This weekend, Josh and I did a belated Valentines day dinner. Last year for Valentine’s day I made us a a non-vegan Italian dinner but since we switched to a plant-based diet this year, that was no longer an option. I did some digging around and found The Minimalist Baker’s Eggplant Lasagna Roll-Ups. They are filled with a tofu based, vegan ricotta and nestled in marinara sauce. I cannot recommend her recipe enough, and if you are looking to make a delicious, date-night meal I would highly suggest trying it. I pretty much followed her recipe exactly but I served the roll-ups with pasta and a salad I did make my own marinara sauce.
Marinara is a simple recipe in terms of ingredients but, for it to taste best, it does need to simmer for a while. The longer you cook it down, the more the flavors come together. If I have time, I will even make the sauce the night before I need it and put it in the fridge overnight. It’s honestly surprising how much more flavorful it gets as you let it sit.
It is one of my favorite recipes and I’ve been making it for years. Every time I make Italian food, this is my go-to sauce and I am really excited to share the recipe.
Ingredients (Prep Time: 10 min. Total time: 40 Min. Serves: 5):
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
- 29 oz. can crushed tomatoes
- 14 oz. can tomato sauce
- 1/2 tsp. sugar (coconut sugar or agave would work also)
- 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
- 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat. Once hot, add in onion and sauté until softened (about 5 minutes).
- Add in garlic, oregano, crushed red pepper and cook until fragrant and garlic softens.
- Reduce heat to low, add crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce and sugar. Stir and let simmer for at least 25 minutes (up to an hour if you have time)* stirring every once in a while to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pan.
- Stir in chopped basil and parsley and let sit for 5 minutes.
- Put this sauce on whatever your heart desires, dip bread in it, have it plain with pasta, or use it for a fancy schmancy date night meal.
*The longer you can let the sauce simmer the better. If I have time, I will let it simmer for an hour. It lets the sauce thicken and the flavor develop.
Last night, I found a perfectly ripe mango that I completely forgot about in the fruit bowl on my fridge. I threw two bananas in the freezer and went to bed excited try out a new smoothie recipe for breakfast. Yes, I lead a very exciting life, I know. Anyways, the smoothie turned out to be delicious. The mango was so sweet and frozen bananas made it perfectly creamy.
What really made it unique and flavorful was turmeric. Turmeric is aromatic and smells a bit like spicy orange. It has a pungent, earthy taste, is sweet and bitter at the same time, and pairs really well with ginger. It’s also known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties as well as a slew of other health benefits, so I try to throw it into recipes as much as possible. I also try to take a turmeric supplement whenever I remember, but I’ll save that for another post.
This smoothie makes for a filling, treat-like breakfast. It is naturally very sweet, I threw a date in mine but you can absolutely leave it out and it will still be delicious. I also love to throw flax seeds in everything because they are essentially flavorless but are full of heart-healthy fats and fiber. If you don’t have any on hand you can omit them as well. The recipe below makes 2 large smoothies.
I hope you enjoy this as much as I did!
Turmeric Mango Smoothie (Total time: 7 Min. Serves: 2)
- 1 Large Mango, peeled and cut in chunks
- 2 bananas, cut up and frozen
- 1 cup dairy-free milk (I used cashew)
- 1 date (omit if you want it less sweet)
- 1 Tbsp. ground flax
- 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
- Pinch of ground ginger
- 5 or 6 ice cubes
*Optional toppings: hemp seed, coconut flakes, granola, and natural peanut butter all go great with this!
- Toss all ingredients into a blender and blend on high speed until well incorporated.
Thai Curry is one of my favorite foods. I love how rich it is and how all of the spices give it a great depth of flavor. It’s my go-to every time I go out for Thai Food and I especially love it in the winter.
Last week, Chicago got hit with a ridiculous amount of snow. It gave me a good excuse to hang around the house and have a lazy weekend. It was also perfect Curry weather so I decided to trudge over to the grocery store and try to perfect a recipe I have been working on for a while. Good news is, hauling 3 huge bags of groceries (I got a bit carried away at the store) home in an unshoveled mess was worth it because I absolutely nailed this recipe! I am really excited to share it since it is so delicious.
Nutritionally, this soup is also slightly more balanced meal than traditional Curry. Adding broth stretches out the coconut milk and lightens things up a bit. Coconut milk is full of healthy plant-based fats, but I think everything is best in moderation. There are also tons of vegetables in here and rice noodles add some carbs to the meal. If you want to add a bit of protein to it you could totally throw some baked tofu in as well or add it on top at the end.
Thai Curry Soup (Prep Time: 15 min. Cook Time: 30 Min. Serves: 6)
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1/4 cup red curry paste
- 2 inch chunk ginger, peeled
- 4 cloves garlic, skin removed
- 3 Tbsp. soy sauce (gluten-free if you have an allergy)
- 1 Tbsp. brown sugar or coconut sugar
- 1 Tbsp. sesame oil
- 2 Tbsp. lime juice
- 6 cups vegetable broth*
- 2 (14 oz.) cans of full-fat coconut milk
- 1 cup button mushrooms, sliced
- 4 baby bok choy bunches, sliced
- 2 green peppers, julienned
- 1 medium red onion, sliced thin (save a bit as garnish)
- 1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 (8 oz) package vermicelli rice noodles
- 1/4 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup basil, chopped (optional)
- In a food processor or high speed blender, blend together curry paste, ginger and garlic until combined.
- In a large pot, over medium heat, melt coconut oil. Once melted, add in curry paste mixture and sauté until fragrant, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes.
- Add in soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, and lime juice. Stir until combined and then add in vegetable broth and coconut milk and allow it to come to a simmer.
- Once simmering, add in sweet potato, onion and green pepper, cook for 5 minutes.
- Add in baby bok choy, and mushrooms and simmer for another 2 minutes until they are slightly softened.
- Add in uncooked noodles and boil according to package instructions (usually 2 or 3 minutes) and stir in cilantro and basil.
- Top with extra basil, cilantro, red onions or green onions and enjoy!!
For broth I use vegan bullion and dilute it according to the package’s instructions, it tends to be much cheaper.*