Mushroom Pea Pasta

Yep, it’s the middle of January, and yep, I’m craving green things. This recipe is quick to put together, can be dressed up in a bunch of different ways, and keeps like a champ for leftovers.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian

Mushroom Pea Pasta

4 servings of your favorite pasta (I used a standard penne, but my favorite rice fusilli would be great here and chickpea or paleo pastas would also be great – shiritaki would even work, if you’re keto or low carb)

8-12 ounces portobello mushrooms, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

Neutral oil

Butter

2 Tbsp. fresh dill, chopped

2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped

1/4 c. fresh parsley, chopped

1 Avocado

1/2 c. frozen peas

1 c. frozen spinach

500g. protein of choice

Garlic powder

Onion powder

Nutmeg

Salt & pepper

Nutritional yeast (optional but adds a bit of a cheesy taste)

Set your pasta water (generously salted) to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to directions. Drain and set aside in a large bowl if ready before the rest of your ingredients.

While the pasta is working, brown your protein in a bit of neutral oil – season with salt and pepper and set aside in the large bowl.

To the pan, add your chopped mushrooms, 2 tsp. neutral oil and 2 tsp. butter. Sauté until the mushrooms are cooked through and a bit browned. Season with 1 Tbsp. garlic powder, 1 Tbsp. onion powder, salt & pepper.

While the mushrooms are going, defrost your peas & spinach.

Chop your herbs and avocado – chuck into the big bowl.

When the mushrooms are ready, add to the big bowl.

Add the peas & 1 tsp. neutral oil to the pan. Sauté until just beginning to brown. Add the spinach. Season with 1 Tbsp. garlic powder, 1 Tbsp. onion powder, 1/4 tsp. nutmeg, salt & pepper. Sauté until the spinach is cooked through and the water has evaporated.

Add the green veg to the bowl.

Brown 2 Tbsp. butter in the pan and pour over the top of the pasta and veggies. Toss with 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast.

Serve topped with more nutritional yeast if desired.

Serves 4

A Nice Herbed Hash Base

Yes, another hash. Don’t @ me; I’ve got a deep and abiding love for hash.

This version takes a “safer” route than I usually take to cook the potatoes to unburnt perfection. I also upped the fat content because I was working with a cast iron skillet, and I have not yet gotten the full hang of using it without stickage.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan, Whole30 (sub the oil for W30 or strict paleo)

A Nice Herbed Hash Base

1 lb. small potatoes (I used a mix of purple, white and red)

1/2 lb. green beans

Sun dried tomato oil (or roasted red pepper oil – or, regular oil with a bit of either mixed in would also be great)

Citrus salt (I made mine and used this recipe as a starting point. Unfortunately, I didn’t post the recipe here. Mine has cracked peppercorns, rosemary and oregano mixed in and I believe the citrus mix is lemon + orange)

2 -3 cloves garlic

4 Tbsp. mixed fresh rosemary and dill – more if you want it even herbier

Some nice finishing salt (I used Maldon flake salt)

Maybe a splash of red wine vinegar at the end to punch up the flavors and cut through the richness (I added a dash upon reheating leftovers and it was fantastic)

Chop your potatoes into 1/2 inch cubes. Parboil in a large pot of salted water about 5 minutes or until tender but not falling apart. Drain.

While the potatoes are working, tip and chop the green beans into bite sized pieces.

Heat enough oil to cover the bottom of a large pan over medium-high until shimmering.

Add the potatoes, sprinkle with your citrus seasoning, and sauté 2-3 minutes or until just beginning to get some color.

Add the green beans & some pepper and sauté an additional 3 – 5 minutes or until nicely browned.

While the hash is working, mince the garlic and chop the herbs.

Add the garlic & herbs to the pan and stir to combine. Let cook a few minutes to meld. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary.

Finish with a sprinkle of good salt and/or a splash of vinegar.

I served with some vegan cashew curry sausages for dinner the first night and with a sausage, a little leftover seared red pepper + a fried egg the second. Both ways were yum.

Serves 2 for dinner & 1 for lunch if your portions are small (at least small to me; if you’ve been following this blog for any length of time, you know I love a healthy portion)

Vegemite Chicken & Rice

I know … Vegemite (and it’s British cousin, Marmite, are weird.

But … they’re good. Especially when paired with a little fat. I’ve had a little smeared on toast with some butter (sometimes with a little apple butter), on a burger with some bacon (freakin delicious), on toast with cheddar cheese (also yum), and now tossed with chicken – surprisingly good.

