Hello Fellow Chefs and Chefs-in-Spirit!
Welcome to the second installation of my Cook-at-Home series! Today we’ll do Twirly Whirly Pasta two ways! I like to use pastas that are made from beans or lentils – an easy way to get one’s plant-based protein! You’ll want to experiment with different brands, though, because not all of the gluten-free ones (yes, make sure you get CERTIFIED gluten-free pasta) is also well textured. Some of them tend to be sticky or gummy or flaky. So if on the first try you don’t succeed, try another brand! And while you’re at it, choose brands that package responsibly (e.g. low in plastic), buy in bulk, or better yet… go to a Zero Waste store in your area!
Today’s recipes are going to be a) saucy, and b) not-so-saucy! Thankfully, the distinguishing ingredient is the pasta sauce that you’ll need for a).
Saucy: Spiral lentil pasta with marinara sauce…
Unsaucy: Sun-dried tomatoes and coriander, lightly stir-fried in olive oil…
- A good kind of spiral pasta (try the ones made from lentils or beans!) – 250g or so
- 1 large leek
- Sundried tomatoes – about 10 pieces
- Half a medium-sized broccoli (use the stems too!)
- 1 bottle of tomato sauce – 250g (or you can use tomato paste too!)
- 1 carrot, shredded
- Coriander and pine nuts for garnish
1. Bring water to boil in a large pot. Add salt. Add pasta. Follow instructions for how long to cook (usually 8-10 minutes).
2. Drain, and set aside.
3. In the same pot, add a little olive oil and the leeks. Add salt directly to the leeks – bring out their flavour!
4. Now, add your veggies in the order of how long they take to cook. Start with the broccoli stems, and then the sundried tomatoes, broccoli heads, etc. The veggies suggested above are merely suggestions – use whatever you have on hand! I usually keep the carrots for last – add them in only after I have taken the dish off the stove. That’s more than enough heat for carrots – the crunch is worth skipping the fire for!
5. If you’re using sauce, add it now.
6. Then add your drained pasta.
7. Garnish for fresh, chopped coriander and pine nuts!
I love these singular pot nutritious meals! Bon appetit!
This is my first in a 7-part series of inventive home-cooking ideas! Hope it inspires you to cooking healthy, happy, gluten-free food at home!
Inspired by my love of cheese, I came up with two italian recipes that use a vegan, gluten-free ricotta cheese substitute made from tofu!
A full and satisfying gluten-free, vegan pizza…
Cooks easy in a glass dish in the oven… stays firm!
Same ingredients… different format: a casserole!
Cooks super easy in the oven as well… and it’s a delicious medley of tastes and textures… each bite different!
So let’s start with how to make the key ingredient: the vegan, gluten-free ricotta cheese! Play with the core recipe… you can make it with subtly different tastes just by adjusting the ratio of the ingredients!
Vegan, Gluten-Free Ricotta Cheese
- 50g of tofu (plain, ol’ tofu)
- 3 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (make sure it’s gluten-free)
- half a lemon/lime (squeezed)
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- 50g of soaked cashews
1. Put the cashews in the blender and blend until smooth.
2. Add the yeast, salt and lemon/lime juice.
3. Roughly cut up the tofu block and put into blender.
4. Blend all. Taste. Add what’s needed, as per your taste!
And now, to make the pizza and casserole! To assemble the pizza, you’ll want to first make the dough! I honestly haven’t perfected this part of the process yet – my dough turns out a bit thick and… well… not “doughy.” You’ll find plenty of great recipes online.
On your pizza dough, smear some good pasta sauce. Smother the sauce with a bunch of diverse veggies. My favourites are: peppers, mushrooms (goes so well with the cheese), spinach, tomatoes, beans, and aubergine. Bake! After 15 minutes or so, take out of the oven, add the home-made ricotta cheese, and put back into the oven for another 5-7 minutes. Voila!
A casserole is my favourite end-of-week dish to put together. Literally every vegetable or bean or nut that you need to consume quickly can go into this dish! To assemble the casserole, line a dish with olive oil. Next, layer the casserole, alternating between veggies and pasta sauce (or white sauce – you can read my recipe for a white sauce at this link). I like to use: quinoa, mushrooms, spinach, beans, lentils, and peppers (guys I mean literally anything else you have lying around!). Again, bake for 15 minutes, take out, put on the ricotta, put it back in the oven for another 5 minutes, and you’re good to go!
See you next time, with a brand new culinary idea for you to explore with me!