Roasted Garlic and Spinach Pesto with Asparagus and Pine Nuts on Pasta

020spinach pesto with asparagus and pine nuts

Roasted garlic is the secret to creamy rich sauces and soups. Roasting adds depth and texture as well as a caramel like sweetness without adding calories.

005 Roasted garlic

This dish is packed with nutrition and flavor.

Presenting spinach as a sauce is an innovative way to add nutrition and fiber and creamy sauciness without adding extra fat and calories.

Toasting the pine nuts also adds heft as well as flavor. I feel that the nuts really round out the meal.

This has become a favorite in my home.

Ingredients:

1 bulb of garlic
1/3 to 2/3 cup of olive oil
5-6 cups uncooked baby spinach
¼ tsp nutmeg
Salt to taste
10 spears asparagus
½ cup pine nuts
1 box whole wheat spinach spiral pasta or your choice of pasta

Method:

Roast the Garlic:

1 bulb garlic, thin skin removed as much as possible

Use a clay roasting dish or wrap in foil

Turn oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and cook for 30-45 minutes

Remove garlic from oven

While the garlic is roasting cook your pasta

While you are pureeing the pesto, chop and cook 10 spears of asparagus.

While the asparagus is cooking roast ½ cup of pine nuts at 350 degrees fahrenheit for about 5-10 minutes

Puree the Mixture
010Roasted Garlic PD

Allow to cool for a few minutes then simply remove the soft clove from the peel and place in the food processer.
Place about 5-6 cups of uncooked baby spinach along with the roasted garlic
Add about 1/3 to 2/3 cup of olive oil
Blend until smooth and creamy
Add ½ tsp of nutmeg and salt to taste

Serve:

Drain the pasta and mix in about 2/3 of the roasted garlic spinach pesto and the pine nuts and check to see if you need salt.

Mix everything together well

Add cooked asparagus on top

Garnish with the remaining pesto

Enjoy!
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Magical Coconut Bars

Vegan Coconut Bars

This recipe comes from Isa Chandra Moskowitz of the Post Punk Kitchen who has a new vegan cookbook out; Vegan With a Vengence which features 150 vegan recipes including desserts, cookies, main dishes and snacks.

These look amazing to me and I am anxious to try this recipe.

Recipe courtesy of Isa Chandra Moskowitz

These bars require a good overnight chilling to really firm them up before slicing, so plan accordingly.

Tip: You’ll want to use only sweetened, fluffy white flaked coconut for these. Save the natural shredded stuff for a healthy curry.

Tip: Press the graham cracker crumb crust like crazy into the pan; the more you pat it down the firmer the resulting crust will be.

Ingredients

One 14 oz can (regular or lite) coconut milk (about 1 3/4 cups)
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups vegan graham cracker crumbs
1/2 cup melted margarine
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or chocolate chunks
2 cups flaked, sweetened coconut
1 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped

Method

In a large saucepan whisk together coconut milk and brown sugar over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Mixture may form a thin skin on the surface; just stir it back into the liquid. Remove from heat and let cool while preparing the crust.

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with parchment paper. In a large bowl combine graham cracker crumbs, melted margarine and sugar; mix well to moisten crumbs completely. Firmly press mixture into prepared pan, pressing evenly from center to sides of pan.

Pour warm coconut milk mixture evenly over crumb base. Top with an even layer of chocolate chips, flaked coconut and nuts, in that order. Firmly pat everything down until coconut milk mixture soaks upward into the toppings. Bake for 28-30 minutes or until coconut is deeply golden and filling is bubbling, remove from oven and let entire pan cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.

Transfer pan to the refrigerator to completely cool and firm up for at least 4 hours, even better overnight or until very firm. Use a sharp, heavy knife to run along the edges of bars, slide bars on parchment paper out of pan onto a cutting board then to slice into 24 squares.

Store in a covered container in the refrigerator. These also freeze well, tightly wrapped and allowed to thaw for 20 minutes before serving.

Meatless Meatballs in Red Sauce

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Today is one of those, comfort-food-in-the-midwest kind of days. And although I try to stay away from processed and packaged foods, I do admit my guilty pleasure for Trader Joe’s Meatless Meatballs.

025Trader Joe's Meatless Meatballs in Red Sauce

They are fantastic and with your favorite red sauce they could fool your favorite carnivore.

If you like, pile them on top of whole wheat pasta or stuff them in a whole wheat bun for an amazing “meatball” sandwich.

Every now and then a little “food frivolity” doesn’t hurt. This is one guilty pleasure that you really don’t have to feel all that guilty about!

Sloppy Jane! Meatless Monday with Carmen Garcia!

SloppyJane01 copy Meatless Monday PD

Sloppy Jane

Level: Easy and Quick!
Serves 4

Ingredients
vegan Sloppy Joe mix, one box www.fantasticfoods.com
2 cups bella mushrooms, sliced
1 small red onion, sliced
1 small tomato, sliced
1 3 oz. tomato paste
1tsp olive/canola oil
2 tablespoons, Liquid Smoke www.colgin.com
4 Ezekiel (flourless) toasted english muffin
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1 small dill pickle, sliced

Method

In a medium sauce pan bring 1 3/4 water to a boil. Mix in tomato paste.
Stir frequently. Lower heat and simmer.

Pour Sloppy Joe mix into water and tomato paste. Stir until ingredients thicken. Cover and simmer.

In a separate pan, add oil and lightly brown onions.

Set aside. In same pan, saute mushrooms with 2 tablespoons of Liquid Smoke and parsley until light golden brown.

Toast the english muffins. Add all of the fixings and serve.

The Sloppy Jane is a super fast and easy way to whip up a healthy and meatless meal. It is high in protein and fiber.

The flourless and sprouted grains of the english muffin is a low GI carbohydrate food that also contains fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals. It barely contains zero fat and it’s a filling meal for lunch or dinner.

Don’t let “Jane” fool you with the name. Both hearty and light, you won’t even notice it is a meatless and tasty treat.

In Gusto!

The Turista Chef
–Carmen Garcia

Mocktails and Meatless Monday!

005 Cocktail Mocktail PD

Mocktails allow me to induldge and celebrate without the guilt and, quite frankly, the exsessive calories.

This cocktail features organic pomegranate juice, some soda water and a squeeze of lime in a stemmed glass.

Half the calories and an antioxident pick me up!

012 Sofrito PD

I also tried my hand at Sofrito to go along with pinto beans and brown rice.

Sofrito

Ingredients

1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 onion
1 head of garlic
1 bunch cilanto
3 large tomatoes

I chopped everything and placed in the food processor.

I froze 2 cups in separate containers and worked with 2 cups: one for the rice and one for the beans.

I sauteed the softened beans in the sofrito and cooked the rice in it also.

Salt and pepper to taste.

This recipe need some work. And maybe some added oil to the rice and beans to give it a richer flavor.

I do like having this powerful flavor ingredient on hand and can see using it in soups and crock pot meals.

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