I’m curious to taste it with apple pie and macaroni & cheese. Stay tuned for that one; I have plans to revamp one of my old Mac & cheese recipes to include it. I have a feeling it will be fantastic. EDIT: Happy to report that in a test run of both that beloved recipe + a dash of Vegemite was fantastic. Still needs either a dollop more, or more salt …

This dish is really good. It doesn’t scream Vegemite – more like really good chicken. Not sure exactly how to describe the taste. Vegemite tastes salty, kinda yeasty, and kinda like miso. This chicken doesn’t really taste like that – but the chicken ness feels somehow elevated(?)

I don’t know. You tell me. If you try this dish, let me know in the comments what you think it tastes like. I’m curious to see!

gluten-free (check your labels – a gluten free variety of Vegemite is available, made with bakers instead of brewers yeast, paleo if you go for the GF Vegemite

Vegemite Chicken & Rice

1 lb. chicken thighs

1 egg white

1 Tbsp. chili powder

2 tsp. honey

2 tsp. Vegemite (or Marmite, if you lean toward that continent)

1 Tbsp. coconut aminos, soy sauce or tamari

2 tsp. baking soda

1/4 c. cornstarch or arrowroot powder

1/2 tsp. white pepper

2 Tbsp. neutral oil

1 Tbsp. sesame oil

Broccolini, cut into bite-sized pieces

Sushi rice

Neutral oil

Salt & pepper

Preheat your oven to 200C/375F. Prepare a baking sheet with a silicone mat or tinfoil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the chili powder, honey, Vegemite, soy sauce, egg white, neutral oil and sesame oil.

In a shallow dish, combine the baking soda, cornstarch or arrowroot powder and pepper.

Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl with the wet ingredients. Toss to combine.

Take small batches of the sauced chicken and coat with the dry batter. Lay on the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake for 10 minutes, add the broccolini drizzled with a little neutral oil and sprinkled with salt & pepper. Bake an additional 10 minutes.

Serve over sushi rice.

Serves 2 for dinner

Sweet Potato Chicken Meatballs

This is a healthy little snack or light main that’s high in nutrients and can really help to stretch a pound of ground meat further. A win-win in my book.

gluten-free, paleo, Whole30

Sweet Potato Chicken Meatballs

1 lb. ground chicken

1.5 cups grated sweet potato

2 Tbsp. flour (as a binder – potato starch or tapioca flour would work well)

2 scallions, minced

1 Tbsp. chili powder

1 Tbsp. onion powder

2 tsp. soy sauce or coconut aminos

1 Tbsp. garlic powder

2 Tbsp. light oil – I used turmeric olive oil; coconut or nut oil would be fine

2 Tbsp. cornstarch (arrowroot powder is fine)

2 tsp. ground cumin

Combine all ingredients and mix until incorporated. Parcel out into golf ball sized meatballs and bake at 200C/375F 10 minutes; flip, bake an additional 10 minutes.

Serves 4 as a main and more as a snack

Roasted Potatoes with Avocado Dill Sauce

This recipe as written, I realize, may not be accessible to anyone who does not share my love of grabbing interesting looking ingredients from the Asian aisle and chucking them in whatever looks good.

If you’re still curious to see what this tastes like and don’t share that predilection, an approximation can most likely be made by combining lemon juice, a hint of pomegranate molasses and a hint of rotel green chilis.

I served this plain for dinner (DH added rotisserie chicken to his), and with chili tuna for lunch the next day. Both plain and with some added tuna were good; if you want a little more nutrition with your dinner, broccoli would be great here. Maybe a bit of sesame seed for a little more fat.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Roasted Potatoes with Avocado Dill Sauce

Sauce:

1 stalk celery

1 Tbsp. Japanese Yuzu jalapeño sauce

1 Tbsp. Kewpie Yuzu no-oil dressing

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

2-3 Tbsp. tahini

2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar

1-2 Tbsp. water

1 Tbsp. garlic powder

1 clove garlic

1 Tbsp. oil of choice

Neutrally seasoned roasted potatoes (I roasted mine in a combo of garlic oil, salt and pepper until browned in a 220C oven ~35 mins)

Chop celery and garlic and add to a blender along with the rest of the sauce ingredients. Whiz. Taste for salt and acid, adding more if necessary. Add a little more water if it’s too thick for your liking. Mine was fine, but your mileage may vary.

