Showing posts with label Pastas & Noodles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pastas & Noodles. Show all posts

Friday, March 03, 2023

Tofu Neat Balls

Vegan food is a cuisine in its own right!

Yes, it’s absolutely possible to make all kinds of vegan alternatives that perfectly mimic their animal versions. More power to the awesome brands proving this each day.

But the beauty of vegan cuisine is that you don’t *have* to mimic a damn thing if you don’t want to! 😃

You can just make completely new plant based food that’s unlike anything else. Simple mindset shift. Huge game changer.🤯

I didn’t develop the recipe for these Tofu Neat Balls with any intention to make them taste like meatballs. ✨🌱 They shine with their unique texture and flavours without trying to be anything but themselves. (I don’t need to spell out the life lesson metaphor in there for you, do I? 😜)

Here’s how I made them. Use the recipe as a starting point and modify it to suit your tastebuds and ingredient availability.

Bowl of spaghetti, half peasto, half aglio olio, and vegan tofu neat balls in front. Tofu balls on a baking tray at the back.

Tofu Neat Balls

Main ingredients:
3 blocks tofu – gently pressed to squeeze out as much water as possible and then mashed
3 T chickpea flour
2 T oats
1 tsp arrowroot powder
1 tsp psyllium husk

Flavouring ingredients:
tomato paste
tamarind paste
garlic paste
nutritional yeast
dried orange peel powder
chilli flakes
dry herbs

  • ☄️Mix everything together 
  • ☄️Taste and adjust the flavours 
  • ☄️Shape into balls and place on a baking tray 
  • ☄️Bake in an oven at 200°C (400°F) for 20-25 mins until they’ve firmed up a bit 
  • ☄️Gently flip them over 
  • ☄️Grill for 10 mins

Close up image of green pesto spaghetti with vegan tofu neat balls.

📝 These balls are on the softer side. They’ll break if you mix them with the spaghetti 🍝 , so serve them on top.
📝 They make a yummy snack by themselves, dipped in hot sauce and enjoyed.
📝 Here's a different version of the Spaghetti and Neat Balls (a recipe post from over a decade ago inspired by my friend Karol).

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Raw Fettuccine in Almond Bell Pepper Sauce

When it comes to making raw main courses, my go-to dish is zucchini fettuccine in a creamy cashew and basil sauce. It's a hugely popular dish among our raw food guests at Carrots and pretty much anyone who's tasted it.

People who're new to this kind of cuisine barely believe it's vegan, leave alone completely raw. :)

Last week, on my usual raw food Thursday, I became quite hungry in the evening after a bit of gallivanting with my boys. I wanted to have zucchini pasta but I wanted to push myself to create something new too.

So I switched up the ingredients in the sauce a bit and the result was GLORIOUS! You just have to taste this thing to believe it.

Raw Fettuccine in Almond Bell Pepper Sauce

You can also watch a video for the method of making Zucchini Fettuccine on an older recipe post: Raw Zucchini Fettuccine and Sun Dried Tomatoes in Cashew Sour Cream Sauce.

Here's the recipe for this one:

Raw Fettuccine in Almond Bell Pepper Sauce

1 small Green Zucchini
1 small Yellow Zucchini
1 small Red Bell Pepper
1/4 Yellow Bell Pepper
1/4 C Almonds
2 cloves of Garlic
2-3 pitted Dates
Juice of 1/2 Lemon

* Wash the zucchinis well and using a vegetable peeler, scrape them into flat, fettuccine noodles (including the peel) and keep them aside
* When you reach the soft, seed part at the heart of the zucchinis, chop them up roughly and keep aside
* Into a dry grinder jar, add almonds, garlic, dates, pepper and salt grind into a fine powder
* Add the red bell pepper, zucchini and lemon juice and blend until creamy (happens very quickly)
* Place the zucchini noodles in a serving dish, pour the creamy sauce over it and mix well
* Garnish with chopped yellow bell peppers, shredded basil leaves and chopped almonds
* Enjoy! :)

Monday, June 08, 2015

Tatziki Sauce and Creamy Pasta Salad

We already passed the first Sunday of June and here I am now, getting around to sharing the recipe video of our demo at Carrots from the first Sunday of May! Sheesh. Talk about delaying things. I'm not even going to say anything else. Here you go, enjoy. :P

Tatziki Pasta Salad

The video features our Second Chef Gokul and I sharing a recipe for making Vegan Tatziki Sauce. Then we use the yummy sauce to make a Creamy Pasta Salad.

We just finished another fantastic demo yesterday. But the way things are going, that video is probably not going to see the light of day for another month.

Until next time. See you! ;)

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Pumpkin Tofu Rosemary Methi Roti Ravioli

Pumpkin Tofu Rosemary Methi Ravioli

Want to guess why this ravioli is heart shaped? Yep, I made it at the beginning of February with the full intention of posting it here on Valentine's Day. But life got crazy, time zipped by and now I suddenly find myself in April, remembering I had to share this recipe with you all.

Ah well, heart shaped food on April Fool's Day? I'll just file it under the Love Fool theme and call it a day. ;)

Now let me type the recipe while I'm still in the mood to do so. As always, adjust the flavours to suit your tastes and ingredient availability. Serve the ravioli with some freshly crushed pepper on top and it's pure heaven!

