Party Pasta

This recipe came to life after our housewarming party (all the way back in March… that’s how far behind I am in posting recent recipes).

For as much as I love to be in the kitchen, I am a lazy host. I almost never throw an elaborate dinner party. I prefer to host brunches, BBQs, or get togethers with nothing but finger food.

Things that are on the simpler side are my jam; like toasting bagels and throwing some berries in a bowl for a simple brunch, or grilling chicken and zucchini pairing with a crusty baguette and a good olive oil for dinner.

For our housewarming party, we went the heavy appetizer route and Trader Joe’s was our third host. I bought salsa, guac, hummus, and veggies; we did a simple cheese and salami plate; some focaccia and balsamic + olive oil; baked some taquitos and called it a day. (Aside from the homemade meatballs and tortillas chips that my arguably better-at-hosting husband made.)

After everyone came and ate, drank, and toured the house, we had a few leftovers. Namely a jar of corn salsa that I had never bought before… what to do, what to do with you? I thought as I crammed it into the fridge with our other leftovers.

Later that week I was eyeing a bag of spinach we had and thought, maybe… maybe some leafy greens, corn salsa, and black bean pasta will go well together?

And oh how well they do go together! The combo was such a hit I’ve picked up a few jars of that TJs corn salsa since and have made many more dinners of Party Pasta. This recipe is gluten free and can be vegan if you omit the parmesan cheese. It is the real MVP in our house and so simple that is just might make it into the lazy-host rotation for our next shabang.


Party Pasta

Prep time: 2 minutes | Cook time: 10 minutes | Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of black bean pasta
  • 1 jar of Trader Joe’s corn salsa
  • 1 bag of fresh spinach or 1/2 bag frozen
  • optional: parmesan cheese as garnish

Directions:

  • Cook black bean pasta according to the package and then drain cooking water
  • Add pasta back into the pot with spinach (the heat will wilt the spinach if fresh or defrost it if frozen) and corn salsa (we really like the flavor of the salsa so I am generous with the amount I use)
  • Dish and garnish with parm and freshly cracked black pepper

Vegan roasted red bell pepper sauce

YOU GUYS. This recipe is a winner. With one of my closet friends as my inspo (read about her wedding we just went to here), I whipped up this vegan roasted red bell pepper sauce to serve over spaghetti squash tonight and it’s so creamy, you wouldn’t even know there isn’t cheese in it.

IMG_0621 (1)

I’ll admit, there’s a bit of prep work (more than I usually do on a Monday) with roasting the bell peppers. And I made my own cashew milk, which obviously added time. You can prep the cashew milk the night before to save a few minutes but I do highly recommend making your own nut milk for this one; since it’s a savory dish.

I know you can buy unsweetened nut milk but it just always has a hint of sweet in my opinion. Besides, if you can avoid added ingredients, why not? Making your own nut milk is actually super simple. The only pitfall is it doesn’t keep for too long (no preservatives!) but I’ll give you the exact amounts I used for this recipe below.

That means, this post is actually two recipes in one! Your lucky day, friends.

As mentioned, I put this sauce over spaghetti squash (that I did prep the day before) but you can dip bread and veggies in it or use it as a sub for a more creamy pizza sauce.


Vegan roasted red bell pepper sauce

Prep time:  45 minutes – Cook time: 5 minutes – Servings: 2 – 3

Ingredients:

  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 2 chopped shallots
  • 2 – 4 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1 – 2 Tbs of olive oil
  • 3/4 cup cashew milk*
  • 2 Tbs of nutritional yeast
  • A few dashes of red chili flakes (optional)
  • Basil for garnish

Directions:

  • Roast bell peppers in a 450 degree toaster oven for 30 minutes or until skin is charred
  • Tent bell peppers in tin foil to steam for 10 minutes and then remove skin and seeds
  • Sauté shallots and garlic in olive oil
  • Add peppers, sautéd shallots and garlic, cashew milk, nutritional yeast, and red chili flakes to blender and blend until smooth
  • Garnish and serve 🙂

 

IMG_0617
Roast

img_0618.jpg
Peel

IMG_0619
Blend

IMG_0620
Pour

*For the cashew milk:

  • Simply soak 1/2 cup unsalted cashews in water for ~8 hours (I soaked mine while I was at work today)
  • Drain cashews and add to blender with 1/2 cup of water
  • Blend and strain in a nut milk bag

IMG_0616

Get-Better Broccoli Soup

I worked from home today because of a major toothache that caused a sore throat and ear pain.  I usually eat breakfast and lunch at work so I really didn’t have much food in the house, especially because it is nearing the end of the week!

I honestly wasn’t feeling breakfast at all (so much pain!) and stuck to tea after tea all morning. Around noon I was starting to get hungry though. I had canned soup that I could have easily heated up but I’ve been reading about how bad BPA is for us, especially for women and our fertility (call me crazy or paranoid except not really because it’s fact) so I decided to get creative in the kitchen!

I whipped up a broccoli soup that was so yummy, I’ll be making a bigger batch to freeze in the near future. I used ingredients I happened to have on hand and this recipe as my muse.

The cumin and lime give this soup such a nice flavor with just the right amount of kick. Plus, all of the vitamins and antioxidants in the broccoli really did have me feeling better; not to mention the garlic, carrots, and nutrient power-house lentils that were also in there.

I now present you with my Get-Better Broccoli Soup (which is both vegan and gluten free #hey)

img_0301
The random ingredients I had to work with… (frozen homemade veggie broth FTW)

img_0302
Sauteed garlic and carrots

img_0303
Added lentils and veg broth

img_0304
Add cumin, lime juice, and frozen broccoli; boil, simmer, blend!

 

img_0306
Ta-da 


Get Better Broccoli Soup

Prep time: 10 minutes – Cook time: 20 minutes – Serves 4 *freezes well*

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic – chopped
  • 1 c carrot – chopped
  • 1/2 c red lentils
  • 4 c veg broth
  • 1 c broccoli
  • 1 Tbs cumin
  • 1 Tbs lime juice

Directions

  • Sauté garlic until translucent
  • Add carrot and continue heating for ~1 minute
  • Add lentils, veg broth, and broccoli
  • Bring to a boil
  • Stir in cumin and lime juice
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes
  • Blend together (I used an immersion blender but a regular blender would work too)
  • Serve, sip, and get better!