Broccoli Walnut Pesto

"Oh my god, this is soooo so good!" "Great! I'm glad you like it. It's mostly broccoli and walnuts, so I was kind of worried that you wouldn't." "Geeeeezzze, don't tell me that!"

Who says pesto can't be cheap, lower in calories, and seriously delicious...all while still being vegan? I say that it can and it shall be

Produce On Parade - Broccoli Walnut Pesto

If you have trouble getting your family members (husband included) to eat broccoli, this is your dish. Straight up. When Todd got home from work, I told him we were having pasta for dinner. This is usually pretty exciting because we don't tend to eat it very often.

Then, he walked into the kitchen and saw a giant bowl of broccoli. His face melted from delight to what can best be described as that of a kid who tore open a present on Christmas morning only to find a crocheted tie from Aunt Gladys. Disappointed and a bit bamboozled. 

He self-proclaims that he's "not-big-on-broccoli". That it's not really his thing. Well, four servings later, one for me and three for Todd...I ended up surrendering a big bowl of the pesto pasta to Todd for his lunch. I brought a PB&J to work. Best wife ever? Dang, now I really want some of that pesto!

Produce On Parade - Broccoli Walnut PestoThis creamy pesto, lightened up by using a smaller amount of oil gets it's zing from lemon juice and miso. Pine nuts, move over because walnuts are taking center stage here. And for real, fresh basil in Alaska in January can be hard to come by. Plus, I'm not a bajillionaire. Broccoli it is! 

Broccoli Walnut Pesto 

Serves 6

  • Broccoli:
  • 1 large head of broccoli, florets only
  • dash of salt
  • Pasta:
  • 16 oz. of dry pasta
  • dash of salt
  • Pesto Sauce:
  • 1/3 cup of walnuts, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, whole
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh basil paste or small handful of fresh basil (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp. walnut oil (olive oil will work, too)
  • 1 Tbsp. miso paste
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Notes: Be sure to reserve about 1/2 cup of the pasta water for the pesto sauce. 

Start by bringing a medium pot of salted water to boil. Chop off the broccoli florets and once the water is boiling, place them in the water. Allow them to boil for about 3 minutes. Then, remove the florets with a slotted spoon and submerge in a large bowl of cold water. Allow to rest in the water until ready for use.

Produce On Parade - Broccoli Walnut Pesto Produce On Parade - Broccoli Walnut PestoKeep that water boiling and add another dash of salt. Add the dry pasta and cook according to package. I like to use a pasta that is dense and sturdy, so it can stand up to being stirred with the pesto. Once the pasta is al dente, strain, but not completely. Leave about 1/2 cup of pasta water at the bottom, with the noodles. Place the pot of noodles aside until ready to use. 

Produce On Parade - Broccoli Walnut PestoIn a food processor, combine all the pesto sauce ingredients and process until it's reached a fine consistency. There will be a lot of scraping down the sides of the bowl, but it's a small price to pay. 

Produce On Parade - Broccoli Walnut PestoProduce On Parade - Broccoli Walnut PestoNow, strain the broccoli from the cold water and add the florets to the processor. Process until very smooth and creamy.

Produce On Parade - Broccoli Walnut PestoAdd the pesto sauce into the pot of noodles and stir very well, ensuring to combine the water at the bottom. You can add a pinch of salt here too.

Produce On Parade - Broccoli Walnut PestoServe hot with crushed walnuts on top, if you like! 

Produce On Parade - Broccoli Walnut Pesto Produce On Parade - Broccoli Walnut Pesto Produce On Parade - Broccoli Walnut PestoListening to Portugal. The Man – Modern Jesus

[yumprint-recipe id='66']

Vegan Greek Pasta Salad

Have you ever thought about something so abstractly that it becomes super weird?  It's strange how we eat things. Like, okay...think about it for a minute. We, as humans, take items and consume them. We put them in our mouths and chew them up and then they are gone! Well...for the most part...wierd, huh? I swear I'm not a lunatic, people. Oh god, I better just stop. 

I have exciting news to share. Todd and I are going to see Dave Chappelle! Yea, that's right, he's coming all the way up to The Last Frontier. I know you're surprised. So was I. I cannot wait. I have literally seen every single episode of Dave Chappelle. My brother got the entire boxed set as a gift from his girlfriend wife and of course I had to watch it all. Have any of you seen him live? Also, Wayne Brady is coming here! OMG! I just found that out so I don't yet have tickets.

