Quinoa & Chestnut Dressing Stuffed Squash

A quinoa and chestnut dressing stuffed into roasted butternut and kabocha squash. This hearty Thanksgiving entree is a great vegan alternative to turkey that even your non-vegan friends and family will love. All you need are 10 simple ingredients and 60 minutes to get this main dish from the cutting board to your serving platter.

Quinoa and chestnut dressing stuffed kabocha squash on a plate with roasted squash seeds in the background.

Does it seem odd to anyone else that this is my very first recipe using quinoa? I mean, considering this is Cashews & Quinoa…oh well…better late than never. Anyway, I’m actually glad that this is my first quinoa recipe! This meal is outrageously simple, incredibly flavorful, and oh so satisfying. That is, after all, what we want from our main course on Thanksgiving.

Butternut and Kabocha Squash

Roasted kabocha and butternut squash on a baking sheet.

To prepare the butternut and kabocha squash, preheat your oven to 400*F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise. Slice the kabocha squash around the middle and remove the seeds from both. Save the squash seeds for later use in this recipe.

Optional: brush or spray the cut-side of the squash with olive oil. I skipped this step and I didn’t miss the oil at all. There are so many other flavors going on that it’s no necessary. Do make sure, however, that you sprinkle the cut-side of the squash with dried sage, salt and pepper to taste. You can also add some coconut sugar as well, but I find that this squash gets a lightly sweet flavor from roasting so it’s not really necessary. Also, the kabocha squash has a slightly sweet taste on it’s own. So if you skip the coconut sugar you’ll still have a delicious piece of squash.

However you decide to season it, place the squash cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 40-60 minutes depending on the size of the squash. The squash is finished when it is soft and caramelized. Flip the squash over and allow to rest and cool slightly.

Quinoa and Chestnut Filling

Quinoa and chestnut dressing inside a cast iron skillet.

While the squash is roasting, prepare the quinoa and chestnut filling. If you haven’t already done so, rinse, drain, and cook your quinoa. Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil or vegan butter. Cook finely diced onion and celery over medium-high heat until the onion is translucent and soft. About 3-4 minutes. At this point your celery will have a bit of a crunch still. I enjoy the texture of celery this way, however, if you want softer celery just sauté it longer. About 6-7 minutes total.

Once your onions and celery are cooked, add the seasoning: sage, truffle salt, and pepper. Don’t worry, if you don’t have truffle salt, regular salt or sea salt is a fine substitute. Also add to the pan the cooked and cooled quinoa as well as the roasted and peeled chestnuts.

Once the dressing is heated through it’s time to stuff the squash. The kabocha squash is already going to have a good sized hole left from scooping out the seeds. Depending on the size of your butternut squash, you might need to remove some of the flesh to make more room for the quinoa and chestnut dressing. Any butternut or kabocha squash that you remove can be cubed and added to the dressing or removed and used in another recipe.

Top off the squash with roasted squash seeds, dried cranberries, pomegranate arils, pecans, walnuts or any other festive and seasonal items that you might have on hand.

As always, I hope that you love this simple vegan quinoa and chestnut dressing stuffed squash as much as I do. Be sure to let me know what you think of this Thanksgiving meal down in the comments below.

Enjoy friends!

Quinoa and chestnut dressing inside a roasted butternut squash with more stuffed squash in the background.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Celery- vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium

Quinoa- complete protein; rich in iron, potassium, riboflavin, B6, niacin, and thiamine; good source of magnesium, zinc, copper, manganese; anti-cancer & anti-inflammatory properties

Olive oil- monounsaturated fats

Onion- antioxidants; fiber; vitamin C; folate

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Quinoa and Chestnut Stuffed Squash