Pumpkin Tofu Rosemary Methi Roti Ravioli

Pumpkin Tofu Rosemary Methi Roti Ravioli

For the Pasta Dough:
2 C Whole Wheat Flour
½ C Kasuri Methi (Dried Fenugreek Leaves)
½ tsp Sesame Seeds
¼ tsp Turmeric

- Mix everything into a soft, elastic dough
- Cover and keep aside

For the Stuffing:
½ kg Tofu - water pressed out and crumbled
1 Small Onion - finely chopped and lightly stir fried (preferably without oil)
1 Japanese Pumpkin (small, orange kind) - de-seeded, chopped and steamed or nuked
1 C Spinach - chopped roughly
¼ tsp Dried Rosemary
Tabasco Chipotle Sauce

- Place everything in a large bowl and roughly mash together with your fingers or a fork
- Taste and adjust the flavours
- Keep aside

For the Sauce:
5-8 Tomatoes
7-10 Cloves of Garlic
1 Green Chilli
½ tsp Jaggery
Tabasco Chipotle Sauce

- Blend everything as smoothly as possible (few chunks are okay)
- Transfer to a pan and simmer for a few minutes while stirring
- Cover and keep aside

Pumpkin Tofu Rosemary Methi Ravioli

How to proceed:

- Bring a large pot of salted water to boil
- Roll out the dough into 2mm thick sheet
- Cut out hearts (or any other shape of your choice) using a cookie cutter
- Place a spoonful of stuffing between two hearts
- Gently and firmly press the sides to seal completely
- Keep aside on a plate and use the same procedure to make more ravioli hearts
- Gently drop the ravioli into the boiling water in batches for four or five
- They will rise to the top in about 3-5 minutes
- Lift them out with a slotted spoon and keep aside on a plate
- Prepare the rest of the raviolis in the same way
- Serve hot with lots of sauce ladled on
- Enjoy! :)

Pumpkin Tofu Rosemary Methi Ravioli

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Raw Zucchini Fettuccine and Sun Dried Tomatoes in Cashew Sour Cream Sauce - Vegan MoFo Day 8

Wow, that name was quite a mouthful, wasn't it? Even by my usual standards. I promise that this dish is worth every syllable though!

Raw Zucchini Fettuccine and Sun Dried Tomatoes in Cashew Sour Cream Sauce

When it comes to raw food, there's nothing like zucchini/courgette to replace regular pastas; be it zucchini lasagna, flat zucchini noodles, or if you have a fancy spiralizer tool (which is so on my I-want-this list), zucchini spaghetti! It's the one vegetable, which when combined with a creamy raw sauce, has that perfect al-dente pasta texture. It's something that you just have to taste to believe!

Since it is of utmost importance that the zucchini pasta is super thin, I use a vegetable peeler to quickly scrape it into flat, fettuccine-like noodles. This whole dish takes five minutes to put together but tastes like a laborious work of art! :D

Raw Zucchini Fettuccine and Sun Dried Tomatoes in Cashew Sour Cream Sauce

In the summer I make real sun dried tomatoes. But since we've barely had any sunlight in this monsoon season, I made the batch used in this recipe by dehydrating cherry tomato halves in the oven at 70°C. If you don't want to make your own, you can buy them locally in Bangalore at Food Hall and a few other grocery stores that carry speciality goods.

If you like, you can substitute fresh cherry tomatoes for the sun dried ones in this recipe. But sun dried tomatoes have a significantly richer flavour and better texture, so if you are able to get your hands on them, you should definitely use them.

The nutritional yeast makes the sauce mind-blowingly flavourful. In India, you can currently order it online from i2cook. I know there are a few more sources of these precious, golden flakes coming up here soon and I'll keep you updated about them. :)

Here's a step-by-step HowDo guide (oh, how I enjoy making these HowDos) for this recipe, followed by a typed out, text version.

Raw Zucchini/Courgette Fettuccine and Sun Dried Tomatoes in Cashew Sour Cream Sauce

1 small Zucchini
1/2 C Sun Dried Tomatoes
1/4 C Cashews
2 cloves of Garlic
1 T Nutritional Yeast
5 Raisins
Juice of 1/2 Lime

* Wash the zucchini well and using a vegetable peeler, scrape it into flat, fettuccine noodles (including the peel) and keep them aside
* When you reach the soft, seed portion at the heart of the zucchini, chop it up roughly and pop it into a mixie jar
* Add the cashews, garlic, raisins and salt give the grinder a quick whirr
* Squeeze in the lime juice and add a splash of clean, filtered water
* Blend into a smooth, creamy sauce, adding more water as required
* Place the zucchini noodles in a serving dish and add the sun dried tomatoes
* Pour the cashew sour cream sauce over everything and mix well
* Enjoy! :)

Raw Zucchini Fettuccine and Sun Dried Tomatoes in Cashew Sour Cream Sauce

Friday, June 28, 2013

Potato Amaranth Flat Rice Noodles in Cheesy Garlicky Sauce

Potato Amaranth Flat Rice Noodles in Cheesy Garlicky Sauce

This is a delicious, hearty meal that is easy to put together. I love making lasagne-style, layered, baked dishes. They are so flexible and you can put a variety of elements and textures in there. Here I've used Flat Pad Thai Rice Noodles for the pasta layers to make the dish gluten free.

