Lentil Bolognese with Fettuccine and Rosemary

Lentils replace the traditional ground beef in this hearty and fragrant version of an Italian classic but the real secret ingredient is the rosemary! And while dried herbs definitely have their place in  my life, this is a recipe where fresh is the only way to go.


Lentil Bolognese
Serves: 2 large servings
  • ¾ cup green lentils
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary
  • 2T olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, small diced
  • 2 stalks celery, small diced
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, thin sliced
  • 2T tomato paste
  • 2 T vegan butter
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • 6 oz. fettuccine pasta
  • ¼ cup vegan Parmesan, grated
  1. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add lentils and cook 15-20 minutes, until al dente. Drain well and set aside.
  2. In a large, deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add rosemary leaves and cook, stirring frequently, 1-2 minutes, until slightly crispy. Remove rosemary from pan and place on paper towel-lined plate. Set aside, leaving oil in the pan.
  3. To the pan of reserved oil, add carrots, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring frequently 4-5 minutes. Add garlic and continue cooking an additional 1-2 minutes.
  4. Stir in the tomato paste, lentils, red wine, and 1 cup of water.
  5. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Simmer, uncovered, 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  6. Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions, reserving ½ cup of the cooking water prior to draining.
  7. Add butter, pasta, and ¼ cup cooking water to the sauce pan. Stir gently to combine and heat through, adding reserved water as needed to reach desired consistency.
  8. Garnish with Parmesan and rosemary. Serve warm.


Sourdough Stuffing with Vegan Chicken, Apples, and Sage

One thing I know for sure about stuffing is that everyone has an opinion on what makes a good one. Personally, I prefer mine with a little crunch and minus any cream-of soups which is the exact opposite of the cornbread-based dressing I was exposed to for most of my life growing up in the South. Over the years though, I have successfully adapted my own non-soup-based cornbread stuffing but this year I decided to ditch the cornbread entirely and try my hand at working with sourdough instead and…. oh, my goodness… what a difference!  I also added in some Beyond Meat chicken for that extra bit of “meatiness” and an apple for a touch of sweetness.

Perfect as a side dish for the holidays, this vegan spin on a comfort food classic is hearty enough to stand on its own as an entree anytime. I served this stuffing for dinner on a regular Tuesday night with a side of green beans.



Sourdough Stuffing with Vegan Chicken, Apples, and Sage
  • 1 medium sourdough bread loaf, cubed (4-5 cups)
  • 2 Tablespoons vegan butter
  • 1 9-oz pkg. Beyond Meat chicken strips, cubed
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, diced
  • ½ cup celery, sliced
  • ½ tsp. sea salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • ¼ tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, cored and diced
  • 2-3 TBSP fresh sage
  • 1½ cups vegetable broth
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 300°F. Place bread cubes on a baking sheet and toast 10-15 minutes, just until lightly crunchy. Allow to cool slightly before placing in a large mixing bowl and set aside.
  2. Increase oven temperature to 350°F.
  3. Heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add cubed chicken, onion, celery, salt, pepper, and thyme. Cook, stirring frequently, 10-12 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Stir in the apples and sage, then continue cooking an additional 1-2 minutes. Pour over the bread cubes.
  4. Stir in the vegetable broth and mix gently to get everything evenly distributed and coated with the broth. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  5. Pour stuffing into a prepared 8x8 glass baking dish. Bake 45-50 minutes, until lightly browned on top. Serve warm or room temperature.


Semi-Homemade Peperonata and Goat Cheese Appetizer

Are you ready for a super easy and tasty, not to mention pretty, appetizer that requires zero cooking and only two ingredients? It doesn’t get much easier than this:

Grab a 5oz. package of herbed chèvre (goat cheese) and an 8oz. jar of prepared peperonata, which can be found in the Italian cooking section of most supermarkets.

Let the cheese stand for about an hour, allowing it to come to room temperature. Next, spread the cheese around in a shallow serving bowl. Spoon desired amount of peperonata into the center – that’s it!

Are you ready for a super easy and tasty, not to mention pretty, appetizer that requires zero cooking and only two ingredients? It doesn't get much easier than this.Serve with a sliced baguette and you've got one deliciously simple yet sophisticated pre-dinner snack.

Serve with a sliced baguette and you’ve got one deliciously simple yet sophisticated pre-dinner snack.

Beefy Black Bean Vegan Chili

Here in Northern VA, it’s that time of year when people really don’t know how to dress for the day. It’s 40° in the morning and a comfortable 75° by mid-afternoon. I see the ones who still insist flip-flops are perfectly fine – they’re in total denial of the cold that is slowly creeping in (my husband is solidly in this group but that is another story entirely).

Meanwhile, I’m over here happily wearing my boots and scarves every day. In spite of my Southern upbringing, I love the cooler weather and cannot wait to be snowed in over the coming months with nothing to do but craft, watch movies, and make soup.

You can have this hearty bowl of deliciousness on the table in 30 minutes, easy. Serve on it’s own or with your favorite toppings – we like to add a little sharp Cheddar and sliced jalapeños. Stretch the serving amounts by spooning over rice or corn chips.