Sauce serves 4 – 5; potatoes can adjust to accommodate that number or more

Shaved Zucchini + Stone Fruit Salad

I love a good end-of-Summer savory fruit salad. It’s kind of a yearly thing with my brain, and I’m here for it.

Stone Fruit Salad

Lots of peach salad recipes

This is no exception to that rule. This salad is about as light as one would expect, but works well. I worried that the zucchini wouldn’t be great, but it was; even raw. The key here is to peel it into ribbons. I used my regular vegetable peeler. My ribbons weren’t even, but they were delicious.

So much so, I can’t really say this is more than a 1-person meal. I mean, sure, you can feed 2 if you want to throw a main in, but I managed to knock it out in a second helping at lunch.

If you can’t find the Kewpie dressing, a nice sesame would be good. So would my love pomegranate molasses. Balsamic would also work really well. Grapefruit would play nicely.

I had also meant to grab some good vegan Feta for this salad but forgot. It would be nice and would definitely help fill this out to more of a meal, but wasn’t necessary.

gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan, paleo

Shaved Zucchini + Stone Fruit Salad

1 large zucchini, ribboned thinly

1/2 shallot, minced

1 plum, chopped

3Tbsp. Kewpie no-oil Yuzu dressing

1Tbsp. your favorite neutral oil

2Tbsp. smoked almonds, chopped

1.5tsp. fresh thyme

1/4c. fresh parsley, chopped

1/2tsp. red chili flakes

Ribbon the zucchini thinly and add to a large bowl.

I tossed any ribbons that were purely peel to the pups, and stopped when I hit all-seed strips. A bit is wasted here, but can be easily chopped and chucked in a pan for a quick little pop of veggie later in the week. I ended up using mine in a breakfast zucchini & fried egg rice with browned butter and snipped chives.

Mince the shallot, de-stem the thyme, and chop both the parsley and plum. Add to the bowl.

Add the red chili flakes, along with the dressing and oil. I’d start with 2 Tbsp. dressing, toss, and see if it needs more. Hit with a few grinds salt and pepper.

When it’s time to plate, add the chopped almonds and toss quickly so they don’t go soggy.

Serves 1 – 2 for lunch depending upon what all else you have going on

Roasted Pumpkin Miso Pasta

This lower-than-it-could be in carbs dish started life as the baby of a Japanese curry recipe and a ramen recipe and snowballed into a straight-up yummy pasta dish. I’m super bummed I only made enough to serve two; this was fantastic.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Roasted Pumpkin Miso Pasta

About a cup chopped pumpkin or butternut squash

2 tsp. white miso paste

Veggie or chicken stock

1/2 tsp. red chili flakes

Olive oil

1 Tbsp. + sesame oil

Curry powder

1 inch peeled fresh ginger, minced

2 scallions, minced

Sesame seeds

Soft egg (optional)

Togarishi (optional)

Kontjac noodles or sushi rice or ramen or udon or zoodles – all would be awesome, though I’ve only tried wide kontjac and rice

Preheat your oven to 200C/375F. Peel and chop the pumpkin into smallish pieces. Add to a prepared baking sheet, lash with oil, and sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper and curry powder. Toss. Bake about 40 minutes or until browned in spots and soft.

Let cool for a beat, and then add to a blender with the miso, red chili flakes, 2 tsp. oil, 1 Tbsp. curry powder, 1 Tbsp. sesame oil, and 1/2 a cup of stock. Blitz, adding more stock if needed to get smooth. I used about a cup in this stage.

In a saucepan or tall-ish sided skillet, add the minced ginger and the white + light green parts of the scallions with 2 tsp. garlic oil. Sauté until the onion is beginning to soften.

Add the blitzed pumpkin and another half cup or so of stock. Let simmer down to the consistency of a thick soup.

Add your drained and rinsed kontjac or whatever curry vehicle you’re feeling, toss, and let simmer a few minutes to combine.

Serve with an optional soft egg, the green parts of the scallions, a little drizzle of sesame oil, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, and some togarishi if you want another hit of spice.

Serves 2 but can easily be scaled up

Thai-Style Red Curry

Finally! I’ve been trying to make a silky, luxurious feeling Thai-style red curry for a minute and keep screwing something up. Either I don’t let it reduce long enough, or I drown the flavors some how – or I forget a key component like curry paste or coconut milk.

