DDD #136 – Keto Vegan Sausage & Kale Soup with Spinach

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2019

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

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Keto Vegan sausage & Kale Soup with Spinach

Serves 8

INGREDIENTS

8 or more vegan sausages (I used Beyond Meat)

1 head kale – tough ribs removes & the leaves chopped

1 pound spinach

2 TBS olive oil

1 onion – chopped

2 red bell peppers – seeded & chopped

2 poblano peppers – seeded & chopped

8 celery stalks – chopped

2 tsp dry basil

1 tsp dry oregano

1 tsp crushed red pepper (optional)

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary

8-10 cups vegan stock

S&P

Fresh basil as garnish

DIRECTIONS

Cook the sausages (removing skins if you prefer) in a skillet until browned.  Set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large soup pot.  Add the onion, bell peppers, celery, and poblano peppers & saute until soft.  Add the dry basil, cumin, oregano, crushed red pepper, and rosemary and stir to combine.

Add the sausage, kale & stock & heat through.  Season with S&P.

When ready to serve, put a handful of raw spinach in each bowl & ladle the hot soup on top.  Garnish with fresh basil.

 

 

DDD #74 – Ayurveda Kitchari – Vegan Mung Bean Stew to Detox & Cleanse (Instant Pot, Slow Cooker or Stove Top)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2018

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

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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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My friend, Katie, turned me on to kitchari.  Apparently, you can eat it – JUST IT – for 1-7 days straight & it calms your digestive tract & detoxes you system but with the added benefit of feeling like decadent comfort food.  Also – mung beans are dirt cheap. (Articles on the subject are linked at the bottom of this post).  This recipe makes about 7 quarts which is a fuckton so – unless you are feeding a lot of people or want to freeze some – consider reducing the recipe.

I used an Instant Pot to make mine but this can be done in a slow cooker or stove top.  I really recommend Instant Pots, though, because they steam, pressure cook, slow cook, cook rice, cook cakes, saute, cook eggs & clean windows.  I got my huge one HERE for just over $100 & I am VERY happy with it.  I can now get rid of several other appliances.

***NOTE – I soaked my beans on the counter overnight & in the fridge a second night but this is not necessary.  If you want to move more quickly – boil some water, add your beans & let them soak for an hour.

Ayurveda Kitchari – Vegan Mung Bean Stew

Caters a party so be ready for a lot

INGREDIENTS

3 cups mung beans (I used half whole green & half split green – as seen above) – soaked (see ***NOTE above)

1-2 TBS coconut oil or olive oil

1 onion – chopped

6 garlic cloves – chopped

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS ground cumin

1 TBS (or more – to taste) salt (I used pink Himalayan)

1 TBS ground mustard

1 TBS ground coriander

1 TBS ground pepper

1 TBS ground fenugreek (optional)

1/4 tsp asafoetida

1 (15 oz) can coconut milk (I used lite)

6 TBS minced ginger

1 cup cilantro

Vegetables are optional.  Use any you prefer but I added:

5 small turnips – diced

5 small golden beets – diced

1 large sweet potato – diced

5 oz baby kale

1 tomato – diced

6 cups water

2 cups basmati (or other long grain white rice)

(If you are making your rice separate from the stew, as I did, it is nice to add a tsp cumin SEEDS & 6 green cardamom pods to it as it cooks but that is not necessary.)

GARNISH – coconut butter, cilantro, crushed red pepper

DIRECTIONS

Quick soak your beans (see note above) if you did not soak them overnight or for 2 days, as I did.)

Traditionally, the rice is cooked in the same pot with everything else.  My Instant Pot was not large enough so I cooked it separately.  This is your call – or maybe your pot size will determine your choice but it does not matter much either way.

Rinse the rice.  Set aside.

Heat the oil in a very large pot (or your Instant Pot – my pot is 8 Quarts) and soften.  Add the garlic & spices & stir to combine.

If you are using a slow cooker, transfer the onions & spices to it.  Everything else is the same no matter whether you are slow cooking, Instant Pot cooking or going stove top.  Only the cooking time will vary.

Now, add everything else to the pot.  If your pot is easily deep enough to hold the rice, too, add that.  If you are cooking the rice in the same pot – add 4 additional cups of water to the 6 cups used if you are cooking the rice separately (assuming your rice directions ask for 2 cups water per 1 cup rice.  Adjust accordingly if your rice has different directions).  Or – just cook the rice separately as the package directs.  If you are making your rice separate from the stew, as I did, it is nice to add 1 tsp cumin SEEDS & 6 green cardamom pods to it as it cooks but that is not necessary.

Slow cooker – cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

Stove top – bring to a boil uncovered for 5 minutes.  Reduced heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes or more or until everything is tender.

Instant Pot – seal & cook manually for 10 minutes.

If it is to thick, thin it with extra water.  If it is too thin, let is simmer, uncovered, for a while longer.

Serve with rice (if you cooked it separately) and garnish with coconut butter (burns fat & lowers cholesterol) and lots of cilantro & maybe some crushed red pepper.

