Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Lasagna

I don’t make that many lasagnas.  I don’t know why.  They’re the perfect way to eat GF pasta (which can often turn out less than stellar).  I’m not sure if it’s that they intimidated me, or if I thought they were too much work.  But!  Nevertheless with my success with this recipe, I’ve got a new regular dish to add to my rotation, and I’ve found my lasagna mojo!  I made this lasagna using a creamy white wine tomato basil sauce that uses ground roasted cashews to replace the cream, and it came out absolutely fantastic!  Because I haven’t had much time these day to head to the market, I’ve had to focus my cooking efforts to include convenience without sacrificing quality.  So for this recipe, I used both fresh and frozen ingredients, allowing me to maximize flavor, health, and convenience.  A homemade sauce, fresh herbs, and high-quality store-bought products made this dish healthy and easy.  This recipe is great for a busy weeknight but still satisfying and impressive enough to share with friends on the weekend.   A new favorite!

Roasted Red Pepper and Spinach Lasagna:

Oh lasagna, I'm so glad we're friends now.

Equipment:

  • Medium casserole dish, food processor, medium saute pan, large stainless steel pot with lid, colander, wooden spoon, spatula

Ingredients:

For the sauce

  • 3 fresh tomatoes, 1 chopped into big chunks, the other 2 diced
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1/2 heaping cup of roasted, unsalted cashews
  • 2 small yellow onions, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ~10 big fresh basil leaves, cut into small ribbons
  • 1/4 evoo
  • Dry white wine (to taste)
  • Water (as needed)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

For the lasagna

  • ~10 fresh basil leaves, whole
  • 10 oz. frozen spinach
  • 6 oz roasted red peppers, in water/vinegar brine (not oil), cut into strips
  • 1 box (GF) lasagna noodles, prepared according to package directions
  • 1 block soft tofu, sliced thin
  • Spike’s low-sodium vegit magic
  • (GF, Vegan) Breadcrumbs (mixed with 1-2 tsp of dried parsley and a pinch of salt and pepper)
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper

Directions:

For the sauce

  1. Add the cashews, tomato that was roughly chopped, tomato paste, 2-3 Tbsp of water and a big pinch of kosher salt to the food processor.  Blend, scrape down the sides, and keep blending until the mixture is silky smooth.
  2. Heat the oil over medium heat and add the onion.  Saute 2-3 mins until softened and then add the chopped garlic.  Saute another 2-3 mins, or until the garlic and onions are just starting to brown.  Add a big pinch of salt, pepper, the diced tomatoes and the cashew-tomato mixture from the blender.  Let cook 1-2 mins, or until simmering.
  3. Once the tomatoes are starting to get hot, add 2-3 splashes of a dry white wine (to taste) and/or a few Tbsp of water.  Without extra liquid the sauce is very thick and creamy.  I wanted mine a little thinner, so I ended up adding probably 3-4 Tbsp of wine and the same amount of water.  Add the basil and let simmer together 5-10 mins or until all of the flavors are deliciously incorporated.

For the lasagna

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Grease the casserole dish with evoo.  Lay down one layer of lasagna noodles.  Then, lay down a thin layer of roasted red pepper slices (just dot the bottom with 10-12 pieces. It doesn’t need to be a continuous layer).  Top the pepper slices with a thick layer of spinach, and then spoon on a generous layer of 1/3 of the sauce.
  3. Top the sauce with another layer of lasagna noodles.  Then, lay down a layer of the sliced tofu (should use the whole block).  Top the sliced tofu with a generous sprinkling of Spike’s seasoning, a sprinkle of salt, and a generous layer of the fresh basil leaves.  Top the tofu-herb layer with spinach and then another 1/3 of the tomato sauce.
  4. Add the last layer of noodles.  Top once again with a layer of roasted red pepper strips, a thick layer of spinach and the last 1/3 of the sauce.  Sprinkle on a generous topping of the seasoned (GF Vegan) breadcrumbs.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 30-40 mins, or until the top is crunchy and the sides are bubbling.  Broil for 1-2 mins if needed to toast the breadcrumbs (I’ve found that some GF breadcrumbs don’t toast easily unless under direct heat).
  6. ENJOY!!
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Curried Veggie Fried Rice