A quinoa and chestnut dressing stuffed into roasted squash. This hearty Thanksgiving entree is a great vegan alternative to turkey. All you need are 10 simple ingredients and 60 minutes to get this main dish from the cutting board to your serving platter.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Roasting Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Holiday, Vegan
Keyword: 10-ingredients, butternut squash, chestnuts, easy, holiday recipes, holiday sides, kabocha, kabocha squash, sage, simple, squash, squash seeds, Thanksgiving recipe, Thanksgiving side, truffle salt
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • 1 small-medum butternut squash, cut lengthwise and de-seeded
  • 1 large kabocha squash, halfed and de-seeded
  • 1-2 tsp coconut sugar optional for butternut squash
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or vegan butter use water if oil-free
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 4 stalks celery, finely diced
  • ½ tsp sage, plus more for sprinkling on squash
  • truffle salt, to taste
  • pepper, to taste
  • 6.5 oz chestnuts, cooked and peeled
  • 3 cups cooked quinoa
  • roasted squash seeds, for topping

Instructions

Roasted Squash

  • Preheat oven to 400°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Sprinkle cut-side of squash with dried sage, salt, and pepper to taste (optional: spray squash with olive oil and top with 1-2 tsp of coconut sugar for sweetness). Place cut-side down on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 40-60 minutes depending on size of the squash. When fork tender, remove from the oven and allow to cool. While squash is cooking prepare the quinoa and chestnut dressing.

Quinoa and Chestnut Dressing

  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil (or water if oil-free) or vegan butter. Once hot, add diced onion and celery. Cook for 3-4 minutes until soft.
  • To the onion and celery, add sage, truffle salt, pepper, chestnuts, and cooked quinoa. Cook just long enough to warm up the quinoa and chestnuts. Once warmed fill squash with dressing. Top with roasted squash seeds.

Notes

*Total preparation time does not include time to cook quinoa.
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Vegan Walnut Spanakopita

Vegan, with gluten-free options, this walnut spanakopita has a crispy crust and a creamy filling. Traditionally filled with pine nuts, this Greek dish has a new twist with the addition of walnuts. Filled with spinach, herbs and vegan feta cheese sandwiched between layers of crispy fillo dough and breadcrumbs it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser on a busy weeknight.

Close up of vegan walnut spanakopita on a black plate.

Spinach Filling

This vegan walnut and spinach spanakopita filling is beyond simple to make! But don’t let the ease of making it fool you. It’s packed with flavor, texture, and satisfaction. Creamy vegan feta, crunchy walnuts, and a blend of sautéed spinach and fresh herbs create a wonderfully simple and delicious meal. All you have to do is sauté scallions, shallots, and spinach. Mix with vegan feta cheese (I love this recipe), fresh herbs, and chopped walnuts and you’re ready to assemble the spanakopita.

Fillo Dough Tips

Before we start layering the fillo dough, just a few tips…

  • Make sure that your fillo dough has completely thawed before use. If the dough is the slightest bit frozen, it will crack and ruin all the layers making it un-usable.
  • Grab two large, thin dish towels and get them wet. Wring out the excess water and lay one down on your kitchen counter. Gently place your fillo dough on the moist towel and quickly cover with the other moist dish towel.
  • Whenever you remove the top dish towel to grab a layer of fillo dough, replace the towel as quickly as possible making sure that the edges and corners of the fillo dough are covered.
  • In case you haven’t noticed, the trick to working with fillo dough is keeping it moist and cool.
Aerial view of vegan walnut spanakopita on a black plate with the rest of the spanakopita in a baking dish next to it.

Spanakopita Assembly

All you need to assemble this walnut spanakopita are 3 simple ingredients: olive oil, Italian breadcrumbs, and fillo dough. Although these ingredients are few, they are all going to be layered together to create the ultimate crispy, crunchy, and salty crust. Be prepared to put in a little bit of work here but trust me, it’s going to be so worth it!

First Layer of spanakopita

Now that you have your filling made and the fillo dough is ready to use, let’s begin layering the fillo dough. It really is very easy. The most time-consuming part is the number of layers required to create that flaky crust. Begin by placing a layer of fillo dough in the bottom of your prepared baking dish. Gently brush a thin layer of olive oil over the fillo dough then sprinkle with breadcrumbs. Lay another fillo dough on top of the breadcrumb coating and gently brush with more olive oil. Sprinkle more breadcrumbs over the olive oil. Continue this pattern of fillo dough, olive oil, and breadcrumbs until you have used half of your fillo dough. End with a layer of fillo dough.