I've very lightly brushed coconut oil on to the top layer of potatoes but that can easily be skipped to make this a recipe that's free of any processed oils.

Potato Amaranth Flat Rice Noodles in Cheesy Garlicky Sauce

Potato Amaranth Flat Rice Noodles in Cheesy Garlicky Sauce

3 Potatoes
1 C Amaranth Greens (Dantina Soppu) - can be replaced with any local greens
1/2 Package Flat Rice Noodles
Optional - Coconut Oil for light brushing

For the Sauce:
1/2 C Cashews
2 T Sesame Seeds
2 T Nutritional Yeast1
10-15 Cloves of Garlic
1 tsp Mustard Seeds
1/2 tsp Agave Nectar - can be replaced with Jaggery Syrup or Sugar
1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
1/4 tsp Pepper

Bring lightly salted water to a boil and add the flat rice noodles.
Turn off the heat, cover and keep aside for about 5-8 minutes, until the noodles are soft.
Drain and drop the soft noodles into cold water.
Keep aside.

Meanwhile, grind all the sauce ingredients together into a powder.
Add a little water at a time and blend to obtain a paste.
Add more water and blend into a creamy sauce.

Scrub and wash the potatoes and slice them into thin rounds.
Wash the amaranth leaves, gently squeeze off the water and chop them roughly.

Cover the bottom and sides of a glass2 baking dish with a layer of potatoes.
Top with half the cooked noodles and chopped amaranth.
Pour half of the sauce over this.
Then add another layer of potatoes (saving some for the final layer) and the remaining half of the noodles, amaranth and sauce in the same way.
Finally cover the top with a layer of potatoes.
Lightly brush3 with coconut oil if you like.

Bake in an oven at 220°C for 30 minutes, then increase the heat to 250°C and grill for 15 minutes.
Turn off the oven and remove the dish.
Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes.
Dig into it and serve hot with freshly crushed pepper and Tabasco drizzled on top.
Enjoy! :)

Potato Amaranth Flat Rice Noodles in Cheesy Garlicky Sauce


1 Without Nutritional Yeast, the sauce will still be creamy and delicious, but it won't have a cheesy flavour.
2 If you're using a metal baking dish instead, then grease it lightly or line it with foil before using.
3 By brushing, I mean that I used my palms and fingers to rub that oil onto the potatoes so no fancy brushes required here. :p

Potato Amaranth Flat Rice Noodles in Cheesy Garlicky Sauce

Potato Amaranth Flat Rice Noodles in Cheesy Garlicky Sauce

Monday, January 21, 2013

Farfalle with Crunchy Okra and Red Bell Peppers

Farfalle with Crunchy Okra and Red Bell Peppers

Once in a while, a few of us Bangalore vegan girls meet up to have a pigging out session. Everyone brings one main dish and one dessert and we all eat until we're unable to move. Even though there are monthly Vegan Bengaluru potlucks, we still like to have these separate sessions occasionally because they're quality time spent with a few good friends, it's a small group so we tend to put effort into making extra special things which aren't easy to make in large quantities and most importantly, no boys are allowed! :D

It was to one of these mini potlucks that my friend Bynz brought a delicious pasta dish, Farfalle with Aubergines. It was absolutely amazing so I asked her to send me the recipe, thinking I'd try it sometime when hubby wasn't home because he doesn't like Egg Plants. She sent me a snap of the recipe to my phone and I filed the recipe away in an album and totally forgot about it.

Then last week, on one of the afternoons, I wandered into my kitchen wondering what I could quickly make for lunch, when I spied the Okra that I'd left to dry on a towel. Something clicked at the back of my brain and I suddenly wanted to make Bynz's pasta dish with the Okra in place of the Egg Plants/Brinjal. I just knew they would make for an excellent replacement!

I also decided to add in some Red Capsicum that I had in the crisper and boy was that an awesome move! The dish turned out super delicious and it even tasted good after sitting in the fridge overnight and the Okra had turned soft. This is definitely something I'll be making more often.

Farfalle with Crunchy Okra and Red Bell Peppers

Farfalle with Crunchy Okra and Red Bell Peppers

2 C Dry Farfalle Pasta

2 T Coconut Oil
250 gms Okra/Ladies Finger

2 T Olive Oil
2 T Garlic - roughly chopped
1/2 Red Onion - finely chopped
1 T Celery Leaves - finely chopped
1/2 Red Capsicum/Bell Pepper - chopped
2 t Sugar
1/2 t Red Chilli Powder
Black Salt
Black Pepper - freshly crushed
4 small Tomatoes (preferably the juicy, naati/local variety) - chopped

Wash the okra and wipe properly well with a kitchen towel.
Spread on a fresh towel and allow to dry completely.
Cut off the tops and ends and keep aside.

In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil and add 1/2 tsp black salt.
Add the pasta and stir.
Cook on medium for 10-12 minutes.
Drain and rinse with cool, running water.
Keep aside.

