Vegan Italian Tofuballs for Pasta-Toddler Approved

Vegan Italian Tofuballs
Vegan Italian Tofuballs

In need of some comfort food? I feel I am most of the time in the winter. I just want warm, filling, soul satisfying food. These delightful little nuggets fit the bill perfectly, especially when paired with whole wheat pasta and either your favorite sauce, or my favorite sauce.

Wolfie loved to help with these. She does everything from mashing the tofu to help form the balls. She also ate them! I mean, why wouldn’t you? They are a bit crisp on the outside, a bit salty, faintly “cheesy”, and heavy with Italian seasonings. These also freeze well if you feel like making a double batch.

 Ingredients

  • 1 lb water packed extra firm tofu
  • 1 TBL Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1 cup grated zucchini (optional)
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste
  • 2 TBL nutritional yeast
  • 1/4-1/3 cup vegan bread crumbs
  • Neutral flavored oil for cooking

Instructions

  1. Mash tofu in a large bowl with your hands of a potato masher.
  2. Add Italian seasoning, salt, garlic, zucchini, pepper, red pepper, and nutritional yeast and stir together.
  3. Add bread crumbs a few tablespoons at a time stirring to combine. The mixture should start to stick together.
  4. Taste the mixture and adjust seasonings to taste.
  5. Heat about a 1/4″ of oil in a large heavy bottomed skillet to about 350 degrees. I never actually check this with a thermometer, but you should. It should be hot, but not smoking, and when you flick a few drops of water into the oil it should sizzle and pop.
  6. Form the tofu mixture into walnut sized balls with your hands. Pack them a bit, but don’t worry if they feel loose as long as they hold their shape in your hand. If they don’t add more breadcrumbs until they do.
  7. Carefully place the tofu balls in the hot oil, and cook until one side is golden brown (3-4minutes), flip them and cook on the other side another 3 minutes or so until golden brown.
  8. Unless you have a super huge skillet you will need to work in batches. You might need to add more oil between batches. If this happens don’t forget to reheat the oil before frying.
  9. Once cooked remove the tofu balls and place on a plate lined with paper towel to drain.
  10. Serve hot with pasta and sauce.
  11. You could also bake these on an oiled baking sheet at 375 for about 20 minutes. Still good, but not quite the same.
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Easy Pasta with Soyrizo and Garlic

Garlic and Soyrizo Pasta
Garlic and Soyrizo Pasta

This is the last of the soyrizo recipes, at least for now… I did take a break for a bit for all the holidays, and now we need a quick throw together meal to make up for all the hardcore cooking. You might notice it is pretty similar to the topping for the baked potato from a few weeks ago. This pasta actually came first, and started the idea for the baked potato. This is also just a few things I usually have in my refrigerator and pantry just waiting to be used for a quick weekend lunch. This is one of my husband’s favorite throw together meals and he is always scraping the skillet for the last little bites. It is a hearty, satisfying, just a bit spicy, quick meal.

 Ingredients

  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, sliced
  • 1 cup chopped kale, spinach, or whatever greens you have around (optional)
  • 5 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 package soyrizo
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth or cooking water from pasta
  • 2 TBL vegan cream cheese
  • 2 TBL nutritional yeast
  • 1/2-1 cup tomato based pasta sauce, or tomato sauce from a can, or a few tablespoons tomato paste and 1/2 cup more vegetable broth.
  • 1/2 lb pasta of your choice cooked according to package directions

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large skillet.
  2. Add the onion and kale and cook, stirring occasionally until the onion and kale are soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and saute for a few seconds making sure not to let it brown.
  4. Add the soyrizo, vegetable brother, cream cheese, nutritional yeast, and tomato sauce of choice and cook while stirring just until heated through.
  5. Add your cooked pasta to the skillet and toss together serving immediately.

Vegan Lentil and Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Vegan roasted vegetable and lentil pasta
Vegan roasted vegetable and lentil pasta

It’s winter. We just got a huge storm, which is totally fine with me. We are warm and toasty inside and it is beautiful to look at. I even got a little exercise shoveling this morning. Anyway, winter… In the winter I roast a lot of vegetables. I love roasted vegetables and they come in handy for tons of things as leftovers. Also vegetable that are good for roasting are pretty much the only thing at the farmer’s market in Maine in the winter. Pretty much every week I end up roasting a big batch, then using them throughout the week. I have also been making a big batch of lentils and using them as well. I cook the lentils in vegetable broth and the saltiness of the lentils pared with the sweet carmelization of the vegetables is something I crave on a regular basis. This recipe combines the two with some leftover pasta with amazing results. My husband stared at it before eating with a skeptical look, then went back for seconds saying “I just don’t get it, it is so good.” Gluten-free pasta works just perfectly here. I have use a brown rice-quinoa pasta that is a great texture for this. I have also use wheat pasta, so whatever your pleasure.

If you don’t know how to roast vegetables it is pretty much the easiest thing you can do. Some people are a little more picky than I am on cooking times, but I choose vegetables that I like to cook about the same length of time and everything is wonderful. Simply chop vegetables into a uniform size, toss with olive oil and bake in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 30-45 minutes, stirring every now and again, until everything is browning and carmelized. Done. The house is warm and you have a delicious and healthy treat for the week.

The trick to this pasta is cooking everything until the pasta gets a little crispy which makes it ohh so yummy, and something you can’t make fresh. You need the cold leftover pasta to get the crispiness.