Second layer of spanakopita

Evenly and gently spread the spinach, walnut, cheese mixture directly onto the fillo dough.

Third Layer of spanakopita

Then continue layer the rest of your fillo dough as before: fillo dough, olive oil, breadcrumbs. Finish with a single layer of fillo dough and generously brush with olive oil. Sprinkle the top of your spanakopita with sea salt and bake at 400*F for 20 minutes watching close to prevent burning. You will know the spanakopita is finished when the fillo dough is golden brown and flakey.

Close up of vegan walnut spanakopita on a black plate being cut with a fork.

And that’s it! You’ve done it! You’ve successfully used fillo dough to make this incredibly delicious spinach-filled Greek dish. Remember to follow this fillo dough tips whenever using fillo dough. And now that you know how to use fillo dough the sky’s the limit! It’s uses go well beyond just spanakopita and baklava. Use it instead of a crust on top of your next pot pie. Cut it into thick strips, fill it with any sweet or savory mixture, and fold it into neat little triangles before baking.

I cannot wait to hear what you think of this vegan walnut spanakopita!

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Olive oil- Monounsaturated fats

Spinach- Fiber; vitamin K; calcium; iron; magnesium; manganese; folate; vitamin B; vitamin A; glycolipids (cancer cell growth suppressors)

Walnuts- Omega 3s, thaimine, B6, folic acid, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, Vitamin E, polyphenols

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Vegan Walnut Spanakopita

Vegan, with gluten-free options, this walnut spanakopita has a crispy crust and a creamy filling. Spinach, herbs and vegan feta cheese are sandwiched between layers of crispy fillo dough and breadcrumbs.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Fillo Dough Layering20 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Greek, Mediterranean, Vegan
Keyword: greek, mediterranean, spanakopita, spinach, vegan, walnut butter
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Filling

  • 5 green onions, white and greens, diced
  • 2 large shallots, diced
  • 12 oz fresh spinach
  • cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup vegan feta cheese + more for crumbling
  • ½ cup fresh herbs parsley, dill, etc.

Spanakopita Assembly

  • 1 package fillo dough
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup Italian bread crumbs gluten-free if necessary
  • sea salt to taste

Instructions

Filling

  • In a large skillet, heat a tbsp olive oil over medium-high heat. Saute scallions and shallots for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • In a large bowl, combine shallot and spinach mixture with choped walnuts, vegan feta, and fresh herbs. Set aside and begin working with fillo dough.

Fillo Dough

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Brush the sides and bottom of an 8×8 inch baking dish with olive oil.
  • Cut fillo dough to size and place a single layer of fill dough in the bottom of the 8×8 inch dish. Lightly brush fillo dough with olive oil and sprinkle with bread crumbs. Repeat this for a total of 10-12 times.
  • Evenly and delicately spread spinach filling on the top layer of fillo dough.
  • Layer fillo dough, olive oil, and breadcrumbs for additional 10-12 layers. One the final top layer of fillo dough, brush generously with olive oil and sea salt to taste.
  • Bake for 20 minutes watching to prevent burning. Allow to cool for 20-30 minutes before cutting and serving.
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Butternut Squash and Sage Pasta

A cozy bowl of butternut squash and fried sage pasta is just what you need on a crisp autumn evening. This dish can be ready in 30 minutes and only requires 10 simple, wholesome ingredients. As an added bonus, this pasta sauce is easily turned into a soup. Grab a fork (or a spoon) and dig in.

Fried sage and butternut squash pasta topped with cranberries and walnuts on a grey plate with another plate of pasta in the background.

Can we all just take a second to appreciate pasta? What about another second to appreciate the sauces that we serve them with? Ok. Now that we’ve taken care of that…you can start appreciating this amazing homage to autumn. My incredibly flavorful, insanely easy butternut squash and sage pasta. Oh, and did I mention this squash pasta sauce can double as a soup? Yeah. Two dinner options in one. You’re welcome.

