Carrot top pesto

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I bought a bunch of fresh carrots on Saturday from one of our local farmers’ markets and was inspired to make carrot top pesto, which is something I read in one of the Zero Waste communities to which I belong. In the past, I’ve always just composted the carrot tops; this recipe is an excellent way to combat food waste.

Ingredients

  • Carrot tops (the green leafy parts) of a bunch of carrots, chopped.
  • 2 cloves garlic, or to taste
  • juice of half a lemon
  • Olive oil. I didn’t measure closely, but I think I used about 3 tablespoons
  • A handful of cashews (walnuts might work better, but I didn’t have any on hand)
  • Salt, to taste.

Method

  • You can blanche the carrot tops if you wish, but I kept them raw. Make sure they are well rinsed.
  • Place all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. I used my Vitamix.
  • Blend until everything is smooth. You decide what texture you lie; if you want a smooth pesto, blend for longer; if a chunkier texture, just pulse. It’s really hard to pulse with a Vitamix so mine comes out smooth.

Lasagne roll ups

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I decided to forgo the usual “ricotta and tomato sauce” approach to lasagne in the recipe below. Roll ups are convenient, as I find it easier to control portion sizes.

Ingredients

For the filling

1 finely diced onion

3-4 diced garlic cloves

Cooked sweet potato, mashed

1 block extra firm tofu, crumbled

Finely chopped greens. I used collard greens, but you could easily use spinach, swiss chard, or kale.

Crushed tomatoes

Red wine (optional)

Dried basil and oregano

Topping

Tomato sauce

Shredded vegan cheese. I used Gusta, but any brand you like that can be shredded will do

Instructions

  1. Saute the onions until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  2. Add the crumbled tofu and saute, making sure to distribute the onions and garlic thoroughly.
  3. Add the sweet potato and greens.
  4. Add the crushed tomatoes. The filling needs to be thick, so add only enough tomatoes to achieve this consistency.
  5. Add herbs and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Add red wine, if desired. I used a lovely local rose, which gives the filling a subtle flavour.
  7. Simmer for about minutes, stirring frequently.

To assemble

  1. Boil the desired number of lasagne noodles until al dente. I used six.
  2. Lay the cooked noodles flat on a towel or cookie sheet.
  3. Place the filling along the entire length of each noodle. Be generous with the filling.
  4. Roll each lasagne noodle.
  5. Place the filled noodles in a baking dish. Make sure the noodles are tightly packed so that they don’t lose their shape.
  6. Cover the roll ups with tomato sauce and grated cheese
  7. Cover with foil and bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow split pea soup

Ingredients

  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1-2 carrots, diced
  • 1 sweet potato, diced. I used a purple sweet potato this time; the flesh is white.
  • 1/2 cup dried yellow split peas
  • Enough vegetable broth to cover
  • Dried sage
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Saute the diced onion and carrots until softened.
  2. Add the peas, sweet potato, and sage
  3. Cover with vegetable broth. Don’t add too much broth, or the soup will be too thin. You can always add more broth if the soup becomes too thick.
  4. Bring to the boil, cover, and simmer for about 2 hours.

Root vegetable soup

36189115_1999281686748843_5251876771074146304_nThis soup may not look pretty, but it certainly tastes good. I needed to use up some root vegetables that were starting to get soft, as well as some wilting kale.

Ingredients

  • 1 diced onion
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 3-4 diced carrots
  • 1 diced white turnip
  • Chopped kale
  • Red kidney beans
  • A handful of dry rice
  • Vegetable stock
  • Thyme & sage
  1. Saute the onions, carrots, and turnip. Once browned, add the diced garlic
  2. Use enough stock to just cover the vegetables. If the soup becomes too thick, you can always add more stock.
  3. Add chopped kale, red beans, and dry rice
  4. Season to taste, and simmer until the vegetables and rice are cooked.

 

Vegan shepherd’s pie – of a sort

My contribution to my choir’s annual potluck supper this year consisted of a vegan shepherd’s pie. I use the term shepherd’s pie loosely, as the dish I prepared takes a view liberties with the classic definition.

The Filling

  • Gardein Beefless Ground
  • Diced onions
  • Diced garlic
  • Diced zucchini
  • Diced carrots
  • Peas
  • Salsa (I use the mild variety, but you can get as spicy as you like)
  • Tomato Paste
  • Dried oregano

I sauteed the onions, then added the zucchini and garlic and cooked until browned. I added the rest of the ingredients and simmered for about 45 minutes. I used the tomato paste to absorb any liquid, as the filling should not be runny.

Topping

  • Potatoes
  • Vegan margarine (I used Becel Vegan)
  • Soy cheese
  • Shredded vegan cheddar (I used Earth Island; known as Follow Your Heart in the U.S.)

Mash the potatoes with the ingredients above. Salt to taste.

Place the filling in a casserole and top with the potatoes. Bake until the top is browned.

 

 

Lentil and oat soup

This soup features what is perhaps an odd combination of lentils and oats. I had planned to make a simple lentil soup, but I came across a small bag of oat groats that I had received as a sample, and decided to toss them in the soup. I had no idea what to expect, but this sums up my approach to cooking: Experiment, enjoy, and learn from the results. The picture is not good, as it was taken while the soup was cooking. I didn’t take one of the finished product, but it thickened nicely. Measurements, as always, are approximate, since I never actually measure anything when I cook.

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Ingredients

2 cups dried green lentils

Enough vegetable stock to cover the lentils. I make my own stock, but use what you have.

Chopped broccoli

Diced carrots

I cup oat groats

Crushed tomatoes. I used half a 280z tin.

Thyme and sage

Salt to taste (and pepper, if you like it)

Ras el hanout spice mix. If you don’t have this, you can add some cumin, ginger, and cayenne).

Preparation

Bring to a boil, the simmer until the lentils and oat groats are tender. The soup will thicken, so add some water, if needed.

 

 

Penne with cabbage and collard greens

This is a rather weird combination of ingredients, perhaps, but it works. Like most of my recipes, it’s based upon what I need to clear out of my fridge. In this case, I had some collard greens that were starting to wilt. I always have cabbage in my fridge, as it’s one of my favourite vegetables. I needed to use up some vegan sour cream, as well.

penne

Ingredients

  • Thinly-sliced green cabbage
  • Diced collard greens
  • Diced shallots
  • Diced garlic
  • Sliced shitake mushrooms
  • Sweet corn (I used frozen)
  • Vegan sour cream (I used Tofutti)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Penne
  1. Steam the cabbage, collard greens, and corn  (if using frozen), until tender.
  2. While the penne are cooking, saute the shallots until transparent, then add the mushrooms and garlic.
  3. Add the steamed vegetables to the shallots and mushrooms. Season to taste.
  4. Add sour cream to the vegetable mixture until heated. If necessary, add a little soy milk to thin.
  5. Toss the sour cream sauce with the penne.

I don’t like my food spicy, but if you do, some chili or hot peppers would work well.