Meanwhile, heat a heavy bottomed wok and pour in the coconut oil.
When the oil is hot, add the dry okra and stir.
Fry until slightly browned.
Add a dash of black salt and stir well until crispy.
Remove with a slotted spoon onto a tissue paper.
Discard any remaining oil from the bottom of the wok.
Let the wok cool for a few minutes and wipe well with a tissue paper to remove oil residue.

Heat the wok again and add the olive oil.
Add the chopped garlic and stir fry for half a minute.
Add the chopped onion and celery and stir fry for a few minutes.
Add the red bell pepper and stir fry for a few minutes.
Add the spices, sugar and a dash of black salt and mix well.
Allow the sugar to caramelize for a minute.
Add the tomatoes and stir.
Reduce the heat, cover and cook for a few minutes.
Taste and adjust the salt and spices.
Turn off the heat.

Add the cooked pasta to the sauce and mix thoroughly.
Add the crispy fried okra and give it a quick toss.
Serve immediately with crushed pepper on top.
Enjoy! :)

Farfalle with Crunchy Okra and Red Bell Peppers

Friday, October 26, 2012

Spaghetti and Neat Balls Vegan MoFo day 19

This will be my last Main Course recipe for Vegan MoFo this year. And I've been saving my best recipe for last. :)

Vegan Spaghetti and Tofu Balls

I'm so happy to have touched nineteen posts so far. I haven't decided what I'll do for my twentieth and final day. It might be a round up/flash back type post like I did for day #10. Or perhaps just some yummilicious vegan food piccies, without recipes, since I have no intention of stepping into my kitchen over the next few days! Methinks, I've earned some well-deserved eating out and self pampering. :D

One more thing, I am staying well away from the internet this weekend! We all need a nice break away from blogging and facebooking once in a while and what's a better time than right after all the Vegan MoFo madness? So I shall resurface with my next post on Monday or Tuesday.

On Thursday next week, my blog will be a part of the super innovative, one-day blogging event, Virtual Vegan Potluck! :) This is an idea conceived by my friend Ann of An Unrefined Vegan. They had the first VVP earlier this year, which was when I discovered Ann's blog (among many other awesome ones) and I just knew that when the next VVP happened, I would definitely want to be a part of it. That's why, even though it's right after Vegan MoFo, I singed up for it. Since I've made desserts, salads, soups, starters/snacks and main courses all this month, I decided that I'll be bringing a beverage to the potluck. You can see what it is when you come back here on November 1st. :)

Virtual Vegan Potluck Logo

Now on to today's recipe Spaghetti and Neat Balls. I first ate balls made of tofu at my friend Karol's house, way back in 2009. She had put crumbled tofu, almonds and spinach together with some spices to make these yummy balls. I based the basic idea for my Neat Balls from the ones Karol fed us. :)

This is one of the most scrumptious main courses I've made in all my vegan life. It turned out sooo sooo soooo good!! I'm not going to spend time describing it further. It's really very simple to make. So you can try it out for yourself and experience the deep satisfaction. :)

For the Neat Balls:
1 block tofu (I like the Ka Kim's brand in Bangalore or the one from Towness) - drained, patted dry and crumbled
2 carrots - grated
1 very small turnip - peeled and grated
2 tsp sesame seeds
1 T flax seed powder
2 T corn starch
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp black pepper powder
1/8 tsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp asafoetida powder
1/8 tsp red chilly powder
1/4 tsp liquid jaggery (or any other liquid sweetener)
1 tsp white wine vinegar
1/2 T extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp Salt
2 T nutritional yeast (optional)

For the Tomato Sauce:
5 medium ripe, juicy tomatoes
1 T garlic powder
2 spicy green chillies
1/4 tsp jaggery or liquid jaggery (or any other sweetener)
1/2 tsp Salt

Additional Ingredients:
250 gms spaghetti - cooked in lightly salted water, drained and rinsed
1/2 C Italian basil - chopped fine
1 large green bell pepper/capsicum - sliced and nuked
1 T Daiya pepperjack cheeze (optional)

Preheat oven to 200C/400F.

Knead together all the ingredients for the balls and shape them into... well, balls! haha

Blend the tomato sauce ingredients into a smooth paste, using a few splashes of water if required.

Toss the spaghetti, basil, capsicum and Daiya (if using) together.

Pour the tomato sauce over them, mix and place in a baking dish.

Place the balls over the spaghetti.

Bake for around 30 minutes.

Mix lightly with a fork to coat the balls with the sauce.

Serve hot with crushed pepper and drizzled with Tabasco Chipotle or other hot sauce.

Enjoy! :)

Vegan Spaghetti and Neat Balls

Note: This dish tastes best when baked, but in case you don't have an oven, then you could try frying the balls. I wouldn't recommend boiling or steaming though. Also, if you're not baking, then simmer the tomato sauce for a few minutes before tossing everything in it.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Asian Fusion Vermicelli Vegan MoFo day 18

I'm a big fan of fusion food. It's a lot of fun to take the best of various cuisines and meld them together into a unique, experimental dish with its own personality. One of these fusion concoctions that I make often is an Asian vegetable and tofu stir fry tossed with Vermicelli/Semiya (South Indian, semolina based thin noodles).

My favorite local Semiya brand is Anil Roasted Vermicelli. These are really thin and extra long and none of the other brands match Anil's taste and texture.

