DDD Ep. #112 – Vegan Spinach-Stuffed Eggplant Rollatini with Homemade Arrabiata Sauce

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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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Click the image above to watch the video.

This is a really easy, 5-minute pasta sauce.  It is fairly spicy so cut back on the crushed red pepper if you are sensitive to heat.  Canned tomatoes are not desirable – even BAD – (read why you should avoid canned tomatoes & seven other foods HERE) – but they are sometimes the only affordable (and super convenient) option. .

Fresh herbs will also improve this sauce measurably but – in a pinch –  they are absolutely not REQUIRED to make this sauce tasty.

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Five (5) Minute Arrabiata Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1 27 oz carton tomato sauce
Garlic to taste
1 tsp each of crushed red pepper, oregano, pepper & sugar
1/2 tsp salt
Fresh thyme (optional)
Fresh basil – chopped (optional)
Fresh parsley – chopped (optional)
Fresh oregano – chopped (optional)
1 TBS olive oil
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DIRECTIONS
Heat the olive oil. I sautéed maybe 10 tiny garlic cloves whole. If giant chunks of garlic offend you or yours, you might want to crush them a bit with the side of a knife or press them through a garlic press or chop them fine. Just do not burn the garlic and burning is easier – the smaller you chop the cloves. With whole cloves – I sautéed a minute before adding the spices. If you chopped the garlic – add it and the spices at once.After about a minute of both the garlic and all other spices sautéing – add the tomato sauce. Be careful as it will sputter and splatter you when it hits the hot oil.
A few minutes in – I used a slotted spoon to fish out the garlic cloves & put them through a garlic press but this is not totally necessary.Heat over med-low heat until ready to use. Add chopped fresh basil/parsley at the very end – if you are using fresh herbs.

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Eggplant is an odd thing.  Some of my favorite dishes are made of eggplant – most markedly my nearly guiltless Indian Baingan Bharta & one of the most popular recipes of this blog’s history, my Spicy Vegan Chinese Eggplant – both seen just below.

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But if it is cut into slices or cubes that are too large & then under-cooked – it can have an icky texture & an icky flavor.  Lots of people categorically reject it because the first time they tried it – it was yucky.  But it is so versatile & can take on so many flavors so well.  I love it & I feel certain I could convert more than a few haters – if I served them the right dish.

THIS dish might just be that dish – assuming they do not also hate spinach.   The eggplant is very subtle & melts in your mouth.  This could be customized a zillion ways.  There are no rules.  Just make a little mash of some flavors you like & roll’em up & bake them – and voila!  Yes – there are a few steps but none are difficult & the result is delightful.  A tad hard to photograph but really delicious.

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Oh!  I got this new little garlic press at Bed Bath & Beyond for (I think) under ten dollars & I am kind of in love with it.  There are to ways to go with this – sliced or minced (there is a second blade tucked into the base) & all you do is press the garlic through & it creates a little drawer of crushed garlic for you.  Se easy & easy to clean & no garlic fingers!

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Easy Eggplant Rollatini with Spinach 

Should feed 4

INGREDIENTS

2 medium eggplant – tops removed & sliced 1/4 inch thick (thick makes assembly harder)

1 lb fresh spinach (or 8 oz frozen or other spinach – thawed)

3-4  cups (28 0z or so) – marinara (your favorite brand or homemade or the one I  post below) or my 5-minute spicy arrabiata 

Handful vegan Parmesan

1/2 cup vegan ricotta

1/4 cup parsley – chopped

4 oz vegan mozzarella

S&P

Olive oil

More vegan mozzarella to melt on top – to taste

Parchment paper (if possible but not imperative)

Foil

Garnish: more cheese and/or parsley and/or basil

 

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.

Cut the tops off the eggplant & try to cut them evenly 1/4 inch thick.  I used a mandolin.  Lay the slices on paper towels & sprinkle with salt.  Flip & salt the other side (lightly – so they won’t be overpowered by salt).  Salting the eggplant helps release excess moisture & can temper any bitterness.  Let them sit for about ten minutes.

