Fresh Tomato, Kale, and Herb Pasta Sauce

Among other vegetables, herbs, and flowers, I’m growing Portuguese and curly kale on my patio. I eat kale almost every day; it has been a staple ingredient in my green smoothies, salads, sauces, and soups, etc. Since these kale plants have been doing so well on my patio (in pots), I’ve been able to harvest some almost every day. If you’re interested in kale’s health benefits and more, I would encourage you to read more about it. Here’s a good place to start, and this site includes recipes as well: http://www.discoverkale.co.uk.

That said, I thought this simple recipe was worthy of a post here. It was not only delicious, but it was healthy, organic, fresh from my garden (mostly), and it provided enough leftover for other recipes. I wound up using this sauce recipe for three days, in a few different recipes.

KaleTomatoSauce

So, here is the first recipe for a pasta dinner that I posted on Instagram three days ago, using this sauce.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups finely chopped kale (variety of your choice)
4 stalks of celery, chopped
7-8 vine-ripened tomatoes, blanched, skin removed, and mashed
1 finely chopped cooking onion
4 organic carrots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup drained and rinsed sliced black olives
olive oil
Himalayan pink salt, and pepper to taste

METHOD

Heat skillet over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Add the kale, celery, onion, carrots, garlic and saute until softened. Add the tomatoes, parsley and olives. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

While the sauce was simmering, I cooked a little al dente penne pasta. I saved a little water from that, added it to the drained pasta, and then mixed some of the sauce into it. I garnished it with some fresh parsley.

I refrigerated the remaining sauce, and I used it for other toppings for the next few days; it was great!

Veggie Patties

VeggiePattyOnFlatbread

These veggie patties are full of protein-packed beans and seeds of all sorts. They’re chewy, meaty and flavorful. Since it takes a day or two to prep the dried beans, farro grain, and spelt mixture, you’ll want to plan accordingly.

I’m usually disappointed with veggie burgers at restaurants, but sometimes there isn’t much else on the menu that would satisfy my hunger. The veggie burgers are usually mushy and have very little flavor. I’ve made different veggie patties over the past year, and have come up with some really hearty ones. This one is the best one I’ve come up with so far.

INGREDIENTS

1 c organic spelt
1/2 c organic pearl barley
1 c dried mixed soup beans (organic, from Sprouts Market)
1 c organic farro grain
2 quarts organic vegetable broth
4 cloves garlic, whole and peeled
1 bay leaf
1/2 c organic ground flaxseed
1/2 c organic chia seeds
1/2 c steel-cut oats
1 c rolled oats (or more if the mixture is too sticky)
seasonings of your choice (I used garlic powder with parsley, Himalayan pink salt, and pepper)

DIRECTIONS

Rinse and drain the spelt, barley, mixed soup beans, and the farro grain. Add them to a big soup pot along with 2 quarts of vegetable broth, the whole peeled garlic, and the bay leaf. Bring to a boil, stir, and then lower the heat to simmer. Cover partially with the lid and continue to simmer until the spelt and farro grain is cooked; those two take the longest to cook. They should be chewy, but not tough. I simmered the mixture for about 2 hours, then let it cool before refrigerating overnight. The next day, I put it on low heat and let it simmer for about an hour longer. You may need to add more vegetable broth if it becomes too dry.

At this point, it can be eaten alone or served over some greens. I ate some over greens, let it cool, and put the rest in the refrigerator overnight again. The next day is when I removed the bay leaf and mashed the mixture using a masher. You could put some in a blender, and mash the rest. The mixture should still have a lot of texture. Add the flaxseed meal, chia seeds, steel-cut and rolled oats. Mix well with clean hands. It should be sticky, but not too moist. Taste it and season a little at a time, tasting after each addition. Put in the freezer for about 20 minutes before forming into patties. Heat a skillet over medium heat and coat with a little olive oil spray. Fry the patties for about 5 minutes on each side, enough to get a crispness on the outside.

I fried a few, and then baked the rest in a 375F oven (parchment-lined, then sprayed with olive oil over the paper). After arranging the rest of the patties on the tray, I sprayed the top with a coating of olive oil. I watched them closely (every five minutes, or so) until the top was nicely crisped and brown. I then turned them over until the other side was browned, too.

When they were completely cooled, I packed four in a large freezer baggie (flat) and froze them. This is a large recipe, so freezing was ideal. Since they’re already cooked, they can simply be quickly microwaved or reheated in the oven whenever I want to use them.

Vegetable Soup with Kale and Beans

VegetableSoupWithKaleBeans

Well, I have not posted anything for a LONG time, but I HAVE been in the kitchen making lots of delicious vegan meals. I just haven’t been posting them on here; I do post most of them on my Instagram account (dlfpics).

It’s been over a year since I started this vegan journey. I love it, and I’ve learned so much about plant-based eating, different and creative dishes, nutritional value, etc. Soon, I am going to start videotaping some of the better dishes and post them to my YouTube channel.

Meanwhile, yesterday’s 49th SuperBowl game prompted me to make a big pot of soup, haha. While everyone else was snacking on chicken wings, pizza, chips, dips and other fattening foods (not that I don’t love them as much as the next person!), I decided to make the soup because I have a very busy week ahead of me, and it’s even better after a few days.

So, here it is. I’m writing down the recipe as I can best recall; I never write anything down, and I pretty much always wing it.

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3 tbsp EVOO
2 medium-sized cooking onions, finely chopped
4 stalks celery, finely chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
half a butternut squash, chopped
1 cup pearl barley
About 6 cups of V8 juice
12 cups of veggie broth (I used veggie bouillon and water)
1 can of drained and rinsed black beans
1 can of drained and rinsed white beans
1 small can of tomato paste
4 cups finely chopped kale
1 cup of pre-cooked spelt
Himalayan pink salt to taste
Pepper to taste
1 tbsp granulated garlic (or chopped fresh garlic)
1 tbsp dried basil
1 bay leaf
Finely chopped fresh Italian parsley for garnish

Saute the carrots, onion, celery, and butternut squash in the EVOO over medium high heat for about five minutes, stirring well. Add the barley and cook for a few more minutes before adding the V8 juice and the veggie broth. Bring to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes before adding the finely chopped kale. Add the spelt and the seasonings, and continue to simmer for about an hour or until the vegetables and barley are fully cooked. Add the beans. Stir and serve with the parsley, or ladle the soup over a bed of greens.

I served the soup with a whole-grain tortilla that I crisped up in a dry skillet over high heat for about 30 seconds on either side. Then, I cut it in triangles and served with each bowl of soup.