DDD # 44 – Vegan Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Brown Sugar Tofu & Chili Oil

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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

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Vegan Cold Soba Noodle Salad with Brown Sugar Tofu & Chili Oil

Serves 2 very well


for the chili oil

1/2 cup oil

3 star anise pods

1-2 TBS chopped fresh ginger

2 TBS crushed red pepper

2-4 garlic cloves – minced

3 scallions – chopped

for the dressing

2 TBS sesame oil

2 TBS rice vinegar

2 TBS low sodium soy sauce or liquid aminos or tamari

2 TBS brown sugar

for the soba salad

7 oz soba noodles – cooked & drained

1/2 – 1 pound tofu (I used pressed tofu)

2 TBS brown sugar

1/2 tsp S&P

1 TBS sesame oil

Mixed chopped vegetables.  I used:

1/2 cucumber

4 radishes

1/4 red bell pepper

1 cup purple cabbage

2 scallions

(you could use edamame, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, snow peas, green beans or whatever you like)


Sesame seeds

Lime wedges


Cook the noodles & set aside.

Whisk the dressing together & set aside.

Heat the oil for the chili oil in a pan.  Add the star anise & crushed red pepper.   Add the ginger & scallions.  When the scallions are soft & just starting to brown – add the garlic & heat for one minute.  Put the oil in a storage container to cool.  You won’t need all the oil for this recipe & the leftover should keep in the fridge for several days.

Heat 1 TBS sesame oil.  Add the brown sugar & salt & pepper.  Add the tofu & heat until the sugar caramelizes onto the tofu.  Set aside.

In a bowl – toss the noodles with the tofu & veggies.  Add some dressing (not all of it) and a drizzle of the chili oil.  Start very light with both the dressing & the chili oil & add more to taste.

Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro & serve with lime wedges.


Video Vegan – Super Easy 5-Ingredient Homemade Frascatelli Pasta with Mustard Greens & Parmesan Cheese


All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2017

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

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Reposting this recipe because I have a flashy new vegan video from my Youtube channel for it.  Check it out!!

My Farm Fresh to You delivery came today & there were mustard greens in there.  I’ve never cooked with them so I Googled them for some inspiration.  And did I find it!!!  The mustard greens in a recipe – sure.  But the revelation is the FRASCATELLI!    I had never heard of frascatelli before & I was intrigued.  It was the photo below (from Bon Appetit) that caught my eye. Looks like gnocchi.  I read more & discovered it was a 2 ingredient pasta that required no tools or resting time.  I had to try it.  Immediately!


Incredibly, frascatelli is as easy to make as the instructions suggested & I am certain I will be making this stuff over & over again.

The process is to spread out 2 cups of semolina flour & splatter it with water.  Then scoop it up, put it in a colander & shake it around.  Tiny dumplings form & the rest of the semolina falls back to the work surface.  Repeat.  When all my flour was used up – I manually pressed some of the teensy bits into larger dumplings but that is not necessary.  And guess what?  You can cook it immediately & it is done in 30-60 SECONDS.  Yes – seconds.  You MUST try this.  It would be a great thing to make with kids.  I think they would love the process.  Here are the directions from Bon Appetit:

  • Spread semolina flour in an even layer in an 8x8x2-inch baking dish. Fill a small bowl with 1 cup water and set next to dish. Working in 4-5 batches, gather your fingertips and thumb of 1 hand together and, working quickly, dip into bowl of water, lift hand from bowl, and splatter water over semolina. Repeat several times until surface of semolina is dotted with ragged wet patches about the size of a nickel. Let stand until water is absorbed, forming individual dumplings, about 5 seconds. Using a fish spatula or slotted spoon, turn dumplings over to coat with semolina, then transfer to a sieve. Shake gently over same baking dish to remove excess semolina; transfer dumplings to a large rimmed baking sheet. Repeat with remaining semolina and water until all of the water or all of the semolina has been used (there may be some water or semolina left over).
  • Working in 3-4 batches, cook dumplings in a large pot of slowly boiling salted water (if the water is boiling too rapidly, it may break up the dumplings), gently swirling water once or twice to prevent sticking, until al dente, about 30 seconds. Using a slotted spoon, transfer frascatelli to another large rimmed baking sheet.

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Frascatelli is like a softer cavatelli or a chewier & more dense gnocchi.    Worked great with the cheese & mustard greens but a red sauce or cream sauce or anything would work with this stuff.  Just amazing!  I have no idea how frascatelli was not on my radar until today.

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5-Ingredient Homemade Frascatelli Pasta with Mustard Greens & Parmesan Cheese (Vegetarian or Vegan)

Serves 2 very well


2 cups semolina flour

1 bunch mustard greens (or collard greens or spinach or arugula or chard) – ribs removed & chopped

2-3 TBS butter (or vegan butter or olive oil)

1-6 garlic cloves – chopped

1 cup Parmesan – vegan or otherwise (or any other cheese/vegan cheese you like blended into pasta)

OPTIONAL  – Crushed red pepper, S&P

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Make the frascatelli & set aside.