Since any semolina based noodles or pastas aren't very nutritious, I usually mix a *lot* of veggies with a small amount of Semiya. This ensures that there's a lot of healthy goodness in the meal with just enough grain content to satisfy the carb craving.

Asian Fusion Vermicelli

I would recommend Tamari for this recipe because it's just amaaaaaazingly delicious (almost drinkable straight out of the bottle *slurp*). I pour it into any of my Asian dishes as well as all salads. But, as I mentioned in last week's Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce recipe, unfortunately I ran out of my stock from the US long ago and it isn't available here. :( So I've just settled for plain old dark soy sauce that can be picked up at any grocery store.

Asian Fusion Vermicelli

3 C Cabbage - shredded or sliced
1/2 C Beans - chopped to 1 inch pieces
1 Carrot - sliced
1/2 Capsicum - sliced
1 block of Firm or Extra Firm Tofu (200 gms) - drained, blotted and cubed
1 Onion - thinly sliced
1 T Garlic - roughly chopped
1 inch Ginger - grated
1 Green Chilli - chopped into rounds
1 tsp Thai Basil - chopped
1-2 T Dark Soy Sauce
3 T Gingelly (Sesame) Oil

2 C Anil Roasted Vermicelli
1/2 tsp Crunchy Peanut Butter
2 C Water
pinch of Turmeric

Peanuts - roasted and crushed
Tabasco Chipotle Hot Sauce

Pre-cook cabbage, carrots and beans in the microwave for about 5 minutes to make the stir frying go quicker.

Heat gingelly oil in a heavy bottomed wok (baandli).
Add ginger, garlic and green chillies and stir fry for half a minute.
Add onion and Thai basil and stir fry until onions become partially tender.
Add tofu and gently stir fry for a few seconds.
Add capsicum and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
Add remaining vegetables and stir fry for a couple of minutes.
Add soy sauce and heat for half a minute while mixing well.
Turn off the heat and keep aside.

In a pot, bring 2 C of water to a rolling boil with the pinch of turmeric and peanut butter.
Add the vermicelli and keep stirring on medium heat for a few minutes, until most of the water has been absorbed and the vermicelli has been cooked.

Add the stir fried veggie-tofu mixture to the cooked vermicelli and mix very well.
Garnish with roasted, crushed peanuts.

Serve hot drizzled with Tabasco Chipotle Sauce. If you've been reading my recent blog posts, you might already have realized that Tabasco Chipotle is my new best friend. Hubby and I have been pouring it over everything! It's nuts. hehe

Enjoy! :)

Asian Fusion Vermicelli

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pasta Shells with Mint Tamarind Tofu Vegan MoFo day 17

Hubby and I drastically cut down on buying packaged dry pasta a while ago. Semolina is basically white flour in a grainy form. There isn't much nutrition or fiber in it. Plus, pasta prices have been hiked up quite a bit. Rs.150 for 500 gms is the lowest price I've seen in the recent times and that seems way too much to pay for half a kilo of semolina and salt.

There are healthier whole wheat pastas and gluten-fee rice/corn varieties available in the market now, but those are double, triple, quadruple the price. I can understand that it's slightly more expensive to produce GF products but just because something is gluten-free, doesn't mean it should cost an arm and a leg.

But giving up pasta entirely is not something I'm willing to do. For starters, it is so darned yummy. On top of that, it's unbelievably easy to whip up dinner when there's a pack of dry pasta on hand! So once in a while, we indulge and buy a big pack of pasta and then use it sparingly.

Conchiglioni and Farfalle are my very favourite kinds. The sauces and flavours get into all the little nooks and crannies and make the end result extra yummy. :)

Pasta Shells with Mint Tamarind Tofu

When hubby and I discovered that Bambino, an old, Indian company known for its Semiya Vermicelli and Elbow Macaroni for many years now, has started to produce Shell Macaroni, we were super happy! Being a local brand, we knew they'd price their products quite reasonably. Nevertheless, we were delightfully surprised to see that they sell nearly 1kg (950 gms) of their Shell Macaroni at Rs.60!!!

Granted that Macaroni Shells are thinner and smaller than regular Conchiglioni Shells and they don't cook to a firm, al dente finish, but the difference isn't that big of a deal really. Especially if one's not looking to make anything fancy but just have an easy and delicious weeknight meal.

I don't have any fixed recipes I follow while making pasta. I just put together things depending on my mood and what's available on hand. I made this dish of Pasta Shells with Mint Tamarind Tofu in the last week of September and wrote down the recipe so I could share it during this last week of Vegan MoFo.

For that matter, most of the Main Courses that'll be on my blog this week have been made in September, while I was preparing for MoFo. So I'm thinking it's going to be a fairly chilled out week. :)

Pasta Shells with Mint Tamarind Tofu

Pasta Shells with Mint Tamarind Tofu

For marinaded mint tamarind tofu:
1 block (200 gms) Tofu
1 small Capsicum
1/2 tsp Tamarind Concentrate Paste
1/8 tsp Turmeric
15-20 fresh Mint Leaves
Tabasco Sauce

For pasta:
1 1/2 C Shell Pasta

For final baking:
5 medium Tomatoes
Tabasco Chipotle Sauce
Black Pepper

For tossing:
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Vegan Parmesan* (optional)

Rinse and press tofu between tissue paper to remove as much moisture as possible.
Thinly slice capsicum.
Finely chop mint leaves.
Mix everything with the rest of the marinade ingredients and toss well.
Cover and keep aside for 1-2 hours.
Bake uncovered in a preheated oven at 250 C for 15-20 minutes or bake in the microwave using the dual Micro-Convection mode for 5 minutes.