A hearty vegan chili that is perfect for those cool nights ahead. Serve with your favorite toppings .

Beefy Black Bean Vegan Chili
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • ¼ cup yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 - 9oz. package Beyond Meat Beef Crumbles
  • 2 - 15oz. cans black beans, undrained
  • 1 - 15oz. can diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained
  • 3 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 Tablespoon chipotle chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ - ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  1. In a medium-size pot, heat olive oil over Medium heat.
  2. Add onion and sauté 1-2 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and cook an additional 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add Beyond Meat Beef Crumbles and continue coking until heated through, 3-5 minutes.
  4. Blend in the black beans and tomatoes. Add the tomato paste, chili powder cumin, paprika, and oregano.
  5. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to Low. Simmer 10-15 minutes before serving.



Mediterranean Pasta

It has recently come to my attention that I am a hoarder of olives (and craft ribbon, but that’s a whole other story).

As I was standing in front of the fridge pondering what to make for dinner, I realized there were no less than four full and unopened containers of various types of olives – you know, the kind from the olive bar in the supermarket. Also, there were multiple cans in the pantry which got me to thinking, “Why do I buy some types of olives from the deli but others are just fine from a can?” There was no time to get into a full analysis; the bottom line was, I needed to start working my way through all the olive supply. This recipe knocked out about half a container so it’s a start.

And then I discovered three containers of feta in the cheese drawer. I guess it’s called the cheese drawer – that narrow drawer just under the shelves but above the freezer ….  what do you call it?

Anyway, this dish was delicious! And with the olives, feta, capers, tomatoes… this pasta, full of the briny goodness I love, made for an impressive presentation. I use big pasta bowls and this recipe yielded three good-size servings. Make it vegan by omitting the feta or swapping it for a tofu-based variety.

A tasty Mediterranean-inspired dish with black olives, tomatoes, capers, and feta. | thiswifecooks.com

Mediterranean Pasta
  • 3 large roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • ½ cup black olives, pitted and halved or quartered
  • 1 - 6oz. package Mediterranean feta cheese, crumbled
  • 3 Tablespoons capers, drained
  • 3 Tablespoons Italian flat-leaf parsley, chopped
  • ground black pepper, to taste
  • 12oz. spaghetti pasta
  • 6 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 Tablespoons garlic, minced
  1. In a medium size mixing bowl, combine tomatoes, olives, feta, capers, and parsley. Season with black pepper, to taste, and set aside.
  2. In a large pot, cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain well and return pasta to the pot.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, heat olive oil over low heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, 1-3 minutes until soft and fragrant but not brown.
  4. Pour garlic oil over the pasta and toss to coat.
  5. Distribute pasta to serving bowls and top with desired amount of tomato and olive mixture.



Vegan Sloppy Joe Sliders

Boots and sweater weather is finally here!! As I’m typing, the windows are open and a chilly breeze is wafting through the house. Leaves are beginning to change colors and fall to the ground. And I bought my first pumpkin this morning. It’s a good day here.

These sliders are definitely a family favorite and, for whatever reason, I always crave them during the fall.  With the exception of swapping out the previously-used ground beef for a better meatless alternative, the recipe has remained unchanged for years and we love it!

Do you have foods that you only crave during certain times of year?



Vegan Sloppy Joe Sliders
  • 1 TBSP olive oil
  • 1 - 9oz. pkg. Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles
  • ¼c onion, chopped
  • ¼c green bell pepper, chopped
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. yellow mustard
  • ¾c ketchup
  • 1 TBSP brown sugar
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in a medium size skillet over medium heat. Add the beef crumbles, onion, and pepper. Cook until heated through and vegetables are softened.
  2. Stir in the garlic powder, mustard, ketchup, brown sugar, salt, and pepper.
  3. Reduce heat to Low and allow to simmer 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Spoon over toasted slider buns and serve warm.



Skillet Tortellini in Creamy Pesto Sauce – with Vegan substitutions

We love pesto around here…. and pasta…. and pesto pasta.

While I made this as a vegetarian dish last night, I definitely think vegan substitutions would work well. I have seen tofu stuffed pastas at Whole Foods and coconut creamer is a great alternative to half & half.

As for the parmesan though, since the vegan versions are more of a sprinkle variety, begin with just 1/2 cup and then add more if necessary.

Skillet Tortellini with Creamy Pesto Sauce

Skillet Tortellini in Creamy Pesto Sauce - with Vegan substitutions
  • 20 oz. pkg. cheese-stuffed tortellini
  • 2 Tablespoons vegan butter
  • 2 Tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 2 cups half & half
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 6 Tablespoons pesto sauce
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté for 1-2 minutes.
  3. Whisk in the creamer and bring to a boil, stirring frequently.
  4. Reduce heat to low and mix in the Parmesan cheese. When the cheese has melted in to the sauce, stir in the pesto and allow to simmer 3-5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Fold in the tortellini and serve warm.