I’ve had a pretty busy couple of weeks, which for me usually means two things: 1) I don’t have time to cook and 2) as a result, I spend way too much money on quick eats (and believe me, gluten free, vegetarian fast food is pricey!).  Now that things have calmed down a bit and I’ve got some time off to recover, I’m stuck with the carry-over money shortage.  And so, this fried rice was really a “what do I have?” version of what it could be (produce-wise).  In desperate need of a fresh veggie infusion, I coughed up a couple bucks on a pound of green beans and some zucchinis.  And holy crap does this simple recipe deliver!  I love it when new recipes go as planned 🙂

Granted, this veggie fried rice will be soooo much better come Spring when the spring onions, baby corn, asparagus, and carrots come back.  But for now, adding curry paste to a more traditional fried rice, gives this recipe a nice spicy Thai kick that was exactly what I needed.  I foresee the beginnings of a long love-affair between myself and homemade fried rices!

Simple Curried Veggie Fried Rice:

Best GF, vegan fast food I've had all week!

Equipment:

  • Large ss pot with lid, slotted spoon, wok/round-bottomed pan, knife, cutting board, stove-top, couple of medium and small bowls

Ingredients: (as shown in photo; add/replace veggies by availability)

  • 2 small yellow onions, sliced into 1/4″ half-moons
  • 1 lb. green beans, trimmed and sliced length-wise (because I had the time!)
  • 2 zucchinis, halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 block extra firm tofu, strained if needed and chopped into small cubes (could replace with a scrambled egg if desired)
  • Sunflower or peanut oil
  • 2 cups vegetable stock (optional)
  • 1 cup white rice
  • 1 Tbsp red/green/yellow curry paste (whatever you’ve got/prefer)
  • 3 Tbsp liquid aminos (or other GF soy sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp siracha sauce
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp raw sugar
  • Dried or fresh cilantro (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Fill your large stock pot with water, cover and bring to a boil.  Add a generous pinch of salt, and then blanch the green beans for 30-60 seconds.  Scoop them out with a slotted spoon.  Repeat for the zucchini, but blanch them a bit longer, maybe 1-2 mins.  Set the veggies aside.  Don’t discard the blanching water yet!
  2. In a small bowl, combine the curry paste, soy sauce, chopped garlic, salt, and siracha.  I typically dislike cilantro, but I like what it does to balance out soy sauce in some sauces, so I added a hit of dried cilantro here too.  If you’re a cilantro enthusiast, go for fresh and go wild.
  3. Heat the wok over med-high heat.  Drizzle a couple of Tbsp of oil and throw in the onions.  Stir-fry 1-2 mins, and then add the tofu cubes.  Stir-fry and additional 2-3 mins.
  4. Add the rice.  Stir-fry the rice with the onions and tofu cubes 2-4 mins, or until the tofu and rice are starting to brown.  Pour in the curry mixture and then stir-fry another minute.
  5. Pour in the veggie stock or two cups of the blanching water you used for the veg.  Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer 10-12 minutes, adding more water as needed and simmering until the rice is cooked.
  6. Add the veggies.  Top with sesame oil, toasted sesame seeds or crumbled peanuts, and/or fresh cilantro if you’re feeling fancy.
  7. ENJOY!!

Ramen Noodles with Dignity!

I don’t know how ramen is treated in other countries, but here in America, ramen noodles are strictly associated with college students and last resort, cheap, quick-fix meals.

As a college student who more often than not needs both cheap and quick food, I love me some ramen.  But, as a gluten-intolerant college student, my ramen noodles are considerably more expenisve than the 19-cents a pack variety.  $2 doesn’t sound like a lot for a meal, but it is a tough sell for a pack of ramen.  The plus side?  My ramen noodles are whole grain, sodium free, and organic.

So, where’s the pride?  Why does ramen have to be so bad for you and the “he thinks we’re friends, but we’re really not” resident in the American kitchen?  It doesn’t.  And at $2/pack, I’m out to get my money’s worth by adding just an extra 10 minutes to the rip open and boil routine.  I’ve used only pantry staples to jazz up my ramen to keep it convenient, but you could make it really fancy with some fresh scallions and edamame.  Believe me, it’s worth the extra few minutes!

Ramen with Dignity:

Sorry about the bad photo, but it's late and I'm in a rush - the perfect time for some delicious ramen!!