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Steam the fresh spinach by simply boiling a tiny bit of water to a very large stock pot & adding the spinach.  Cover the pan.  It should wilt in less than a minute (this works to thaw frozen spinach, too, though it might take longer).  Strain into a colander & run cold water on it.  Squeeze out as much water as you can & chop the spinach.

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Put the spinach, parsley, & your Parmesan & ricotta & mozzarella cheese in a large bowl & blend.  Add some S&P.

 

Pat the eggplant slices dry & sprinkle with ground pepper.  Place them on a cooking sheet covered in parchment paper (or foil treated with cooking spray – because you do not want these guys sticking).  Bake about ten minutes.

Layer some sauce on the bottom of a casserole pan.  Spread about 2 TBS of the filling on each of the eggplant slices.  If you have extra – spread it around.  Carefully roll those guys up & place them in the pan, seam side down.

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Layer some more sauce on top & then sprinkle with mozzarella.  Cover tightly with foil & bake for 1 hour.  Remove from the oven & uncover & let rest a good 5-10 minutes before cutting in.  Serve with more cheese and/or parsley and/or basil and copious red wine.  See?  You like eggplant!

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DDD #99 – Vegan Beyond Sausage & Lentil Stew

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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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2 images above courtesy of Beyond Meat.


Click the image above to watch the video.

Vegan Beyond Sausage & Lentil stew

Serves 4 very well

INGREDIENTS

6-12 Beyond Sausages or your favorite vegan sausage

1 lb cooked lentils

1 medium onion – diced

1-8 garlic cloves (to taste) – minced

4 carrots – sliced

4 celery stalks – chopped

1 parsnip – chopped

1 sweet potato – cubed

1-2 jalapenos – diced

1 lemon

1 (14 oz) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes

1 cup salsa (optional)

4 cups stock

1 TBS mild harissa (optional)

1-2 TBS olive oil

2 tsp ground cumin

1 TBS sweet paprika

1 TBS cayenne (or less if you are intolerant of spicy foods)

S&P to taste

DIRECTIONS

Cook the lentils & set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot & saute the onions & celery until soft.

Add the garlic & saute one minute.  Add the can of tomatoes.  Combine.

Add the salsa, harissa, cumin, paprika, cayenne & the juice of the lemon & combine.

Add the carrots, parsnip, sweet potato & jalapeno & 4 cups of stock.

Bring to a boil.  Lower heat & simmer for about 10 minutes or until all the vegetables are tender.  Stir in the cooked lentils & season to taste with S&P.

Cook the sausages & serve either sliced or whole.  You can stir the sausage into the stew or serve it on the side to add as garnish to the stew.

Enjoy!

 

DDD #95 – Vegan Vietnamese Chicken Banh Mi Sandwich with Pickled Vegetables & Sriracha Mayo

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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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Click the image above to watch the video. This fucker was awesome!  There are a few steps to assemble the ingredients but they are all easy.  You can make this with any sort of chicken substitute you might like.  I am obsessed with Beyond Meat strips.  They do not have an overpowering taste & can easily be manipulated & I like the texture, too. Seitan works nicely, too!

Traditionally, banh mi have pork in them but I haven’t found a decent fake pork – unless you believe that pork is “the new white meat.”  If so – this fake chicken could masquerade as fake pork, too.

This takes a few hours of planning ahead so that you can marinate the chicken & pickle the carrots & jalapeno & daikon.

If you cannot find vegan fish sauce – there are lots of pretty simple recipes for vegan fish sauce HERE.  Whatever you do, do not skip the marinade because it tastes great & the sriracha mayo is good enough to eat with a spoon.

 

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Marinated Chicken Banh Mi Sandwich

Makes two sandwiches

INGREDIENTS

2 crusty rolls or some high quality baguette

8 oz faux chicken

1 avocado – cut into slices

1/2 cucumber – sliced thin

leafy lettuce

2 radishes – sliced thin

1 jalapeno – seeded & sliced thin

cilantro

Olive oil or cooking spray

For the pickled vegetables

1 carrot – cut into matchsticks

daikon – cut into matchsticks

1 jalapeno – seeded & cut into matchsticks

3 cups warm water

3 TBS sugar

2 TBS salt

4 TBS white or rice vinegar

For the marinade

1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce

6 garlic cloves (or to taste) – minced

4 shallots (or 1/2 small onion) – diced

2 TBS fish sauce (vegan version – or omit it)

1 tsp sugar

2 tsp Chinese five spice

1 TBS hoisin sauce

1 tsp sriracha (or to taste)

For the spicy mayo

1/4 cup vegan mayo

1 lime

3 TBS sriracha

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350.

