Quick Pasta All’arrabbiata

Quick Pasta All’arrabbiata

Penne All’arrabbiata ranks as one of the classic Italian dishes. It is hard to believe it is so simple and quick with stunning results. This dish can be made as the pasta is boiling. That easy and quick.

The ingredients are not complicated, but render complex flavors. All it is garlic, red pepper flakes, chopped tomatoes, tomato paste, kosher salt, olive oil, and red wine vinegar. Add pasta and freshly grated Parmesan cheese if not vegan.

I adore anything with pasta so if you are looking for more recipes then check these out.

 

Quick Penne All’arrabbiata

Ingredients

  • 400g Pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 1/2 - 1 Teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 15oz cans chopped tomatoes
  • 8 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Balsamic Vinegar
  • Kosher Salt to Taste
  • Generous Turn of the Pepper Mill
  • Parmesan Cheese Grated (optional if vegan)

Preparation

  • 1. Cook pasta to box directions; keeping some of the pasta water
  • 2. Heat a pan on medium heat and add the oil.
  • 3. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes cooking for about a minute.
  • 4. Add the chopped tomatoes and the tomato puree mixing well bringing to the boil then reduce to a simmer cooking for 5 mins stirring occasionally.
  • 5. Add the vinegar and season with salt and ground black pepper to taste.
  • 6. Add the pasta and cook until the sauce coats each piece of pasta. If the sauce seems too thick add a little of the water from cooking the pasta to thin it out.
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Quick Vegetable Dal

Quick Vegetable Dal

This plant-based quick vegetable dal is my go-to dinner on very busy days when I’m too tired to cook or frankly too tired to think about what to cook and don’t want to order pizza. It is packed with protein and vegetables.

Many of the ingredients are always in my fridge and pantry. I use canned tomatoes, lentils, low fat coconut milk, and chickpeas with bottle minced garlic and ginger. I always have baby spinach, cilantro, green onions, and limes on hand as they are versatile in plant-based cooking.

You can serve with cooked rice or toasted naan/pitas.

I found this recipe originally on The Happy Pear, but modified to use pantry staples adding my own touch. If you like this quick vegetable dal recipe and are looking for more plant-based dishes, visit here.

 

Quick Vegetable Dal

Ingredients

  • Olive Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon Minced Ginger
  • 5 Green Onions
  • 1 15oz can of Chickpeas drained and rinsed
  • 1 15oz can of Lentils (Goya brand) drained and rinsed
  • 1 15oz can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 Bunch of Cilantro chopped finely
  • 2 Tablespoons Curry Powder
  • 2 Teaspoons Ground Cumin
  • 1 Teaspoon Turmeric
  • 1 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • Generous turn of the Pepper Mill
  • Juice of half a lime

Preparation

  • 1. Heat oil on high heat in a large non-stick pan.
  • 2. Add garlic and ginger to pan reducing heat to medium cooking for 2 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • 3. Add green onions, tomatoes, cilantro, and 1 teaspoon of salt stirring well cooking for a 1 minute or until the mixture thickens.
  • 4. Add in the spices, salt, black pepper, and lime juice combining well cooking for a couple of minutes then stir in the coconut milk, lentils and chickpeas.
  • 5. Bring to a boil then lower to a simmer for 5 minutes.
  • 6. Add spinach to wilt.
  • 7. Check seasoning adding more salt or pepper.
  • 8. Serve with warmed naan/pitas or cooked rice.
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Bengaluru Breakfast Dosa Masala

Bengaluru Breakfast Dosa Masala

It was the middle of the night when I arrived in Bengaluru (Bangalore), India, after traveling for more than 22 hours. A day earlier, I had started at Boston’s Logan Airport to JFK, then to Paris Charles de Gaulle, where I joined up with two colleagues for the rest of the way to Bengaluru. Between lack of sleep, strange airplane food, and the time zones, it was an experience walking out of the airport. It was after 1 am. In the US, you would have been alone with just the other passengers disembarking from your flight and a handful of airport workers, but not in Bengaluru. It was alive as though it was 1 in the afternoon. People everywhere. We were glad to see our driver awaiting us with a sign. As I climbed into the car, I wondered what kind of experiences awaited me. I was looking forward to the food such as Dosa Masala.

 

Traffic

 

Dosa masala

 

When people say driving in India is chaos, they are not kidding. At first, it seems like chaos, but once you observe closely, it is a coordinated dance of pedestrians, cows, tuk-tuks, cars, mopeds, motorcycles, buses, and trucks of every form. Everyone, for the most part, knew their role in this dance. Traffic moved slow. Horns blowing as if they were using a code to communicate. There is a hierarchy based on size. Surprisedly not many accidents and they were minor especially since Bengaluru the capital and largest city of the southern Indian state of Karnataka with a population of more than 8 million. Let’s just say being a passenger was an adventure and I was glad I was in a big SUV.