Bring 5 cups of water to a rolling boil and add salt.
Add the pasta shells and cook for 5 minutes, while stirring once in a while.
Turn off the heat, cover and keep aside for another 5 minutes.
Drain and rinse in cool, running water.
Set aside.

Chop tomatoes into large chunks.
Add the cooked pasta and chopped tomatoes to the tofu dish.
Generously shake Tabasco Chipotle Sauce, crush black pepper and sprinkle a dash of salt over everything.
Toss well.
Cover and bake in a 250 C oven for 15-20 minutes or in the Micro-Convection mode for 5 minutes.

Drizzle extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle vegan Parmesan* and toss well.
Serve hot.
Enjoy! :)

Pasta Shells with Mint Tamarind Tofu

*Vegan Parmesan: I mix the pulp leftover from making almond mylk with nutritional yeast and salt and dehydrate it. Then I store the dry 'Parmesan' in an airtight container in in the fridge and sprinkle it over all my pasta dishes.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Macaroni Potato Salad

I love eating fresh, vegetable salads as a meal in themselves but hubby prefers to have some carbs involved. He says that if he eats just a salad for lunch, it fills him up quickly, but then he gets hungry again very soon. So I've started adding a bit of pasta into my salads to add body to them and that's been a nice compromise.

I used macaroni here because I'd run out of penne but it worked out nicely enough for me to try again even when I have regular pasta around. The texture of the macaroni goes well with this soft and filling salad.

Macaroni Potato Salad

Here are the ingredients, the quantities are completely up to you.

Macaroni - cooked, drained and rinsed in cold water.
Potatoes - boiled and cubed
Fresh Mint - chopped
Carrots - scrubbed clean and grated
Green Chillies - crushed to a paste
Red Chilli Powder
Lime Juice

Toss everything together and serve with freshly crushed pepper and nutritional yeast sprinkled over it.

Enjoy! :)

Friday, January 28, 2011

Vegan Wholewheat Lasagna Type Thingies

I use the word 'thingies' here because these aren't exactly traditional Lasagnas, but rather a bunch of dishes I invented based on the same basic principle - sheets of pasta layered with an ensemble of sauces and fillings and then baked.

Homemade Whole Wheat Pasta Sheets layered with Spinach Babycorn Béchamel Sauce, Spicy Tomato Mint Sauce, Grated Carrots, Sliced Green Bell Peppers and topped with Sesame Seeds and Rosemary
Homemade Whole Wheat Pasta Sheets layered with Spinach Babycorn Béchamel Sauce, Spicy Tomato Mint Sauce, Grated Carrots, Sliced Green Bell Peppers and topped with Sesame Seeds and Rosemary

For the Homemade Whole Wheat Pasta Sheets:

2 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 t Oil (olive oil or coconut oil work best but any other plant based oil should be fine too)
Salt to taste

Mix together the above. Add a little water at a time and knead into a soft, pliable dough. Keep aside.

When the fillings are ready, pinch off large balls of this dough and roll into thin sheets. Cut to roughly fit the baking tray that you're using.

The sheets are the only common factor between these Lasagna dishes. All the other components are flexible. You can use the recipes below for the fillings and sauces or use your imagination and create your own combination. :)

Whole Wheat Homemade Pasta Sheets layered with Basmati Rice, Mint Béchamel Sauce, Grated Beets and topped with Sliced Tomatoes with Nutritional Yeast sprinkled on
Whole Wheat Homemade Pasta Sheets layered with Basmati Rice, Mint Béchamel Sauce, Grated Beets and topped with Sliced Tomatoes with Nutritional Yeast sprinkled on

For the Vegan Spinach Babycorn Béchamel Sauce:

Wash and chop as much spinach as you like (I do about 3/4 C).

Blanch and slice 8-10 babycorns into thin circles.

Finely chop 2-3 cloves of garlic (can use more or less depending on your taste).

Lightly toast 1/4 C wheat flour in a dry pan until very slightly browned. Keep aside.

Place 2 C plain, unsweetened soymilk (or other vegan milk) in a pan and heat it on a low flame.

Add a few spoons of soymilk, a little at a time, to the toasted wheat flour and make a smooth paste. (You can optionally mix a dash of olive oil into this paste for an extra creamy end result).

Pour the paste into the soymilk slowly and keep stirring constantly. Continue to stir and heat on a low flame (sauce should not boil) until it thickens. The continuous stirring is very important to keep it smooth and distribute the heat evenly.

Add the chopped spinach, sliced babycorn, chopped garlic, freshly crushed pepper and salt and mix. Heat for another minute or so (still stirring) and turn off the flame.
Your creamy, vegan béchamel sauce is ready! :) (I love to eat spoonfuls of this thing just on its own!)