Equipment:

  • Small saucepan, knife, cheese grater, cutting board, stove top

Ingredients:

  • 1 extra small yellow onion, halved and sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup frozen peas
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1/4 block firm silken tofu, diced
  • 1 pack buckwheat or brown rice ramen noodles, whatever flavor you prefer (I can’t give enough props to King Soba’s GF ramen!)
  • Kosher salt
  • Evoo
  • Water

Directions:

  1. Heat a small drizzle of evoo in the saucepan over medium heat.  Saute the onion with a big pinch of salt.  Stir and saute 1 minute and then add the tofu cubes.  Stir and saute 2-4 minutes or until the onions are soft and the tofu is warmed through.
  2. Add the grated carrot and peas.  Heat for 1-2 minutes and then stir in the seasoning packet from the ramen.  Make sure everyone’s coated, and then add 1 1/2 cups tap water.  Taste test your broth and adjust seasonings as needed.
  3. Bring the water to a boil.  Add the ramen and boil 4-6 minutes, or as recommended by the package.
  4. ENJOY!!

Yellow Thai Curry with Baked Tofu

First things first – Thank you thank you to everyone who visited my blog last night!  I had about 20x as many hits in 3 hours as I usually get in a whole day!! And thank you to whomever pinned my Cooking Tips and Tricks page to Pinterest!! I’m so glad so many people are reading and liking what they see enough to share!  Although you may never read this, I still thought I’d at least try to say thanks! 😀 You guys totally made my day.

And now for something equally awesome: Thai curry.  I recently fell in love with Thai food. I found a great Thai restaurant nearby and almost fell over when I realized they had literally dozens of gluten free vegan/vegetarian options.  Usually when I eat out, I have to seriously compromise both on flavor and on what I’m willing to overlook (the vegan becomes more vegetarian).  So you can imagine my excitement when I had that feeling of “I can’t decide what to get!!!” — I never get that feeling anymore!! 😀

The first night I ordered take-out I decided to splurge on a 2 entrees and a soup so I could kind of sample what was available.  I instantly fell in love with the sweet, thin-brothed curry and knew I had to save my wallet by learning to make this dish.  This is my new favorite dish for a Saturday night in, curled up with a glass of wine and a season or two of an old British sitcom.

This dish lends itself well to any vegetable, making it very market-friendly.  Since it’s January, tonight’s curry is full of heartier veggies like cauliflower, potatoes, broccoli, mushrooms, and parsnips.  If you like you can also scramble an egg and add it in.  Because the veg is so flexible, the real trick is to make sure you’ve got authentic curry paste.  I strongly recommend ordering your curry paste online or in an authentic Asian foods supply store before overspending on a jar of imitation curry in a grocery store.  It will be many times cheaper per serving and the flavor will be spot on!!  It will also have a much longer shelf life.  Here’s the curry paste I use and highly recommend.  Lastly, when shopping for curry paste, make sure to check the ingredients label! Many Thai curry pastes contain shrimp paste, and are therefore not truly vegetarian.

Yellow Thai Curry with Baked Tofu: (as listed serves 8-10, or one curry fanatic for a whole week)

Crunchy veggies in a light, spicy, and slightly sweet sauce. Seriously, what could be better?

Equipment:

  • Wok (or round-bottomed pan), wooden spoon or spatula, baking sheet lined with a Silpat (or use a non-stick sheet), large bowl, tea pot/kettle, medium sauce pan, colander, metal spatula, whisk, spoon, knife, 2 plates, paper towels, cutting board, range

Ingredients: (all veggies can vary based on preferences and availability!)

  • 1 block firm or extra firm tofu
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets/pieces
  • 2-3 carrots, sliced
  • 2 large yellow onions, sliced into half-moons
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 3-4 new potatoes, cut into small bite-sized pieces
  • 7-8 shiitakes, stems removed and caps sliced
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and diced
  • 2 Tbsp yellow Thai curry paste
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Fish sauce or salt
  • Raw sugar/agave syrup
  • 1 cup vegetable stock or water
  • Coconut oil
  • Spike’s very low sodium Vegit Magic veggie seasoning (or similar seasonings/mix)
  • 8 servings of rice vermicelli or bean thread (brown rice is also and excellent option)
  • Salt and Pepper

Update (July 2012): To lighten this up during the summer (or when serving those who don’t dig on the sweet sauce), I’ve started adding the zest and juice of a lime to the broth.  Also, while the curry and coconut milk are warming, I’ll steep fresh garlic and chopped spring onions in the sauce too, adding an extra layer of flavor.