Vegan Roasted Vegetable and Lentil Pasta Using Leftovers

Ingredients

  • *4 cups cooked pasta (gluten free works beautifully)
  • 2 cups roasted vegetables (mixture of butternut squash, onions, turnips, broccoli, and parsnips shown)
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  2. Add pasta, vegetables, and lentils cooking until parts of the pasta start to become crispy, 5-8 minutes.
  3. Taste and add more salt and olive oil as desired.

Vegan Pumpkin Ravioli with Brown Butter Sage Sauce

Vegan pumpkin ravioli with brown butter sage sauce
Vegan pumpkin ravioli with brown butter sage sauce

This recipe has a long title and a lot of steps, but it is totally worth it. This could be a perfect main dish for your vegan Thanksgiving, or a perfect addition to take to Thanksgiving at a friends. You can eat this as a entree and be happy, and others will eat it as a side and be amazed at your cooking abilities. This is a luscious, rich, and satisfying vegan holiday meal.

You can make the ravioli ahead of time and freeze them to cook on the day of whatever event you are celebrating, even if it is just a Wednesday evening at home. The sauce should be made fresh and don’t skimp on the Earth Balance. Now is not the time for diets.

Vegan Pumpkin Ravioli 

The filling

Ingredients

  • 2 TBL olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 block firm tofu, mashed
  • 1/4 cup vegan cream cheese
  • 2 TBL nutritional yeast
  • 1 TBL minced fresh sage
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Dash cinnamon
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin or squash

Instructions

  1. Heat olive oil in heavy skillet over medium heat.
  2. Saute onion until translucent, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add garlic and tofu cooking until any water has evaporated from the pan.
  4. Add the vegan cream cheese, nutritional yeast, sage, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg stirring together until the cream cheese has melted.
  5. Remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

The pasta

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup semolina flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • extra water for brushing

Instructions

  1. In bowl of stand mixer mix flours, salt, oil and water with paddle attachment until combined.
  2. Switch to the dough hook and mix about 2 minutes on speed 2 to knead. The dough should form a ball, if it is crumbly add more water, if it is sticking to the sides of the bowl add more semolina flour.
  3. Cut the dough into 4 sections and run through your pasta roller according to its directions until it is the thickness recommended for ravioli, a 5 on my machine.
  4. Lay out rolled pasta on a lightly floured surface.
  5. Brush the side of the pasta facing up with water using a pastry brush.
  6. Place pumpkin mixture on pasta dough by heaping tablespoon. The mixture should be about 1/2″ away from one edge of the pasta, and about 1″ between each spoonful.
  7. Fold over the half of pasta dough that does not have pumpkin mixture on it pressing the dough between each heap of pumpkin to seal.
  8. Once dough has sealed to itself cut the ravioli to leave one heap of pumpkin in each ravioli.
  9. Dust ravioli with more semolina flour and place in one layer on a semolina dusted plate until ready to cook. You can also freeze them at this point.
  10. When ready to cook bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
  11. Once water boils cook ravioli 3 minutes and remove to pan with sauce to finish cooking.

The sauce

Ingredients

  • 6 TBL Earth Balance
  • 3 TBL fresh sage, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup walnuts, minced
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine or more vegetable broth

Instructions

  1. Heat Earth Balance in a large skillet over medium heat until starting to brown, about 3 minutes.
  2. Add sage, garlic, and walnuts cooking until garlic is tender and sage starts to brown, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the vegetable broth and wine cooking until reduced, 5-7 minutes more.
  4. Add the cooked ravioli directly from the water and toss in the sauce to finish cooking, about 1 minute.
  5. Serve hot.

Vegan Mustgo Pasta

Vegan Mustgo Pasta
Vegan Mustgo Pasta

Ok, this is one of those recipes that is hard to write because it was just a little of this and a little of that from the refrigerator. Using up leftovers and odds and ends can be hard, but essential to reduce food waste. I HATE throwing away food! Because of this I have developed a skill for putting things together and making a new dish. My mom used to call this Mustgo as in “this must go, that must go.” As children my brothers and I would actually as for “musko” thinking it was an actual dish.

For this mustgo I had mostly odds and ends that needed to be used up before we left for a trip. Not enough of anything to make an actual recipe. We also had leftover pasta. I always seem to make more pasta than sauce. For the vegetables you could use leftover stir-fry, fajita vegetables, or frozen whatever. The sun-dried tomatoes are optional as not everyone has them in their refrigerator all the time as I do:) Nutritional yeast is also optional, but totally delicious. Happy mustgo to you!

Vegan Mustgo Pasta

Ingredients

  • Leftover cooked pasta, about 3 cups
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 1 TBL oil from sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
  • 1-2 cups of vegetables (I used 1 onion, 3 mushrooms, and a little broccoli)
  • 1/4 vegetable broth
  • 2 TBL nutritional yeast (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 TBL sun-dried tomatoes in oil, sliced
  • 2 TBL fresh basil or 1 tsp dried (optional)
  • 1 Tomato, chopped (optional)

Instructions

  1. Heat oils in skillet over medium heat.
  2. Add vegetables and saute until cooked through.
  3. Add the leftover pasta, vegetable broth, nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper.
  4. Cook until vegetable broth has evaporated.
  5. Add garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh tomato cooking 2 minutes.
  6. Add the fresh basil if using, and toss lightly before serving.