For the pickled vegetables

Warm the water & add the sugar, salt & vinegar & stir until the sugar & salt dissolve.  Put the matchstick veggies in a bowl or jar & cover with the warm water mix.  Store in the fridge for at least and hour or two.

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For the marinade

Blend all the marinade ingredients & add the chicken to it.  Store in the fridge for at least an hour.

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For the spicy mayo

Blend the mayo with the sriracha & the juice of the lime.  Store in the fridge.

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For the Banh Mi

Prepare the cucumber, avocado, radishes & jalapeno.  Set aside.

Heat a frying or grill pan.  Treat it with cooking spray or olive oil & cook up the marinated chicken.  Set aside.

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Scoop the soft part of the bread out & throw it away.  Heat the bread in the warm oven for 5 minutes.

To assemble – simply spread some spicy mayo on the bread.  Then layer on some chicken.  Then pickled veggies (drained well!) & radish slices.  Add sliced cucumber & jalapeno.  Add lettuce & cilantro.  Add some avocado.  Smash it together.  Shove it in your face – and feel free to dip it in the extra spicy mayo.

See?  What’d I tell you?

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DDD #93 – Vegan Grated Heirloom Tomato Pasta Sauce

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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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Click the image of me below to watch the sauce recipe WITHOUT the mushroom.  These images here reflect the use of a crazy lobster mushroom I bought when I originally made this recipe.  You need not use the mushroom – in fact – I rather suggest against it because it was very expensive and underwhelming but I include it here, anyway, for the curious & the risk takers.

I went to the farmer’s market for the first time in forever.  Once there, I was reminded of why I no longer go.  IT COSTS A FORTUNE.  Everything seems reasonable until you walk out with fingers screaming from the pain of carrying 400 pounds of produce & $200 poorer.  But it is always fun & there are usually yummy things to sample.  This time there were almond croissants the size of footballs, boxes of mixed mushrooms for $20, some peana & eggphan (I can’t resist misspelled signs).

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There were also golden beets that were larger than a softball and the crazy-looking thing above.  That, my friends, is a lobster mushroom.  It was about the size of a small Russet potato & weighed about 4 ounces.  I asked the mushroom monger what it was & she told me it was a lobster mushroom.  I asked why they were called that & was told that they not only have a reddish color similar to a cooked lobster but also that they have a slight seafood taste.  I had to have one!  I let her pick one out and as she weighed it, I began pulling out ones to pay for it.  I pulled for a while because that fucker there cost me $17!!!  I almost choked at the price but decided it would be a worthy blog post so I paid & walked away – wondering what the fuck I was gonna do with it.

Intimidated by the idea of ruining a $17 mushroom barely larger than my fist, I Googled to see what others had done with them.  I found this gorgeous photo & checked out the recipe at THE COFFEE TABLE COOKBOOK.

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I had the bulk of the ingredients already so I decided to make a vegan version of their FETTUCCINI WITH LOBSTER MUSHROOM AND SCRATCH-MADE HEIRLOOM TOMATO SAUCE.  I simplified the sauce recipe quite a bit but the most interesting thing I learned from their post was the concept of grating tomatoes.  Click that link & see how it is done & how not to grate your flesh into the sauce.  You basically grate the tomatoes on a box grater & it results in a beautiful tomato puree without any skin.  See below.

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I added a lot of crushed red pepper to my sauce which might have been a mistake because the spicy sauce sort of overwhelmed the very delicately flavored lobster mushroom.  The mushroom had only the slightest mushroom flavor & no seafood element at all.   Those photos above are the mushroom cut up.  Looks like chicken or pork – or bread.  It is very light & porous so it reduced to almost nothing in the saute pan.  Overall – I would say there is no reason to pay so much for what amounts to so little.  Regular mushrooms are just as good and far less costly.