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
  2. Remove the tofu from its packaging.  Drain the tofu, and wrap it in paper towels.  Place it between two plates and top with the can of coconut milk.  Let the tofu sit, pressed under the weight of the can for at least 15 minutes.  Prep your potatoes.  When the tofu’s ready cut it into bite-sized chunks.
  3. Place the tofu and potato pieces onto your baking sheet.  Drizzle with oil and then generously sprinkle with salt, pepper, and Spike’s veggie seasoning.  Toss with your hands to make sure everyone’s feeling the love.  Bake for 50-60 mins on an upper rack at 450 F, turning with a spatula half-way through.
  4. Prep the rest of your veggies.  Fill your tea pot or kettle with water and bring it to a boil.  Place your noodles in a large bowl and cover them with boiling water.  Let sit 5-10 minutes or until the noodles are soft.  Drain, rinse with cold water, and set aside.
  5. Warm the can of coconut milk in the sauce pan over med-low heat.  Whisk in about 2 Tbsp of curry paste and the vegetable stock.  Season with a pinch of salt (or dash or two of fish sauce) and then sweeten to taste.  Try starting with about 1 tsp of the sugar and then taste and adjust seasonings/sweetness as desired.  Set aside and keep warm over low heat.
  6. Melt a Tbsp or two of coconut oil in the bottom of your wok over medium-high heat.  Add the onions, and cook 1-2 minutes or until starting to soften, then add the carrots and garlic.  Season with salt and pepper as needed and slowly add each of your vegetables in the order of longest cook-time to shortest cook-time.  Be careful not to add too many veggies at one time to prevent cooling off your wok too much!  Stir-fry the veggies a few minutes until they reach your desired texture, and make sure they’re all lightly seasoned with salt and pepper.   I like to add the mushrooms at the very end so they can keep their firmness.
  7. Add the baked tofu and potatoes to the wok, and then pour on the curry sauce.  Give the veg a good stir in the sauce.  Serve the hot curry over the noodles (or rice) and slurp away!!
  8. Enjoy!!

Potatoes and Shallots Baked in a Basil, Garlic Vinaigrette

Well it’s January, and if you live in the northern hemisphere, that means it’s likely that you’re enjoying a few more potatoes this time of year than normal.  I happen looooove potatoes.  They’re especially helpful as satisfying alternatives to bread in this chilly weather for those of us with gluten sensitivities.

The only problem with many of the potato recipes I know and grew up on is that they’re loaded with cream and/or cheese.  This extra fat coating around a potato’s carbs can quickly lead to the dreaded food-coma.  When it’s winter time and sheer availability means potatoes in every meal, then the last thing I want is to have that “I shouldn’t have” feeling after everything I eat!  So, this week I thought I’d post some light and healthy potato dishes that are satisfying and for both my taste buds and my waist.

This potato dish is loaded with cauliflower, spinach, carrots, and shallots.  To keep it light, the sauce is a tangy vinaigrette that is a complete 180 from your typical creamy potato bakes.  This dish is an awesome example of how to cook for some with dietary restrictions (like my gluten-intolerant vegan self): Innovation > Imitation!

Potatoes and Veggies in a Tangy Basil, Garlic Vinaigrette:

Mmmmm that's a bowl of hot, steamy goodness

Equipment:

  • Measuring cup (at least 1 cup), med/large casserole dish with lid or dutch oven, fork or small whisk, measuring spoons, knife, cutting board, oven.

Ingredients:

  • 8-10 medium red new potatoes, sliced into 1/4″ slivers
  • 2 carrots, sliced into thin rounds
  • 5-6 small shallots, halved and sliced thin
  • 1/8-1/4 lb of spinach, cleaned
  • 1/2 head of cauliflower, cut into big chunks/florets and then sliced into 1/4″ pieces
  • 5-6 fresh basil leaves, sliced into ribbons
  • 4 cloves garlic, diced
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp white wine
  • 3 Tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 heaping tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/3 cup evoo
  • Additional salt and pepper to season

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 F.
  2. Prep your veggies.  Combine the basil, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper, wine, vinegar, mustard, veggie stock, and evoo in a mixing cup.  This should come out to be about 1 cup of vinaigrette.  Whisk well with a fork/whisk until combined.
  3. Splash a small amount of the dressing on the bottom of the casserole dish.  Cover the bottom with a layer of sliced potatoes.  On top of the potatoes sprinkle a layer of carrots, then cover with a layer of sliced cauliflower, and a thick layer of shallots.  Splash more dressing to give the veggies a nice coating.  Top with a full layer of spinach.  Season the spinach with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.
  4. Repeat until all of the veggies are used and/or the casserole dish is full. Potatoes –> Carrots –> Cauliflower –> Lots of Shallots –> Vinaigrette –> Spinach –> S&P.

