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

Roasted Squash & Barley Pilaf

This recipe is 100% inspired by one of my good friends & a master of all things philosophical, @Heidi. (It’s a NF forum thing)

I love her no-fuss approach to food and how she seeks meaning in what she uses to fuel her body.

This recipe is an interpretation of the flavor combinations she mentioned in a daily update post (I haven’t mentioned my fitness community lately, but if you’re looking for a great group of people to help give you a nudge going into 2021, check Nerd Fitness out).

I think we all need a little more @Heidi in our lives. For more reasons than that – hellooooo, badass.

Vegetarian, vegan

Roasted Squash & Barley Pilaf

1 cup Pearl barley (buckwheat groats would be a good gluten-free sub)

1 cup good stock

1 cup water

Big pinch salt

Good olive oil

Neutral oil

1 sprig rosemary

1/2 butternut squash

Curry powder

Large shallot

500g baby spinach

Garlic oil

1 tsp. oregano

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

Big hand full smoked almonds

Cook your barley with the stock, water and a generous pinch salt in a rice cooker or according to package directions.

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

While the barley is working, peel your butternut, seed, and chop into roughly 1/2 inch cubes. Spread out on the prepared baking sheet, sprinkle liberally with neutral oil, salt, pepper and curry powder. Toss to combine. Bake 30-40 minutes or until nicely browned.

While those are going, set a medium pan over medium/medium-high heat. Spritz a couple of times with garlic oil. Rough chop a large shallot and add to the pan. Sautee until beginning to brown. Add some salt & pepper + the nutmeg and the spinach. Toss and cook until beginning to wilt.

When the barley is done, add the red wine vinegar, a finely chopped sprig of Rosemary (about 1Tbsp.), 1 tsp. oregano, and a couple glugs good olive oil. Stir to combine and gently fold in the squash & spinach.

Rough chop the almonds and use for garnish.

If you’ve got figs or pomegranate seeds (or both!) they would make fantastic additions. Finishing salt would also not go amiss.

Subsequent reheats are great with a fresh splash of vinegar and a touch extra fat to bring everything together. A shake of chili would also work well.

Serves 4 for dinner

Peanutty Fancy-Ish Ramen

It seems our Lockdown staple of ramen noodles isn’t going anywhere any time soon. DH and I are both still craving comfort, and I’m still on the war path when it comes to wasting ingredients and clearing the pantry – so we are having some mish-mashed meals as of late.

Which is all fine, provided I can continue to find ways to add at least a little nutritional value to dinner. Some sort of vegetable.

This dish elevates some pantry staples admirably, adding two sources of protein (if you add meat), and a veggie that can also serve as a freezer cleaner.

A note on ramen: I used pot noodles (aka cup o’ noodles) for this recipe. We are loving the Korean brand Budok lately – the base flavoring I went with was chicken cheese, but this would be great with pretty much any base flavor. Mushroom, chicken, chili chicken, shrimp, curry – all would be delicious.

vegetarian and vegan if you don’t add meat, gluten-free with substitutions

Peanutty Fancy-Ish Ramen

1 pot instant ramen per person (any flavor will do, or sub rice noodles for gluten free – a little chicken or veggie bouillon would add some nice flavor if you are not using the flavor packet that comes with the noodles)

2 Tbsp. peanut butter (I used a low sugar variety)

1/4 c. soy sauce, tamari or coconut aminos

1 Tbsp. sambal olek (chili garlic sauce)

2 tsp. sesame oil

1 tsp. honey (sub agave for vegan)

2 small scallions, sliced thinly

Frozen spinach

Optional: leftover ground chicken or beef, soft boiled egg, fish cakes, leftover fried tofu, or other additional protein source

Sesame seeds for garnish

Combine the peanut butter, soy sauce, sambal, sesame oil and honey in a small pot over low heat. Simmer, stirring, until well combined and beginning to thicken. If your heat is too high and this mixture dries out too much like mine did, add a Tablespoon or two of water, stir quickly to combine, and move off the heat for a second or so to cool down a bit.

While the sauce is working, add frozen spinach to the noodle pots and fill with boiling water. Let sit 3 minutes and drain.

Add the noodles to the pot with the sauce, along with scallions, any additional protein sources, and the seasoning packet. Stir well to combine and garnish with sesame seeds.