Fried Sage

This is the real secret, behind the scenes, star of the show. Fried, fresh sage is one of the most amazing little additions you could make to any squash dish. It’s so easy and it adds such a subtle sweetness to this sauce. So how exactly do we do this?

Add enough olive oil to thinly coat the bottom of a small pan. Heat the oil over high heat to get it extremely hot. Test the oil by adding a small piece of torn sage leaf to the oil. If the leaf sizzles the temperature is perfect. If it doesn’t continue testing every 30 seconds or so until it’s hot enough.

Once the oil is hot enough, add the sage leaves to the oil and allow to cook about 2-3 minutes per side until crispy and fragrant. Watch the sage closely, making sure that it doesn’t burn. Remove the leaves from the oil and place on a towel to absorb the excess oil. Set the leaves aside until later and begin working on the sauce.

Fried sage and butternut squash pasta topped with cranberries and walnuts on a grey plate with fried sage on the side.

Butternut Squash Sauce

Now that the sage portion of the dish is ready, it’s time to start the sauce (or soup). To the heated oil that you used to fry the sage, add the diced onion and sauté until translucent. Add the butternut squash, herbs, and garlic. Cook on medium-high heat for 5 minutes stirring to prevent burning but allowing the butternut squash to get a bit of a char. Add the vegetable broth to the pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the butternut squash is tender.

Allow the squash to cool a bit before adding to a high speed blender. Puree the squash with some plant-based milk and vegan parmesan cheese until smooth. At this point your pasta sauce is ready to go! Cook your favorite pasta according to package directions and toss the al dente pasta with this sauce. Top with the crumbled fried sage, dried cranberries, and chopped walnuts.

Butternut Squash Soup

If you want to turn this sauce into a soup that’s totally doable and incredibly easy. When you’re blending the sauce simply add more vegetable broth to the blender and continue to blend until the sauce turns into your desired soup consistency. Top the soup with crumbled fried sage, dried cranberries, and chopped walnuts. If you really want to go over the top, serve this soup in a sour dough bread bowl. Totally drool-worthy.

I hope that you will try this recipe and that you love it as much as I do. Let me know what you think of this dish and if you prepare it as a pasta sauce or a soup.

Enjoy friends.

Fried sage and butternut squash pasta topped with cranberries and walnuts on a grey plate with fried sage leaves on the side.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Garlic-phytochemicals

Onion-antioxidants; fiber; vitamin C; folate

Rosemary-polyphenolic compounds

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Fried Sage and Butternut Squash Pasta

A cozy bowl of butternut squash and fried sage pasta is just what you need on a crisp autumn evening. This dish can be ready in 30 minutes and only requires 10 simple, wholesome ingredients.
Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: 10-ingredients, butternut squash, dried cranberries, entree, fried sage, pasta, sage, vegan, vegan entree, vegan parmesan, vegan soup, walnuts
Servings: 6 people
Author: Erin

Equipment

  • Blender

Ingredients

  • 10-15 sage leaves
  • ½ cup yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 butternut squash, cubed about 8 cups
  • ¼ tsp dried sage
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • 2-3 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup plant-based milk
  • ¼ cup vegan parmesan cheese

Additional Toppings

  • dried cranberries
  • chopped walnuts

Instructions

  • To a large pan, add enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan with a thin layer of oil. heat over high heat. Once hot, lower to medium-high and fry the fresh sage leaves. Fry for 2-3 minutes flipping half way watching closely to prevent burning. Remove sage from the oil and place on paper towels to remove excess oil. Reserve sage leaves for later.
  • In the sage olive oil, saute onions until translucent. Add garlic, butternut squash, sage, thyme, and nutmeg. Cook for 5-10 minutes until crispy.
  • Add 2 cups of vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer until vegetable broth has cooked off and the butternut squash is tender. Continue to add vegetable broth as needed in order to cook and soften squash.
  • Allow to cool slightly and blend in a high-speed blender with plant-based milk & vegan parmesan cheese*.
  • Serve over your favorite al dente pasta and top with crumbled fried sage, dried cranberries, chopped walnuts and more vegan parmesan cheese**.