Prep the other ingredients.

Bring a pot of salted water to a slow boil & immerse the frascatelli.  Stir so it doesn’t stick.  Scoop out a cup or two of the boiling pasta water & reserve it.  In 30-60 seconds – drain the frascatelli & set it aside.

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Heat the butter (or vegan butter or olive oil) in a large saute pan.  Add the frascatelli.  Warm it through – stirring but trying not to crush or mush the dumplings.  I added some crushed red pepper here – about 1 TBS.

Add the garlic & greens.  Stir in a little of the reserved pasta water to wilt the greens.

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Add the cheese & some more pasta water (only use as much water as you need to melt & blend the cheese).  I added a bit of salt & a bunch of pepper.

Serve with extra cheese.

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Easy 5-Ingredient Fresh Mint & Zucchini Pasta (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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I started this blog on about July 5, 2012.  On July 13, 2012, I posted one of my all-time favorite recipes.  It is one I got from my good friend, Naomi Priestley.  It is Zucchini & Mint Pasta with Parmesan (seen just above).  But – it is such a divine dish – I thought I would post it again with a few new options.  1) It can be made without cheese altogether or 2) without cheese but with a squeeze of lemon juice or 3) with vegan Parmesan.

Do not be thrown by the idea of mint in a pasta dish – it is delicious!  It is especially lovely when you use fresh, homemade pasta – but dry pasta is fine, too.  If you do not consider oil and S&P to be legit ingredients – this is a 5 ingredient dish & comes together in less than 20 minutes.

I bought this ridiculous $5 micro basil because it looks pretty.  It is tasty, too, but it is certainly an unnecessary indulgence.




Fresh Mint & Zucchini Pasta (Vegan or Vegetarian)

Serves 2


1/2 lb pasta – cooked & drained

Olive oil

3-5 zucchini – either grated or spiralized or sliced (you can use as much zucchini as you like to mitigate the amount of pasta you eat or to, at least, lighten up the dish)

1-3 cloves garlic – chopped

1/4 cup fresh mint – chopped

S&P to taste

OPTIONS – Parmesan or vegan Parmesan (to taste) and or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Garnish: chopped mint and/or parsley and/or basil, more cheese, crushed red pepper





Cook & drain the pasta.

I spiralized the zucchini but you can grate or slice it.  Spiralizing is a good way to bury veggies in a spaghetti dish so your kids do not notice the veggies in there.  I sliced the ends that were too short to spiralize.



Heat a glug or two of olive oil in a large saute pan.  Saute the garlic for about 30 seconds & then add the zucchini.  Saute a few minutes & then add mint and season with S&P.   When the zucchini is soft – add the pasta & combine.  Add cheese or vegan cheese here – if you are using it – or squeeze in some lemon – if you are going that route.  Plate & serve with cheese and/or chopped herbs (mint or basil or parsley).








Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta with Fried Sage (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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Pretty much everybody has a pumpkin or two around at this time of year.  After they have served their Halloween purpose – there are a lot of great reasons to re-purpose them.  Reason number one – fresh pumpkin puree (seen above).  That can be used in many recipes – soup, pasta sauce, pie filling, panna cottagnocchi, dog biscuits, dog treats, and even as a healthy additive to your dog’s dinner.  Pumpkin is a great canine diarrhea cure.   You can toast the seeds (seen blow) as a healthy snack.  The recipe for toasting the seeds is HERE.


So – today I made this dish.  It is delicately flavored & creamy & delicious.  I made this vegan but real cheese would also be nice.  You could use canned pumpkin but I made mine fresh.

Homemade Roasted Pumpkin Puree


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




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!) & 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.







Creamy Roasted Pumpkin Alfredo Pasta with Fried Sage (Vegan or Vegetarian)

Serves 4


1 lb pasta – cooked & drained

3 cups pumpkin puree (recipe above – or canned unsweetened)

20 fresh sage leaves

4 oz (vegan) cream cheese

1/4 – 1/2 cup of (vegan) Parmesan

1 TBS nutritional yeast (optional)

2 TBS (vegan) butter (or olive oil)

2-5 oz coconut milk

1 – 3 tsp crushed red pepper (optional or to taste)


Potential garnish: some reserved fried & crumbled sage, chopped parsley, grated (vegan) cheese or Parmesan









Melt the butter & fry the sage a few minutes being careful not to burn it.  Drain them on a paper towel.

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Add the pumpkin puree to the sage butter & add the rest of the ingredients – except the coconut milk – and maybe reserving some fried sage for garnish.  Once the other ingredients are combined – add as much coconut milk as you like – either to taste or to achieve the level of creaminess you desire.  My puree was pretty thin so I only added about 2 oz of coconut milk.  Season with S&P.

