• Creamy Tomato Pasta with Devyn Howard

    The dish that I am making for you guys today is inspired by something that I loved when I studied abroad in Florence, Italy.

    It was a gnocchi rosa.  It was this creamy tomato sauce, so beautiful and full of flavor, but it had cream in it. So, it’s definitely something that I wouldn’t want to eat now. I decided that I needed to recreate this beloved dish of mine, and that’s how this creamy tomato pasta was born. The dish gets its creaminess from soaked cashews.

    Ingredients

    • 1 12-Oz. Can Crushed Tomatoes
    • 2 Red Bell Peppers
    • ½ Red Onion
    • 1 Clove Garlic
    • 5 Tablespoons Italian Seasoning
    • 1 14-Oz. Box of Vegan Pasta
    • 3 Tablespoons EVOO Salt
    • Pepper to Taste
    • Fresh Basil to Garnish
    • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
    • 1 Cup Soaked (overnight) Cashews

     

    Method

    In a pan, heat up the olive oil, the sauté the red bell peppers, onion, and garlic until the onion is translucent and the peppers and garlic are tender. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and their juices, mix everything together and then let simmer. Start a pot of water boiling for the pasta. In a blender, blend together the soaked cashews and ¾ cup of water until smooth and creamy. Add the pasta to the boiling water. Season the tomato and pepper mixture with salt, pepper, and the Italian seasoning. Then, add the blended cashew mixture to the tomato and pepper sauce, and mix together well until it’s creamy. Using a strainer, drain the pasta. Then add it to the sauce mixture. Toss well and serve.

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    By Devyn Howard

    My name is Devyn Howard, and I am a vegan food blogger from San Diego, CA. At 11-years-old, I realized that it didn’t morally make sense for me to continue eating meat as I made the connection that the animals on my plate were the same animals I adored when they were alive. From that point on, I dedicated much of my life to promoting vegetarianism, veganism, and cruelty-free living. I’m eager to show the world that veganism can be incredibly easy, fulfilling, and delicious, even while traveling the world. I share restaurant recommendations from around the globe, proving that a cruelty-free lifestyle need not inhibit one’s experience in a new culture. Traveling from Asia, to Australia, through Europe, and the U.S. is always an exciting foodie adventure…even as a vegan! I’m currently based in Los Angeles, CA, and have plans to take over the world one plant-based plate at a time. Join me on my adventure! Connect with Devyn on Instagram. 

  • Homemade Shakshuka [VEGAN] [EGG-FREE] [SOY-FREE]

    When I first heard about shakshukas, I so intrigued by the dish. It’s stewed tomatoes and spices topped with baked eggs, and is commonly eaten for breakfast in Israel, Northern Africa, and the Middle East. I’m a huge fan of tomato-based dishes and always wanted to try a vegan version of it. No vegan restaurant ever served it, though, so I resorted to daydreaming about spoonfuls of tomatoey shakshuka.

    Because I want this blog to highlight how easy it is to eat culturally significant foods from around the world without straying from a plant-based diet, I figured it was time I stop waiting for someone else to make me a shakshuka, and just make one on my own. I researched authentic recipes and then came up with one on my own that catered to my tastes and needs. I’m excited to show people how easy it is to travel the world, tasting authentic cuisine, all while maintaining a vegan diet.

     

    Shakshukas are meant to be highly aromatic dishes with a spicy kick. I’m not in love with spicy foods (I can handle moderate spiciness but anything more than that makes my food unenjoyable) so I toyed around with some traditional recipes to suit my more mild taste. That being said, if you’re a spice fiend then feel free to add in one or two extra peppers or a bit more cayenne pepper to bring the kick up a notch. Additionally, traditional shakshuka recipes call for a sprinkling of fresh parsley on top (which I did) but I actually feel like fresh torn basil would taste better. If you’re not a fan of fresh parsley, feel free to sub for basil or simply omit the herbs altogether. 

    Shakshuka

    -1 28 oz can chopped tomatoes, with juices

    -1 yellow onion, halved and sliced thinly

    -2 jalapeno peppers, cored, deseeded, de-stemmed and chopped

    -1 red bell pepper, chopped

    -4 garlic cloves, sliced thin

    -7 or 8 slices of soft tofu about 3/4 of an inch thick

    -2 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    -1 tbs paprika

    -1 tbs cumin

    -1/8 tbs cayenne pepper

    -salt and pepper to taste

    -fresh parsley or fresh basil for garnish (optional)

    -sliced bread or pita for dipping

    In a cast iron skillet, combine the olive oil, thinly sliced onions, and red bell pepper. Season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium heat for about 7 minutes, or until the onion is translucent and the red bell pepper is tender. Next, add chopped jalapenos and garlic. Cook for another 3-5 minutes, or until the garlic is tender and the jalapenos are fragrant. Slowly pour in the can of chopped tomatoes, including the juices. Then, mix in the cayenne pepper, cumin, and paprika. Let simmer for about 15 minutes. When the mixture has thickened into a saucy consistency, place the tofu on top of the mixture. Spoon some of the sauce on top of the tofu pieces and let cook for 7-10 more minutes. Once the tofu is soft and has absorbed a bit of the shakshuka sauce, remove from heat. Sprinkle fresh parsley or basil on top of the shakshuka. Serve with fresh bread or pita bread. Enjoy!