Note: If you're using this sauce for pastas or any other dish where it's not baked, then cook the baby corn well rather than blanching and lightly fry the garlic in a little olive oil before mixing them into the sauce.

PS: I found out much later that coconut mylk is an even better thing to use in this same sauce in place of soymylk.

Homemade Whole Wheat Pasta Sheets layered with a mix and match of Plain Béchamel Sauce, Special Mashed Potatoes, Small Chick Peas, Coconut Milk and Marinated - Tofu, Tomatoes, Broccoli, Zucchini, Green Bell Peppers
Homemade Whole Wheat Pasta Sheets layered with a mix and match of Plain Béchamel Sauce, Special Mashed Potatoes, Small Chick Peas, Coconut Milk and Marinated - Tofu, Tomatoes, Broccoli, Zucchini, Green Bell Peppers

For the Spicy Tomato Mint Sauce:

3 large, ripe Tomatoes diced
1 C chopped Spearmint leaves
3-4 cloves of Garlic
1/2 C raw cashews
2-3 spicy Green Chillies
1 T Nutritional Yeast
Salt to taste

Blend everything, except the tomatoes, together into a paste. Add the tomatoes and blend again to reach a saucy consistency.

Pour into a pan, bring to a boil, reduce the flame and simmer for about 3 minutes while stirring continuously.

For the Baked Beans Sauce:

1 1/2 C White Butter Beans - washed, quick soaked, cooked, drained (water kept aside) and cooled
2 large, ripe Tomatoes
2 cloves of Garlic
Red Chilli Powder/Flakes
1 t Olive Oil
Spicy Green Chillies chopped
Whole Spices - Cinnamon, Cloves, Bay Leaf
Tamarind Paste
Nutritional Yeast
Salt to taste

Place half the cooked beans, tomatoes, garlic, tamarind paste, red chilli powder/flakes and salt in a blender and blend into a smooth paste using some of the beans cooking water as required.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet, add the whole spices and green chillies and stir fry for about 30 seconds. Add the remaining cooked beans and stir fry.

Add the tomato/bean paste and mix well (adding more of the beans cooking water if required). Stir and simmer this sauce on medium heat for a few minutes.

Turn off the heat. Add a splosh of ketchup and the nutritional yeast and stir.

Homemade Whole Wheat Pasta Sheets layered with Mint Béchamel Sauce, Baked Beans Sauce, Sweet Corn, Sliced Green Bell Peppers and topped with Sliced Tomatoes with Nutritional Yeast sprinkled on
Homemade Whole Wheat Pasta Sheets layered with Mint Béchamel Sauce, Baked Beans Sauce, Sweet Corn, Sliced Green Bell Peppers and topped with Sliced Tomatoes with Nutritional Yeast sprinkled on

For the Special Mashed Potatoes:

5 medium sized Potatoes - boiled and peeled
Olive Oil
Marinade Liquid leftover from the Marinated Tofu/Veggie Topping
Coconut Milk (small splash)
2 T Nutritional Yeast
Dried Herbs - Thyme, Chives, Rosemary etc...
Salt to taste

Mash the potatoes, add the remaining ingredients and mix well.

Building the Lasagna:

Layer your home made whole wheat lasagna sheets with your choice of sauces and fillings - crumbled tofu, grated carrots, grated beets, sliced tomatoes, sliced bell peppers, sweet corn, marinated tofu/veggie mixture, coconut milk, cooked small chick peas etc...

Building the LasagnaBuilding the Lasagna

Bake at 400F/250C for 45-50 minutes. Let it cool for half an hour. Serve and enjoy! :)

(Tastes even better on the next day because all the flavors get incorporated really well!)

Friday, February 05, 2010

Spicy Hummus Whole Wheat Ravioli in Mint Coconut Milk Sauce

One of those things I invented as I cooked and OMG were the results amazing! It has Italian, Mediterranean, East Asian and Indian flairs all mixed in. I think I outfusioned myself with this one. :D

Spicy Hummus Ravioli in Mint Coconut Milk Sauce

For the Spicy Hummus:

Quick-soaked, drained and cooked Chickpeas
Toasted Sesame Seeds
Smoked Chipotle Tabasco Sauce
Asian Super Spicy Chilli Paste
Olive Oil
Coriander Powder
Raw Garlic
Lime Juice
Nutritional Yeast (if available)

Blend everything together adding a little water at a time until it reaches a creamy consistency. I determine ingredient quantities by the "taste and add and taste and add" method.

For the Whole Wheat Ravioli:

2 C Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 t Salt
3 t Oil

Mix the flour and salt together. Rub the oil into the flour. Add a little water at a time and knead well into an elastic-y dough. Cover and keep aside.

Bring a large pot of water to boil, add salt and let it continue to boil. Start preparing the ravioli on the side.

Pinch off large balls of dough and roll them out thin like tortillas/chapatis. Use a circular cookie cutter (or the edge of a steel tumbler) and cut out rounds. Take one circle and spoon a bit of the hummus into the centre, cover with a second circle. Carefully seal the edges. You can make little twists all around the side for extra safety.

Prepare all the ravioli and then put them into the boiling water gently. Cook for about 20 minutes on a medium flame. About 5 minutes into the cooking, stir carefully so that they don't stick together or break. Do this a few more times through the cooking process. And start preparing the sauce on the side as the Ravioli boils.

