Tag Archives: basil

Pappa al Pomodoro (Tomato and Bread Soup)

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This Tuscan soup is more like a hearty stew than a soup, and it may not look great but it’s so incredibly flavorful and delicious. It only requires a few ingredients and can be made very quickly. In Italy, it’s made year-round with a few modifications; in the summer months when plum tomatoes are aplenty and ripe, they make it with fresh tomatoes. When the tomatoes are not in season, they make it with canned plum tomatoes. If you make it with the canned tomatoes, make sure to buy Italian-made because they will have nothing added (no salt, no preservatives—just tomatoes). And I have never tasted better tomatoes than fresh Italian tomatoes. They are exquisite. I watched about five Italian YouTube videos to see how differently each chef makes this dish, and I made mine based on theirs. There are a few ingredients that you don’t change: lots and lots of fresh basil, vegetable broth, stale crusty bread (I used a white Artisan-style bread), and of course the tomatoes.

INGREDIENTS

1 28-oz can Italian-made (I used Cento) crushed tomatoes (you could use whole)
1 beefsteak tomato (skinned), chopped (I added this because I wanted more chunky tomato)
1 32-oz carton organic vegetable broth (or, you could make your own)
About a half a loaf of stale Artisan-style hard bread, cut into ~2-inch chunks
About 2 cups of fresh basil — I used fresh from my garden
2 stalks of celery, finely chopped
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped (you could use leek bulb, instead)
3 carrots, chopped finely
4 garlic cloves, whole but smashed (you’ll remove them once the soup is cooked)
EVOO (high quality)
Salt and pepper, to taste

METHOD

Generously swirl olive oil into soup pot and heat on medium. Add the garlic and stir around for a few minutes in the olive oil. Next, add the carrot, celery, and onion. Stir to mix and let cook for a few minutes until the onion is translucent, but not brown. Add the canned (and/or fresh chopped) tomatoes, stir well to mix. Tear about a third of the basil into the mixture (never cut or use scissors—always tear it). Mix and let this mixture simmer for about 5 minutes. Add about half of the carton of vegetable broth, stir. Add the bread, mix well and simmer on low. Add some more torn basil leaves, and the rest of the vegetable broth. Add salt and pepper according to your taste. Simmer and let the bread become really soft and mushy. Remove the garlic cloves. Serve in individual soup bowls, garnish with fresh basil, and (optional) drizzle a little olive oil over top.

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Smoked Alaskan Sockeye Salmon Fettuccine “Alfredo”

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This is a slight departure from my typical vegan recipes, but it was a special occasion in that my sister had sent me some smoked salmon from Canada for my birthday. I am, as I have mentioned on here before, 99 percent vegan/1 percent salmon. 😉 I couldn’t wait to have some, so I decided to concoct a vegan version of Fettuccine Alfredo, and then add the smoked salmon to the sauce. The classic Fettuccine Alfredo would include dairy (cheese, cream, butter), but I replaced those ingredients with unsweetened, organic soy milk, Knorr Leek Recipe Soup Mix (1.8 oz Packet), and organic ground flaxseed. It was a delectable dairy-free, low-fat dish packed full of protein and other nutrients. I’ll definitely make it again.

INGREDIENTS

Smoked salmon (about 8 oz)
16 oz fettuccine pasta
1.8 oz pkg Knorr Leek Recipe Soup mix
Organic ground flaxseed (about 2 tbsp…depending on thickness desired)
Unsweetened organic soy milk (I used 1 cup less than in the soup mix recipe)
1 sweet onion, finely chopped
3 cloves finely chopped garlic
2 tbsp EVOO
Sea salt, and pepper to taste (best to add salt at the end because the Knorr mix and the smoked salmon are both salty)
Garnish of basil and/or rosemary

METHOD

Bring a large pot of salted water over high heat to a boil. Add the 16 oz of fettuccine, and cook according to package directions. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large, non-stick pan. Add the chopped onion and garlic, and saute over medium heat for about 3 minutes until they’re golden brown. Turn heat down to low, and then stir in the Knorr Leek Recipe Soup mix. Gradually add the soy milk, stirring constantly, and turn heat up to medium-high while stirring. The mixture will thicken, but not enough to make an Alfredo sauce. Add the desired amount of ground flaxseed, continue stirring. Once the mixture is of the right consistency, turn the heat off. Mix in the smoked salmon (broken into small pieces). Taste for seasonings, and adjust. Drain the cooked fettuccine, and add to the sauce; mix well. Garnish with rosemary and basil.

Curry Vegetable Soup

I know it seems as though I have been making a lot of tomato-based vegetable soups lately. Well, I have. I try varying the ingredients each time, though, and in this recipe I added both curry and turmeric. I started out with less, and at the end I added even more. These two spices give the soup a great flavor.

INGREDIENTS:

Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large yellow cooking onion, chopped
6 stalks celery with leaves, diced
2 large carrots. diced
1 tomato, chopped
6 cloves fresh garlic
1/2 c dried peas, washed and rinsed
1 c dried lentils, washed and rinsed
4 large green zucchinis, julienned
a large handful of fresh arugula, whole
a handful of fresh basil and parsley, finely chopped
2 tbsp curry
1 tbsp turmeric
2 32-oz cartons of organic vegetable broth
2 1/2 c Pace Picante mild salsa
1/4 c Stelline pasta
1/4 c whole-grain elbow pasta
2 c water (filtered)

METHOD:

Heat the olive oil on medium high heat in a soup pot. Add the onion, celery, carrot, zucchini, peas and lentils and stir for about 5 or 10 minutes. Turn the heat down to medium and add the garlic, tomato, basil and parsley mixture, and the curry and turmeric. Stir well and often for the next 5 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and the salsa. Stir and bring to a boil, add the pastas and reduce heat. Gently boil for about 15 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 2 cups water, stirring every five minutes or so while simmering for another 20-30 minutes. Add the arugula about five minutes before serving.

