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Tag Archive: tomatoes

Basic Tomato Sauce

July 7, 2014 Print this page

Do you want the taste of homemade tomato sauce without slaving away over the stove for hours? This is your solution–healthy, fast, and flavorful.

Ingredients

Prep Time 5 min
Cooking Time 25 min
Total Time 30 min
Yield Approximately 4 cups

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1/2 of an onion, diced finely

1 large clove of garlic, crushed

1 tablespoon of dried basil

1 tablespoon of dried oregano

1 1/2 teaspoons of dried thyme

A generous pinch of salt

1 14 ounce can of crushed tomatoes

1 14 ounce can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes

1 6 ounce can of tomato paste

A pinch of organic cane sugar or coconut sugar (optional)

Directions

In a medium saucepan, heat up the olive oil and add the onion. Saute until slightly browned, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic. Stir to incorporate and add the dried basil, oregano, and thyme, along with a generous pinch of salt.

To the onion, garlic, and herbs, pour in the crushed tomatoes, fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, and tomato paste. I love the combination of regular and fire-roasted because it gives the sauce a little heat without it being overwhelming, and it nicely compliments the tomato flavor.

Bring the tomato sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cook until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes, then taste. Chances are, your sauce might taste a little acidic; I recommend adding a pinch of unrefined cane sugar or coconut sugar just to balance it out.

In the blender or with an immersion blender, blend the sauce until few bits of onion remain. Set aside until ready to use.


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Spinach Cannelloni (gluten-free + vegan)

July 6, 2014 1 Comment Print this page

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Do you see all of that cheese in there, from the ricotta inside to the mozzarella on top?! There is no way this thing is vegan.

But it is.

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That’s right. I made not one, but two different kinds of vegan cheese for this recipe. Sheer madness. And you don’t miss the dairy or regular pasta at all in this cannelloni: it’s just as cheesy, indulgent, and flavorful as its heavy Italian counterpart. The best part is that after you’re done with dinner, you’ll feel full, but not greasy or sluggish like after sitting down to a decadent ristorante meal. That’s the magic of cashew cheese: tastes great and feels great going down.

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Originally, I wanted to make stuffed shells…but I couldn’t find gluten-free or even whole wheat ones anywhere, and I looked at three different supermarkets! Sure, there were brown rice shells on Amazon, but I wasn’t willing to shell out $11 for a meager box of pasta when it would cost a third as much in the store.

Instead, I re-strategized and picked up a box of brown rice lasagna at Whole Foods and sought out to make cannelloni, one of my mom’s favorites when she and my dad go out for Italian food. I haven’t eaten the “real thing” in years, so I thought it would be fun to try.

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A word of caution: this recipe does take some time to assemble. There are lots of components, and proper timing is crucial. I recommend making the two vegan cheeses and the tomato sauce beforehand for quick assembly on a weeknight; if it’s a weekend or you have some free time, by all means do this all in one sitting.

But I promise you…the result is so worth it. Yum.

Ready to become an Italian-yet-vegan god/goddess? Let’s get started.

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We’ll first start off with this simple tomato sauce: in a medium saucepan, heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil and add 1/2 of an onion, diced finely. Saute until slightly browned, about 5 minutes, then add 1 large clove of crushed garlic. Stir to incorporate and add 1 tablespoon of dried basil, 1 tablespoon of oregano, and 1 1/2 teaspoons of thyme, along with a generous pinch of salt.

To the onion, garlic, and herbs, pour in 1 14 ounce can of crushed tomatoes, 1 14 ounce can of fire-roasted crushed tomatoes, and 1 6-ounce can of tomato paste. I love the combination of regular and fire-roasted because it gives the sauce a little heat without it being overwhelming, and it nicely compliments the tomato flavor.

Bring the tomato sauce to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cook until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes, then taste. Chances are, your sauce might taste a little acidic; I recommend adding a pinch of unrefined cane sugar or coconut sugar just to balance it out. Sounds weird, but it really works!

In the blender or with an immersion blender, blend the sauce until few bits of onion remain. Set aside until ready to use.

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Meanwhile, rinse and dry off the equivalent of approximately two cups of spinach. If you got big leaves, chop it up a bit–if you got baby spinach, don’t bother.

Heat up 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small saucepan, and when hot, add the spinach. Saute just to slightly wilt, only a minute or so, then immediately remove from the heat. Transfer to a bowl or plate and let cool to room temperature–you can speed up the process by putting it in the fridge.

While the spinach cools, make the ricotta “cheese” inspired by this recipe: in the bowl of a food processor, blend 1 3/4 cups of soaked raw cashews with 1/2 cup of water, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon of garlic powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Pulse until everything is well-blended but NOT smooth, about 1 minute. It should be the texture of “real” ricotta cheese and there should be no big pieces of cashew. (That’s just gross.)

Once your spinach is cool, place it over a fine mesh strainer in the sink and squeeze out as much water as you possibly can. Then, transfer it to a cutting board and chop into smaller pieces. Stir the spinach into the ricotta “cheese” and set aside.

