A Weeknight Dinner Narrative

What’s a lady to do when she’s had a long day at work, went to the gym, husband’s working late and it’s 6:30 before she even starts thinking about dinner?

Before she even solidifies her game plan, she puts on a pot of whole wheat rotini.  She hasn’t had pasta in a while, and it’ll come together quickly.

She assesses that her pantry and refrigerator and the first things that pop out to her are: a bag of carrots, a bunch of kale that won’t be good much longer, an avocado, 1 orange pepper and 1/2 a yellow pepper, some broccoli sprouts, some garlic.

She grabs the biggest wok she can find, adds a glug of olive oil, puts it on medium heat, and sets out to chop the carrot, mince the garlic, tear the kale, dice the pepper and avocado.

She adds the carrot to the sizzling wok first, followed by garlic.  Then comes to the kale, left for a few minutes to wilt, then the peppers.  She leaves this to do its thing quickly while she drains the pasta.

Back to the wok.  Now everything is nice and bright, hot and crisp-tender, it gets doused in a squirt of lemon juice, a big pinch of dried basil, generous pinches of salt and black pepper, and LOTS of nutritional yeast.  Mmm, cheesy, cheesy nutritonal yeast.

The pasta gets added back in.  Everything gets tossed together.  Then plated.  Then topped with the sprouts and avocado.  And some hemp seeds for some protein.

And some hot sauce, of course.

– Crystal

Káposzta Galuska (Hungarian Cabbage Noodles)

Growing up I ate a ton of cabbage noodles.  All the time.  My nagymama would make huge batches of it, enough to feed a small Hungarian army, and it would be food for us for days.  Still to this day, it is one of my favourite things to eat.
The following recipe, in its simplicity, is still way more bells and whistles than the cabbage noodles I ate.  I’ll be posting the more pared down version later this month.

Serve this with a big green salad.  Alternatively, try a Hungarian-style cucumber slaw, there’s a million recipes for it online.

Hungarian Cabbage Noodles


2 tbsp olive or canola oil
2 tsp mustard seeds
1 large sweet onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic
1 head cabbage, shredded
1 tbsp paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 cup Tofutti sour cream
1 1/2 cup soy milk
12 oz pasta (ribbon, fettuccine, etc)

Heat oil in a large saute pan set to medium high. Add the mustard seed and cook just until they begin to pop. Add the sweet onion and cook until translucent. Add the garlic and sautée another minute before adding the  cabbage.  Reduce heat to low-medium, cover it and let it cook down until it reduces in volume and becomes nicely browned, 20-30 minutes.  Then add the salt, pepper, sour cream, soy milk and paprika. Stir together and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the cooked pasta.

I generally begin cooking the pasta to al dente around the time the cabbage starts getting to the colour I want it.

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A lovely chum from the PPK sent me a bunch of these awesome accidentally-vegan candies from the US.  Candy corn flavoured gumdrop things!  Blood orange ones!  Yum.

– Crystal

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

I’ve been trying to cook from my pantry these last couple weeks, so there has definitely been some pasta dishes.

This was a simple dish with roasted vegetables (portabello mushrooms, yellow peppers, cherry tomatoes) with creamy white beans, tossed with some nice olive oil, white wine vinegar, a bit of an Italian seasoning blend, “nooch” and sea salt and fresh pepper, all with pasta shells.  Simple, sort of Tuscan inspired.  Nice in the summer to roast some veggies on a pan in the oven and walk away from the kitchen for a while since it’s so hot!

Bonus:  summertime means outdoor festivals galore in this fair city, and I scored this big plate of food at one last weekend.
Rice and beans, cabbage curry, potato and pea curry, and an unfortunately not vegan slaw that I left for the squirrels to eat up.
And also, my superpuffyheart favourite, the Tempeh Wingz from Don’t Eat Off The Sidewalk.  Oh my god, so good.  Served with some sautéed kale and I whipped up a really simple dill dip for the wingz – 1 part vegan sour cream, 1 part vegan mayo, and dried dill and chives to taste.

– Crystal

Veg News Mac and Cheese

It’s been a very stressful week around our house, and I came home from work tonight wanting nothing more than some good comfort food.  To me, nothing is more comforting than mac and cheese!  Being vegan doesn’t mean you have to go without.  There are quite a few good vegan mac and cheese recipes out there, but the Veg News Mac and Cheese in the best one we’ve tried.  The cashews in the sauce give it a gorgeous texture that is very rich and filling.  It’s yummy enough for anyone to scarf down…no vegan membership card required.

We decided to pair this with roasted balsamic asparagus with capers.  This is sooooo good.  I made it once when I was home alone and accidentally ate the whole batch!

Trevor’s Balsamic Asparagus with Capers
1 bunch of asparagus
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp (or more) capers, drained
2 tsp caper brine
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F.  Trim and wash asparagus.  The easiest way to trim asparagus is by holding both ends and snapping it – it will naturally break where it needs to, so you get rid of the fibrous end.  Lay stalks flat on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic and with sprinkle capers and caper brine; toss gently to coat.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Bake for 12 minutes, flipping halfway (or more if you like it more crispy – and we do!).  Dish up and don’t forget to scoop some of those crispy yummy capers onto your plate!

– Crystal