Alright this is mostly a food blog. So back to the food. Well, my dish today isn't the most Fallish of dishes but who cares, it's delicious. All the profound flavors of "Greek", but vegan! Also, this Vegan Greek Pasta Salad is made with yogurt and only 1 Tbsp. of vegan mayonnaise, so the calories aren't through the roof.  Which is always good. Leaves more room for brownies, you know? You know. Just be sure you don't get a sweetened plain non-dairy yogurt like I did. Whoops! Hello, plain to me means plain...as in...not sweetened. Oh well, it was still yummy.

Produce On Parade - Vegan Greek Pasta Salad

Vegan Greek Pasta Salad

Adapted from Running to The Kitchen

Serves 6

  • 9  oz. dry pasta (I like the big elbow macaroni) 
  • 1 cucumber, rough peeled and diced small
  • 1/2 medium red onion, minced
  • 2 medium vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and minced
  • 2 green onions, sliced thinly
  • 1/2 tsp. dried dill
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2-1 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 6 oz. plain non-dairy yogurt (I used almond yogurt)
  • 1 Tbsp. vegan mayonnaise 

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Once boiling, add the pasta and cook until al dente or according to the package. You may even want to undercook the pasta a little bit, especially if the salad will be stored for a few hours. As the leftovers sit they will absorb the liquids, softening the pasta. 

Meanwhile, add all the remaining ingredients into a large bowl and mix well. 

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When the pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse it with cool water until the pasta is cold. Then mix it in with the rest of the ingredients. 

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This salad is best allowed to rest in the fridge so the flavors can mingle, but that didn't stop me! 

Produce On Parade - Vegan Greek Pasta Salad Produce On Parade - Vegan Greek Pasta Salad

 

For fun, what am I listening to? Motion City Soundtrack – The Future Freaks Me Out

[yumprint-recipe id='8']Good, now I can go eat some brownies.

Creamy Coconut Curry Peanut + Noodles

I bet you're wondering why I gathered you all here today. It's for the Creamy Coconut Curry Peanut + Noodle recipe, obvs. Drenched in a creamy coconut curry peanut sauce, sauteed veggies pair with low-calorie noodles to make a perfect Thai inspired noodle dish. Oh yes. But first, a little business. If you haven't noticed (and seriously why would you?), the widget plugin for my subscribers lost about 25+ of my near and dear subscribers! I am not sure if this means that the number is just off or if these poor fellows aren't getting the new post emails. It's all very distressing. I've contacted the plugin company and apparently many other users are having the same issue as me. Sad. So, if you happen to think you are one of these forsaken followers, let me first tell you that I truly treasure you. The plugin company is sorting it out and hopefully it should be fixed. Please let me know if you are not getting the posts in your email! I can work around this (I've been watching a lot of the BCCs Sherlock Holmes...Benedict Cumberbatch...am I right? Yes. Omg.), and get you my daily ramblings. Never fear my dear people.

Okay, back to the good stuff. Peanut noodles aren't exactly on the lower end of the calorie scheme. I mean look at this dish. It certainly looks like it's loaded with carbs. Yes, well...it's a little deceptive. Nothing's ever what it seems, Dr. Watson.

Produce On Parade - Creamy Coconut Curry Peanut + Noodles

Have you tried those refrigerated low calorie noodles? There are many brands, but I think the majority are made from tofu. They were all the rage a few years ago when they were generally discovered by the dieting mass public. I like them. Enough. I mean, I'm certainly not going to replace them with real pasta. Heaven forbid. Actually, I'm not all that big on pasta to begin with. Have you noticed? Maybe not.

Produce On Parade - Creamy Coconut Curry Peanut + Noodles

Anyways, this is the perfect dish to use those noodles. They have almost an udon noodle type of feel to them. I do, however, love me some udon noodles. This peanut noodle dish has full-fat coconut milk along with peanut butter, so using the tofu noodles is a good way to cut back on some calories, plus they just plain work in this dish! Tofu noodles and spaghetti sauce? Not so much.

This recipe probably isn't low-calorie...it's just...lower-than-it-could-be-calorie...

Before we get started, however, allow me to rant about lite coconut milk. The cans of coconut milk up here in The Last Frontier are over $3.50 a can. That shit's expensive! Yes, I have tried to make my own, a story for another day. Anyways, if you're buying the lite version of canned coconut milk as opposed to the full-fat one...or regular as I call it, then you're just buying at most, really expensive water.

