Vegan Creamy & Healthy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Cauliflower



All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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This one is easy & healthier than you might guess – because both the pasta & the sauce are chock full of cauliflower.  No cream is used & you can control the ratio of pasta to cauliflower to suit your tastes & needs but the cauliflower in the sauce is a great way to get extra veggies into your kids.

I used fresh roasted red bell peppers but you can used jarred.  It is not difficult to roast them.


Fresh Roasted Red Bell Peppers


Red bell peppers





Roast on a grill or on the burners of your stove (or in the over at 500 degrees for 30-40 minutes) – turning often until completely black on all sides.  Wrap in foil & allow to sweat a few minutes.  Under cold running water – slide the skin off the peppers & remove the stem & seeds.  Done!



Vegan Creamy & Healthy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta with Cauliflower

Feeds 4


Olive oil

1 large head cauliflower – cut into florets

3-5 red bell peppers (The more you use the stronger the flavor & brighter the color.  I used 3 in this.) – roasted & peeled as described above OR an equivalent jarred roasted peppers.

1 large leek – sliced & washed (or onion or shallots) – pat them dry to avoid splattering the oil

1-6 cloves garlic (to taste) – chopped

1 – 1 1/2 cups non-dairy milk (I used unsweetened almond milk)

1/4 – 1/2 cup fresh basil (plus extra for garnish)

Crushed red pepper to taste


1-2 TBS nutritional yeast (optional)

1/4 cup vegan Parmesan

12 oz pasta






Cook the pasta, drain & set aside.

Meanwhile, boil the cauliflower 5-7 minutes – until soft.  Drain & set aside.


In a very large saute pan, heat about 1 TBS olive oil & saute the leeks until soft.  Add crushed red pepper & garlic and saute another minute.

Put the leeks, about 1/2 the cauliflower florets, roasted red peppers, nutritional yeast, vegan Parmesan, fresh basil and s&p (to taste) into a blender or food processor.  Puree adding as much milk as you need to get the sauce to a consistency you like.

Return the sauce to the pan & add pasta & remaining cauliflower.  Heat through & season to taste.  Serve with basil as garnish.








Healthy Vegan Chinese Chicken Salad with Spicy Asian Dressing



All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2014

To see images of my past posts & get links to the recipes – look on my Pinterest board – HERE.

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That was taken today – at 9:56 AM.  100 degrees.  Holy SHITE!  A person can get to feeling downright panicked in this kinda heat – when that person has no access to AC.  And I do not.  It is fucking NUTS!

So – in reaction to the heat – I have been making things that require no oven.  No stove.  No FIRE!  NOTHING to add to the heat in the kitchen.  Yesterday – I made Cool Vegan Cashew & Cranberry Chicken Salad Tacos with Avocado.


Today – even those tortillas wrapped around the chicken salad look warmth providing & claustrophobic.  Looking at the photo, I feel the irrational urge to shrug them off of myself – as if they were wrapped around my shoulders.

So – I made a salad salad.  No wrap.  No bread.  No blanket!  Just cool salad.

Now – know that the calorie count of your average Chinese chicken salad is pretty brutal.  Cheesecake Factory lunch Chinese chicken salad is 535 calories. The dinner sized salad is 962 calories.  California Pizza Kitchen’s versions are 420 & 790, respectively.  A Big Mac only has 550.   A small order of fries has 230.  That means a Big Mac & fries has roughly the same calorie count as a dinner sized salad at CPK and FEWER calories than the dinner salad at Cheesecake Factory.  

This salad will be far easier on your ass – assuming you do not overdress it & that you do not load it up too much with chow mein noodles.  Definitely do not use those fried wonton strips.  They are like crack – and go right to your ass.

Ingredients & the ratio of them is up to you.  If you want to add Mandarin orange slices or use a different nut – go NUTZ!  I used this awesome vegan chicken & recommend it very highly. There is a coupon below to use until the end of the month.






Spicy Asian Dressing


1/4 cup olive oil

3 TBS agave nectar (or honey – if you are not vegan)

2 TBS rice vinegar

1 TBS low sodium soy sauce

1 TBS fresh ginger – minced

1 garlic clove – minced

1-2 TBS sriracha (or chili paste) – or to taste

1 tsp toasted or regular sesame oil

1/4 lime – squeezed into the dressing


Whisk together or – put into a salad dressing container & shake it up.  Add S&P if you want.  This will make more dressing than you will likely need – so – don’t go dumping it all over your salad.  Dress the salad only right before you eat it & only dress the part you are going to eat.  The remaining salad will keep a day or so – as long as it has not yet been dressed.



Healthy Vegan Chinese Chicken Salad

Depending on how much of each ingredient you use – feeds TWO very well for dinner


9 oz vegan chicken (or cooked real chicken) – thawed

3 TBS low sodium soy sauce

2 TBS rice vinegar

1/2 – 1 head lettuce (romaine is great – but I had a head of green leaf & it was delightful) – washed & chopped

1-2 cups purple cabbage – chopped

Chow mein noodles – use sparingly – unless you have a massive hole in your heart (like I do) – then self-medicate with these.  FTW!

3 carrots – chopped or grated

3 mini peppers or 1/2 bell pepper – cut into strips (the mini ones are nice because you can mix up the colors)

Edamame – optional

12+ snow peas – trimmed & cut into thin strips

1 scallion – sliced

1/2 cup cashews (or sliced almonds or toasted peanuts or whateverthefuck you like – just know these are fatty, too.)

Edible flowers – (again – not required but very pretty & sometimes you gotta buy yourself stupid things for no reason)






I cut the chicken into cubes & then put them back in their bag with the 3 TBS soy sauce & 2 TBS rice vinegar.  I shook it up & let it marinate while I prepped the other veggies.

When ready to eat – toss the prepped vegetables & top with edible flowers – that is – assuming you are as full of self pity as I am & require such things to make life worth living.

Add the chow mein noodles & don’t kid yourself how bad they are for you when you do this.  What you do – after you have read the label on the can – is up to you.  But don’t go eating the whole can & then coming knocking on my door with your newly fattened ass to bitch me out.  I’m barely treading water as it is out here – and I warned you.

I will add – that if you intend to drink as much cold, white wine with this salad as I do – you might want to skip the chemical-ridden chow mein noodles & save them calories for the likker.  Like a good little alchorexic.  🙂  Skip the nuts in the salad & go for the entire box of wine.  The person eating across from you will be getting as drunk as you are.  Who are THEY to judge?

Only add dressing to the portions of the salad actually served – that way – if there is salad left over – it will keep a day or so – as long as it isn’t soggy with dressing.