Notes

*If making a soup instead of a sauce, add more vegetable broth 1 cup at a time to thin the mixture to your preferred soup consistency.
**This is my absolute favorite vegan parmesan cheese recipe.
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Baked Tofu and Cauliflower

This baked tofu and cauliflower florets entree is sure to become your next weeknight go-to. It’s simple, quick, and satisfying, requiring only 5 ingredients and 1 sheet pan. It’s vegan, gluten-free and has an oil-free option.

Baked tofu and cauliflower seasoned with sumac in a blue bowl with an orange napkin on the side.

There’s not really a whole lot to say about this dish other than that it’s way more delicious than you probably would think considering the scant ingredients required to prepare it. In fact, I’ll bet you’ve got almost everything you need to prepare it. The only thing you might not have in your pantry is sumac. But I’m going to tell you why you should considering adding sumac to your spice rack.

Sumac

Sumac is a spice gathered from a flowering plant that grows in temperate regions throughout the world. Although it has quite a few health benefits it’s best known for it’s anti-inflammatory properties. If you don’t have sumac, you can use lemon zest and salt as a substitute. Although your meal will have a similar flavor, it will not have the health benefits associated with sumac. Sumac has a very strong smell before it’s cooked but don’t let that deter you. It’s actually sweet when cooked and has a mild lemony flavor. I look forward to using it more often. And don’t worry, I’ll be sharing more recipes for it here in the near future.

Cauliflower

Now is the time to use cauliflower! It’s in season in the United States September through November so stock up on it now. This vegetable is just begging to be used in holiday recipes (did I mention this dish would make an insanely easy and quick Thanksgiving side- just remove the tofu). It’s the star of the show in this baked tofu and cauliflower dish so make sure you get a really firm, perfectly white head of cauliflower. Or get creative and use purple or yellow cauliflower too. I’ve even seen (and love) baby cauliflower. Better yet, go crazy and use a mix of all those listed above.

Baked tofu and cauliflower seasoned with sumac in a blue bowl with an orange napkin on the side and a sheet tray of baked tofu and cauliflower in the background.

I hope that you give this insanely simple entree a try. If you do, be sure to tell me what you think down in the comments.

Enjoy friends.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Cauliflower- fiber, vitamin C, biotin, folate, sulforaphane to block cancer-causing chemicals

Garlic-phytochemicals

Sumac- anti-inflammatory

Tofu- calcium, copper, magnesium, B vitamins, isoflavones

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Baked Tofu and Cauliflower

This baked tofu and cauliflower florets entree is sure to become your next weeknight go-to. It's simple, quick, and satisfying, requiring only 5 ingredients and 1 sheet pan.
Prep Time10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Vegan
Keyword: cauliflower, sumac, tofu, vegan
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets
  • 14 oz extra firm tofu, pressed, cubed
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • olive oil omit if oil-free
  • sumac

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Place pressed and cubed tofu, and cauliflower florets on the prepared baking sheet. Toss with olive oil, minced garlic and sumac.
  • Evenly spread onto the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and shake. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes.
  • Serve warm with freshly minced parsley.
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Lasagna Stew with Pumpkin Ricotta

Throw it all in the slow cooker and forget about it! That’s all you have to do with this slow cooker lasagna stew topped with pumpkin ricotta. Vegan, oil-free, nut-free, and easily gluten-free with only 10 minutes of prep required. Take your next weekday dinner up a notch with this fall twist on a classic comfort dish.

Slow cooker lasagna stew with pumpkin ricotta in a blue bowl with vegan parmesan and pumpkins in the background.

I love lasagna! On busy weeknights though…I don’t love the layering work required. Enter this slow cooker lasagna strew with pumpkin ricotta. It’s seriously just like de-constructed lasagna. And this version has an autumn twist! So grab your slow cooker and food processor. Get ready for a delicious meal that requires only 10 minutes of preparation.

