 servings

  • 16 oz pasta of your choice (I like shells! and next time I will use quinoa pasta…gluten free!!)
  • 1 medium butternut squash (about 2 to 3 cups, once roasted/mashed)
  • 1-1/2 + cup unsweetened and unflavored almond milk
  • 1/4 medium yellow onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic (or more to taste)
  • 1 tsp arrowroot powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp turmeric (optional)
  • +/- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese (optional, if you don’t want it vegan)


  1. Heat oven to 375 F, cut squash in half, remove seeds, brush lightly with olive oil, and roast for 40 minutes or until done (should be very soft). You can also peel the squash and cut into cubes, and roast the cubes if you are short on time (they’ll roast faster).
  2. Spoon the squash out of the peel (unless you peeled it and cubed it already), discard the peel. You should get somewhere between 2 and 3 cups of squash mash. Set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta, set aside when done.
  4. While the squash and pasta are cooking, dice the 1/4 onion and garlic.  Saute onion and garlic together with a little olive oil for 5 or 10 minutes until onions are soft and slightly caramelized. Remove from heat and set aside.
  5. In a medium saucepan, bring 1-1/2 cups almond milk to a simmer (not boiling), add arrowroot powder and turmeric.  Stir continuously until the mixture thickens. Remove from heat and set aside.
  6. Now, hopefully you have a cuisinart! If not, you can do this in a blender.  Throw everything you just made into the cuisenart MINUS the pasta. The squash, the onion/garlic, and the almond milk mixture. Blend it all together, scraping down the sides to make sure everything fully incorporates together.  Now is the time you have to use your judgement…. you might need to add a little more almond milk if the mixture seems too thick (this will all depend on how much squash you got out of your squash), so add almond milk and keep blending until the mixture is more like the consistency of yogurt.  Also, add salt to taste! I probably added about 2 teaspoons.. but I didn’t measure. Just add a little, blend, taste, add more if needed.. repeat.
  7. When your mixture is satisfactory to you, put the pasta into a big mixing bowl, and pour the squash mixture over it. mix mix mix! Now’s the time to add cheese if you are going to.
  8. Spoon the mixture evenly into a 8×14 baking dish (or similar), and bake for 30 or so minutes at 375 F, until the top starts to brown a little. Remove from oven, and serve right away! Enjoy!!

Moroccan Couscous

16 Feb

This is one of my mom’s recipes. I like to do a little extra butternut squash to have on a side salad. You can certainly do it with regular couscous, but you’ll need less stock (maybe just half a cup), and the couscous will cook faster – after you bring the liquid to a boil, stir in couscous and raisins, cover, and let stand until liquid is absorbed (about five minutes). For my tastes, however, Israeli couscous is worth the wait! ~ Paula


  • 4 cups butternut squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 red onion, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • olive oil
  • salt (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)
  • 1 cup (at least) vegetable stock
  • 1/8 cup honey (more to taste)
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne
  • zest of one lemon
  • 3/4 cup Israeli couscous
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley


  1. Place baking sheet lines with aluminum foil in oven, preheat to 450
  2. Toss squash and onion with oil, salt and pepper to taste
  3. Transfer to baking sheet, roast until tender, stirring occasionally (about 20 min); set aside
  4. Combine stock, honey, lemon juice, oil, cumin, coriander, cayenne, and lemon zest in a pot
  5. Bring to a boil, stir in couscous and raisins
  6. Cover, let simmer until couscous is soft – stir and add more stock as needed, any extra liquid can be poured off
  7. Stir in roasted veggies, top with parsley

Vegetarian Moroccan Tagine

12 Jul

This delicious dish is a perfect balance of sweet and savory.  It is a variation on traditional Moroccan Tagine, which typically contains lamb and is more savory than sweet.  This recipe is vegetarian, light and full of flavor.   It’s best served over a bed of fluffy cous cous and with plain greek yogurt and apricot pepper sauce on the side.  The long list of ingredients might make the recipe look daunting.. but it’s much easier than it looks, just throw everything together – the combination is to die for!  —Alex


  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 tsp ground cumin seed
  • 1 whole cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 tsp cardimum, ground
  • 1 tsp tumeric, ground
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
  • 3 medium garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 can chickpeas
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 medium head cauliflower, cut into medium pieces
  • 4-5 medium carrots, cut into rounds
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 fresh lemon
  • 1/2 cup diced dried figs
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup diced dried apricots
  • 2 boxes plain cous cous (about 2-3 cups dry)
  • 1 cup pine nuts

on the side:

  • plain greek yogurt (or vegan yogurt)
  • hot apricot pepper sauce (can be purchased at the store, or make your own with apricot jam, red chili pepper, and a little apple cider vinegar to taste).


