Vegan Chicken and Pesto Spaghetti Bake

After a full and thoroughly exhausting afternoon at the pool with our girls and friends from around the neighborhood, I needed something semi-quick, and with ingredients already on hand for dinner last night and this fit the bill perfectly.  The recipe is loosely based on a chicken spaghetti recipe, here, that I have used for years and has gradually evolved from meat-based to vegetarian.

I also make my own “cream-of”  soups these days. That’s right, we’re getting fancy around here. 😉 The super easy recipe for homemade vegan cream of chicken can be found here and yields the equivalent of one regular size can of soup.

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vegan chicken and pesto spaghetti bake
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 Tablespoon vegan butter
  • 1 pkg. vegan chicken (recommend Beyond Meat)
  • 1 lb. pkg. dried spaghetti
  • 1 can vegan cream of chicken soup
  • ½ cup coconut creamer
  • ¼ tsp. garlic salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ½ cup basil pesto, or to taste
Instructions
  1. Prepare the cream of chicken soup as directed. Remove from heat until ready to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°
  3. In large skillet, heat 1 TBSP oil and cook chicken until lightly browned on all sides. Remove to a cutting board; shred and set aside.
  4. Place spaghetti in a pot of boiling water and cook until it reaches al dente consistency, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and drain.
  5. In a medium saucepan, combine cream of chicken soup, milk, garlic salt, pepper, and pesto. Bring to a simmer and allow to cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through.
  6. In large mixing bowl, cooked spaghetti, cooked chicken, and pesto sauce.
  7. Pour into prepared 9”x13” pan. Bake, covered, 20 - 30 minutes.

 

Baby Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta

Black olives are kind of a big deal with all the girls in this house.  Littlest One insists (and I am happy to accommodate) on double olives when we order pizza while my Big Girl inhales them almost daily as an afternoon snack.  So, adding sliced black olives to a quick and easy bruschetta seemed completely logical and was , as we all agreed, a delicious choice.

Sometimes the simplest flavors are the best and this bruschetta was a perfect accompaniment to our pasta dinner. The baby heirloom tomatoes are definitely more colorful than “regular” tomatoes but, really, whatever you’ve got available will work here. Same with the balsamic – the darker vinegar is suitable but I just prefer the white variety because it lets the colors of the heirloom tomatoes shine through.

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Baby Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 1 - medium size baguette
  • 1½ cups tomatoes, quartered and seeded
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Slice baguette at a slight angle, approx. 1" thick.
  3. In a small bowl, combine together tomatoes, garlic, parsley, white balsamic, salt, and pepper. Stir well and adjust seasoning to taste.
  4. Spread baguette slices on a prepared baking sheet. Spoon tomato mixture evenly onto each slice.
  5. Bake 5-7 minutes. Serve warm.

 

Baked Tex-Mex Rice Casserole

One of the many things I love about summertime is how we’re able to enjoy sitting outside on the back deck for dinner almost nightly. We chat while we eat, occasionally play a board game after… most evenings are peaceful and pleasant. Unless Littlest Child hasn’t napped that day. She’s a three-nager and definitely knows how to bring the drama to the table. When this happens, as it did just yesterday, our outdoor family meal time becomes shorter than usual. Fortunately, I hadn’t spent a huge amount of time preparing the food (I’m sure you know how it is when you’ve worked for hours only to have it all inhaled in a few minutes).

The girls and I had sampled vegetarian tamales at Trader Joe’s earlier in the week and picked up two packs along with a jar of salsa verde and Monterrey Jack cheese. (Place tamales in a baking dish, pour over salsa, top with cheese, bake 30 minutes at 350° – easy).

I served up the tamales with a side of chips and guacamole along with this tasty new creation. As I frequently do these days, my butter and sour cream were vegan versions but went dairy-based for the cheese. For added heat, use a medium or hot salsa and sub Pepper Jack for the Monterrey. Whatever you’ve got on hand should work fine here.

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Baked Tex-Mex Rice Casserole
 
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Author:
Serves: 4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 1½ cups long-grain white or brown rice, cooked
  • 2 tsp. butter
  • ⅓ cup yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup corn
  • 1 cup salsa
  • ½ cup sour cream
  • ⅓ tsp. chili powder
  • 2 cups Monterrey Jack cheese, shredded
  • salt to taste
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Prepare rice according to package directions. Set aside.
  3. In a small skillet, heat butter over medium high heat. Add onion and sauté 1-3 minutes, just until softened and fragrant.
  4. To a medium mixing bowl, add the cooked rice, sautéed onions, corn, salsa, sour cream, and chili powder. Fold in cheese. Adjust seasoning to taste.
  5. Pour rice mixture into a prepared 8x8 baking dish.
  6. Bake, uncovered 35-40 minutes.

 

 

Angel Hair with Creamy Vegan Mushroom Sauce

This deliciousness came about after I bought a package of mushrooms and then promptly forgot what I was planning to do with them… it came back to me too late… stuffed mushrooms, that was it… Anyway, this was a tasty and filling bowl of comfort food on an unseasonably cool evening.

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Want to try a vegetarian version? Easy! Just swap the vegan ingredients for dairy-based.

