Tag Archives: pasta

Vegan Manicotti

With my plate pretty full from working during the week & getting used to my daughters school routine, I’m on the hunt for some fast & easy dinners… So are you, right?!  Most days I work until 5:30-6pm, so I love a good homemade meal that I know the kids will eat AND that I can whip up fairly quickly. Kids or no kids, one can never have enough recipes like that in their possession!

In my experience, most kids – and some adults – are finicky eaters (one time they love something and the next time they wont touch it!) so I get really excited when I make something that my kids really love EVERY time. It is so comforting to know when they are going to bed with a nice full belly! Here’s a few links to some of our favorite family meals that are fairly quick to make: fettucini no-fredo, biscuits and gravy, soysage casserole (prepared ahead), homemade vegan mac, pancakes/waffles (sorry no direct link, theres too many to choose from!), pot pie, homemade pizza… &  spaghetti with meatballs!

My family loves this tofu ricotta! I love it for a few reasons – it is fast, it is versatile (it makes several meals – lasagna, manicotti, ziti), the dishes can be made ahead or frozen, & its  healthy- the ricotta is full of protein (tofu) & vitamin B-12 (nutritional yeast), two things that are especially great for vegans. In fact, I think this ricotta just so good that I keep putting off trying vegan ricotta using cashews, a recipe I’ve been meaning to try FOREVER! I’ll get around to it soon, it’s just that Vegan Gourmet Soy cheese is very accessible to me and I personally think its delicious. I have never tried to make this ricotta recipe with Diaya, but I’m sure it would be yummy too. Let me know if you try that!

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Vegan Manicotti

Manicotti is super easy and simple. The hard part is stuffing the noodles without splitting them! (Be sure to cook up lots of noodles cause they split fairly easily.) I think the best, fastest & most attractive way to achieve this is to use a pastry frosting piping bag or making your own by cutting the tip off the corner of a large freezer-ziplock bag. You can also just stuff jumbo shells if you prefer… They are easier to fill, but I find them messier overall. (TIP: Another quick meal to make with this ricotta is making baked ziti – cook & drain ziti noodles and just stir it all together (ziti noodles, ricotta, and sauce), shred some more cheese on top and bake it up!)

You will need :

  • 9×13″ baking pan
  • 1 jar of sauce
  • 1 batch of Tofu Ricotta (recipe below)
  • 1 box of Manicotti Noodles (Ferrara is what I usually use)

1) Make this tofu ricotta in a food processor. Blend all ingredients but pulse the basil in last, if you are using fresh basil.

  • 1 block tofu (I like to use extra firm)
  • 1 cup shredded vegan gourmet mozzarella, packed
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (fresh is best!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil – pulse in last! (2 tsp – 3 tsp if using dry basil)

2) Cook noodles according to box. (Mine cooked about 8-9 min.) Take the noodles out of the boiling water when they are done and lay them on paper towels to wait until they are cool enough to handle.

3) Spread a little sauce in the bottom of your 9 x 12 baking dish. Now fill the noodles carefully with the tofu ricotta by spoon or piping bag (I recommend the piping/ziplock bag method).

4) Arrange the stuffed noodles side by side in the pan. Cover with sauce and bake 25 minutes at 350 F. That’s all there is to it!

Serve with fresh garlic toast or bread. Mmmmmm! So easy and satisfying!

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The proof is on the plate… or in this case, an almost empty plate!!

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Arlo in action! Chomp! Chomp!

I cant even tell you how happy I am now that I found my camera!  Blogging recipes isn’t as much fun when you can’t share the visual of the finished product! More to come very soon! 🙂

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Noodles with Sesame-Peanut Sauce

What is your favorite Disney movie?  Okay… wait.  I’m going to stop myself right there. That may just be an impossible question to answer. Let me say it this way – is there a Disney movie you’d like to see featured on Your Vegan Neighbor’s Dinner and a Movie night?

Last night for our Dinner and a Movie, we watched Disney’s Dumbo and we made a delicious noodle bowl with a sesame-peanut sauce. Read all about our movie night and get the recipe right here!

Spaghetti and Vegan Meatballs

Hey everyone! I just posted our very first ‘Dinner and a Movie’ under my new heading titled  “Dinner and a Movie”.  For our first dinner and a movie night, we chose to make Spaghetti and Vegan Meatballs to go along with Disney’s Lady & the Tramp! Click here!!!

Remember to check back under ‘Dinner & a Movie’ occasionally to see if there’s a new post up! I will always be featuring kid-friendly flicks.  I hope you enjoy our new tradition as much as I know we will! 🙂

Vegan Lasagna with Tofu Ricotta

Well, Valentines Day is tomorrow.  You know, when someone puts their time and energy into making a homemade meal, there is nothing that could be better or more loving, at least in my opinion. I would much rather enjoy a delicious homemade meal for Valentines Day in the privacy of my own home than to sit in a crowded restaurant with (often) over-priced food.  Maybe that’s just me, but there is something extremely sexy about a man (or woman) cooking in the kitchen for their loved one.

Valentines Day is also one of those occasions where you may want to consume a small (or large) amount of wine – I would like to use Sir Paul McCartney as my example here, when he sings, “I want to tell her that I love her a lot, but I gotta have a belly full of wine”… well, who wants to stop ole Paul from saying that?! And what better a day than Valentines to say or hear those words ‘i love you’… without also hearing an “Uh oh, my dear – we are being pulled over”!  Yes, Valentines Day is a great opportunity to stay home and have a nice candle-lit home cooked meal… and to indulge a bit 😉

So, one of my favorite meals EVER is lasagna. There is nothing in the world like a good lasagna.  There are many things to love about lasagna.  I love how versatile lasagna is.  I love how yummy it is.  I love how you have leftovers.  I love that my kids love it.  I love how you can basically make it out of whatever veggies you have in the fridge.