Here are some articles for more info on kitchari & using it to detox:

What is kitchari? – https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/blog-the-banyan-insight/details/what-is-kitchari-why-we-eat-it-for-cleansing

3-Day Cleanse – https://www.banyanbotanicals.com/info/ayurvedic-living/living-ayurveda/cleansing/a-very-simple-three-day-cleanse/

How to do a kitchari cleanse – http://www.krissyruddy.com/how-to-do-a-kitchari-cleanse/

Hearty & Spicy Vegan Eggplant & Mushroom Bolognese Pasta Sauce

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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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I had a fridge chock full of produce & not enough days of cooking before me to get through it all without a lot of it going bad – so – I made this very thick & hearty tomato sauce.  It is a great way to use a ton of veggies & clean out that fridge.  Additionally – if you puree it or use an immersion blender – you can hide the veggies from kids & other finicky palates.

I grilled the eggplant first – to add a smokey flavor – but this is not necessary.  I used kale & collard greens – because I had them – but they are totally optional – or you could use spinach, instead.  You can eliminate a lot of the ingredients without a negative impact on this sauce so feel free to customize it.

I had a bunch of sage that I had frozen.  It worked really well in this sauce – so – if you have herbs that are going to spoil, put them in sandwich bags & freeze them for use in future sauces.

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Hearty & Spicy Vegan Eggplant & Mushroom Bolognese Pasta Sauce

Makes a boatload – so either serve a large group or freeze some

INGREDIENTS

9 oz vegan beef crumbles (I used Beyond Meat)

Olive oil

7 Japanese eggplants (or 3 large regular eggplants)

2 onions – diced

2 bell peppers – diced

2 large zucchini – chopped

4 jalapenos – diced (optional)

1 bunch kale – (optional) ribs removed, washed & chopped (or spinach)

1 bunch collard greens – (optional) ribs removed, washed & chopped fine (or spinach)

8 oz mushrooms – sliced

1/4 cup fresh sage – chopped

1-6 garlic cloves – chopped

1/2 cup tomato paste (1 small can)

3 (26 oz) containers of chopped & strained tomatoes – in any combination (I used 2 strained & 1 chopped)

1/4 cup vegan Parmesan (very, very optional)

1 TBS salt

1-3 tsp crushed red pepper (according to your tolerance for heat)

1 TBS dry parsley

1 TBS oregano

1 TBS thyme (I used fresh chopped)

1/2 cup fresh basil – chopped

GARNISH – Cooked pasta, fresh chopped parsley or basil

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DIRECTIONS

If you are grilling the eggplant – slice them & either spray them with cooking spray or brush them with olive oil & then grill them on both sides.  Set aside to cool – then chop.  Set aside.

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Heat 2-3 TBS olive oil in a large stock pot.  Add onions & bell peppers & jalapenos.  Saute until softened.

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Add the zucchini & mushrooms & saute until tender.  Stir in the chopped eggplant.

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Add the greens you are using & fold in so they wilt.  Add the garlic & cook for a minute or two.

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Add all the other ingredients – EXCEPT the beef crumbles.   Bring to a boil & then reduce the heat & simmer for about 30 minutes.  If it gets too thick, add water.

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Now – if you are going to puree the sauce or use an immersion blender – now is the time.   Whatever you decide – pureed or not – add the beefy crumbles & heat through.

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Season with S&P.

Toss some of the sauce with cooked pasta.  You will have a lot of sauce left over – unless you are feeding a very large group.  Garnish with basil and/or parsley.

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Fennel, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Kale & White Bean Gratin (Vegan or Not)

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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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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I get Farm Fresh To You deliveries every other week.  You are allowed to customize the deliveries but, sometimes, I forget and the result is that I end up with an infinity of leafy greens.  This week: two kinds of lettuce, Swiss chard & kale.  And fennel.  And more.  But thatsalotta greens!  Plus, I already had fennel from the last delivery & about 5 pounds of spinach.  So – I decided to make something that would use as many of the greens as possible – this dish.  The greens you use can vary but you need a lot of whatever you select because they reduce dramatically.

I used real Parmesan in this (because I had it) but vegan Parm – or even another vegan cheese (like mozzarella or cheddar) would work.  I used almond milk but I think a thicker milk might have been better.

NOTE – Also – you might want to add some cheese to the veggie mix.  I didn’t because I was trying to keep this dish on the light side.

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Fennel, Swiss Chard, Spinach, Kale & White Bean Gratin (Vegan or Not)

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

5 TBS vegan butter

2 small bulbs fennel – chopped

1 onion (I used 1 brown & 1/2 red onion) – diced

4 or more garlic cloves (I used 4 cloves & 2 stalks of green garlic) – chopped

1 bunch Swiss chard – ribs removed & chopped

1 bunch kale – ribs removed & chopped

2-4 cups spinach

2 TBS fresh thyme

3 TBS flour

1 cup Parmesan (vegan or otherwise) – optional – for adding to the veggies – see NOTE above

1 1/2 cup vegan milk (I used almond milk but a thicker milk might be better – or half & half, if you are not vegan)

2 14 oz cans white beans – drained & rinsed

1 1/2 cups bread crumbs (I used Panko)

1 cup Parmesan (vegan or otherwise) – or other cheese (mozzarella or cheddar) for topping

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Melt TWO of the five TBS of butter in a large stock pot.  Add the fennel and onion & saute until soft.  Add thyme & combine.  Add the garlic & stir for a minute.  Add the greens – in stages – adding more as each bit wilts.