Serves 2

Crispy Miso Tofu Bowl

This is a great little choose-your-own-adventure dinner that’s perfect for batch cooking – or a party.

Gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan

Crispy Miso Tofu Bowl

1 block extra firm tofu
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1 Tbsp. cornstarch or arrowroot powder
2 tsp. honey or agave
2 tsp. date molasses
2 Tbsp. sriracha
3 Tbsp. coconut aminos or soy sauce
2 tsp. white miso
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger, minced
3-4 big handfuls baby spinach
2 c. sautéed green beans, chopped
1 green onion, sliced into thin rounds
1 Tbsp. pickled ginger, minced
Nori, snipped into small strips
Furikake
Toasted sesame seeds
Togarishi spice or red pepper flakes
Sushi rice (short grain rice cooked with 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 Tbsp. sesame oil and salt)

First, place paper towels or a tea towel over your tofu and press with a plate or something heavy about 30 minutes to remove all the water.

Prepare your oven to 200C/375F. Line a baking sheet with paper or a silicone pad.

Make a sauce by whisking the sweetener, molasses, soy, sriracha and miso.

Slice the tofu into small squares, and fold 2 Tbsp. sauce into the tofu carefully – making sure not to break the squares up. Dust with pepper & cornstarch and toss.

Dump out into the prepared baking sheet in a single layer.

Bake 10 mins, flip, and bake an additional 10 to crisp.

Sautée the spinach with the garlic and ginger and add the green beans to warm through. Add the rest of the sauce and toss to coat.

To assemble, place rice in a bowl, add the tofu and veggie mix. Top with furikake, nori, sesame seeds, togarishi, pickled ginger and green onion.

Serves 4

Paleo Creamed Spinach

This recipe is decadent tasting yet healthy. Makes a perfect side to some bacon-wrapped chicken.

Gluten-free, Paleo


Paleo Creamed Spinach

10-ounce bag frozen chopped spinach

1/2 – 3/4 cup your preferred milk (I used an almond/cashew blend – be careful to use original unsweetened!)

1/4 cup caramelized onions

2 Tbsp. grass fed butter

1 – 2 Tbsp. arrowroot powder (or if you don’t have it: cornstarch)

1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg

Kosher salt & black pepper

Make a slurry out of the milk and arrowroot powder like you would cornstarch & milk. Chop the onions.

In a large pan over medium heat, bring the slurry to simmer. Whisk in the butter. When the mixture is thickened a bit, add the Spinach and onions. Add the nutmeg and hit with a big pinch salt + a few cracks pepper.

Sautée, stirring frequently, until the spinach is warmed through and creamy but not soupy.

Serves 2 for dinner as a side 

Spring Orzo with Mint, Olive, Feta and Spinach

This is one of those recipes I read the ingredient list for and was off running before I even remembered to save the recipe, let alone print it. Something about the combination of olives, feta and spinach really intrigued me. I’m glad I made it. This dish is creamy from the feta, briny from the olives, and earthy from the spinach – pretty much everything you could want out of spring.

Crappy picture, great dish
Crappy picture, great dish

Spring Orzo with Mint, Olive, Feta and Spinach

1/2 c. orzo (use a gluten-free pasta to make this dish gf)
4 c. water
1/4 c. parsley
1/4 c. mint
1/4 c. cucumber
1/2 c. black and green olives
2 cloves garlic
6 ounces baby spinach
2 chicken breasts
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 ounces feta
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 Tbsp. garlic infused olive oil
2 big pinches red pepper flakes
salt & pepper to taste

Add the orzo and water to a medium pot over high heat. Add a palm full of salt and bring to a boil. Boil 6 minutes or until tender. Drain and add back to the warm pot. Add the spinach, pop a lid on, and let wilt (stirring first to get things going).

While the orzo is cooking, chop the parsley, mint, olives and garlic. Dice the cucumber. Set aside until the orzo is done and the spinach has wilted a little. Add to the pot and stir well to combine.

While that is all going, chop the chicken into bite-sized chunks and sautee with regular olive oil in a large pan over medium heat until browned. Season well.

Add the chicken to the pot, stir to combine. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Add the feta, lemon juice and a big pinch red pepper flakes. Stir. Taste for seasoning. Add the garlic infused oil and second big pinch red pepper flakes.

Serves 2 for dinner + 1 for lunch