Ganesh

 

Dosa masala

 

 

As the car made its way to the hotel, the streets were packed with people. It was a festival for Ganesh Chaturthi which celebrates Ganesha as the God of New Beginnings and the Remover of Obstacles. It was so wonderful to be in India during this festival as The festival is marked with the installation of Ganesha’s clay murtis which are devotional representations of a Ganesha in homes and publicly on elaborate pandals or temporary stages. Along with murtis, flowers are very important. Bengaluru is know for its flower markets and the flower sellers are all along the roads. It is such a beautiful sight to see.

Vivanta

 

Dosa Masala

 

I arrived at my home away from home for the next week, the Vivanta Bengaluru, Whitefield around 2 am. While I got into my bed around 2:30 or 3 am, I set my alarm for 6:30. I wanted to get on India time as soon as possible as I was in India for work and I need to be on my game. I chose the hotel was the closest to my office and it has good reviews. It did not disappoint. Vivanta is an Indian hotel group so most of the guests were Indian with a few of us Americans or Europeans. I can’t say enough about the wonderful customer service. I have never been so well cared for from the front desk to the spa to the restaurants. Everything was done to such a high standard.

An Indian Breakfast

 

Dosa masala

 

I quickly got use to the breakfast buffet and milk tea (and as an aside, in India, if you ask for tea you get tea with milk adding your own amount of sugar and must ask for tea without milk).

 

 

Dosa Masala with Sambar and Coconut Chutney

 

I lost count after 40 regarding the different items they had. I was overwhelmed in a good way. I kept my choices safe with bread and pastries, but I kept eyeing what Indians had on their plates. And on the last morning, I asked one of the lovely servers to bring me a typically Indian breakfast. He brought me Dosa Masala. Dosa Masala is a typical breakfast is served in India, mostly in southern India.

Dosa Masala

The Dosa Masala was delicious. So flavorful and filling. When I returned home, I wanted to share with my guys not only through photos, but through food. I decided to make Dosa Masala for them for a dinner.

I searched the Internet for recipes and found a couple that I printed to take me to my nearest Indian grocery store. As I picked up my ingredients which took the interest of the shopkeeper. I couldn’t find something so I asked. We started talking and I let her know what I was making. Her reaction was “why? We have mixes and batters for that. Nobody does it from scratch.” Music to my ears as the dish from start to finish involved a lot. You have the crepe, potato filling, sambar, and coconut chutney.

 

 

Dosa Masala

 

While I could have made everything from scratch, but I decided to do as Indians do. I picked up a readymade dosa batter (and a dry mix) which will be thinned with water to made the crepe. For the sambar, there was a spice mix where you added water and boil then add frozen Indian vegetables. For the coconut chutney, I got frozen individual portions, but it is available in a bottled.

 

Dosa Masala

 

For the potato mixture, that had to be done by scratch. That was OK as it made the whole dish more manageable. That’s the recipe I’m going to share with you from the New York Times which included a recipe for the dosa.

 

Bengaluru Breakfast Dosa Masala Potato Filling

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons ghee or vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • ½ teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 2 small dried hot red peppers
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon turmeric
  • Pinch of asafetida
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 6 to 8 curry leaves
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 small green chiles, finely chopped
  • 1½ pounds yellow-fleshed potatoes, such as Yukon Gold, boiled, peeled and cubed
  • ½ cup roughly chopped cilantro, leaves and tender stems

Preparation

  • 1. Put oil in a wide skillet over medium heat. When oil is wavy, add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Wait for seeds to pop, about 1 minute, then add red peppers and onion. Cook, stirring until onions have softened, about 5 minutes.
  • 2. Season lightly with salt. Add turmeric, asafetida, ginger, curry leaves, garlic and green chile. Stir to coat and let sizzle for 1 minute.
  • 3. Add potatoes and ½ cup water. Cook, stirring well to combine, until liquid has evaporated, about 5 minutes. Mash potatoes a bit with the back of a wooden spoon.
  • 4. Season well with salt, add cilantro, then set aside at room temperature. (Potato filling may be prepared up to a day in advance.)
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Wonton Soup

Wonton Soup

I am a sucker for Wonton Soup. I love it. And for me the mark of a good Chinese restaurant is their Wonton Soup. But it is hard to find a good bowl of soup. While the wontons are usually nice, the broth is bland or to put it harshly like dish water. We recently found a restaurant that does the best soup I’ve had ever. Most Chinese places are take-away with a couple of tables, but Mindy’s in Portsmouth is a proper sit down Chinese restaurant I remember from my childhood. I am addicted to their soups especially Wonton.

I can’t go there every day so I needed to come up with a recipe I can make quickly when I feel like Wonton Soup. There are two keys to making this soup: the broth and greens. Most lack a flavorful broth, greens, and punchy toppings. To make the broth with a punch, I use garlic, ginger, crushed red pepper, sesame oil, and tamari. To keep it quick and easy, I always have bottle minced garlic and ginger in my fridge. It is worth the investment as it is a time saver. For the greens, I use baby bok choy, but Chinese cabbage slices very thin would be tasty, too. For a non-plant-based option you can swap out the veg broth for chicken or beef and use meat-based wontons or potstickers.

Do you love soup as much as me? More soup recipes are available.