This go round, I forgot to pick up coconut milk. I swear my kitchen eats the stuff. I’ve lost like 3 cans of it in the last few months. But, with a last-minute grocery trip I was all ready to go. Whoo. I’m glad I was, too – this is a good one.

gluten-free, paleo, pescatarian

Thai-Style Red Curry

1 can coconut milk

Veggie, fish or chicken stock (1 of the empty coconut milk cans’ worth)

2 Tbsp. Thai red curry paste

2 tsp. sugar

2 Tbsp. fish sauce

2 Tbsp. soy sauce/coconut aminos

Zest and juice of 1 lime

2 stalks fresh lemongrass, peeled to reveal the soft center – mince 1 and whack the other with the back of your knife to release its flavors while cooking

1 inch fresh ginger, peeled and minced

1 bell pepper, chopped

1 scallion, thinly sliced

2 Thai red chilis (optional), minced

1.5 cups pumpkin or butternut squash, chopped

3/4 cup chopped okra

2 Tbsp. minced basil

Minced smoked salmon (optional)

Rice to serve

This is a simple slow-cooker dump meal. Prep all ingredients and dump into your cooker (minus the salmon, basil and green parts of the scallions). Cook however you would make a stew.

When complete, add to a saucepan and simmer until reduced a bit and silky. Serve over rice, topped with the green parts of the scallion and chopped basil.

Serves 4

Sausage Mix

I miss Italian sausage. Or any sausage, really, that isn’t merguez, sojuk or a loose mix for kebabs.

The only sausage other than those I’ve seen where I live are chicken or beef hot dogs, and occasionally some smoked turkey or beef kielbasa. Delicious, but not exactly what I’m after. I’ve also seen Beyond Burger brats a couple times, but haven’t for months and I’m tired of waiting.

I used to make sausage back in my Charcuteapalooza days and loved it. This isn’t that, and maybe someday I’ll have the access and equipment to make legit sausages again, but this is a step in at least having those flavors in my life again.

I used my mix two ways: sprinkled liberally over ground chicken in a hash type situation, and sprinkled over potatoes with a little sun dried tomato oil before roasting. Both were delicious.

gluten-free, paleo, vegetarian, vegan

Sausage Mix

1 tsp. each of the following dried spices:

Oregano

Basil

Paprika (I used sweet but smoked would also be delicious)

Black pepper

Onion powder

Dill

Rosemary

Celery seed (or celery salt)

2 tsp. each of these:

Garlic powder

Salt

Cayenne pepper

If you have fennel, this mix will lean more Italian sausage – add 2 teaspoons to the mix. I did not, so I added half the amount of dill. Caraway would also be nice in the 1 tsp. quantity, as would thyme or sage.

Makes about enough for 1 lb. of meat + 1 tray of potatoes

Potato Salad with Damn Good Dressing

This dressing, which was based on an everything dressing posted by one of the blogs I’ve been following long enough to be on its mailing list but whose name escapes me as I’m sitting down to type this up (maybe First Mess?) is fantastic and I could see it being equally as good on vegetarian as meat dishes (I served my salad with some simple seared salmon and it was delicious), and even great on salads. I would also stir this into some nice rice or orzo for a little quick saucy flavor boost. Yum.

gluten-free, paleo, pescatarian, vegetarian, could be made vegan, FODMAP friendly

Potato Salad with Damn Good Dressing

Salad

1/2 kg new potatoes (or other small variety that doesn’t turn to mush when boiled)

4 – 6 hard boiled eggs

2 big hands arugula

Dressing

1/4 cup rice vinegar

1/4 cup water

2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

2 Tbsp. soy sauce or coconut aminos

1/5 tsp. flax seeds

1 tsp. sturdy brown mustard

2 tsp. lemon juice

3/4 cup neutral oil

1 big hand parsley

1/2 bunch chives

1.5 tsp. anchovy paste (you could swap for miso – what you’re after is umami)

Boil your potatoes 10 minutes or until fork-tender. Drain and quarter. Add to a large bowl.

Hard boil your eggs. Peel, quarter and add to the bowl.

Add the arugula.

In your blender or food processor, combine all dressing ingredients. Hit with some salt and pepper. Whiz until the herbs are chopped and the dressing is combined. Taste. Add more salt/pepper/lemon juice as necessary.

Pour about a cup over the still-warm potatoes. Toss to combine and let sit until you’re ready to serve.

I served my first round of this salad room temperature with nicely seared salmon. Subsequent servings have been heated in the microwave with a little dressing added and they’ve also been great. It’s even decent cold and I’m not a fan of cold cold potato salad.

Serves 4? 5? Depends what you’re doing with it. I got 2 dinners + 2 lunches out of it. And I have about 3/4 of a cup of dressing leftover for the rest of the week.