This week, we received some green garlic from our CSA. I had never used this before–it consists of very young, green garlic bulbs and their scapes.
I have been adding it to recipes such as hummus and black bean salad for a lovely flavor. I also came up with the recipe for this lovely pesto, which I ended up serving on pizza.
After I made the pesto, my 21 month old daughter was licking it from the spatula and eagerly signing “more”, which she also did as she ate the pizza. As she is certainly the toughest food critic in the house, I considered this a high compliment. We have leftover pesto that I plan to serve with pasta later this week.
Green Garlic Pesto:
- 3 cups of fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup pine nuts (other nuts would work as well)
- 4 green garlics–heads and scapes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Blend all ingredients in a food processor until you’ve reached your desired consistency. Taste and adjust any ingredient proportions to fit your tastes.
To make the pesto pizza, we bought organic, refrigerated pizza dough from our local grocery store. We followed the instructions for preparing it, and stretched it to fit a cookie sheet (we don’t have a pizza pan or a large oven). We then spread the dough with pesto, and topped it with mushrooms, Field Roast Apple Sage sausage, and a new mozzarella-style vegan cheese I found at Whole Foods. It’s my new favorite vegan cheese, so I’d encourage you to give it a try!
It’s not every day you find a recipe that feels sophisticated and is also loved by a toddler. If you have a recipe like that, I’d love to know!
I think one of the most intimidating things eating vegan is the idea that you’ll now need a recipe for everything. We’re used to being able to make foods without recipes–chicken and a baked potato, a cheese quesadilla, a piece of salmon with asparagus. As tempting as it sounds to keep eating that way, vegan cooking can actually be easier than you’d think.
I love looking at cooking blogs and cookbooks, but I’d also recommend thinking about what you already know how to cook and how you can “veganize” that. Start with a food you know you like that’s easy to make plant-based. Pasta, burritos, and stir fries are all good choices. Now, substitute vegan ingredients. Try nutritional yeast for cheese, and beans, tofu, or a meat substitute for protein. Before you know it, you’ve taught yourself to cook vegan, without following a complicated recipe.
A common meal for us to have in our house is pasta. We saute some crimini mushrooms in olive oil, then add a meat substitute (in this picture it’s Beyond Meat’s Beefy Crumble–which just happens to be gluten and soy free). We mix this with a jar of pasta sauce and perhaps some Kalamata olives. To add a little extra nutrition, we chop kale and add it to the last few minutes of the pasta’s cooking time. It can be sprinkled with nutritional yeast and served with a salad for a satisfying meal.
This can have endless variations–zucchini added to the sauce in the summer time, a homemade pasta sauce when you have some more time, fresh herbs from your garden.
Try it for yourself, and you’ll soon have at least one meal a week that’s both easy and vegan.
Eating vegan doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive. In fact, with a toddler in the house, I prefer it to be neither.
Last week, I made this delicious cheese from the blog Veggie on a Penny. I love the fact that it’s made up of potatoes and carrots, rather than cashews and/or packaged “cheese” like many vegan cheese sauces are. Not only does this make it healthy, it also makes it cheap! The recipe was easy to whip up, made a huge quantity, and my 18 month old daughter loved it mixed with macaroni and peas. I put some freshly ground black pepper on top of my bowl, just to feel a little more adult.
I’m also looking forward to trying it in quesadillas and on grilled cheese.
And if you have favorite easy, inexpensive vegan recipes or meal ideas that other families might want to know about, let me know!