    I love that moment when I open the lid, look down, and think "Oh, thank God that worked."

  5. Top the casserole with a layer of potatoes and then pour all of the leftover dressing on that top layer, making sure everybody’s feeling the love.  Bake, covered at 450 F for 1 hour or until the casserole has sunk a bit, the dressing is bubbling, and the potatoes are soft (my dish shown above was filled to the brim before baking). Serve hot.
  6. Enjoy!!

Un-Meat Loaf

This week has been cold and wet and scary – and certainly not dull!  In case you’re not busy spending every waking moment following Pennsylvania’s weather, here’s some of what you missed:

This was the park where I spent much of my summer reading under the trees. The river reached it's highest flood point Saturday morning, and now all we can do is wait for the water to recede to begin clean-up.

There was damage at school when most of the campus was submerged (in some places under feet of water). The clean-up effort is on-going.

(Pictured: Parking lot clean-up effort) Some of the commuters were less than thrilled to watch their cars be swept away from the lot into the flooded stream or else completely submerged. I lost my car on my way home in the storm too, but because it was a POS - not flood related.

So, as a direct result, I don’t really have the time or energy to be super creative in the kitchen this week.  The recipes I’ll be posting will all have come from the brilliant minds of others.

After a week of constantly being chilled by wet socks and dripping hair, I was desperate to find a warming comfort food for this weekend.  Last night I found it over at veganchef.com.  I’ve tried some of her recipes before without success, but the idea of a Greens and Grains version of meatloaf (an American childhood comfort-food classic) sounded so inviting, I just had to give it a try!  I was so happy with how it came out, and I can’t believe how well the thing holds together without any egg or breadcrumbs!  Of course, I couldn’t leave well-enough alone, so I did make a few minor changes.

This dish is almost a one-pot wonder (technically, it’s one pot and one baking pan), and it’s super easy.  It’s also very market friendly, in that you can add/replace any veggies you can find.  Serve it with some cheddary nutritional yeast on top along-side a big dollop of ketchup, and you’ll feel the warming love that only a speckled loaf can provide! Ok, maybe I’ve been living in a German-heritage area for too long, but it’s still delicious! 😉

Greens and Grains Loaf:

"Loaf" is a funny word...

Equipment:

  • Knife, peeler, cutting board, large deep heavy-bottomed skillet with lid (I use enameled cast iron and it worked perfectly), bread pan or similar loaf-shaped baking dish, wooden spoon, a heavy soup spoon, paper towel, range

Ingredients:

  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1 small red pepper (or half a large one), diced
  • 1 small white/yellow/orange pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 lb of green beans, trimmed and cut into small rounds
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 small zucchini or yellow squash, diced
  • 1/2 celery heart with leaves, diced
  • 1/3 cup dried quinoa
  • 1/3 cup dried white rice
  • 1/3 cup dried millet
  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper
  • Coconut oil
  • Sunflower (or other neutral) oil
  • Possible toppings: nutritional yeast, ketchup, your favorite gravy, Magic Sauce

Directions:

