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Creamy Vegan Baked Pesto Pasta

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I have been on a vegan kick lately! I don’t practice a vegan lifestyle, however I find vegan recipes to be so creative, healthy and of course- delicious! I love love love Oh She Glows, a healthy food blog where I fell in love with vegan cooking! Her cookbook book is full of healthy and delicious recipes.

In this delicious baked vegan pasta recipe the creaminess comes from pureed beans rather than gobs of cheese, oil or fat.  The casserole turned out beautifully and tasted extremely delicious! This is heart healthy, full of fiber and low in calories.

For those of you who aren’t vegan, you can add cooked chicken or ham to the casserole before baking and sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese.

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Vegan Creamy Pesto Pasta


Yields 8 servings // Prep time 40 min // Cook time 50 -60 min

Pesto Ingredients: (You can also use store-bought pesto)

  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 Tbsp pine nuts
  • 3 Tbsp walnuts
  • 2 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

Casserole Ingredients:

  • ½ package whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 cup cashews, soaked for 1 hour in water
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp white wine
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 1 19-oz can white kidney beans
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup roasted red bell peppers, chopped
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • ½ cup grated vegan mozza cheese
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Additional salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a food processor or blender, combine the garlic, nuts, salt, pepper and basil. Pulse until finely chopped.  With the food processor running, add the oil, water and lemon juice. Blend until smooth. Place pesto in a covered bowl or container in the fridge until needed. You can also use store bought pesto instead.
  3. Cook pasta until al dente. Rinse with cold water and drain, set aside.
  4. Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, combine the cashews, milk, broth, lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper, wine and 1 cup of white beans. Blend until smooth.
  5. In a large bowl, combine the remaining beans, tomatoes, red pepper, spinach, milk mixture, pasta and pesto; toss to coat.
  6. Transfer to an oiled 8×8 inch baking dish. Smooth top and sprinkle with cheese, than evenly sprinkle the breadcrumbs and salt and pepper; drizzle with olive oil. Bake the casserole for 40 to 45 minutes or until the topping turns golden brown.
  7. Let cool for 10 to 20 minutes before serving.

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This Valentine’s Day weekend, I had so much fun experimenting with Paleo recipes! This was by far my favorite recipe- especially since it’s breakfast- my favorite meal ever. This sweet potato hash is full of flavor and of course, low in calories. The most difficult part was grating the sweet potato, be careful not to cut yourself during this step! I used a Julienne Peeler
– but you can also use the Julienne blade on a food processor to save time. For more Paleo recipes, I recommend Eat Drink Paleo.

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Paleo Sweet Potato Hash {Yummy Overload}


Yields 1-2 servings // Prep Time: 10-20 minutes // Cook time 10 minutes

Ingredients:

For the Hash:

  • 1 large yam or sweet potato
  • A pinch of salt
  • Several turns of freshly ground black pepper
  • A few shakes of garlic powder
  • A few shakes of onion powder
  • A sprinkle dried herbs (I used oregano)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)

For the Eggs:

  • 2 large eggs (1 per serving)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)

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Directions:

  1. Peel a yam using a peeler or sharp knife.
  2. Shred the yam into thin, uniform strips using a Julienne Peeler
  3. Transfer the shredded yams to a large bowl and toss with salt, pepper, garlic and onion powders, and dried herbs. Taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning.unnamed (4)
  4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the oil is shimmering, add the seasoned sweet potatoes/yams.
  5. Toss everything in the fat and stir-fry for a minute. Then, pop on a lid for a few more minutes while the yams cook. unnamed (3)
  6. The hash is ready when there’s some crunchy brown bits and texture is soft and tender.
  7. Cook eggs by heating oil in a medium pan over medium-low heat. Once oil is hot, crack two eggs into a bowl and pour gently into the hot pan.unnamed (2)
  8. Season the eggs with salt and pepper, and cover with a lid for 2-3 minutes, depending on how runny you like your yolks.
  9. Once they’re done, carefully slide them out of the skillet and on top of a mound of hash.

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 Eat Drink Paleo

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paleo

Over the past year (yes, I’ve been blogging for over a year and I LOVE it!) I have collected many, many cookbooks. I love sharing my favorite books with my amazing followers and fellow food bloggers. BTW, If you don’t already food blog, I highly recommend starting one! Find out how to start a cooking blog here.

I don’t follow a Paleo Diet but I love learning how to cook new recipes. The cookbook is called Eat Drink Paleo

Some of my favorite recipes:

Baked Apple and Pork Meatballs//Sweet Potato and Caramelized Garlic Soup// Paleo Beef and Porcini Shepard’s Pies

The premise of Paleo:

  • Eat whole, unprocessed, nutrient-dense, nourishing foods. Prioritize grass fed and pastured meats and eggs, wild-caught seafood, and vegetables. Enjoy fruit, nuts, and seeds in moderation.
  • Avoid foods that will harm us by causing systemic inflammation, wrecking our guts, or derailing our natural metabolic processes. Abstain from toxic, pro-inflammatory foods like gluten-containing grains, legumes, sugar, and the laboratory-concocted food found in the middle aisles of your neighborhood supermarket.

 

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I plan on making a few this weekend so stay tuned for my food photos and comments/critiques! Click on the cookbook above to start cooking from Eat Drink Paleo and let me know how you liked the recipes!

 

xo,
April at The Thin Kitchen

april sitting on counter 6 laughing black and white

 

 


9 Comments

Vanilla Almond Chia Seed Pudding

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I was so excited to make chia seed pudding! It is all the rage lately and I have never even tried it. It is extremely easy to make and of course tastes amazing.

I made this on Sunday with my neighbor Hanja (who is awesome).  We basically turned Sunday into a major girl day full of boy talk, Real Housewives of New York City, cooking, wine, power walking, skinny cocktails- and did I mention boy talk?

Hanja and I randomly became friends one night when I was bored. I knocked on her door and basically asked her to come grab cocktails with me. She was down and since then we have become good friends. Unfortunately Hanja will be moving to NYC, but that just gives me an excuse to visit her.

Nutrition:

1ounce of chia seeds contains:

  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 4.4 grams of protein
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • 137 calories

Omega-3’s lower inflammation levels in your body which may prevent heart disease and cancer. Fiber slows digestion and can prevent diabetes.

Why I love chia seed pudding:

  1. It totally works as a dessert
  2. You can get creative… aka chocolate almond milk + peanut butter chia seed pudding?  YUM!
  3. It’ easy to prepare
  4. Way cheaper to make it yourself then order from a restaurant

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Vanilla Almond Chia Seed Pudding


Yields: 4 servings // Prep time: 10 minutes // Refrigeration time: 4 hours

Ingredients:

  • ¼ cup raw chia seeds
  • 1 cup sweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 4 Tbsp slivered almonds

Directions:

  1. Add chia seeds, yogurt, almond milk, vanilla and maple syrup to a medium sized bowl. Whisk to combine.
  2. Cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, stirring occasionally. For best results, let the chia pudding refrigerate overnight.
  3. When it’s ready (it will thicken and turn into a pudding) place in a bowl and top with blueberries and slivered almonds.

I’d love to hear your comments!!

-April

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