    By Devyn Howard

    Devyn Howard, Vegan Food Blogger

  • Sweet Potato Pizza with Creamy Roasted Garlic Cashew Sauce

    I’m a sucker for a good pizza but the ones I’ve made myself never turn out that great. When the whole “Build Your Own Pizza” trend starting hitting California, I was stoked! I thought of all the wonderful ways I could combine veggies and sauces to create something amazing. But, in my excitement at all the wonderful vegan toppings available to me, I always ended up with a hodgepodge of random veggies that didn’t really work that well together.

    A few of my vegan friends in Sydney made me aware of a pre-made vegan pizza crust available at Cole’s. As much as I prefer a homemade crust, the pre-made ones make for an easy, tasty dinner. I went ahead and bought a pack, and decided to try really hard to make a pizza that actually worked and wasn’t just a mess of vegetables and sauce. A combination of a garlic cashew cream sauce, Farmer’s Market sweet potatoes, tomatoes, arugula, and pesto seemed like it would make a nice, balanced pie.

    My friend Averi and I shared this pizza and both agreed that it was absolutely delicious. As much as I love cooking and sharing my kitchen creations, I am not very confident in the things I make. But this pizza was freaking amazing,  I honestly feel like it belongs in a restaurant. Don’t mean to toot my own horn but, #whatever, it’s true. 😉

    Sweet Potato Pizza with Creamy Garlic Cashew Sauce

    -1 pre-made pizza crust (or homemade, if you prefer)

    -1 sweet potato

    -1 ripe tomato

    -1/2 cup arugula

    for the Cashew Sauce

    -1 cup raw unsalted cashews, soaked for at least four hours

    -half a bulb of garlic (about 4 cloves)

    -1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

    -2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

    -1/4 cup water

    -drizzle of olive oil (for the garlic)

    -salt and pepper to taste

    for the Pesto

    -three cups loosely packed basil leaves

    -1 clove garlic, chopped

    -2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more if necessary

    -1 tablespoon nutritional yeast

    -salt and pepper to taste

    Preheat your oven to 230 degrees Celsius. Poke holes in your sweet potato using a fork. Wrap in aluminum foil and place in oven. Cut the ends off of your 1/2 garlic bulb, so the cloves are exposed. Drizzle with olive oil, wrap in aluminum foil, and place in the oven. Let the garlic and sweet potato bake for about 30-35 minutes, or until the potato is tender and the garlic cloves have become creamy.

    Remove the potato and garlic from the oven and unwrap the foil. Let the potato cool while you prepare the garlic cream sauce. It’s ok if the sweet potato isn’t entirely cooked through, as it will bake for about 7 more minutes while you’re baking the pizza. Drain the cashews from the water they have been soaking in, and place in a blender along with the 1/4 cup water, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Next, grab your roasted garlic and scoop out the creamy cloves. Place the equivalent of 3-4 cloves into the blender. Blend until the sauce has become thick and creamy, adding more water if necessary.

    Once your sweet potato has cooled enough to handle, cut it into thin slices. You’ll only use about half of the potato, so wrap up the remaining bit and enjoy in a tofu scramble for breakfast the next morning (like I did!). Set aside the sweet potato slices. Next, you’ll do the same thing to the tomato. Cut into thin slices and set aside.

    Remove the pizza crust from the packaging and place on baking paper on a baking sheet. Using a spoon, slather the garlic cashew cream sauce all over the dough, making sure it’s even everywhere. Feel free to use as much sauce as you like (I recommend using quite a bit!). Next, place the sweet potato and tomato slices evenly on top of the cream sauce. Sprinkle with a bit of salt, and place in the oven for about 7 minutes (or more if you’re using fresh pizza dough).

    While your pizza is in the oven, prepare the pesto by placing all of the ingredients in the blender. Blend until it has become creamy and smooth. Place in a container with a pourable spout. Once your pizza is done, drizzle the pesto all over it (you will likely have some left over). Sprinkle the arugula all over. Cut into slices and enjoy 🙂

    By Devyn Howard

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