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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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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

 

 


2 Comments

Thin Shrimp and Avocado Salad with Miso Dressing

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My good friend Jen came over on Saturday for an afternoon of cooking and puppy play (she has the cutest little Pug named Leroy)! We both love salad, so we decide to make a hearty one full of fresh ingredients!  But mind you- White Miso Paste can be tough to find. We searched three different markets to find it!  Finally, we had luck at Mother’s Market.  Although our shopping trip took longer than expected, it was definitely worth it.  We both loved the way this recipe turned out! It is definitely a winner :) I hope you enjoy!

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Thin Shrimp and Avocado Salad with Miso Dressing


Yields 2 servings \\ Prep time 25 minutes \\ Cooked time 10 minutes

Ingredients
For the salad:
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ pound raw shrimp, tails removed
  • ½ tablespoon canola oil
  • ½ teaspoon chili powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 1½ cups sliced avocados (2 small)
  • 1 cucumber
  • 4 cups chopped baby kale
  • fresh chopped cilantro for topping
For the miso dressing:
  • 1 1-inch piece of fresh peeled ginger
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice (more to taste)
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar
  • 1½ tablespoons white miso
  • ½ teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
 
Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium high heat. Add the garlic and shrimp; sprinkle with the chili powder and cayenne directly in the pan. Saute for a few minutes on each side until the shrimp are no longer clear and have a nice golden color on the outside.
  2. Peel and dice the cucumber and avocado. Chop the baby kale into small bite sized pieces. Arrange in a bowl with the shrimp.
  3. Puree all the dressing ingredients together in a food processor until smooth. Taste and adjust to your preferences. Pour the dressing over the salad and serve immediately (or store the individual parts separately in the refrigerator until ready to serve). Top with fresh cilantro. Yum!

 

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6 Comments

Spinach and Basil stuffed Chicken

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This recipe has become one of my favorites! It is easy to prepare and is extremely healthy. I have been cooking a lot of chicken lately and find this one to be extra moist and flavorful (with little fat or calories).

I cooked this last night with the help of my boyfriend. I prepare the filling while he was in charge of cooking the chicken. I paired this dish with couscous and chopped tomatoes.

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Spinach and Basil stuffed Chicken


Yields 4 servings \\ Prep time 10 minutes \\ Cooked time 25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless and skinless chicken breast halves
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup Gruyere cheese
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Using a sharp knife, cut each chicken breast in half horizontally through the thickest portion, to the opposite side. You should make this into a pocket large enough to hold the spinach filling. Do Not cut all the way through! Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper.

2. In a small food processor combine the spinach, basil and cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover and process until well mixed. Spread mixture into the filling of the chicken breasts.

3. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook chicken in hot skillet for 4-5 minutes or until brown, turning once. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Serve with quinoa and diced tomatoes. Enjoy :)

 

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