Add the pasta & heat through.

Serve with garnish of choice.







Vegan Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” with Roasted Golden Beets, Swiss Chard & a Collard Green & Pepita 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 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.






I have never gotten into spaghetti squash. In fact – I don’t know if I have ever had it before today.  I knew it made a decent & guiltless pasta substitute but – when I want pasta – I want PASTA.  The one exception to this is my shirataki (zero calorie) noodle pho – seen just above.  I can eat that for lunch every day.

Still – I intentionally ordered a spaghetti squash from Farm Fresh to You this week to force myself to try it and I am glad I did.  It was easy to use and, while not convincing as pasta, it was good enough that I did not mind & it is so guiltless!

I made a collard green & pepita (pumpkin seed) pesto for this.  Click that link for the recipe or use your own favorite pesto variety.  It makes no real difference.  The real revelation here is how satisfying the spaghetti squash is – so – try it at least once.  I added roasted golden beets – you guessed it – because I had some.  They are a lovely addition but not critical.  As to the chard – you could use any other greens you like, instead.  If you are not vegan – tossing some Parmesan or goat cheese in this could be nice, too.


Vegan Spaghetti Squash “Pasta” with Roasted Golden Beets, Swiss Chard & a Collard Green & Pepita Pesto

Serves  2 VERY well – more if used as a side


Collard Greens & Pepita (Pumpkin Seed) Pesto – or 1 cup of other pesto

1 large spaghetti squash

6 Swiss chard leaves – spines removed but retained & chopped with the leaves (or about 2 cups)

3 (or more) golden beets – leaves & ends trimmed off

Olive oil


Garnish – either a sprinkle of nutritional yeast, vegan Parmesan or other vegan cheese or (if you are not vegan) real cheese (I used grated Asiago here)




Ignore those collards there.  🙂


Preheat the oven to 375.

Cut the squash in half & scoop out the seeds.

Trim the beets & cover both the beets & squash with a bit of olive oil & some S&P.

Wrap the beets in foil.  Put the squash face-up on a cooking sheet & put the bundle of beets on the sheet, too.  Roast for 45-60 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.  Depending on the size of your beets – they might take longer.  Allow everything to cool.

When cool enough to handle – scoop out the squash flesh & set aside.  Rub the skins off the beets under running water & cube them.



Heat a little olive oil in a large saute pan.  Saute the chard over high heat.  I added about 1/4 cup of water to help steam the chard into wilting completely.  Add the beets & the spaghetti squash & combine.  Heat through.  Using two forks – stir in enough pesto to suit your taste.  Combine.  Season with S&P.


Garnish maybe with an extra dollop of pesto or nutritional yeast or some cheese (vegan or otherwise).




Fiery Shrimp fra Diavolo with Squid Ink Pasta

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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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This is my first recipe posted since June 16th.   On June 20th, I came home from a 14-hour day at work to find my beautiful, 4-year-old pug, Memphis, dead.  Without explanation.  My world shattered.  Posting recipes seemed so trivial & like an insult to my loss.  I still cry almost every day.  I cried when I opened this blog & saw my last post – explaining my absence here.  He was one of the very, very special ones & I miss him agonizingly.  So – please pardon me if I just post this recipe & have nothing much more to say.

This is VERY easy, very spicy (but you can adjust that) and a very rare seafood recipe from me.  I gave up seafood three years ago or so – but I could not resist this squid ink pasta when I saw it & shrimp seemed the best way to serve it.  So – without further adieu – let me present my Fiery Shrimp fra Diavolo with Squid Ink Pasta.




Fiery Shrimp fra Diavolo with Squid Ink Pasta

Serves 2


1/2 lb squid ink pasta (or any pasta of your choice)

1/2 to 1 lb raw shrimp – shelled & cleaned

1 TBS olive oil

5 oz – 10 oz cherry tomatoes – halved (reserve a few for garnish)

1-6 garlic cloves – sliced, crushed or whole (or to taste)

1-3 jalapenos – chopped (or to taste)

1 tsp to 1 TBS crushed red pepper (or to taste)

1 cup pasta sauce of choice


Chopped parsley










Cook the pasta.

Meanwhile – heat the olive oil & ad the jalapenos & tomatoes.  saute over high heat until the tomatoes soften a bit.  Add the crushed red pepper & garlic & saute one minute.  Add the tomato sauce & heat until bubbly.








Add S&P to taste.  Just before the pasta is done – add the shrimp to the sauce & cook through – being careful not to overcook the shrimp.

Drain the pasta & toss with the sauce.  Serve garnished with fresh, chopped parsley & quartered, raw cherry tomatoes.





Hearty & Spicy Vegan Eggplant & Mushroom Bolognese Pasta Sauce

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All Photos © Christine Elise McCarthy 2016

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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


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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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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