Vegan Truffle Pasta

Ciao from Italia! I’m really enjoying my time studying abroad in Florence, Italy. Since I began my journey here, I’ve become very inspired by the culture, the scenery, and especially by the food. I’ve subconsciously made it a goal of mine to try and cultivate new vegan recipes using local ingredients from the markets I have visited. Out of the many amazing ingredients I’ve come across during my time here, I have become most intrigued by creating a vegan recipe using truffles. Personally, I think that mushrooms are the perfect meat substitute due to their ability to absorb flavor, so I figured why not create something delicious and nutritious using the most highly valued mushroom in the world; the truffle.

If you are planning on studying abroad in Florence, Italy any time soon, you can purchase all of these ingredients in Italy. The truffle “cream” (doesn’t actually contain any dairy) was from the central market as were the mushrooms, shallots, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic. The parsley and Rice cream were from a health food store in Italy called Coop (it’s amazing). I have tagged the location of the central market in this blog post. Now let’s cook!

Recipe:

Ingredients:
Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

2 medium sized shallots chopped img_2089

2 garlic cloves chopped

1 Tbsp fresh parsley chopped

1 handful of basil chopped

1 1/2 cup mushrooms chopped

1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes

1 container vegan cream sauce (or cashew cream, or any other vegan cream substitute that you like. worst case scenario, you can add almond milk and a little flour to thicken it up)

1 tsp truffle oil OR minced trufflesProcessed with VSCO with c1 preset

1 Tbsp salt

1 Tbsp pepper

1 Tbsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. On medium heat sauté mushrooms and shallots for approximately 2-3 minuets or until soft.img_2114
  2. Add salt, pepper and garlic powder. Once shallots and mushrooms are soft add garlic, and sauté for another minuet.
  3. Add cream sauce of choice, bring mixture to a boil and then reduce mixture to a simmer. img_2087
  4. While sauce is simmering, cook pasta and drain it.
  5. Place cooked pasta back into the pot, transfer sauce into the same pot and reduce heat to low. Stir to combine pasta and sauce.
  6. Add basil, parsley and sun-dried tomatoes to pasta and sauce. Add more salt and pepper to taste if necessary.img_2099
  7. IMPORTANT: literally add 1 small tsp of truffle oil or minced truffles. It is very strong, you only need a little. Stir throughlyimg_2084
  8. Plate, serve and enjoy!Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

 

Christmas Eve Tofu Scramble

Personally, I love breakfast. I think one of the hardest things for me when I became vegan was figuring out what to eat for breakfast. Being that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it’s important to fill your body with goodness from the minute you wake up. 
Tofu is packed with essential amino acids and protein, and is therefore essentially a perfect food to help jump start your busy day. Peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, while broccoli is known to decrease ones risk of diabetes, heart disease and obesity. It has also been known to reduce ones risk of colon cancer. Tumeric, another predominant ingredient in tofu scramble is an excellent anti inflammatory, and can even help boost your immune system! This tofu scramble sounds like a pretty perfect breakfast to me. But don’t take my word for it, let’s have a look at the numbers: 

Nutrition facts for 1 egg

78 calories

5 grams total fat

1.6 grams saturated fat 

187 mg cholesterol

62 mg sodium

0.6 g carbohydrates 

0.6 g sugar

6 g protein 

Not bad right? Except keep in mind, the average person eats approximately 2-3 eggs for breakfast plus white toast plus approximately 5 pieces of bacon. According to CalorieKing, when you combine all of those things you’re consuming upwards around 230 calories and 18 g of fat from the bacon, 120 calories from 2 slices of white bread, and 234 calories and 15 g of fat from the eggs for a whopping total of 584 calories and 33 g of saturated fat. Not to mention all of the hormones and added chemicals used to process the bacon and white bread that will do nothing but make you fat. And that’s just breakfast! Let’s take a look at a healthier option:

Nutrition facts for 1 package of tofu: 

80 calories

4.5 g fat

0.5 g saturated fat 

0 g cholesterol

10 mg sodium

2 g carbohydrates 

0 g sugar

8 g protein 

Well? What do you think? Keep in mind, you aren’t usually consuming an entire package of tofu. One package usually serves 4, however if you’re only putting tofu scramble on the plate one package could be split between 2. Therefore, all of the values above are split in 4 or 2. I split my scramble between two people so we consumed a total of 40 calories, 2.25 g of fat and 4 g of protein. Not to mention we consumed NO cholesterol, NO sugar, less sodium, and each pack of tofu contains approximately 15% calcium and 10% iron. Combined with the broccoli, red bell pepper, onion, and some fruit we are consuming 55 calories from the broccoli and 3.7 g protein 0g fat, 133 calories and 1 g of protein from the red bell pepper, 140 calories and 2 g protein from the onion. The 2 Tbsp of extra virgin olive oil equate to 28 g of total fat, however, only 4 g of saturated fat. Add a clementine with 0 g fat, 38 calories, 6.8 g sugar and .6g protein and were at a whopping total of 406 calories and 4 g saturated fat, a fair amount of protein and no added hormones and unwanted chemicals. There are the facts, now you decide which option is better. 

All nutrition fact values from calorie king.