When I make lasagna, I usually stick to the basics… onion, spinach, mushrooms, zucchini and yellow squash.  Combine those with some noodles, a good sauce (homemade is best, but sometimes you gotta go with the jar), and a good ricotta recipe and you will find yourself content.  Make that very content.

Now I would like to share with you my delicious homemade ricotta recipe.  It is SO easy, and SO good, you better just prepare yourself!

~ TOFU RICOTTA ~

This is my original delicious tofu ricotta recipe.  This is enough for one lasagna. Simply blend until desired consistency in the food processor – be sure to pulse in the basil last so your ricotta wont turn green!

  • 1 block extra firm tofu (drained)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup soymilk
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup Vegan Gourmet mozzarella cheese, shredded (you will need one entire block to have enough to shred some on top)
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • salt & pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (pulse in last)

ricotta necessities (minus basil and tofu)

blending up the ricotta in my food processor

Heres how much basil I used - please note that this amount of basil is for two lasagnas.

TO MAKE (ONE) LASAGNA:

You will need:

  • at least one jar of sauce
  • lasagna noodles (1-2 boxes)
  • veggies of choice (my last lasagna contained: 1 onion/ 1 cup chopped mushrooms/ 2 zucchini & 1 squash, quartered/ 2 cups packed spinach).

Start by cooking your lasagna noodles al dente.  I like to saute my veggies about 5 minutes to soften them up, then I just stir them right into my ricotta to save a step for easy lasagna stacking. Assemble lasagna as shown below in a 13 x 9″ pan and bake for an hour, covered, at 350.  Sometimes I like to broil it uncovered for 2-3 minutes at the end, just to get the top cheese meltier.

(That last step of broiling is unnecessary if you use Daiya cheese, though I LOVE the flavor of the Vegan Gourmet so much, I have actually never tried to make lasagna using Daiya, though I bet it would be just as fabulous. You maybe would need two bags though, since it comes pre-shredded.)

  • shredded cheese on top
  • sauce
  • noodles
  • sauce
  • ricotta/veggies
  • noodles
  • sauce
  • ricotta/veggies
  • noodles
  • layer of sauce on bottom of pan

These are my favorite noodles

dont forget to wash your veggies!

I like to lightly saute all the veggies

Here I am, building up the layers...

Here is one of them about to go in the oven... I would've liked to have a bit more cheese on top but I ran out!

Voila! This slice for my daughter came out beautifully!

I like to eat mine with some good buttered bread on the side! You gotta have bread to wipe up all that extra yummy sauce and ricotta that falls out!

Our family was part of a “food tree” where we signed up to bring a home cooked meal to a friend who just had a baby, hence the two lasagnas.  If you ever have the opportunity to participate in one, sign up!  It feels so good to help people! And you parents (especially you new parents) know how good a nice meal can be when you don’t have to throw it together yourself while the baby is napping!  (And just so you know, they said the lasagna we brought them was “the bomb”!)

Fettuccine NoAlfredo

So this is my vegan version of Fettuccine Alfredo…  I have always wanted to try making an alfredo sauce using cashew cream (surely an awesome recipe like that exists out there somewhere)… however…I LOVE the way this sauce turns out so much that I always end up saying, “I’ll try using cashews next time!” and then I keep making this one again and again and again and again! (It’s truly that good!) I prefer to use the Vegan Gourmet brand of mozzarella soy cheese in this recipe.  Serve with some sliced & buttered French bread on the side. This recipe always gets my kids to happily clean their plates… and there really isn’t anything much better than that!

~Fettucini No-Alfredo~

Saute in a little olive oil & set aside:

  • 1 small (or 1/2 of a large) yellow onion
  • 4 cloves chopped garlic

To make the sauce, puree the following in a food processor:

  • 1 block xtra-firm silken tofu (i like the MoriNu brand)
  • < 1/4 cup vegenaise (vegan mayo)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup soymilk
  • 1 tsp arrowroot flour (or perhaps cornstarch)*
  • heaping 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup shredded (packed) Follow Your Heart Vegan Gourmet mozzarella soy cheese
  • the onion & garlic mixture from above
  • pinch nutmeg, pinch cayenne pepper
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • fresh basil for the top (or you can mix in 2 tsp dry basil to the sauce)
  • 2 packs regular fettuccine noodles (I usually use DuBoles)

*I initally used the arrowroot flour as a thickening agent, though since it is such a small amount, I honestly don’t know if it is really a neccessary ingredient.  If you don’t have any arrowroot, I wouldn’t sweat it.

After you have made your sauce, heat it over medium heat in a saucepan, whisking often. It’s okay to let it bubble a little, but don’t let it boil rapidly.  You should probably keep a cover on it so it doesn’t splatter. Turn heat to low until noodles are done, but continue whisking every minute or two.

Cook fettuccine noodles according to the package.  Drain noodles & toss them with the sauce, or if you prefer, plate noodles and then top with sauce & fresh basil. Serve with sliced bread, if desired, & ENJOY!

Gathering the ingredients...

Now you see it... now you don't!