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Add the flour & milk & bring to a boil.  Reduce to low & simmer as it thickens a bit.  Add the beans & season with S&P.  If you are adding cheese to the veggies – do that now & stir to combine.

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Meanwhile – melt the remaining 3 TBS butter & toss with the breadcrumbs and 1 cup of cheese.

Treat a 9 x 13 casserole pan with cooking spray or oil & put the veggie mix in.  Top with the breadcrumb mix.  Bake for about 30 minutes or until breadcrumbs turn golden.

Let rest 10 minutes & serve.

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Vegan Roasted Golden Beet Risotto with Parmesan & Beet Greens Pesto

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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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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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I love beets.  I always have.  I have discovered, however, that many folks don’t think they like them – until they have fresh ones roasted.  I have converted more than a few people from beet-haters to beet-lovers.  And why hate them?  They are really a lot like carrots – sorta earthy & sweet.  Who hates carrots?

Anyway – risotto is easy – despite its reputation.  So – though this recipe has a few steps – they are all easy & you end up with a fuckton of yummy, vegan risotto!  If you are not vegan – you could stir in some real Parmesan or – even better – some goat cheese.  If you ARE vegan – you, too, could opt to stir in a vegan creamy cheese – like cream cheese or any of the brands that make soft, spreadable vegan cheeses.  Or – go with no cheese.  Your call.

The pesto is easy & makes great use of the beet greens but you can omit it – or make it with kale or some other greens – even traditional pesto – with basil.

If I were not on a diet – I would have tossed a few chopped walnuts or pistachios on the bowls as garnish.  If you are in a “giving zero fucks” mood – toss some motherfucking nuts on there & get your chow on!  I ain’t judging!

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Vegan Creamy Golden Beet Risotto with Parmesan & Beet Greens Pesto

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

for the beet greens pesto (this makes way more than you will likely use on this dish but you can freeze it or put in on pizza, toss it with pasta or use it as a sandwich spread)

Tops to several beets (I used the tops to about 6 beets – both red & golden) – washed VERY, very well & stems trimmed off

Several kale leaves (only because I had them – so this is easy to omit – if you want to) – ribs removed

2-6 garlic cloves (according to your taste for garlic)

1/2 cup nuts (I used raw almonds but walnuts, pecans, pistachios or pine nuts will work)

1/4 cup oil

1/2 cup water (more or less)

1/4 cup vegan Parmesan (or a TBS or 2 of nutritional yeast)

S&P

for the golden beet risotto

4-6 large beets (I had 3 large golden beets & 3 small red ones) – I like a lot of veggies in my risotto to lower the carb hit

3 TBS coconut oil or olive oil

4 garlic cloves (less if you are not a big garlic fan)

1 onion – diced

2 cups Arborio (risotto) rice

1 cup dry white wine (optional – use more stock if you don’t want to use wine)

8 cups vegetable stock

1/4 cup (or more) vegan Parmesan (or other cheese – as you prefer)

S&P

Garnish – more cheese, parsley and maybe some chopped nuts (like pistachios or walnuts) – and maybe some chopped or sliced roasted beets

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DIRECTIONS

for the pesto

WASH THE GREENS WELL!  Beets greens are usually very gritty.  In a food processor, pulse the nuts & garlic & cheese until blended.  Pulse in the greens & kale & oil & then only add as much water as you need to get it to the pesto texture you prefer.  I went drier than usual with this because I wanted it to sit on the risotto without blending – just so I could photograph it.  You can go wetter – if you prefer.  Season with S&P.  Set aside.

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For the Vegan Roasted Golden Beet Risotto with Parmesan

Heat the oven to 450-500 degrees.

Wrap the beets in foil.  If you are using two colors – wrap them separately or the red ones will dye the golden ones.

Cook for about an hour or until they are tender.  Allow them to cool & then rub the skin & rough parts off under running water.  Use a knife to get any stubborn places.  Dice or slice them – reserving a bit for garnish later.  This can be done a day or two in advance – just store them in the fridge.

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Bring the vegetable stock to a boil & reduce to a simmer.

Heat the oil & saute the onions until translucent.  Add the rice & stir so all the rice is coated in oil.  Add a bit more, if you need to.  Cook for about 3 minutes or until the edges of the rice start to look translucent.  Add the garlic & stir for 1 minute.  Add the wine (or one cup of stock) and cook until it is absorbed.  Add the beets (reserving some for garnish) and combine.  Now – over medium heat & stirring almost constantly, add the stock one cup at a time – allowing to to get absorbed each time.  I like my risotto a little wetter but this is a personal preference.  Cook until the rice is just tender – NOT mushy – this may or may not take up all the stock.  Stir in any cheese you are using.  Season with S&P.  Add more stock (or water) if it gets too thick.