Slow Cooker Lasagna Stew

This recipe is really great for those short on time or beginners who don’t have much kitchen practice yet. Simply dice you onion and toss it into the slow cooker with the drained and rinsed lentils, canned tomatoes, vegetable broth, and herbs. Set your slow cooker to high and let it do the work for you. Test your lentils after 5 hours to make sure that they’re pretty well cooked. Next, break up your lasagna noodles, stir them into the stew, and make sure they’re covered with liquid. Cook for an additional hour until the noodles are al dente and the lentils are soft.

Lasagna Stew Tips

Be sure to use regular lasagna noodles. By that I mean, noodles that require boiling. If all you have are no-boil lasagna noodles I suggest adding them about 30 minutes before the stew is finished. If you cook them for 60 minutes they will be mush.

Also, when you add the noodles you may need to add more vegetable broth. I would start by adding 1/2 a cup. Then determine if the consistency is to your liking. Adding extra liquid will also ensure that there is enough to cook the noodles.

Vegan Pumpkin Ricotta

If you’ve never made vegan ricotta don’t be intimidated. It’s amazingly simple, satisfying, and delicious. I have amped up the flavor of this slow cooker lasagna stew by adding a fall flavored pumpkin ricotta topping. And it’s creamy and savory without the use of nuts or oil. Let’s dive in, shall we?

Ricotta tips

First, make sure that your tofu is extra firm and is thoroughly pressed to remove excess liquid. Real ricotta cheese has very low moisture. So, in order to achieve that texture with our vegan version, we need to get as much of the liquid out of the tofu as possible. I have found that pressing my tofu for about 30 minutes achieves the best vegan ricotta texture and low moisture level. The tofu can be pressed ahead of time and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Secondly, this is a savory pumpkin ricotta. You can definitely make this a sweet version by adding more pumpkin pie spice and maple syrup, while reducing 0r eliminating the use of sage and fresh basil. This sweet type of ricotta would work better in a dessert recipe though seeing as how this recipe is meant to be a savory dish.

Finally, once you have pressed your tofu and determined your spice preferences, throw all the ricotta ingredients into your food processor. Pulse the mixture and be sure to stop occasionally to scrape down the sides. Make sure that the ricotta is evenly seasoned and that all the tofu clumps have been worked out.

Slow cooker lasagna stew with pumpkin ricotta in a blue bowl surrounded by vegan parmesan and pumpkins.

I hope that you will enjoy this fall twist on a classic comfort food. And if you give this recipe a try please rate it and leave me comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Basil- phytochemicals; volatile oils (antibacterial properties)

Onion- antioxidants; fiber; vitamin C; folate

Pumpkin- fiber, potassium, selenium, vitamin A

Spinach- fiber; vitamin K; calcium; iron; magnesium; manganese; folate; vitamin B; vitamin A; glycolipids (cancer cell growth suppressors)

Tomatoes- vitamin C; potassium; polyphenols

Tofu- calcium, copper, magnesium, B vitamins, isoflavones

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Lasagna Stew with Pumpkin Ricotta

Vegan, oil-free, nut-free, and easily gluten-free with only 10 minutes of prep required. Take your next quick dinner up a notch with this fall twist on a classic comfort dish.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time4 hrs
Total Time4 hrs 10 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: lasagna, lasagna soup, lasanga stew, lentils, pasta, pumpkin, pumpkin ricotta, slow cooker, tofu, vegan, vegan ricotta
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Lasagna Soup

  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 cup brown lentils
  • 2, 15oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1, 15oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 cups vegetable broth see notes*
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 5 lasagna noodles**, broken into large chunks gluten-free if necessary
  • 2 cups fresh spinach optional

Pumpkin Ricotta

  • 8 oz extra firm tofu, pressed
  • ¼ cup vegan parmesan see notes***
  • cup pumpkin puree not pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ tsp sage
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves
  • water to thin see notes****

