Try This— Penne With Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese

This Fall inspired variation on the classic Cacio e Pepe is the ultimate comfort food.

Maybe I’m unlucky in life, but the entire time I was in Rome this summer, I didn’t have one single incredible food moment. The stars aligned and I was truly blessed enough to travel around Europe. We spent a full week in the Eternal City, and I could barely contain my excitement about sampling the food. In fairness, I had heard so much about how great the food in Rome was that I probably built it up in my head until my expectations could never be satisfied. After crawling around Rome from Monti to Trastevere looking for delicious food, I finally just gave up. Our last night in Rome, we stayed in and I made this Cacio e Pepe dish in the kitchen of our vacation rental.

Since being back, I’ve been so over Italian food. I don’t know if it has anything to do with my experience in Rome, but I just haven’t really had that Italian food craving that has been an ever present part of my life. Anyway, this weekend I suddenly had that old Italian food itch that I’ve been missing so much, and I decided to make this Fall inspired cacio e pepe I discovered on Food Network. The subtle sweetness of butternut squash paired with the tartness of goat cheese is a game changer. You must try this!!!

Penne With Butternut Squash and Goat Cheese

Ingredients

  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 (2-pound) butternut or kabocha squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1 onion, diced into 1/2-inch pieces
  • Olive oil, for drizzling
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound penne pasta
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, toasted
  • 1 packed cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan

Directions

  1. Put an oven rack in the upper third of the oven. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
  2. Spray a baking sheet, liberally, with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.
  3. Mix the squash and onion together and arrange in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Bake for to 40 to 45 minutes until the vegetables are golden and cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.
  4. While the squash mixture is cooling, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain and reserve about 2 cups of the pasta water. Put the pasta, goat cheese and 1 cup of pasta water in a large serving bowl. Toss until the cheese has melted and forms a creamy sauce. Add the squash and onion mixture, the walnuts and the basil. Toss well and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Garnish with Parmesan and serve.

Try This— The Easiest Homemade Vegetarian Ramen Recipe

I pretty much lived on ramen when I was in college. Back then my four basic food groups were salt, junk, cheap, and easy. Such is the gut fortitude of a nineteen year old. Times have certainly changed, and though my taste and my junk food cravings haven’t, at least now I’m old enough to try and make healthier choices. I want to keep my ramen classy, y’all. No more undergrad ramen for me! I mix up my own seasoning and keep it on the shelf, ready for those nights when I’m feeling just as sleepy as I did when I was in college. You can’t get much easier than a basic ramen bowl, and with some simple add-ins, you’ll be well on your way to total ramen sophistication. You must try this!!!

Homemade Ramen Seasoning

ingredients

  • 2 tbsp poultry seasoning
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 2 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 vegetable bullion cubes
  • 1 tbsp black pepper

directions

  • crush bullion cubes into a powder
  • mix all ingredients, including bullion, together
  • store in an airtight container

Basic Ramen bowl

Ingredients

  • 2 oz vermicelli rice noodles (If you use this kind that’s about one quarter of the box)
  • 1 c of boiling water
  • 1 tbsp homemade ramen seasoning (you might want to start with less and add more to taste)

Directions

  • place rice noodles in a small bowl
  • sprinkle with homemade ramen seasoning
  • add boiling water and allow the rice noodles to sit for 3-5 minutes stirring occasionally to separate the noodles
  • Enjoy!

optional add-ins

  • chili oil or (homemade) sriracha, to taste
  • a splash of lemon or lime juice
  • a boiled egg or two
  • lightly fried tofu
  • kimchi
  • quick cooking vegetables: spinach, thinly slice cabbage, romaine lettuce, mushrooms, bean sprouts, or green onions are all good choices
  • frozen vegetables: corn and peas are my favorite! Just be sure to thaw them a bit in warm water before adding them to your ramen bowl

This recipe makes the perfect mason jar lunch. just like these healthy mason jar snack ideas, mason jar ramen is ready in minutes. The dry ingredients have a long shelf life, so you can assemble a few dry noodles/seasoning mason jars well ahead of time. When you’re ready to eat them, just lift one from the pantry and add boiling water. Lunch in 3-5 minutes with no effort! Think of it as a savory alternative to your favorite mason jar oatmeal recipe.

Recipe adapted from: Connoisseurusveg and Minimalist Baker

Try This—5 Vegetarian Recipes That Almost Got Away

I share a lot of recipes with you guys. I know you haven’t tried them all. Don’t be ashamed. I’m not mad. It’s totally ok. We’re still friends and all that and I’m totally here for you if you need a hug. But you do know if I share a recipe twice, I mean business. These are the recipes that may have gotten away from you, but they are so worth it that I had to share them again. Like I always say, you must try this!!!

Halloumi Burgers With Sticky Sriracha Glaze

Tbh, this sriracha glaze is everything. You’ll dream about this sandwich. Promise.

Cheesy Savory Oatmeal

There’s almost nothing as hearty as oatmeal. This stick to your ribs recipe is definitely a keeper.

Pan-Fried Gnocchi

The perfect weeknight dinner. Quick and amazingly tasty, This is sure to become one of your go to meals.

Savory Yogurt Bowls

Who says that yogurt has to be sweet? Not I. These savory yogurt bowls will make you a believer.

Loaded Sweet Potato With Lime Cream

This is probably my favorite way to serve sweet potatoes. I usually fry up some tofu, load up a sweet potato, toss a side salad and pig out like a queen.