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Serve immediately & garnish with a dollop of beet greens pesto, more beets, parsley, more cheese & any nuts you might have decided to use.

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Creamy Kale & Potato Gratin (Vegan or Vegetarian)

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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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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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My intention was to make this entirely vegan – and I almost finished it vegan – but it came out of the oven looking very sad – because the vegan cheeses I used did not melt well & it was just a delicious-smelling but not pretty (really not pretty) thing that I could not post here & lure a single person to try it.  If you are not vegan – use whatever cheeses you prefer and, if you are vegan, either use your favorite (and – hopefully – melty) mozzarella.  I used real mozzarella in the last half hour of cooking time – which is why it has the golden, melted topping.  But – had I not been under pressure to make it LOOK pretty – I would have left it vegan & just shoveled it into my face – because it really is yummy!  And – when I am home & eating alone – WTF do I care what it looks like?  So – vegan or not – I think you can modify this to suit your diets & have a yummy kale & potato gratin.

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Creamy Kale & Potato Gratin (Vegan or Vegetarian)

Serves 6 as a side

INGREDIENTS

1-2 TBS olive oil or coconut oil

1/2 large onion – diced

2-4 garlic cloves – chopped

1-3 jalapenos – diced (very, very optional – I just like spice so I used 3)

2 small heads of kale – ribs removed & chopped

10 small potatoes (or any combination – I used a mix) – sliced into 1/4″ slices

2 cups soy or almond or other milk

2/3 cup vegan sour cream

10 slices vegan cheese (I used 2 sharp cheddar slices & 8 Chao Original slices) or other grated cheeses (I used about 1 cup but more is always better and I would have used way more had I had it – but less is healthier so…your call)

1-2 cups grated vegan mozzarella (I used real mozzarella because I had it but my homemade vegan mozzarella would be great and it kinda melts!)

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the sour cream into the milk & set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan.  Cook the onions until soft & then add the kale, jalapenos (if using) and the garlic.  I added a few TBS of water to aid in the wilting of the kale.  You can do this or not – but simply cook until the kale is wilted & soft.  Set aside.

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Grease a casserole pan (I used olive oil Pam) and layer 1/3 of the potato slices in the bottom of the pan.  Add 1/2 the kale & 1/3 of the non-mozzarella cheese.  Add another 1/3 of the potato, the rest of the kale & another 1/3 of the non-mozzarella cheese.  Top with remaining potato & non-mozzarella cheese.  Pour the milk/sour cream blend over it all.  I was a lazy whisker & my sour cream stayed lumpy.  It looks bad but didn’t hurt the recipe.  Add some S&P.

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Cover with foil & bake for 1 hour.

Remove from oven & top with the grated mozzarella.  Bake – uncovered – another 20-30 minutes or until the gratin is sorta firm & your cheese (especially if using real cheese) looks done.  Non-melting vegan cheese might never look done – so – be careful not to overcook the gratin because it will dry out.

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Vegan Three “Cheese” & Alfredo Lasagna with Power Greens (Kale, Chard & Spinach)

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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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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or just print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This lasagna is delicious & 100% vegan.  I made three kinds of vegan “cheese” for this.  You can make the cheeses yourself (they are all very easy) or buy vegan pre-made varieties.  I used three kinds of sauce, a cup of leftover homemade, the remnants of a jar of Rao’s marinara & a little more than a cup of Rao’s Arrabbiata – my favorite jarred sauce.  You can use all homemade or all from a jar – or mix it up – as I did.

I used red chard, kale & spinach.  You can use any combination of greens that you prefer.  I used cheddar cauliflower, because I had it, but regular cauliflower is just as good (it just has less vitamin A).  I used the sort of lasagna that needs to be cooked in advance – mainly because I noticed the no-cook kind had egg in them.  You can use your favorite vegan lasagna noodles.

I am going to post the three cheeses first.  You can choose to make any or all of them.

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Best Fast & Easy Vegan Mozzarella (above) – for Melting & Grating – recipe is HERE.

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Vegan Herbed Tofu “Ricotta”

INGREDIENTS

1 lb extra firm tofu

1 TBS olive oil

1 tsp garlic powder

1-3 TBS mixed chopped fresh herbs (I used thyme & sage)

1 tsp each salt & pepper

1 TBS dry parsley

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DIRECTIONS

Crumble the tofu & mix in the other ingredients.  Set aside.

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Vegan “Parmesan”

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup bread crumbs (I used panko)

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (pepita) – I used roasted & salted because I could not find raw – but raw will work, too

2 TBS nutritional yeast

1 tsp salt

1/4 tsp dry thyme

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DIRECTIONS

I think it would be ideal to grind these ingredients together in a spice mill – but I don’t have one.  You might get a finer result.  I used my food processor & ran it a few minutes.  The pumpkin seeds were not totally ground – but I went with it anyway.