Plant-based Wonton Soup

Wonton Soup

5 minutes

20 minutes

25 minutes

4

A Bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons Sesame Oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoon minced ginger
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • 1 bunch green onions thinly sliced and divided between green and white parts
  • 8 cups of veggie broth
  • 1 package frozen wontons (or pot stickers)
  • 2 tablespoons tamari (soy sauce)
  • 1/2 pound (or 5) baby bok choy thinly slices
  • Salt to taste
  • Optional Toppings:
  • - Green onions (green parts)
  • - Sesame seeds
  • - Hot chili oil
  • - Tamari
  • - Red pepper flakes

Preparation

  • 1. Slice green onions and baby bok choy and set aside.
  • 2. Heat sesame oil in a large pot over medium heat.
  • 3. Add the minced garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, and the white parts of the green onion sautéing for about 2 minutes.
  • 4. Pour broth into the pot brining the soup to a slow boil over medium-high heat.
  • 5. Once at a boil, add frozen wontons letting boil for a minute then reduce heat to medium simmering the for 10 minutes.
  • 6. Add baby boy choy and tamari simmering for 5 minutes.
  • 7. Ladle into bowls and add the optional toppings.
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Orange-Nut Stuffed Dates

Orange-Nut Stuffed Dates

Looking to cut refined sugar out of your diet, but still enjoy dessert? Me, too. Let in introduce you to Orange-Nut Stuffed Dates.

I have to admit I have a huge sweet tooth so giving up refined sugar is hard. Something I struggle with it as I love my after dinner treat. And my mid-morning snack. And my afternoon break. You get the picture.

Until I started moving toward the plant-based diet, I would have never tried dates. Like ever. The only datey thing I’d eat would be a Fig Newton and that’s not even date. Let’s just say that eating plant-based has caused me to explore food I normally wouldn’t have tried. Dates are great. They are high in fiber, very nutritious, and antioxidants. And most importantly, there are super sweet. A natural candy.

This is a super easy and quick dessert using dates, walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and oranges. That’s it. Just some chopping and in 15 minutes you have a chic dessert to balance a strongly spiced meal or as a quick bite to satisfy a sweet craving without the guilt. That said, this isn’t a low calorie dessert; however, the ingredients are whole foods and natural. Enjoy in moderation.

What is nice about this dessert is that it works year round. It has a “warmness” that works in the winter, but it is no cook working for the summer months. A winner in my book.

Once I tasted the mixture, I realized it tasted like baklava. So I’ll be working on a baklava recipe. I’ll try to make it plant-based. I accept the challenge. And should it be Greek or Turkish baklava? I’ll figure which will be easier to make plant-based.

If you are looking for more plant-based desserts, I’d recommend checking out The Happy Pear and Forks Over Knives. Also, checkout some of my vegan desserts.

 

Vegan Orange-Nut Stuffed Dates

 

Orange-Nut Stuffed Dates

15 minutes

15 minutes

8

1

Ingredients

  • 10-12 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 8 almonds, chopped
  • 8 walnuts, chopped
  • 16 shelled pistachios, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon orange rind, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange zest

Preparation

  • 1. Make a slit in each dates removing the pit and making sure it is long enough to stuff. Set aside 8 dates.
  • 2. Chop the remaining dates and other ingredients combining well in a bowl.
  • 3. Fill the eight dates with mixture.
  • 4. Serve or put in airtight container in the refrigerator.
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Vegan Baking Substitutes

Vegan Baking Substitutes

Moving to the plant-based diet poses some challenges around baking. You can still bake your favorite baked goods using vegan baking substitutes. When I started vegan baking, I wasn’t so sure our family favorites would taste like “the real thing.” It my surprise, it does and in some recipes, it enhances it.

How do you bake vegan? You can swap out eggs, dairy milk, and dairy butter with vegan substitutes. Those substitutes could be oat milk, applesauce, flaxseeds, and Aquafina. Sometimes it is going to some trial and error to find out which works best with a recipe that wasn’t designed vegan.

Here are some vegan substitutions for baking with what baked good it works best with:

Egg replacements:

  • Flax eggs (1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water per egg) – Works well in cookies, muffins, breads
  • Applesauce or mashed banana (1/4 cup per egg) – Best for cakes, muffins, quick breads
  • Aquafaba (liquid from a can of chickpeas) – Use like egg whites for meringues or macarons
  • Commercial egg replacers like Bob’s Red Mill or Ener-G (follow package instructions)

Butter replacements:

  • Vegan butter sticks (Miyoko’s, Earth Balance, etc.)
  • Coconut oil – Use 3/4 cup oil for every 1 cup butter
  • Vegetable oil
  • Nut butters
  • Applesauce or mashed banana

Milk replacements:

  • Unsweetened soy milk – Best for baking as it has higher protein content
  • Oat milk, Almond milk,  coconut milk – Okay substitutes, may change texture slightly

Here are some recipes where I’ve used vegan baking substitutes:

Vegan Baked Chocolate Donuts

Vegan Banana Bread

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