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Now is a good time to bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once bubbling, add in 12 gluten-free lasagna noodles–I used brown rice because I tolerate it well and there are just three ingredients (rice, rice bran, and water). Use whatever noodles float your boat–or substitute thinly sliced zucchini, if you’d like.

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Here’s the trick: cook your pasta for ONLY five minutes. This ensures that it’s pliable but still not cooked on the inside. Your cannelloni will be spending 30 minutes in a hot oven, so you want to leave the pasta very al dente to prevent it from becoming a mushy mess later on.

Once the five minutes are up, strain the pasta and rinse well with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside for now.

If you want to, make some vegan mozzarella “cheese.” You can follow my recipe here with step-by-step photos here.

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It’s now time to assemble! Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Take out a 9 x 13 dish and pour (approximately) 1 cup of your prepared tomato sauce on the bottom. Use a spatula to spread it out.

To roll the cannelloni, take one lasagna noodle and lie it flat on a clean surface. Add a large scoop (about 2-3 tablespoons) of the prepared vegan ricotta “cheese” and use the back of a spoon to spread it out. It should cover 3/4 of the noodle, not the entire thing.

Then, using a good amount of torque, roll up the noodle with the filling inside. Place it seam-side down in the dish with the tomato sauce and repeat with the rest of the lasagna noodles.

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Please ignore the iPad in the back.

The cannelloni should fit snuggly in the dish. That’s what you want! Cover the top with another cup and a half of tomato sauce, then use a small spoon or ice cream scoop to put the vegan mozzarella “cheese” over the top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked through and the sauce is bubbling. To get the cheese on top to be golden-brown, brush it with a little olive oil and put it under the broiler for a few minutes.

Voila! Hard work, but oh my gosh, INCREDIBLE.

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What is your favorite Italian dish? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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Beef Empanadas

June 4, 2014 Print this page

In Latin American countries, families often get together and roll these out together, so unless you have a hoard of helpful relatives, you’ll have to form the empanadas on your own. But if you’re ready to blow the socks off of your family and friends on a Sunday or rainy weeknight, you should totally make these.

Recipe adapted from here.

Ingredients

Prep Time 15 min
Cooking Time 35 min
Total Time 50 min
Yield 9 empanadas

FOR THE DOUGH:

1 cup of tapioca powder

1 1/4 cups of blanched almond flour

1 teaspoon of salt

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

2 eggs

3 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted

FOR THE FILLING:

2 tablespoons of ghee or coconut oil

1 medium onion, chopped finely

1 large carrot, chopped finely

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

3/4 lb of ground beef

6 ounces of tomato paste

1 tablespoon of oregano

1 tablespoon of cumin

A pinch of paprika

A generous pinch of salt

FOR THE EGG WASH:

1 egg

1 teaspoon of water

A pinch of salt

Directions

FOR THE DOUGH:

In a big mixing bowl, whisk together the tapioca powder, almond flour, salt, and baking soda.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and coconut oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fold together. Once a homogeneous ball is formed, wrap it up in plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for an hour.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 

FOR THE FILLING:

Melt 2 tablespoons of ghee or coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the fat is hot, add the onion and carrot and saute for 5 minutes.

To the onion and carrot, add the garlic, then crumble in the ground beef. Use a large spoon to break it up, then let it saute with the onion and garlic until no pink remains, about another 5 minutes.

Add in the tomato paste, oregano, cumin, paprika, and salt. Stir to incorporate, then turn the heat down to low. Cook for another 5 minutes, then remove from the heat until you roll your empanadas.

TO ASSEMBLE:

Take out the ball of dough and divide it into nine even-sized smaller balls.

Rip off two pieces of wax paper and dust them lightly with tapioca or arrowroot flour. Put one of the balls between the two sheets and use a weight, large can, or cookbook to smush it down until it’s flat. 

Remove the top layer of parchment paper and round out the edges of the dough circle with your hands.

Using a small spoon, scoop out about 1 tablespoon of the filling and put it on half of the dough circle towards the center, leaving some room on the edges to seal up the empanada.

Fold over the exposed half of the dough circle on top of the circle with the filling and use a damp fork to seal the sides and create a pretty pattern.

Repeat with the remaining dough.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then brush lightly with some prepared egg wash. Continue baking until golden brown and shiny on top, about 10 minutes longer.

Serve immediately with roasted or grilled vegetables, brown rice or cauliflower rice, and guacamole and salsa for dipping.


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Beef Empanadas (gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free)

June 3, 2014 Leave your thoughts Print this page

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Today, we’re going to be getting a little exotic. We’re also going to be getting a little beefy.

I hope you’re all right with that.

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And this recipe was developed because of first-world grocery problems. Allow me to explain.

