Monthly Archives: September 2011

Rounding up the veggie webs

Oh, the internets, so full of the information.  Enjoy a round-up of what’s going on today, while I think about getting my butt back in the kitchen (you know, where a woman belongs).

Jess at Get Sconed! etc. has a nice write-up of Veg Fest 2011, which did its thing in my very own little town.  I missed it, which may have been for the best–those decadent food samples are dangerous.

Susan at Fat Free Vegan Kitchen shares her all-too-common struggle to find a tasty low-fat guacamole.  Though I haven’t independently verified it, she says mission accomplished!

No Meat Athlete makes me simultaneously excited to try fruitarianism and cautiously curious about the term “footbagger.”

Post Punk Kitchen totally gets me, and my craving for southern food (for which I blame my dad’s Alabama roots).  Thankfully, PPK also delivers the cure, with this recipe for Blackened Scrambled Tofu & Garlicky Grits.

Finally, I am most excited to announce that Vegan MoFo is coming!  That’s the Vegan Month of Food, and it means that veggie bloggers everywhere are going to be posting like mad.  Keep an eye out for MoFo posts here, and check out others’ extra efforts around the veggie webs.


Creamy Pesto Casserole

My busy September has kept me from cooking often, so I was psyched to have a free afternoon for some fun in the kitchen.  Wife will be psyched, too, because she gets to eat this amazingness for dinner tomorrow.  This one’s a keeper!   Almost makes me sad that we’re going to be at the US Women’s Soccer Team game tonight instead of eating at home.

This recipe is a combination of a favorite pasta dish from my ovo-lacto days and a new pesto recipe I stumbled upon recently (over at Cathe’s Kitchen–check it!).  My old version was a super-easy throw-together of pasta, ricotta, and tomato sauce.  This new guy is much tastier (and definitely just a bit more complex) than the old one, and so so worth it.  It even packs in your veggies!

Creamy Pesto Casserole

12-oz package whole grain pasta (I like rigatoni or penne for this)

1 bulb garlic

1 cup walnuts, toasted in oven for 5 minutes

3/4 cup fresh basil leaves

16-oz package extra firm tofu

2 cups peas (I thawed frozen peas in warm water, which worked perfectly)

1 tsp salt

1/4 cup olive oil (you can cut this down some)

6 cups broccoli florets

1 jar tomato-based pasta sauce (or 3 cups fresh tomato sauce)

2 cups bread crumbs (I like them fresh, made from sourdough)

1. Roast the garlic.  A speedy way to do this: peel the cloves and wrap in a little foil packet with just a light drizzle of olive oil.  Pop in a 400-degree oven for 15 minutes or so, or until fork-tender.  You can toast your walnuts now too (for 5 minutes or so).  Leave the oven on for later, but turn it down to 350.

2. Cook the pasta.  You got this (but do err on the side of slightly undercooking).  Drain and rinse with cool water.

3.  Make the pesto layer.  Combine garlic, walnuts, basil, tofu, peas, salt, and oil in a blender and blend until creamy and smooth.

4.  Put it all together!  Layer half the cooked pasta in an oiled 9×13 casserole.  Top with the raw broccoli florets, followed by the rest of the pasta.   You can mix these together to get an even distribution.  Spread the pesto on top in an even, thick layer.  Top with tomato sauce, followed by bread crumbs.

5. Bake in a 350-degree oven for 20 minutes, checking occasionally to be sure the crumbs aren’t getting too dark.  If they are, use a fork to rake them around and expose a light layer underneath.

6.  Let sit for just a few minutes, then dig in!