If a couple of the Ravioli's break during the boiling process try not to fret. I used the cooking water as a stock to make soup the next day. :)

For the Sauce:

Big bunch fresh Mint Leaves
Thick Coconut Milk (about 1 Cup)
Green Chillies

Blend everything together into a creamy sauce consistency.

How to proceed:

Pour a bit of the sauce into a glass baking dish. Place the ravioli in layers and pour the sauce between each layer. And top it off with the rest of the sauce.

Bake in a regular oven at 200 C/ 400 F for about 40 minutes or in a microwave in the convection+micro mode for 20 minutes.

Serve hot, garnished with grated carrot.

Enjoy! :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Spaghetti in Cilantro Tofu Pesto

Spaghetti is not my favorite kind of pasta. Well it's okay I guess but not as yum as Fusilli or Farfalle. The thing is, it doesn't have little hiding places which scoop up the sauce making each shell burst with flavor. But then a good Pesto can make even plain ol' Spaghetti taste delicious. And my motto is a simple one..."Cilantro makes everything taste yum!" It really does! :)

Spaghetti in Cilantro Tofu Pesto

Organic Wholewheat Spaghetti
Green Chillies
Oregano Seeds
Oil (I used Coconut Oil and it tasted good but Olive Oil would be even more yum)

Note: All quantities can be adjusted according to taste.

Cook the Spaghetti in salted boiling water for about 7 minutes, switch off flame, cover and let it sit for another 10 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water. Keep aside.

In a blender put 1/4 block of tofu (crumbled), a large handful of cilantro, a few cloves of garlic, green chillies and salt. Grind into a smooth paste adding a little water if required.

Chop some more garlic and cut the remaining block of tofu into cubes. Heat a few spoons of oil and add a dash of oregano seeds (omum). Add the chopped garlic and fry for a few seconds, add the tofu and toss gently till it's lightly browned on all sides. Add the blended cilantro paste, stir gently and cook for a few minutes.

Switch off the flame, add the cooked Spaghetti and mix well.

Serve hot with freshly crushed pepper on top.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Vegan Pasta - Penne in Mint Cilantro Pesto Sauce

There used to be a time when I resorted to ketchup... KETCHUP... to make a pasta sauce tasty. *shudders* Don't get me wrong, I'm a HUGE ketchup fan, but only when it's on the side with standard junk food - fries, veggie burgers, pizzas, potato chips, Maggi - you know, that kind of stuff. If at all I use it in cooking, it would probably be just a dash in some dish with an East Asian flair, to complement the soy sauce.

Well, I'm not really the type who can follow a recipe word to word. I always tweak and experiment. A recipe book is something I use for inspiration rather than guidance (my favorites are Very Vegetarian and Vegan Planet). And one important thing I have come to learn through my experimenting is that pesto making is an art of bringing out the rich flavors of the herbs, spices, vegetables and nuts which go into it. The more natural and fresh the ingredients are, the better for a delicious, wholesome pasta meal. A completely vegan pasta is truly delightful!

Of course, just like the rest of my creations, my pestos are always different each time. It's something that just happens naturally because what I put into the sauce just depends on my mood and the provisions in my pantry and fridge. And even a slight variation in the ingredients or a quantity of what's used, the whole taste changes.

To top it all, the personality of the final dish is highly influenced by the basic type of pasta used. Semolina + Salt + Water is what goes into all pastas so does the shape really make a difference in the taste? Yes it totally does! With the way Penne holds the pesto, the pasta is more prominent in the mouth than the sauce. But Fusilli, with its ridges, incorporates the flavors within itself so well that there's a perfect blend of the pasta and the pesto. Then there's the Shell which fills itself with a larger quantity of the sauce and each time you put a piece into your mouth the sauce bursts out in a delicious explosion. And finally the Butterfly, the pesto delicately makes its presence felt as your tongue plays with the interesting texture of the pasta.

The best part is that none of this is as complicated as it sounds. In fact I cook pasta on the nights when I want to create a quick and easy meal that's also interesting, delicious and nutritious.

Here's a recipe for a yummy and healthy Vegan pasta I created earlier tonight for dinner. Use it as a take off point and concoct your own sauce with any combination of herbs and vegetables, nuts and spices. And do let me know how it turns out :)

Penne in Mint Cilantro Pesto Sauce.

Cook 1 Cup of dry Penne in salted boiling water according to the instructions on the pack.

To be blended into a paste/sauce without using any extra water (the liquid from the tomatoes will be enough).

1 C spearmint
1 C cilantro
2 Green chillies
Handful of Almonds
1 T nutritional yeast
1 T flax seed
2 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4-5 Ripe Tomatoes
Sea Salt to taste

How to proceed:

Cut 1 large capsicum (green pepper) into cubes. Put in a microwave safe glass dish, cover and cook on high for 3 minutes. Mix in the blended sauce, cover and cook on high for 3 more minutes. Let it sit for a few minutes.

For the microwave haters, this can also be made easily on stovetop. Just stir fry the green pepper in a dash of olive oil very briefly (about a minute), add the pesto sauce and bring it to a boil and immediately switch off the flame.

Mix in the cooked Penne.

Enjoy! :)