Every Christmas Eve my family makes a big deal about making breakfast together so that we can spend some quality time together as we wait for Santa to arrive. This year I took initiative and decided to make everyone some veggie tofu scramble Christmas Eve style. It wasn’t until after the meal that I told them it was actually tofu that they were eating, and they couldn’t believe it. (Being vegan, I faked eating a bowl of cereal while the others thought they were eating eggs). Sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. I’ll stop at nothing to try and make my family the healthiest they can be, even if it means being a little sneaky sometimes. 

Recipe: 

Ingredients:

1 package of extra firm tofu

1/2 head of broccoli chopped 

1 red bell pepper diced 

1/2 large onion sliced

2 Tbsp salt

1 Tbsp black pepper

2 1/2 Tbsp Tumeric 

1 tsp paprika 

2 tsp garlic powder

2 Tbsp spy sauce 

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil 

Method

Drain tofu and cut into 6 even cubes. 

Take paper towel and squeeze each cube of tofu until all moisture is removed. (Tofu will no longer be drippy when rid of moisture) this may require several paper towels, but I find that it is the easiest way to rid tofu of moisture. 

Crumble moisture free tofu onto a plate and set aside. 

In a medium sized sautée pan add oil and turn on medium heat. Add onions. Add 1 Tbsp salt, black pepper and paprika. Allow onions to caramelize for approximately 5 minutes. 

And broccoli and bell peppers. Stir occasionally. Cook until soft. 

Add tofu. Stir mixture. Add the rest of the seasonings, but not soy sauce yet! Mix throughly so tumeric can coat all of tofu. Cook for about 3 minuets and add soy sauce. You should taste your scramble at this point and if you feel the need to add anymore salt do so now. Cook for another 2 minuets, or until scramble is warmed throughout. Serve with multigrain toast and your favorite fruit. Enjoy! Happy holidays!  

Pumpkin Hummus

You know when you’re laying in bed and it’s early in the morning and you’re half asleep and half awake, but you’re perfectly comfortable and the coolness of your covers clashes perfectly with the warmth of your body and there is nothing you would rather do than lay in bed all day? That was me last Sunday, but I got up and out of bed anyway because I went apple picking! The crisp cool morning air made it feel like it was finally Fall, and what better way to kick off the season than with a little apple picking? Every time I set foot in an apple orchard, I overdo it and pick way too many apples. This time was no different, but as I was strolling through the trees, I thought of a healthy, Fall friendly snack recipe that I could use my apples for. Pumpkin Hummus! I L-O-V-E fall, and if you love it as much as I do, you’ll love this fun little Fall friendly recipe I have for you.

There is nothing like a snack consisting of fresh hummus and warm crispy pita bread. I could be wrong, but lately hummus seems to be a trending food. More recently, I’ve noticed that a variety of grocery stores carry hummus. And not just any hummus; I’m talking about interesting flavors ranging from everything flavored hummus to coconut curry hummus. Hummus has definitely become a must-have snack food to buy during weekly grocery trips, but there is something about making your own hummus that’s oh-so-satisfying.

Hummus is made from chickpeas. Chickpeas belong to the legume family and are sometimes referred to as the Egyptian pea. In just one cup of chickpeas you get 12grams of healthy fats good for heart health, 121grams of good carbs that provide an ample amount of energy for your body, 35grams of dietary fiber which means you will be visiting the bathroom shortly after you consume these babies, 21 grams of natural sugar that also provide the body with energy, and finally a whopping 35grams of protein, tell me what meat source will give you that much protein with no cholesterol? Not to mention chickpeas also contain vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, a ton of iron, magnesium and calcium. Essentially chickpeas are one of the worlds most perfect foods. Pumpkin is another food that is nutritious and delicious. 1 cup of pumpkin contains 197% of your daily vitamin A requirements as well as vitamin C, calcium, iron, magnesium, vitamin B-6, 8 grams of good carbs and virtually no fat (0.1grams)! Now that we’ve gotten the nutrition facts out of the way, lets cook!

This simple recipe requires a food processor or a Nutribullet/ Nutrininja. I made mine in a food processor so I don’t know what the actual consistency would be like if you used a Nutribullet or Nutrininja, but they pulverize food just as well as a food processor so I’m sure it would work just as well. Prep Time: 0mins Total Time: 5 mins

Ingredients: (Serves 6-8)

2 cans organic chickpeas drained

1 can organic pumpkin puree

1/4 cup safflower seed oil or extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup Organic Blue Agave

1 pinch of salt

1 tsp nutmeg

3 tsp pumpkin spice seasoning

1 tsp cinnamon

1 handfull of salted roasted pumpkin seeds for garnish if desired

Method:

Drain chickpeas and pour them into a food processor. Add oil of choice (either extra virgin olive oil or safflower seed oil). Pulse chickpeas until broken up, but not fully smooth. Add pumpkin puree and process mixture until smooth. (If mixture is still a bit grainy at this point, add more oil until mixture is smooth). Add seasonings one at a time, pulsing the food processor after each addition. Add agave. (If you desire your mixture to be more on the sweet side add more Agave). Blend mixture one more time to make sure everything is mixed together evenly. Pour into serving dish and sprinkle with a little more cinnamon and/ or pumpkin seeds if desired. Serve with apple slices, warm pita chips or graham crackers. Enjoy 🙂