Try This— Crispy Cauliflower Burger With Spicy Hummus Mayo

I want to make this clear: I am not one of those militant vegetarians. You know the ones I’m talking about. Your one vegetarian friend that winces every time you order a steak. The one that begins every sentence with some kind of snide comment about what you’re having for lunch. That one friend that sucks the enjoyment smooth out of any meal, because, you know, they’re so enlightened. I repeat: I am not one of those vegetarians. I share vegetarian recipes, but I completely understand that a lot of people eat meat, and I’m totally fine with that. I also know that some people really need meat… the iron, the protein, whatever. I’m totally cool with that too. This Crispy Cauliflower Burger recipe that I’m about to share with you, though labeled vegetarian, is completely Earth shattering-ly amazing whatever your dietary preference. So you have to feel me when I say this. Do whatever you have to do to make this here burger. Add bacon. Drink a pint of bone broth. Whatever. No excuses. You must try this!

Crispy Cauliflower Burger

Ingredients

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut as above
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • ½ cup flour
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 2 slices provolone cheese
  • 2 potato-bread buns, toasted
  • Spicy Hummus-Mayo (recipe below)
  • Leaf lettuce
  • Sliced roasted red peppers (from jar)

Directions

***How to cut cauliflower steaks

  1. choose the largest cauliflower you can find; they’re much easier to cut into steaks.
  2. Remove the outer leaves and trim the stem end.
  3. Hold cauliflower with its base on a cutting board.
  4. With a sharp knife, make one cut through the center of the cauliflower to divide it in half.
  5. Now cut each half into two 3/4-inch thick slices. Save the ends to eat as a snack or serve with salad

  • Blanch the cauliflower steaks by gently placing them into simmering water for about 2-3 minutes, just until crisp-tender; remove and shock in ice-water to cool; drain and pat the “steaks” dry with paper towel, carefully.
  • Combine the panko breadcrumbs with the grated parmesan cheese in a large bowl, along with a pinch of salt and some black pepper, and set aside for a moment.
  • Bread the cauliflower “steaks” by dipping them in the flour, then into the beaten eggs, then into the panko/parmesan mixture; set aside on a plate while you heat your oil for frying.
  • Heat enough oil in a large non-stick pan to shallow fry, about 1-2 inches; once oil is hot, add the breaded cauliflower “steaks” in and fry for roughly 2 minutes per side, or until golden-brown; place the “steaks” on paper towels to drain.
  • Top each “steak” with a slice of provolone cheese, and place it under the broiler (or small toaster oven) just to melt the cheese.
  • To assemble the burgers, spread some of the Spicy Hummus-Mayo onto both top and bottom toasted buns, then add some leaves of lettuce; place the cheesy cauliflower “steak” over the lettuce, then top it with a few slices of the roasted red peppers, and cover it with the top bun; serve while hot with choice of sides.

Spicy Hummus-Mayo

Ingredients

• ½ cup garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
• ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons mayo
• 1 teaspoon lemon zest
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper
• ¼ teaspoon paprika
• ¼ teaspoon ground cumin
• Pinch or two red pepper flakes (more or less depending on your preference)
• 2 tablespoons olive oil

Directions

  • Place all of the ingredients up to and including the red pepper flakes into the bowl of food processor, and blend until smooth
  • with processor running, drizzle in the oil, until well blended; use immediately, or store in fridge until ready to use.

Source: Cozy Apron

Try This—Vegetarian Pancit (Filipino Rice Noodles)

“when the waitress asked if I wanted my pizza cut into four or eight slices, I said, four. I don’t think I can eat eight.” —Yogi Berra

Now that’s the kind of portion control I can get on board with, especially when it comes to pizza or rice noodles. I went to the Asian supermarket on Saturday and picked up 12 bundles of rice noodles. Rice noodles are a pantry staple in my house. I literally can eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Super quick to prepare and the possibilities are endless. I’ve been ODing on Pancit lately, and I just have to share my favorite recipe with you. Pancit (pronounced PUN-SIT) is a Filipino dish that I’ve loved since I was in high school.

When my older sister was at Cornell University, her dorm mate was Filipina and she used to cook the most amazing food. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 12 years old, so her dorm mate made all of these traditional Filipino dishes for me with no meat. Did I mention she was super sweet?! Anyway, my absolute favorite has always been Pancit, but up until recently, I’d never tried to make it on my own. Then I found this recipe courtesy of the Veggie Chick, and it’s about as close as you can get to the Pancit I remember. You must try this!!!

Vegetarian Pancit (Filipino Rice Noodles)

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces rice noodles
  • 3 teaspoons sesame oil, divided
  • 1 package (15 ounce) extra firm tofu, drained and cut into 1 inch pieces and pressed with paper towel to remove all moisture
  • 1 white onion, peeled and diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large carrots, grated (about 1 cup)
  • 3-4 cups chopped green cabbage (about 1/2 head)
  • 2 cups baby broccoli florets
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger (or 1/2 teaspoon dried ground ginger)
  • 1 veggie bouillon cube
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt

Directions

  1. Place the rice noodles in a large bowl; cover with warm water and let sit. When the noodles are soft, after about 20 minutes, drain and set noodles aside.
  2. Heat 2 teaspoons sesame oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tofu and sauté until browned, about 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the tofu from the wok. Reduce heat to medium.
  3. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon of sesame oil to the wok. Sauté the onion and garlic for 2 minutes or until onion is translucent. Add the carrots, cabbage and broccoli. Stir fry until tender-crisp, about 5 minutes.
  4. Add the tamari, ginger, veggie bouillon cube, vegetable broth and sea salt. Stir until the bouillon cube is dissolved. Add the cooked tofu, rice noodles and stir to combine. Remove from heat. Serves 8. Best served immediately. Stays fresh in the fridge for 1 day.

Recipe: the Veggie Chick for more plant-based cooking inspiration go here.