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Vegan Three “Cheese” & Alfredo Lasagna with Power Greens (Kale, Chard & Spinach)

Makes a standard lasagna

INGREDIENTS

1 lb lasagna noodles – cooked as directed

3 cups pasta sauce of your choice

2+ cups vegan mozzarella – grated

for the power greens

1 head kale – ribs removed & chopped

1 head chard – ribs removed & chopped

2 cups spinach

1 cup fresh basil

4 garlic cloves – minced

1/4 onion – diced

1/4 cup vegan Parmesan

Olive oil

for the alfredo

1 head cauliflower – cut into florets

1 cup vegetable stock or water

2 TBS vegan butter

5 garlic cloves – minced

3/4 cup vegan Parmesan

GARNISH – chopped basil or arugula leaves or parsley

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DIRECTIONS

Cook the pasta & drain.

for the alfredo

Boil the cauliflower (maybe even boil it in vegetable stock) until very soft.  Drain (I reserved 1 cup of the water I boiled the cauliflower in).

Melt the butter & saute the garlic for one minute.

In a blender or food processor – blend the cauliflower, stock (or water) butter & garlic, vegan Parmesan & a bit of S&P until very smooth.  Set aside.

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for the power greens

Heat a TBS or 2 in a large saute pan & heat the onion until soft.  Add the garlic & kale, chard & spinach & heat just until the greens wilt.

In a food processor (not a necessary step – but it prevents large & hard to bite pieces of greens in your lasagna that can flop, hot, out of a bite you are taking & burn you – or just make a mess) – pulse the hot greens, the basil, and 1/4 cup of the Parmesan.  Set aside.

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for the lasagna

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a large lasagna pan, put about 1 cup of sauce on the bottom & then layer noodles.  The rest of the layering can be random & at your discretion – but here is the order I used.  I topped the noodles with half the “ricotta,” half the “alfredo,” then noodles, then all the greens, noodles, remaining “ricotta,” cup or more of sauce, noodles, remaining “alfredo,” noodles, remaining sauce & mozzarella.

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Bake for about 45 minutes or until well heated.  I would say “or until cheese melts,” but many vegan cheeses do not truly melt.  So – just eyeball it until you think it seems done.

I stacked two pieces on top of each other for photos & you could do this, too, for an impressive presentation.  Or not.  Your call.  Garnish with basil or arugula or parsley.  Devour!

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Creamy, Vegan Potato (Aloo) & Fresh Fenugreek (Methi) Curry

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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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Pictured with Coconut, Ginger & Jalapeno Cauliflower “Rice.”

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The photo of the greens above (which I stole from the internet) is of fresh fenugreek leaves (or methi).  I bought some at my local Indian market (India Sweets & Spices).  From the internet:

Fenugreek is an annual herb with a slightly sweet, nutty flavor often described as a cross between celery and maple. The seeds can be used whole or ground and are commonly found in curry powder.

I had them, so I used them.  If you cannot find them, use spinach or chard or even kale – it doesn’t much matter.

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This is an easy but very creamy dish so it would go over a cauliflower “rice” nicely – and you avoid doubling up on heavy starches.  The flavors here are subtle & mild – a rare dish I added little spice to.   If you cannot find fenugreek SEEDS (any Indian market will have them & they won’t be expensive) – they can be purchased online – Amazon, for example.

I used a random mix of potatoes – and any potatoes would do – even sweet potatoes.

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Creamy, Vegan Potato (Aloo) & Fresh Fenugreek (Methi) Curry

Easily feeds 4 with rice

INGREDIENTS

2 cups of methi (fenugreek) leaves or other greens (like spinach or chard or kale)

4 cups of cubed potatoes

1-2 TBS olive oil or coconut oil

1 onion – diced

1-3 serrano (or jalapeno) peppers – seeded & diced (go less or omit – if you hate heat)

1 tsp black mustard seeds (I was out so I used mustard powder)

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp fennel seeds

1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds (optional)

1/4 cup vegan sour cream

1/2 cup vegan cream cheese

1/2 – 1 cup unsweetened almond (or other vegan) milk

S&P

Cooked rice or cauliflower rice

OPTIONAL – garnish with Spicy Cilantro and Mint Chutney – seen just below.

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DIRECTIONS

Boil the potatoes until they are just done.  Drain & set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan & add the mustard (seeds or powder), fennel seeds & fenugreek seeds.  Once the seeds start popping – add the onion & chilies.  Cook until the onion begins to brown  bit.   Add the potatoes, fenugreek leaves (or other chopped greens), turmeric, chili powder & cumin & stir to combine.  Cook until your greens wilt.

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Add the sour cream, cream cheese and milk (add milk in increments until you get the consistency you like) & stir to incorporate them.

Season to taste with S&P.

Serve over rice.