Angel Hair with Creamy Vegan Mushroom Sauce
 
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Author:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. pkg. angel hair pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon vegan butter
  • 1 10-oz. pkgs. cremini mushrooms (approx. 5 cups), stems removed, quartered
  • ¼ cup green onions, thin sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup white wine
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1½ cup coconut creamer
  • ¼ cup vegan Parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil and butter on Medium High. Add the mushrooms and green onions. Saute 5-7 minutes, until softened and fragrant.
  3. Add the garlic and continue cooking another 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add white wine and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
  5. Sprinkle mushroom mixture with flour and toss to coat.
  6. Slowly pour in the creamer, stirring the mixture gently. Reduce heat to Low and allow to simmer until thickened slightly.
  7. Remove from heat. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and sprinkle with parsley. Season to taste and serve hot.

 

Vegan Chicken and Kimchi Tacos with Cantaloupe

I was recently presented with an Iron Chef – style challenge by Beyond Meat… The ingredients in the virtual basket were any Beyond Meat product, lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, cantaloupe and kimchi. Given the focus of my first soon-to-be-released cookbook, my brain went immediately to tacos.

My plan was to grab all the ingredients at Whole Foods but after learning they were out of stock on kimchi, I headed to the Asian market where there was an entire section devoted to the product. I had no idea there were so many varieties! And some contain fish, so watch out for that. I ended up going with a mild version of basic kimchi. Adjust your kimchi selection in accordance with your preferred level of heat.

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Vegan Chicken and Kimchi Tacos with Cantaloupe
 
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Author:
Serves: 6
Ingredients
  • ½ cantaloupe, small diced
  • 2 Tbsp lime juice
  • ¼ tsp. sea salt, or to taste
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, rough chopped
  • ½ bunch radishes, thin sliced at an angle
  • 1 Roma tomato, seeded and rough chopped
  • 1 9-oz. pkg vegan chicken strips, shredded (recommend Beyond Meat)
  • 1 cup prepared kimchi
  • 6 flour tortillas
Instructions
  1. Begin with the cantaloupe:
  2. In a small bowl, toss cantaloupe, lime juice, and salt. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  3. Prepare the salad:
  4. In a medium bowl, toss the lettuce, radishes, and tomato. Set aside.
  5. For the filling:
  6. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add kimchi  and vegetarian chicken. Cook, stirring frequently until kimchi is caramelized and meat is heated through, 5-7 minutes.
  7. Add salad mixture to the pan and toss to blend.
  8. To Serve:
  9. Spoon kimchi/chicken/salad mixture into warmed tortillas. Top with cantaloupe.

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Meatless Meatball Subs

I recently had a craving for a meatball sandwich that just wouldn’t go away. Eventually, there was nothing left to do other than throw all previously made dinner plans out the window and address the situation. It was easy – just grabbed a package of meatless meatballs from the freezer section, some mozzarella, and a bag of sub bread. I thought I was set until I got home and realized I didn’t have any sauce… but then I found a can of tomatoes in the back of the pantry and was back in business.

A word on the meatballs: I used Gardein for this recipe (the fennel-infused flavor is delicious), and found the heating times to be way off. If you’re starting with frozen, there’s just no way they’re going to heat through in just a few minutes. I sped up the process by popping them into the microwave for maybe 2 minutes before adding them to the sauce.

I still eat dairy cheese about half the time and that’s what I used here but obviously vegan mozzarella would work fine.

 

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Meatless Meatball Subs
 
Author:
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 teaspoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • ⅛ teaspoon dried oregano, or ½ tsp. fresh, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 pkg. of 12 meatless meatballs, pre-heated
  • 2 cups baby arugula
  • 1 cup mozzarella, shredded
Instructions
  1. Begin with the sauce:
  2. In a small saucepan, heat oil over medium heat.
  3. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes, until softened and fragrant.
  4. Add tomatoes, red pepper flakes, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, stirring frequently, until heated through.
  6. Add the meatballs, stirring to thoroughly coat with the sauce and heat through.
  7. To serve:
  8. To each split sub roll, add a handful of arugula.

 

 

 

Vegan Chicken Salad with Curry

Chicken salad is one of those dishes I’ve always associated with summertime. It’s such a perfect meal because you can serve it so many ways – salad, sandwich, cracker spread, stuffed in tomatoes as an appetizer – all good! So anyway, I had a craving today and decided to whip a small batch for lunch. This version is vegan which also makes it super convenient since there’s no cooking involved. Just chop, mix, and eat. This was also my first time using curry in a chicken salad and I love the subtle extra layer of flavor. I actually ate this twice yesterday; the lunch leftovers made for a tasty late night snack on crackers.

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Vegan Chicken Salad with Curry
 
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Serves: 2 cups
Ingredients
  • ⅓ cup vegan mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • ¼ tsp. curry powder, or to taste
  • 1 - 9oz. pkg. vegan chicken strips, cubed (recommend Beoynd Meat)
  • 1 large stalk celery, chopped
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • ¼ cup red grapes, quartered
  • 1 TBSP pecans, chopped
Instructions
  1. Combine mayonnaise, lime juice, and curry powder in a small bowl; set aside.
  2. To a medium bowl, add cubed chicken, celery, green onion, grapes, and pecans. Stir to combine.
  3. Fold in the mayonnaise mixture. Adjust seasoning to taste and serve immediately or refrigerate for later.