I had this great idea one night in the shower–savory banana splits, with grilled plantains instead of the bananas, Mexican-seasoned meatballs instead of ice cream, guacamole instead of whipped cream, and a cherry tomato on top. It was genius, I tell you, genius.

But then, I went to my local provider of plantains (a decent-sized organic market) and there were no plantains. I was heartbroken. What was a creative girl to do with good-quality ground beef? I couldn’t just make burgers, after all.

After much deliberating and brainstorming, I hit another idea and ran with it. Both my family and I are very glad I did so.

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The filling, made from ground beef, tomato paste, onions, and herbs and seasoning is delicious on its own, but the buttery, slightly-crunchy exterior really takes the tastiness to the next level. Add some guacamole and salsa on the side and it gets EVEN. BETTER.

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In Latin American countries, families often get together and roll these out together, so unless you have a hoard of helpful relatives, you’ll have to form the empanadas on your own. Oh well. The first couple are a little tricky, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy!

If you’re ready to blow the socks off of your family and friends on a Sunday or rainy weeknight, let’s get started.

Recipe adapted from here.

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In a big mixing bowl, whisk together 1 cup of tapioca powder, 1 1/4 cups of blanched almond flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.

In a separate bowl, whisk together 2 eggs and 3 tablespoons of melted coconut oil. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and use a spatula to fold together. Once a homogeneous ball is formed, wrap it up in plastic wrap and let it chill in the fridge for an hour.

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Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425 degrees and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

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Time to make the filling! Melt 2 tablespoons of ghee or coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat and chop up a medium onion and a large carrot. Once the fat is hot, add the onion and carrot and saute for 5 minutes.

To the onion and carrot, add 2 cloves of crushed garlic, then crumble in 3/4 lb of ground beef (I always use grass-fed/organic beef from my butcher). Use a large spoon to break it up, then let it saute with the onion and garlic until no pink remains, about another 5 minutes.

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Add in 6 ounces of tomato paste, 1 tablespoon of oregano, 1 tablespoon of cumin, a pinch of paprika, and a generous pinch of salt. Stir to incorporate, then turn the heat down to low. Cook for another 5 minutes, then remove from the heat until you roll your empanadas.

Take out the ball of dough and divide it into nine even-sized smaller balls.

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Rip off two pieces of wax paper and dust them lightly with tapioca or arrowroot flour. Put one of the balls between the two sheets and use a weight, large can, or cookbook to smush it down until it’s flat.

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Remove the top layer of parchment paper and round out the edges of the dough circle with your hands.

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Using a small spoon, scoop out about 1 tablespoon of the filling and put it on half of the dough circle towards the center, leaving some room on the edges to seal up the empanada.

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Fold over the exposed half of the dough circle on top of the circle with the filling and use a damp fork to seal the sides and create a pretty pattern.

Repeat with the remaining dough. You will have leftover filling, and that’s OK: it tastes really good with eggs for breakfast or mixed into a chopped salad for lunch or dinner.

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Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then brush lightly with some egg wash. (Simply whisk together an egg with a teaspoon of water and a pinch of salt in a bowl.) Continue baking until golden brown and shiny on top, about 10 minutes longer.

Serve immediately with roasted or grilled vegetables, brown rice or cauliflower rice, and guacamole and salsa for dipping. Yummy heaven.

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What is your favorite Latin American dish? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!


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Bolognese Sauce

November 5, 2013 Print this page

One of my fall and winter dinner staples. Serve over spaghetti squash or a roasted vegetable puree.

Ingredients

Prep Time 10 min
Cooking Time 1 hr 15 min
Total Time 1 hr 25 min
Yield 6-8 servings

2 tablespoons of ghee, butter, or coconut oil

2 chopped onions

3 chopped carrots

3 chopped celery stalks

A pinch of salt

4 cloves of minced garlic

1 tablespoon of dried oregano

1 tablespoon of dried basil

1/4 lb sliced and diced speck (can be substituted with prosciutto or bacon)

1 lb ground pork

1 lb ground veal (can be substituted with beef)

3/4 cup of red wine

3/4 cup of coconut milk

12 ounces of tomato paste

3 bay leaves

 

Directions

In a large pot or dutch oven, melt the ghee, butter, or coconut oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is glistening, add the onions, carrots, and celery stalks. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, then saute until translucent and beginning to soften, about 7 to 8 minutes. It the veggies start browning, turn the heat down and add a little more salt so they’ll release some more water.

To the softened veggies, add the minced garlic, dried oregano, and dried basil, and saute for one or two minutes longer. Then, add in the sliced and diced speck.

After the speck has been hanging out with the veggies for a few minutes, crumble in the ground pork and ground veal. Saute until the meat is no longer pink, about 5 minutes, then add in the red wine, coconut milk,  tomato paste, and bay leaves.

Stir to combine, bring to a boil, and turn the heat down to low. Let cook with the lid on until thickened, about an hour. After the hour mark, reduce the heat to a simmer and let cook until you’re ready to serve over spaghetti squash or roasted root vegetable puree.


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