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)


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)


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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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DDD #80 – Vegan Aloo Palak – Indian Spinach & Potato Curry

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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.

I fucking love Indian food.  I always have.  I have posted many Indian recipes & Indian food is the easiest way to feed someone vegan food without them noticing.  If you research, you will find that most recipes have largely overlapping ingredients.  If you intend to get into cooking Indian food – the critical spices (outside of cumin & coriander) are garam masala & cardamom.  If your local market does not carry the spices you need – and there is no local Indian spice source (ethnic markets are THE BEST resource for cheap spices) – buy them on Amazon.  This recipe calls for fenugreek (or kasuri methi) but I read that celery seeds are a decent substitute.  If you can’t find either – blow it off.

If you are accustomed to cooking Indian food – you might notice I tend to use far larger amounts of the spices than your average recipes.  The measurements are very forgiving, though, so don’t worry if you want to use more – or less – than what I suggest.

I used a vegan goat cheese that I bought at a Soledad Santuary stand at the Hollywood farmer’s market.  If you live in Hollywood or can make it to that market – look for them.  They recently turned vegan & are experimenting making many kinds of vegan cheese.  (If you get there – BTW – look for Dave’s Korean stand, too.  Their tempeh is INSANE!)  You can use any soft vegan cheese (cream cheese or yogurt or goat cheese – if you can find some).  If you are not vegan – a Boursin or garlic/chive cream cheese would work.  You just need some sort of “dairy” to mellow out the overall flavor.

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Vegan Aloo Palak (Indian Spinach & Potato Curry)

Serves 4-6 with rice


1 1/2 – 2 lbs fresh spinach (You can use canned or frozen but the flavor will not be the same & you won’t get the vibrant green color.  Google Aloo Palak & see how ugly it can look.  LOL)

3 large red potatoes – cubed

1 large onion – diced

1-3 jalapenos (to taste) – chopped (remove seeds to lessen the heat)

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp cumin

1 TBS turmeric

1 TBS fresh ginger – minced (I used jarred)

1 TBS garlic – minced (I used jarred)

1-3 tsp chili powder (I used 3 but I like heat)

1 TBS ground coriander

1 tsp dry fenugreek (or celery seeds) – OPTIONAL

1 TBS garam masala

1/2 cup vegan soft cheese


Olive oil

Garnish – cooked rice and/or naan







Boil a large pot of water & blanch the spinach by immersing it for 30 seconds to a minute – so it wilts.  Plunge into cold water & drain.

Heat 1-2 TBS olive oil & pan fry the potatoes until they begin to brown – turning often.  This might cook them through – depending on how large your cubes are.  If it doesn’t do not worry.  They can cook more in the spinach.  Set aside.

In that same pan – heat another TBS olive oil & add the cumin seeds.  Once they begin to sputter, add the onion, jalapeno, garlic, ginger, & spices.  Cook until the onion is soft.

In a food processor – blend the onion mix.  Then – add the drained spinach & puree.  Return this to the pan.  Stir in the cheese & add the potatoes.  Heat through & be sure your potatoes are soft.  You may have to add between 1-2 cups of water to thin it out.  If it is too thick add more water.  Too thin?  Cook it down.

Serve with rice or naan – or eat it naked!  I mean – the spinach & potatoes could be naked – as the potato adds a starch to the dish, already.  But – if you wanna be naked yourself – I don’t see a problem with that.  Your roommate or children might feel awkward but fuck’m.  You just made motherfuckin’ Aloo Palak.   What the fuck have they achieved lately?  Probably not appreciate you enough, that’s what.

See my point?  Might as well swill some wine, too.  Haters gonna hate.  No reason for you to give any fucks at all.  Eat, drink & be proud you just made a yummy vegan meal!

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DDD #33 – Vegan Creamy Avocado & Spinach Pesto for 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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I have a video on my Youtube channel for this recipe.  Click the image below to watch & please subscribe.

This is a 5 minute recipe so – if you can boil pasta & own a blender – you can make this dish.  I had an avocado that was about a day past its prime & loads of spinach – so this was born.  I used a few serrano peppers for heat but that it totally optional.

*NOTE – I also used fresh basil that I had frozen a few weeks ago.  Worked great – so – if you are ever wanting to preserve fresh herbs so they do not go to waste – they can be frozen & then used in pestos & sauces.

Vegan Pasta with Creamy Avocado & Spinach Pesto

Serves 4


1 lb pasta – cooked as directed

1 large avocado

2 packed cups of fresh spinach

2 garlic cloves

1/4 packed cup fresh basil *See note above

2 serrano or jalapeno peppers (optional) – seeded

1/2 to 1 cup vegan Parmesan (or nutritional yeast or a combo) – quantity to your taste

S&P to taste

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Blend everything except the pasta in a blender or food processor.  Season with S&P & adjust anything else to suit your fancy.