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Easy Vegan Butternut Mac & Cheese with Kale for the Stove Top

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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

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This is a very easy dish & it is really yummy.  I wanted to make a vegan mac & cheese without cashews & without nutritional yeast – because cashews are calorie dense & because nutritional yeast just isn’t for everybody.   The flavor of this dish is dominated by the butternut squash – but it is a really mild flavor.  Squash is kinda sweet, though, so I thought this needed more salt than I would typically use – to balance that sweetness.  I also used boatloads of Crystal hot sauce (my favorite brand).  Because the bulk of the “cheese” is really squash – this is a much lighter dish than a regular mac & cheese would be – so you can really go fucking nuts shoving it into your face – in an effort to, at least temporarily, fill the gaping hole in your heart.   And then you can pat yourself on the back for eating the (mysteriously trendy) kale that the recipe calls for.  Or – you could give the finger to leafy-green-eating hipsters & blow off the kale – or use spinach or peas or fried sage.  After all – emotional eating is different for all of us & your aching soul wants what it wants.  It is the holidays.  Give in.  Use this creamy carb porn to suppress things that would probably go away if you faced them but who needs that shit?  Facing things?  Leave that to the hipsters, too, while you eat this pasta out of the pan with a serving spoon and think hurtful things about man buns, full beards & whimsical mustaches.  Might as well bust out the liquor, too.   Then, do what I do, and nurse a bottle of champagne while watching doc after doc about people who have it worse than I do.  Human rights violations & Jonestown & international women cruelly subjugated.  The Holocaust.  Rare or incurable diseases.  And then think about how good you actually have it & bust open a second bottle of bubbly to celebrate.    Works for me.

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Easy Vegan Butternut Mac & Cheese with Kale for the Stove Top

Serves 4-6 (or one really depressed person)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb macaroni (or other pasta) – cooked according to directions

1 medium butternut squash – peeled, seeded & cubed

2 TBS vegan butter

2 TBS flour

1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or other vegan milk)

1/2 cup vegan cream cheese

1 vegetable bouillon cube (optional)

2 tsp mustard powder

1 TBS onion powder

1 TBS garlic powder

1 tsp smoked paprika

1 head kale – ribs removed & chopped (optional)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Cook your pasta.

Boil some water & cook the squash until it is very soft – maybe 15 minutes.  Drain.

Melt the butter in a stock pot & whisk in the flour.  Add the bouillon cube & then add the milk in small increments, melting the bouillon cube but also not adding more milk until the roux is thick & bubbly.

When you have used the full cup of milk, blend the roux with the squash and cream cheese.  I had to add a little more almond milk to get it to blend – but be careful it doesn’t get too thin.  Add the spices (I added mine later (as the photos show) but that was because I was winging it.  If you add them in the blender – they will blend in better.  Season with S&P.  Blend until very smooth.

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When the pasta is done, drain it & return to the pan.  Stir in SOME of the butternut sauce.  I say some because there might be too much – depending on how wet you like your mac & cheese.  Save a little – to pour on top of the mac & cheese when you serve it.  Stir in the kale until it wilts.  You can heat this on the stove – if things have cooled to much – but be careful not to burn it.  Season again with S&P & serve with a few tablespoons of butternut sauce on top.  Voila!

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Kale & Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad with Avocado (Vegan or Not)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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

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Kale, Spinach & Cashew Pesto

Makes about 2 cups – which is a lot

INGREDIENTS

2 cups kale with the ribs removed

2 cups organic spinach

2-6 garlic cloves (depending on your taste for garlic)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan (or vegan alternative)

1/4 cup cashews (or almonds or pistachios or walnuts or pecans)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup water

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Blanch the kale in boiling water for 1 minute & then drain & put into cold water.  When it is cool enough, squeeze the water out & pulse it in a food processor a few times.

Toast the nuts in a dry pan – agitating them so they do not burn – for a few minutes or until they start to brown a bit & smell fragrant.  Do not burn them or the pesto will be bitter.  Pulse them into the Kale.

Add all the other ingredients & pulse until smooth.  You might need to add more or less water to get the desired consistency – which should be thick but smooth.  Season with S&P.

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This is a pretty healthy pasta salad.  No mayo & lots of veggies.  I used some leftover kale & spinach pesto that I had frozen but any pesto will do.  I added some feta cheese to mine because I had some leftover from Blue Apron meals I never prepared but there was not a lot & it certainly was not critical to the dish so – if you are vegan – simply omit it.

The amounts you add of each thing is really a personal preference but here is how I did it.

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Kale & Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad with Avocado (Vegan or not)

Feeds a lot as a side dish maybe 10-15 people

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 lbs pasta – cooked, drained & cooled

1 small red onion – diced

2 large avocados – cubed

1 red bell pepper – diced

1 green bell pepper – diced

10 oz of cherry or grape tomatoes – halved

1/4 cup cilantro – chopped

1/2 cup pesto (more or less – according to taste)

1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese (more or less acording to taste) – OPTIONAL – omit if you are vegan

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Mix it all up & season with S&P.

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Broccoli Pasta with Kale, Spinach & Cashew Pesto (Vegan or Not)

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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

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This is really easy. I made the pesto last month & froze portions of it in sandwich bags.  It retained its brilliant green color & yummy flavor perfectly.  Here is that recipe:

Kale, Spinach & Cashew Pesto

Makes about 2 cups – which is a lot

INGREDIENTS

2 cups kale with the ribs removed

2 cups organic spinach

2-6 garlic cloves (depending on your taste for garlic)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan (or vegan alternative)

1/4 cup cashews (or almonds or pistachios or walnuts or pecans)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup water

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Blanch the kale in boiling water for 1 minute & then drain & put into cold water.  When it is cool enough, squeeze the water out & pulse it in a food processor a few times.