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Rotini Pasta with Tomato, Basil and Garlic Sauce

RotiniWithTomatoBasilSauce

This takes no time at all to make. You could use this tomato sauce over rotini or fusilli pasta (preferred because the sauce coats every nook and cranny in these types of spiral pastas), or for a lower carb version, it could be served over spiraled zucchini. I have the Veggetti, and it’s awesome.

Just coat a heavy skillet with about 2-3 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add about 3 cups of fresh chopped, peeled, deseeded organic tomatoes; one grated organic carrot; about a tbsp of dried sweet basil; and about 3 or 4 minced garlic cloves. Stir and let simmer for about 10 minutes. Add one 24-ounce jar of Bionaturae unsalted organic strained tomatoes, about 1/2 tbsp roasted garlic and sea salt (www.thegarlicbox.com), and fresh-grind coarse pepper (www.gallowaysfoods.com) to taste. Let the sauce simmer on low while you cook the rotini al dente. I used one box of Barilla’s Veggie rotini. When the pasta is done, drain and return to pot. Stir some of the sauce into the pasta to moisten it. Serve the pasta on individual plates with about a half cup of sauce on top. Garnish with some fresh basil.

Delicious and easy. Filling, too.

Organic Black Bean and Corn Salad with Vegetables

LentilsBeanCornSalad

This is a filling and nutritious salad that could be used as a main dish. It’s complete with protein from the black beans, complex carbs from the veggies, and healthy fats from the olive oil in the dressing, and the avocado. I served it on a platter with some lentils on the side, and I dished the salad over some lentils on my plate. It’s refreshing, with lots of tang and texture.

INGREDIENTS:

1 can organic black beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup organic petite sweet corn drained and rinsed (from frozen), or use fresh when it’s in season
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 Haas Avocado, diced
1/2 cup diced red onion
1/4 cup of mixed fresh cilantro, basil, and Italian parsley, chopped finely
Few extra basil leaves
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp Galloway’s Lemon pepper

METHOD:

Mix the lime juice, olive oil, cumin, sea salt and pepper in a small mason jar. Cover tightly with the lid and shake well. Set aside.

Mix the black beans, corn, bell pepper, red onion, and the finely chopped herbs. Drizzle with a little of the dressing and mix all together. Last, gently mix in the avocado. Add a few basil leaves to the mixture. Cover and refrigerate for about 20 minutes before serving.

Quinoa Salad with Roasted Peppers and Lime Basil Dressing

QuinoaSaladWithPeppers1 c quinoa cooked with 2 c water
1/4 each chopped finely, red onion and white sweet onion
1 jar of roasted red and yellow bell peppers, chopped
a handful of a mix of fresh basil and mint
6 oz can of sliced black olives, drained and rinsed
1 16-oz can white kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 tbsp fresh-squeezed key lime juice
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Fresh extra finely chopped mix of basil and/or mint
Himalayan pink salt, and pepper, to taste

Cook the quinoa according to package directions, and set aside to cool when it’s done.

Meanwhile, mix the lime, olive oil and fresh mix of finely chopped basil and/or mint (depending on what you like). Add salt and pepper. Set aside.

When the quinoa is cooled, mix the onions, roasted (and patted dry) bell peppers, basil, mint, olives, and kidney beans altogether. Drizzle the dressing over the mixture, and stir. Season with more salt and pepper, if needed.

Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes to let the flavors meld together.

(You can use any bean of your choice; I only had white kidney beans on hand, but black beans, or garbanzo beans would be fine, too. I was trying to incorporate as much protein into this vegan dish as possible. You could also experiment with adding pine nuts or sunflower seeds.)

Basil, Italian Parsley, Cilantro and Mint Pesto with Pasta

Basil, Italian Parsley, Cilantro and Mint Pesto with Pasta

I was going to make a big batch of marinara sauce yesterday with a bunch of my patio garden tomatoes, but the squirrels beat me to them. They’re crazy over tomatoes, and they’re crafty as hell about getting them, despite my efforts to strategically place decoys (i.e., a bowl, now empty, of sunflower seeds)! I’ll have to work out a Plan B for the rest of the tomato plants.

Anyway, thankfully squirrels aren’t keen on basil, parsley, mint and cilantro; and, I love pesto. So, pesto it was. Instead of using just basil, I mixed it up with all these herbs from my garden. Since it’s vegan and without parmesan, it needed something more to give it a big flavor burst. A lot of vegan pesto recipes include nutritional yeast, but I didn’t have that. Maybe next time I’ll add it, and use just one or two herbs. But this recipe was really delicious, and I’ll definitely make it again.

INGREDIENTS:

2 c fresh basil
1 c fresh Italian parsley
1/2 c each fresh cilantro and mint
1/2 c pine nuts
3 cloves garlic
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil
juice of one lemon
Himalayan pink salt, to taste

METHOD:

Combine the fresh herbs, nuts, garlic, and lemon juice in a food processor or Vitamix and process the mixture until it turns into a coarse meal. (If using a Vitamix, as I did, you’ll have to add some of the olive oil at the beginning, too. Otherwise, it’s too dry.)

Slowly add the remaining olive oil in a steady drizzle, processing until it becomes a smooth, light paste. Season with Himalayan pink salt, to taste.

Mix desired amount into your whole-wheat cooked and drained spaghetti or linguini. Add a little more pesto on top.