I do recommend trying this sauce, however.  I eliminated the dairy from the original recipe & also could not bring myself to add a cup of the precious – a cup of white wine – to the sauce just to cook it off.  I felt the wine would be better used poured down my gullet & I don’t think the sauce suffered and I know I didn’t.

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Vegan Pasta with Heirloom Tomato Sauce & Lobster Mushroom

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

1/2 lb pasta

for the sauce

5 large heirloom tomatoes – grated (see here)

1 TBS olive oil

2 garlic cloves – chopped

1/2 tsp to 1 TBS crushed red pepper – to taste

10 basil leaves (plus more for garnish)

several sprigs of fresh thyme

S&P

IF USING  – for the mushroom

4 oz lobster mushroom (or 1/2 lb regular mushrooms)

2 TBS olive oil or vegan butter

3 garlic cloves – chopped

1 tsp thyme leaves

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DIRECTIONS

for the sauce

Heat the olive oil & add the garlic.  Saute one minutes & then add the other ingredients.  Simmer on med-high until it reduces by about half.  Season to taste.  Remove the thyme sprigs and throw them away.

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for the mushrooms

Heat the olive oil or vegan butter and saute the mushrooms until they are nearly done to your liking.  Add the garlic & thyme & cook another minute or two.  Be sure not to burn the garlic.  Season with S&P.

Cook the pasta as directed & toss with the sauce.  Serve & top with mushrooms & chopped fresh basil.

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DDD #91 – Vegan Spicy Lemongrass & Ginger Beef with Purple Cabbage Fried Rice

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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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Click the image above to watch the video.  I had a head of purple cabbage in my fridge that was the size of a basketball.   I decided to add half of it to some leftover rice to accomplish two things: not waste all the cabbage & to extend the quantity of rice with some guiltless & vibrant cabbage.  I am very happy with the result both in color & the crunch the cabbage adds to the texture.  I recommend it very highly.

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Purple Cabbage Fried Rice

INGREDIENTS

(I used a tad more cabbage than rice but the ratio is up to you.)

2 cups cooked rice

2 cups chopped purple cabbage

1/2 onion – diced

1 cup grated or slivered carrots

1-5 cloves garlic – chopped

2 or more TBS fresh minced ginger

1 TBS sesame (or other) oil

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a large wok or saute pan.  Add the onions, & cabbage & saute until they begin to soften.  Add the carrots, rice & ginger & stir to combine & warm through.  Add the garlic and saute another minute or two.  Serve.

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Vegan Spicy Lemongrass & Ginger Beef

Serves 2 very well (this is HALF the recipe I made in the video)

INGREDIENTS

2 or 3 stalks of lemongrass – cut into 3″ lengths & smashed with the handle of a knife (to bruise them & release the flavor.  The cooked lemongrass is inedible so pick around it in the finished dish.) . Or – use the juice of 1/2 lemon.

8+ ounces seitan (or other meat replacement like – Beyond Meat Chicken or Gardein beef or pork products)

3 dry red chilies (optional – they are quite spicy) – crumbled a bit

3 garlic cloves – chopped

2 or more cups of fresh green beans – trimmed

1 TBS sambal oelek or garlic chili paste (more for extra heat)

3 TBS vegan mushroom or oyster-favored sauce

2 TBS minced ginger

1 TBS ground anise or szechuan pepper

2 TBS dark soy sauce (it gives the seitan that dark & beefy color)

1 TBS liquid aminos (or soy sauce or tamari)

1 TBS shao xing rice wine

2 TBS brown sugar

Potential garnished: sliced red or green jalapeno peppers, basil or mint or cilantro leaves

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oil in a wok or large pan & add the dry red chilies – if using.  Add the lemongrass & saute a minute or two.  Add the green beans & saute on high heat until they begin to sear a bit.

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Add the remaining ingredients.  Add about 1/4 cup water to aid in steaming the beans a bit & create some sauce.  Heat through – until the sauce thickens.  Serve with rice.

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DDD #89 – Vegan Spicy Szechuan Lo Mein Noodles with Vegetables

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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 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 is a really easy recipe but truly makes a fuckton.  So, unless you are feeding a large group or intend to eat this for days, consider cutting the recipe down.  The veggies you choose to use are up to you.  This can be made with no veggies at all or with regular pasta.  It is a very forgiving dish.