  1. Prep all of your veggies.  Over medium heat, melt a medium scoop of coconut oil in the skillet.  Saute the diced onion 2 mins, or until it’s tender and lightly browned.  Add the garlic and saute another minute.
  2. Add all of the other veggies – the peppers, carrots, celery, squash, green beans and whatever else you’ve got.  Cook 3-5 mins or until the veggies are starting to soften.  Add a generous pinch or two of salt and a nice hit of ground black pepper.
  3. Add the herbs to taste.  You’ll find you won’t need a whole lot since the veggies are already pretty aromatic, and if your herbs are fresh, they’ll compliment what’s already going on very well.  You don’t have to chop up the oregano and basil, just tearing up a few leaves and throwing it in is fine.  As a general guide, I tend to use the ratio 3:2:1 for the amount of basil:lemon thyme:oregano, but adjust it to your tastes.  So when you stand over the pan, the smell makes you salivate and gives you that “Oh this is gonna be good” visceral reaction.
  4. Stir in the quinoa, millet, and rice.  Cook about 1 min to make sure the grains are coated in the delicious veggie and herb juices.  Pour in the vegetable stock.  Reduce the heat to medium low, cover, and let simmer until all of the liquid is absorbed and the grains are very tender, about 25-35 mins.  You are going to slightly over-cook the grains, because the “rice glue” will help the loaf keep its shape.
  5. Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Grease the loaf pan with the sunflower or other neutral oil.
  6. When the grains are done and all of the liquid has been absorbed, remove from the heat and stir in the chopped parsley.  Taste test, and adjust seasonings as needed.  Carefully spoon 1/3 of the mixture into the loaf pan, and press the veggies and grains firmly into the pan with the back of your spoon, making sure it gets tightly packed.  Repeat until all of the veggies and grains have been transferred over.
  7. Bake at 350 F for 30-40 mins, or until the top is golden brown and the loaf is firm to the touch.  Let the loaf sit 5-10 mins before running a knife along the edges.  Flip the loaf out onto whatever serving dish you want to use.  Slice carefully and serve with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and your favorite gravy or ketchup.
  8. ENJOY!!

Vegan Slow Cooker Goulash

Goulash is one of those dishes I had so often growing up in Pennsylvania Dutch Country that sometimes I forget how awesome of a name that is for food… Gooo-lahwsh. 😀  Kinda sounds how it is: thin-brothed with big bits of yummy.

Anyway, just like the gravy-based soup we know as chicken pot pie, the PA Dutch have a knack for taking anything even close to nutritious and turning it into a pile of salt and starch.  Goulash is typically a pepper and tomato-based dish with sweet corn and some sort of meat, making it ideal for late summer when there are so many peppers of all colors and sizes and my tomato plants seem to lob a new batch of fruit at me each morning.

But, and I swear this is the honest truth, the following is an example of a typical PA Dutch Goulash recipe:

  • 1 large can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced (maybe some minced garlic)
  • 1 red or green pepper, diced
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • Salt and pepper

Ok, no way.  With our area’s reputable sweet corn, beautiful displays of purple, white, and yellow sweet peppers, and a strong tradition of award-winning heirloom tomatoes, that’s just plain unacceptable!!

Below is a vegetarian version of my attempt to bring pride back to our food.  This is a really amazing recipe, that’s also super easy because it’s all in the slow-cooker, and I know I hope this with all of my recipes, but I shamelessly ask that seriously you’ve got to try this one!!! If you don’t like the veg version, add a cut of beef or pork shoulder to the veggies in the slow cooker, and keep in mind, this makes a ton of food, so you can always cut the recipe in half too.  Also, this dish is traditionally served with elbow macaroni.  I’m using a gluten-free, brown rice fusilli because I much prefer it with pasta over rice (my tummy just doesn’t like the gluten).

Slow Cooker Goulash:

Hearty, Filling, and Fresh - Things that make us Pennsylvanians proud of our food

Equipment:
  • Large slow cooker, knife, cutting board, measuring spoons
Ingredients:
  • 5 large sweet peppers of varying colors, cut into large strips
  • 4 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • 1 large or 2 small jalapenos, seeded and dices (keep the seeds if you like heat)
  • 6 whole ears of corn
  • 1 lb green beans, trimmed and halved (optional, but I’m happy to see the first green beans back in season, so why not? Green beans are delicious.)
  • 6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 2 medium onions, sliced into half-moons
  • 1/2 bunch parsley, chopped (dried works too)
  • The leaves of a small bunch of oregano (dried works too)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 heaping Tbsp of smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp caraway seeds
  • 5 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP)
  • 1 lb. elbow macaroni or other pasta
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
Directions:
  1. Cut the corn off the cob into the cold slow cooker.  Keep the empty cobs in the slow cooker on the bottom.  Add all of the vegetables, the seasonings, the vinegar, and the vegetable stock to the slow cooker.
  2. Cook on high 2-3 hours or on low 6-7 hours.  Give it a stir half-way through to make sure all of the spices and peppers can get soft in the liquid.
  3. In the last 30 mins, remove the corn cobs and bay leaves.  Stir in the TVP. Re-season as needed.  **Personally, I don’t like how mushy pasta gets when you cook it in a crock pot.  If you’re like me, boil the pasta in lightly salted water and then just top with the veggies.  If you like super soft pasta, throw it in in the last half hour with the TVP.
  4. ENJOY!!