Toast the nuts in a dry pan – agitating them so they do not burn – for a few minutes or until they start to brown a bit & smell fragrant.  Do not burn them or the pesto will be bitter.  Pulse them into the Kale.

Add all the other ingredients & pulse until smooth.  You might need to add more or less water to get the desired consistency – which should be thick but smooth.  Season with S&P.

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Once the pesto is prepared – all you need to do is boil the pasta & the broccoli & toss it.  SO EASY!  So healthy!  So yummy!

Broccoli Pasta with Kale, Spinach & Cashew Pesto (Vegan or Not)

Feeds 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta

Broccoli – cut into florets (Use as little or as much as you like.  I used a large head.)

Pesto – recipe above (Again – use as much as you like.)

Garnish – Parmesan (vegan or otherwise), ground pepper, salt

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DIRECTIONS

Prepare the pesto.  Boil the pasta & add the broccoli for the last 2-3 minutes.  Drain & toss with the pesto.  Garnish as you like.  See?  crazy easy!

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Kale, Spinach & Cashew Pesto

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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

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Because I subscribe to vegetable delivery service, Farm Fresh To You, I get a huge box of locally-grown produce dropped at my door every two weeks.  It is a great way to force myself to eat lots of veggies.  Even though the boxes are only delivered every 14 days – I still find t hard to get through everything they send.  So – sometimes – a few items get sad & wilted before I can use them.   That was almost the case with the Roasted Rainbow Carrots with Thyme & Balsamic Glaze I posted yesterday – seen below.

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Last night – it was the kale that was sift & wilting & crying out to be put to good use.  I also had a ton of spinach in the fridge – so – I decided to make pesto.  I have posted a zillion pesto recipes over the last three years (my blog will be three years old this weekend!) and pesto can be used over pasta, on pizza, as a sandwich spread, on crostini, mixed into potato or pasta salads, mixed into mashed potatoes, in soups, on baked potatoes – endless ways, really.  I used it as a layer in my Grilled & Baked Eggplant Pizza Towers with Fresh Mozzarella & Basil Chiffonade last night (not reflected in the photo below) and it was delicious.

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Also – you can freeze it in small containers for future use.  Putting small portions into Ziplock sandwich bags & stacking them flat – like stacked books – is a great way to store it & save room in your freezer.

The color of this stuff is un-enhanced.  It really is this spectacular, emerald green!  Just imagine that tossed with some farfalle!  Also – it is a good way to trick kids into eating the less popular but more healthy vegetables.

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Kale, Spinach & Cashew Pesto

Makes about 2 cups – which is a lot

INGREDIENTS

2 cups kale with the ribs removed

2 cups organic spinach

2-6 garlic cloves (depending on your taste for garlic)

1/4 cup grated Parmesan (or vegan alternative)

1/4 cup cashews (or almonds or pistachios or walnuts or pecans)

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup water

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Blanch the kale in boiling water for 1 minute & then drain & put into cold water.  When it is cool enough, squeeze the water out & pulse it in a food processor a few times.

Toast the nuts in a dry pan – agitating them so they do not burn – for a few minutes or until they start to brown a bit & smell fragrant.  Do not burn them or the pesto will be bitter.  Pulse them into the Kale.

Add all the other ingredients & pulse until smooth.  You might need to add more or less water to get the desired consistency – which should be thick but smooth.  Season with S&P.

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Vegan Coconut and Turmeric Lentil Stew with Kale for the Slow Cooker

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2015

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

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Group of turmeric roots isolated on white background

I stole this image from Google.

I found fresh turmeric at the supermarket & just had to try it out.  It looks like that photo above – but that photo does not really get the grub-like visual it sometimes has.  I used 1 2-inch piece of it chopped into the stew but I can’t say what flavor it added so – if you can’t find it – skip it.  Powdered turmeric will do.  Google turmeric & learn of its many health benefits.  It is very good for you & has that gorgeous color – so I love using it.

This stew was born because I re-upped my membership to Farm Fresh to You & I had lots of fresh veggies to use.    This makes a shitload of stew but it is delicious & freezes well.  I have been eating it for lunch at work all week and I am never disappointed by the flavors.   I used this 6-quart Crock Pot and it was filled to the brim – so – get ready to either feed a lotta folks or to freeze some for future use.

I have to remark here how much better the local organic carrots I got from Farm Fresh to You tasted than supermarket carrots.  They were bursting with sweetness!  If you have a local produce delivery service near you – I recommend trying it out.  Support local farmers & get fresher produce.  It is a win-win.

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Vegan Coconut and Turmeric Lentil Stew with Kale for the Slow Cooker

Feeds a party

INGREDIENTS

1 lb lentils (I used pink  ones- despite the fact that they look yellow because of the turmeric)

7 cups vegetable stock

1 can coconut milk (I used lite)

4 tomatoes – diced

1 onion – diced

2 jalapenos – seeded & minced (I left the seeds in for extra kick)

1 head Kale – chopped

4 carrots – sliced

4 cloves garlic – chopped

3 TBS fresh ginger – minced

2 inches turmeric root – peeled & minced (optional)

2 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp salt

2 pinches cayenne

1 TBS ground coriander

1 TBS mustard powder

1 TBS turmeric

GARNISH – cilantro, chopped tomatoes, chopped jalapenos

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DIRECTIONS

Put everything in the slow cooker & leave on high for 5 hours.