So, what to do if a recipe calls for lite or you simply don't want all that full-fat coconutty goodness (gasp!)? No, problem. I just use 1/4 the amount called for, but use the regular. Then, add the remainder of what's called for in water. Freeze the leftover regular coconut milk. It's really that simple. That's what I do and it saves me some bucks. You can continue to do whatever you want, but I thought it was necessary to expose the coconut milk catastrophe for what it is. Katie Holmes has closed the coconut case! Wait...Katie Holmes, no, that's already taken. Nevermind.

Produce On Parade - Creamy Coconut Curry Peanut + Noodles

A final word about the tofu noodles. They smell...err...very fishy before you boil them. No! Don't smell them! Gahh. Anyways, be sure to rinse them very well before you boil them. I'm not making this stuff up. Once they are parboiled, they are fine. 

Creamy Coconut Curry Peanut + Noodles

Inspired by The Endless Meal

Serves 2

  • --Noodles + Veggies--
  • 2 packages Tofu Shirataki Noodles (or any noodles), drained and rinsed well
  • 1/2 Tbsp. sesame seed oil
  • 1 medium carrot, matchsticked
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • --For the Sauce--
  • 2 Tbsp. canned full fat coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter (nut free - sunflower seed butter or mashed avocado)
  • 1/2 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp. fresh curry paste
  • 1/2 tsp. ground curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh chili paste
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Drain and rinse the tofu noodles. When the water comes to a boil, add the noodles and boil for about 3 minutes. Drain and pat the noodles dry. Set aside until ready to use. If using different noodles, then cook according to package.

While the water comes to a boil, heat the sesame oil in a large frying pan and add all the prepared veggies. Saute for a good 10 minutes, or until the carrots just being to soften over medium heat. Then remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.

Produce On Parade - Creamy Coconut Curry Peanut + Noodles Produce On Parade - Creamy Coconut Curry Peanut + Noodles

Meanwhile, add all the sauce ingredients to a small saucepan and whisk over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Then turn to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the noodles and veggies are done cooking.

Produce On Parade - Creamy Coconut Curry Peanut + Noodles

Add the sauce and the noodles to the the sauteed vegetables and cook over low heat for a minute or two, just enough to heat thoroughly.

Serve hot and garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onion, if you like!

Produce On Parade - Creamy Coconut Curry Peanut + Noodles

This dish was super easy and quick to make, but of course I had the always eager and cutest kitchen helpers ever. Todd's doing the whole mustache thing right now. Bailey...well...yea, I don't know.

Produce On Parade - Creamy Coconut Curry Peanut + Noodles

Creamy Coconut Curry Peanut + Noodles
Recipe Type: Entree
Author: Katie - Produce On Parade
Serves: 2
Drenched in a creamy coconut curry peanut sauce, sauteed veggies pair with low-calorie noodles to make a perfect Thai inspired noodle dish.
Ingredients
  • --Noodles + Veggies--
  • 2 packages Tofu Shirataki Noodles (or any noodles), drained and rinsed well
  • 1/2 Tbsp. sesame seed oil
  • 1 medium carrot, matchsticked
  • 2 stalks of celery, sliced
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • --For the Sauce--
  • 2 Tbsp. canned full fat coconut milk
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh ginger, minced
  • 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tsp. fresh curry paste
  • 1/2 tsp. ground curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh chili paste
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Drain and rinse the tofu noodles. When the water comes to a boil, add the noodles and boil for about 3 minutes. Drain and pat the noodles dry. Set aside until ready to use. If using different noodles, then cook according to package.
  2. While the water comes to a boil, heat the sesame oil in a large frying pan and add all the prepared veggies. Saute for a good 10 minutes, or until the carrots just being to soften over medium heat. Then remove from heat and set aside until ready to use.
  3. Meanwhile, add all the sauce ingredients to a small saucepan and whisk over medium heat until it comes to a boil. Then turn to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the noodles and veggies are done cooking.
  4. Add the sauce and the noodles to the the sauteed vegetables and cook over low heat for a minute or two, just enough to heat thoroughly.
  5. Serve hot and garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onion, if you like!

For fun, what am I listening to? Kimbra – Good Intent  It's very Sherlocky to me, and I'm in that type of mood. Shifty eyes.