  1. Heat the olive oil in a large cast iron or other non-stick pan (at least 14″, preferably larger).  Add the onions and saute until slightly carmelized, then add all the spices and saute until aromatic (a couple minutes).
  2. Add the chickpeas, carrots and cauliflower, some of the vegetable broth, and continue to saute/simmer, stirring often.
  3. Meanwhile, steam the cubed sweet potato (either in a steamer, or microwave) until fully cooked. Remove and set aside.
  4. When the vegetables are nearing tenderness, squeeze the lemon juice in, add the dried fruit and add the sweet potatoes, continue stirring and don’t be afraid to gently mash up the sweet potatoes while you stir – it will give it a little more bind at the end.
  5. Continue stirring until everything is evenly cooked and spiced. Adjust spices to taste if necessary.
  6. For the cous cous, cook as directed (make sure to add about 1 tsp olive oil to the water first) and don’t forget to add 1 cup of pine nuts!
  7. Fluff the cous cous with a fork, put the tagine in a serving bowl (unless you’re doing individual plates, then place the tagine over a bed of cous cous), don’t forget the yogurt and apricot pepper sauce on the side… ENJOY!

serves about 8


Beet Loaf

23 Apr

For all my vegetarian friends out there who have been searching for an all veggie alternative to meat loaf, may I introduce BEET LOAF!  This deep red loaf of superiority will have you going back for seconds and thirds! I have always loved meat loaf (in my pre-veggie-only days) with ketchup, but this would be great with a mushroom gravy as well.~Caydie


2 Tsp olive oil

1 small yellow onion, grated

2 cloves minced garlic

3 beets, shredded

2 carrots, shredded

5 medium brown mushrooms, shredded

1 green zucchini, shredded

2 cups rolled oats

1 egg

1 Tbsp soy sauce


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over low heat, and cook the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes, until tender. Mix in the beets, carrots, mushroom, and zucchini. Continue to cook and stir for 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and mix in oats, cheese, and egg. Stir in soy sauce, transfer the mixture to a bowl, and refrigerate 1 hour (or overnight). Once the oats have absorbed all of the moisture in the mixture, you are ready to go.  Grease a bread pan with cooking spray and spread the mixture into the pan.  Pack it in fairly tight.  Place the pan into the oven and cook for 45 minutes or until the loaf is firm.

Yeilds: about 6 servings

Mushroom and Spinach Fritatta

23 Apr

This dish is great for nearly any meal (with the exception of dessert, of course!).  I enjoy it for breakfast, especially when it’s smothered in Ketchup! Delicious and simple, it is everything I seek in life.~Caydie


10 eggs, beaten

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 yellow onion

6-7 medium brown mushrooms

2 large hand-fulls of baby spinach

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 clove of garlic, minced


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a 10″ cast iron skillet, over medium heat, sautee the onion in the olive oil.  Once the onion is fairly translucent throw in the mushrooms and garlic. Continue to sautee until these ingredients are soft.  Now throw the spinach into the skillet and stir until they too have softened.  Once the vegetables are all soft remove the skillet from the heat and spray the edges of the skillet with a cooking spray.  Now pour in the beaten eggs.  You may sprinkle cheese on top if you like (I recommend smoked gouda).  Place the skillet in the oven until the egg is cooked through, about 20 minutes. Serve hot!

Yeilds: about 6 servings

Won Ton Soup

6 Mar

Best made with a group of friends – the more hands for folding, the better! I got this recipe from a well-loved, bruised and battered cookbook passed from my mom to my sister. I highly encourage playing with the recipe – vegetarians might drop the pork and add bamboo shoots, snow peas, or other veggies… ~ Paula


  • 10 small Chinese mushrooms (shiitake, for example)
  • 1/4 lb raw prawns
  • 5 fresh water chestnuts (or 7 canned ones – these should be stir fried with a tablespoon of oil and a teaspoon of sugar; cool before using)
  • 1/5 lb ground pork
  • 1 green onion, finely chopped
  • 1 package of won ton skins (contains 80)
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/2 t sugar
  • 1 t soy sauce
  • 1 t oyster sauce
  • dash of pepper
  • 1 1/4 T cornstarch
  • 1 egg


  1. Boil mushrooms for 10 minutes, rinse, squeeze dry and discard stems; dice.
  2. Shell, devein, and wash prawns; dice.
  3. Peel, crush, and dice water chestnuts (or just dice if they’re canned).
  4. Combine mushrooms, prawns, and water chestnuts.
  5. Add remaining ingredients; mix well.
  6. Have ready a small dish of warm water. Place a teaspoon of filling on a wrapper, dip a finger in the water, and trace the edges of the wrapper before folding it over to make a triangle. This seals the dumpling – VERY IMPORTANT! Then draw two points of the triangle together, making a little pope hat (see picture).
  7. Wontons can be frozen for 3-4 weeks, stir-fried, or used in soup. We just added them to lightly boiling chicken broth (they’ll float when they’re done cooking, like ravioli), tossing in a handful of chopped green onions. Delicious.

Velvety Butternut Squash Risotto

19 Jan

This velvety risotto is given it’s creamy smooth texture by the butternut squash…no cream or butter added! Healthy, well rounded and versatile; this recipe shows off the flavors and textures of any desired produce. Have fun, change it up, but never leave out the squash!  —Alex


  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • ½ cup dry white wine
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion – chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped scallions
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups arborio rice (you can also use 1 cup wild rice or brown rice plus 1 cup arborio)
  • 1 cup mashed butternut squash
  • 2 cups chopped asparagus
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (optional – omit if vegan)


  1. Bring broth to simmer in medium saucepan. Cover, and keep heat on low. (You will use the heated broth later)
  2. Put the oil in large (at least 14″ diameter x 3″ deep) pan over medium-low heat. Add onion, scallion, and garlic & saute for several minutes until tender.
  3. Add rice; stir constantly until rice is translucent at edges but still opaque in center.
  4. Add wine; simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, stirring often.
  5. Add broth 1 cup at a time while stirring, allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next.
  6. Stir in all remaining ingredients except cheese.
  7. Continue adding broth by cupfuls and stirring until rice is almost tender.
  8. A couple minutes before it seems done, add the cheese and stir in until evenly melted through.
  9. Remove from heat, place in a serving bowl, & enjoy!

yields about 8 servings