Shit don’t get easier than that.

If it is too thick – add water.  If it is too thin – take the lid off & leave on high.  It should thicken up in an hour or so.

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Roasted Pumpkin Lasagna with Red Chard and Fried Sage Bechamel (with Homemade Pumpkin Puree)

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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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All my posts now have a VERY customizable PRINT & PDF option.  Create a PDF & save the recipe to your computer or print it out.  It offers a “remove images” option & you can delete any part of the post you do not need before printing.  The button is below by the Twitter & Facebook links.

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This recipe requires a few steps but all are pretty easy & the result is an impressive crowd pleaser.  I roasted a couple of pumpkins myself but you could use canned pumpkin with little change in the result.  The only real difference is that canned pumpkin doesn’t come with seeds & I am going to post a roasted pumpkin seed recipe next & they are SO FRIGGING YUMMY – you will definitely be missing out if you do not try them.

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Roasted Pumpkin Lasagna with Red Chard and Fried Sage Bechamel (with Homemade Pumpkin Puree)

INGREDIENTS

1/2 – 1 lb lasagna noodles (I used about 10-12 noodles)

3 cups pumpkin puree (recipe for homemade is below)

16 oz ricotta cheese

1 bunch red chard (or rainbow or green chard or kale) – thick ribs cut out

1-2 TBS crushed red pepper (optional)

1+ cups grated Parmesan

1+ cups grated mozzarella

S&P

for the bechamel

4 cups milk (I used almond milk)

7 TBS butter

6 TBS flour

1 large bunch of fresh sage

Pinch of nutmeg

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cook the lasagna noodles for about half the time recommended for them to be al dente and – being sure to reserve the boiling water – scoop them out & run cold water over them in a colander.  Maybe toss with a touch of olive oil to be sure they don’t get sticky.

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Plunge the greens you are using into the hot water & let them sit 2-3 minutes.  Drain & chop them & set aside.

Melt 1 TBS of the butter in a small saute pan & fry the sage leaves for about 1 minute of med-high heat.  Do not brown it.  Drain the sage on a paper towel & set aside.

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Melt the remaining 6 TBS butter in the same pan in which you fried the sage (to take advantage of all the lovely sage flavor) & then transfer it into a stock pot large enough to hold 5 cups of milk.

Set the heat at med-low & whisk in the flour.  Keep whisking until the mixture smells nutty & takes on the color of light sand – about 6-7 minutes.

Meanwhile – in another pot – warm the milk but do not boil it.  Add the milk to the flour & butter roux – one cup at a time – and whisk until smooth & thick.  Reserve a few sage leaves for garnish & then crumble the rest into the bechamel.  Bring to a boil – whisking the entire time.  In 5-10 minutes – remove from heat, add some S&P and the nutmeg & set aside.

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To make assembly easier – I blended the ricotta & pumpkin puree in my food processor.  This isn’t necessary but ricotta tends to be thick & hard to spread so blending it with the puree makes spreading easier & assures an even distribution.

Treat a small lasagna pan with cooking spray & assemble the lasagna.  Put 1/4 of the sage bechamel in the bottom of the pan & top with a layer of noodles.  Layer 1/2 of the ricotta & pumpkin & top with 1/2 of the greens & a sprinkling of crushed red pepper.  Add another 1/4 of the bechamel & another layer of noodles.  Top this with the other 1/2 of the pumpkin/ricotta and the other 1/2 of the greens.  Add more crushed red pepper – if you like – and maybe some S&P.  Add another 1/4 of the bechamel & another layer of noodles.  Top with the rest of the bechamel & spread the Parmesan & mozzarella on top.  Garnish with a few sage leaves.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling & beginning to brown.  Let the lasagna rest about ten minutes & then start hacking into it & shoving it into your pie hole.  Mmmmmm!  Autumn!

Oh!  And in the interest of full disclosure – the pictures I used here of the lasagna on a plate is really TWO pieces of lasagna stacked on top of each other.  You can do this when you serve it – if the deeper lasagna appeals to you visually.

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Homemade Roasted Pumpkin Puree

INGREDIENTS

Fresh pumpkin (I used two small pie pumpkins & got about 4 cups of puree from them)

Water

S&P

DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the tops off & then pumpkins in half (or quarter them, if your pumpkin is large), seed them (keeping the seeds for roasting!  I will post a recipe for that next) & roast for about 40-50 minutes or until the skin is soft & the meat is fork tender.

Let them cool a bit & then scoop out the meat & puree in a food processor or blender.  I added about 1 cup of water to mine to thin it enough to blend.  Add a bit of S&P.

This puree is REALLY good for dogs & can be a miracle cure for doggy diarrhea if you add some to their food.  Just FYI.