Sunday, May 12, 2013

Super Green Pasta

This super green pasta dish needs no witty introduction. All you need to know is that it's tasty and good for you!

Even the spinach pesto has ZERO oil in it.

Just make it. You'll be happy you did.

Super Green Pasta

It's a leafy green explosion:  spinach two ways, collard greens, and basil (which I am counting as a leafy green).  Comes together super quickly and is way tasty!

16 oz whole wheat penne
4 cups spinach, divided
1 cup pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
4 oz. fresh basil
1 Tbl tahini
1/3 cup water
juice of 1 lemon
1 onion, chopped
1 bunch of collard greens, stemmed
2 cups frozen peas (defrosted)
2 tsp olive oil
crushed red pepper

In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and get those onions in there.  Season with salt and crushed red pepper, and saute for about five minutes.

Remove stems from collards and lay leaves on top of each other.  Roll into a cigar and slice into thin strips.  They should stay rolled up, so slice them in half again just to make them a bit more bite size.  Add to the onions, toss, and season with a pinch of salt.  Add 2 Tbl water and allow greens to wilt, about five to seven minutes, stirring frequently.  Once greens are cooked, add peas and heat through.

Meanwhile, cook pasta in heavily salted water until just under al dente (about half the recommended cooking time).  Drain pasta and reserve 1 cup of pasta water.

In a food processor, combine pine nuts, garlic, tahini, and lemon juice and pulse until a smooth paste forms.  Scrape the sides, season with salt, and add 2 cups spinach, basil, and 1/3 cup water.  Pulse until smooth.

Add cooked pasta to the pan.  Add remaining two cups of spinach, the pesto, and slowly add water until you have reached to desired consistency.  Delish!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Gorilla Wraps

Gorilla wraps.  Those little vegan, burrito-like treats wrapped in a collard leaf seem to be popping up everywhere lately.

Drew Barrymore swears by them, crediting their fibery, leafy goodness for helping her shed her baby weight.  Personally, I think the weight loss is due to half of the wrap falling out onto her plate.  These suckers can be messy!

Kidding aside, these little babies are a tasty way to get your veggies and feel totally satisfied.  The trick is using larger leaves and not over stuffing them.  The ingredients stay in the wrap, and you can eat more of them that way!

I've been drawn towards Asian flavors lately, so I thought I would play around with the wrap idea.  Soy, wasabi, and ginger spice up mushrooms and walnuts, while carrots, daikon, and cucumber provide some delicious crunch. 

Just don't over stuff!

Asian Inspired Gorilla Wraps

This recipe is pretty much "method cooking" and can be adapted to suit whatever mood you palate is in.  Play around with different regional flavors with the mushroom and walnut mixture (Tex-Mex, curry, Mediterranean) and additional fixin's!

8 oz mushrooms
1/2 yellow onion
1 cup walnuts
2 cloves garlic
1 1/2 cup long grain or wild rice, cooked
8 large collard leaves
1 Tbl soy sauce
1" fresh ginger, grated
2 Tbl hoisin sauce
as much wasabi paste as you can stand
2 tsp rice vinegar
2 tsp olive oil

wrap fixin's
daikon radish
carrots, grated or julienned
cucumbers, chopped
onion, red or green

In a food processor, combine mushrooms, onion, walnuts and garlic, and pulse until it forms a chunky paste. 

In a large saute pan, heat oil and cook the mushroom mixture with soy sauce, ginger, and wasabi until veggies are cooked through, about five to seven minutes.  Deglaze pan with the vinegar and cook an additional minute.  Set aside to cool.

Remove stems from collards.  Hold the stem and fold the leaf.  Gently pull the stem about 3/4 of the way.  You want to leave a large enough area to place the stuffing.  Now, start layering!  Rice, then mushroom mixture, and veggies.  Fold sides over, then gently roll collard into a burrito shape.  Enjoy!