Click the image above to watch the video.

Vegan Vegetable Spicy Szechuan Lo Mein Noodles

Feeds 10 or more

INGREDIENTS

2 1/2 lbs of SOFT (or cooked) lo mein or chow mein noodles or even cooked spaghetti

1/2 lb vegan meat of choice (I used leftover Tofurky ham) – diced (very optional)

for the veggies

2 tsp hot chili oil (or other oil)

2 tsp sesame oil

1 small onion – diced

6 long beans (or other green beans) chopped

1 bell pepper (I used 1/2 red & 1/2 yellow) – diced

1 zucchini – diced

2 dozen snow peas – trimmed & sliced

6 mushrooms – sliced

2 small heads of broccoli – cut into florets

5 or 6 carrots – chopped

1 cup purple (or other) cabbage – chopped

8 oz can sliced water chesnuts – drained

6 bird’s eye chilis – split (optional)

1/2 cup water

for the sauce

2 TBS minced ginger

4 garlic cloves – minced

1 tsp Chinese 5 Spice

2 TBS Shaoxing cooking wine or rice vinegar

4 TBS light soy sauce

2 TBS dark soy sauce

1 tsp agave

1 large handful Thai basil (or other basil)

GARNISH – more shredded basil or cilantro, sesame seeds, sliced scallions, lime wedges

DIRECTIONS

In a very large wok, heat the two oils.  Add all the ingredients in the “for the veggies” list.  Heat over high heat for about 5 minutes or until the veggies are tender.

Add the noodles, faux meat (if using) & everything in the “for the sauce” list.  Combine & heat through.

Serve with your garnishes of choice.

DDD #84 – Vegan Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells

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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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Click the image above to watch the video.

This is another very easy dish.

Vegan sausage is usually pretty nasty but I keep hoping I can find a way to doctor it up & make it edible and, finally, with this dish – I SUCCEEDED!  The secret was a pinch of fennel & a shit ton of crushed red pepper.  The filling in these shells was so delicious – I kept eating it directly out of the pan.  A few simple ingredients, a half hour in the oven – and you are neck deep in heaven.  Trust!

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Vegan Sausage and Spinach Stuffed Shells 

(This makes enough to fill three pie dishes)

INGREDIENTS

1 lb dry fill-able pasta shells (any variety works)

Olive oil

4 vegan sausages – chopped

1 lb fresh spinach (or kale or arugula or other greens of your choice)

4-10 garlic cloves (depending on the size & your passion for garlic) – coarsely chopped

2 (10 to 15 oz) cans chopped tomatoes (I used Rotel & fire roasted tomatoes)

1 lb vegan ricotta

8 oz or more vegan mozzarella

1/2 cup grated vegan Parmesan

1 tsp dry fennel

1 tsp dry oregano

1 TBS crushed red pepper (I used closer to 3 TBS but I love spice)

1-2 cups red pasta sauce (I used some spicy Rao’s & spicy Guy Fiery sauces but homemade would be even better)

S&P

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DIRECTIONS

Heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cook the pasta until al dente – or maybe a minute less than the package suggests.  Drain & run under cool water.

Heat 1-2 TBS of olive oil in a large saute pan.

Saute the sausage with spices (fennel, oregano & crushed red pepper) until it is begins to brown.

Add the garlic & spinach & tomatoes.  Cook until the spinach is just wilted.  Season with salt & pepper & blend them in.

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Put the mix in a food processor & puree it.  Add about 1/3 of your mozzarella & the ricotta.  The blending is not strictly necessary but it makes filling the pasta easier if the filling is mushy.

Put some of your pasta sauce on the bottom of a casserole or pie dish.  Fill the pasta shells & place them on top of the sauce.  Sprinkle with whatever amount of mozzarella appeals to you and additional sauce, if you like a wetter dish.  Maybe sprinkle some vegan Parmesan on there, too.  Put it in the oven & bake for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is melted & bubbly & the pasta is brown in spots.  If you want to freeze some – wrap the dish in foil & freeze – UNCOOKED.

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