Toss with warm pasta.

See?  EASY!

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DDD Ep. #24 – Vegan Saag with Tofu Paneer


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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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.


This is a really easy dish but this recipe makes a boatload so you might want to consider cutting it in half – or doublinf the tofu paneer recipe because that shit is yummy!

Click the image below for the video & please subscribe to my channel.

Vegan Saag with Tofu Paneer


for the tofu paneer

1 block extra firm tofu

4 TBS nutritional yeast or vegan Parmesan

3 TBS olive oil

2 tsp salt

for the saag

2 lbs fresh spinach

3 TBS olive oil

2 TBS cumin seeds

1 small onion – chopped

6 garlic cloves – minced

2 TBS ginger

2 jalapenos – diced (optional)

1-2 TBS turmeric (start with one & add more if you think it needs it)

1-2 TBS garam masala (start with one & add more if you think it needs it)

1-2 TBS ground coriander (start with one & add more if you think it needs it)

1 TBS ground fenugreek (optional)

5 tomatoes – diced

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp salt

1 cup of either vegan heavy cream or sour cream or cream cheese or a combination


Whisk the nutritional yeast, oil & salt in a bowl.

Slice the tofu in half & place between paper towels.  Rest something heavy on it to press out some moisture.

Cube the tofu & toss it in the mixture.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes.  Set aside.

Puree 1 lb of spinach with some water in a blender or food processor.  Just use enough water to facilitate the pureeing.  This is optional.  You could opt to just chop half the spinach – or all of it.

Heat 3 TBS olive oil in as pan & add 1-2 TBS cumin seeds (use less for a less heavily spiced dish).   When they start popping & get fragrant, add the onion & saute until soft.

Add the garlic & ginger & jalapenos.  Saute a few minutes & then add the spices.  Add some water to create a thin paste.  Heat through & add the tomatoes.  Add the sugar & salt & combine.  Once the tomatoes are warmed & soft – start adding the fresh spinach until it all cooks down.  Ad the pureed or chopped spinach & stir to combine.  Stir in the vegan dairy you chose to use.  Heat through.  Taste & adjust seasonings.

Serve with the baked tofu paneer on top and some rice or naan.

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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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


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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Vegan Cold Chicken Piccata Pasta Salad with Asparagus & 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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Chicken Piccata is one of the things I missed most when I gave up eating meat in the 80’s.  Then – companies began making very convincing meatless chicken & that hole in my heart was cured.  Behold my warm, vegan Chicken Piccata – below.  REALLY convincing – trust me!


So – I had a few Memorial Day BBQ’s to attend & I was all about vegan pasta salads.  They were a great idea because they assured that I would have something to eat at these parties & because vegan pasta salads – like the ones I made – were safe to leave out for hours without risk of spoiling.   The other two I made were my Spicy Vegan Southwestern Pasta Salad & Pasta Salad with Arugula Pesto & Feta Cheese (Vegan or Vegetarian) – seen below, respectively.



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I brought this Chicken Piccata Pasta Salad to a party at Naomi & Jason Priestley’s home.  That is Naomi on the far left.  I am the dimwit in the back who – it seems – was the only one there that didn’t know where to look when being photographed.

Anyway – Naomi took one bite & looked at me in shock.  “McCarthy!  Did you put real chicken in this?”

Needless to say – I hadn’t. But Beyond Meat chicken is so convincing – warm or cold – that it can fool even unapologetic, degenerate meat-eaters.  This pasta salad disappeared quickly – and – besides Naomi – nobody ever questioned whether or not the chicken was real.  I think they all assumed it was.

It is light & clean & healthy & vegan.  If you are a Chicken Piccata lover – this salad is for you!

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Vegan Cold Chicken Piccata Pasta Salad with Asparagus & Spinach


1 lb pasta

9+ oz vegan chicken – cubed

1 bunch asparagus

1 cup fresh spinach

1/8 cup olive oil (more or less)

2 garlic cloves – minced

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (more or less)

3-6 TBS capers (Quantity determined by your taste for capers.  I love them!) – chopped or not – or just chop some – your call

1/2 cup parsley – chopped


GARNISH – extra parsley & lemon wedges

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Trim the asparagus by holding each spear by each end & bend until it breaks.  This breaks the asparagus just above the woody & impossible to chew part.  Set aside.

Boil the pasta.  My asparagus was the very thick kind.  If you have the thick asparagus – add it to the boiling pasta 3 minutes before the pasta is done.  Do it for 2 minutes for average asparagus & 1 minute for the very thin asparagus.

Drain & run under cold water.

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Slice the asparagus into bite-sized pieces.  Chop the spinach.

Toss everything together.  Adjust the lemon & olive oil to your taste & season with S&P.  Garnish with extra parsley & lemon wedges.

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