Instructions

  • Slow Cooker Lasagna Stew
  • In a large, 8 quart slow cooker place all lasagna stew ingredients except lasagna noodles. Stir to combine and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 until lentils are soft but not soggy.
  • In the last 60 minutes of cooking, add broken lasagna noodles to stew, cover and continue to cook until lasagna noodles are al dente. If adding spinach, shut off the slow cooker and add to lasanga stew. Stir to combine and cover allowing spinach to wilt for 10-15 minutes. Top with vegan pumpkin ricotta, vegan parmesan cheese, and fresh basil.
  • Vegan Pumpkin Ricotta
  • Add all ingredients to a food processor and blend until smooth and creamy but not runny. If the mixture is too dry add water 1 tsp at a time until desired texture is reached. Serve over slow cooker lasagna stew. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Notes

*Adding 3 cups of vegetable broth with result in a stew-like consistency.  For a thinner stew or soup add an extra 1-2 cups of broth.
**Do not use no boil lasagna noodles.  
***I use this recipe from Choosing Chia.
****Only add in water after all other ricotta ingredients have been added and processed.  If the ricotta looks too thick, add water 1 tsp at a time until ricotta is thick and creamy but not runny.

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Buckwheat Noodle and Tofu Stir-Fry

This vegan buckwheat noodle and tofu stir-fry is spicy, satisfying, and ready in just 30 minutes. Made with extra firm tofu, buckwheat soba noodles, baby bok choy, and stir-fried vegetables, this meal is sure to replace your favorite take-out restaurant. Grab your chopsticks and get ready for a delicious, home cooked, Asian-influenced dinner.

Buckwheat noodles topped with baked spicy tofu, baby bok chow, and stir-fried vegetables surrounded by chopsticks, green onions and a large cast iron skillet of stir-fried vegetables.

Although my chopstick skills are poor, I still love a good Asian-inspired meal. This dish is one of my favorite go-to dinner options because it’s ready in just 30 minutes and is customizable so everyone in the family can enjoy it.

Spicy Tofu Sauce

Made with a range of flavors from garlic and ginger to peanut butter and maple syrup, this sauce is amazing. You can use it to marinade not only tofu but tempeh and beans as well. Use less oil and more peanut butter to thicken it up for a spread on sandwiches. Use it as a sauce on vegetables.

Aside from being versatile, another thing to note about this marinade is it’s spice level. When prepared according to the recipe, this sauce is fairly spicy. That being said, it’s very easy to alter the level of heat in this dish. Simply decrease or eliminate the use of garlic chili sauce. Another note: I wouldn’t recommend marinating the tofu in this sauce if you’re going to be giving some to little tofu-lovers. My kids are totally cool with eating pain baked tofu.

Buckwheat noodles topped with baked spicy tofu, baby bok chow, and stir-fried vegetables on a plate with chopsticks and a white napkin.

Stir-Fried Vegetables

I love the vegetables in this dish! They’re sturdy and maintain a good amount of crunch even after being cooked (I’m not a fan of soggy vegetables). I would highly recommend using mung bean sprouts and shredded carrots as the base. After that you can use whatever you might have on hand: sugar snap peas (what is used here), bell peppers, mushrooms, water chestnuts…the possibilities are endless.

So how does this meal sound to you? Fantastic! Pretty straightforward right? Of course. Simple enough to throw together on a weeknight? Definitely. Perfect for meal prepping? Absolutely. What are you waiting for? Dust off those chopsticks and let’s make this spicy buckwheat noodle and tofu stir-fry. It’s a fantastic meal that you and the whole family will love.

Enjoy friends!

Buckwheat noodles topped with baked spicy tofu, baby bok chow, and stir-fried vegetables surrounded by chopsticks, green onions and a large cast iron skillet of stir-fried vegetables.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Buckwheat-fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, manganese, rutin, ligans, vitamin E, selenium

Carrot-vitamin A; fiber; manganese; B vitamins; potassium; vitamin C

Garlic-phytochemicals

Ginger-antioxidants

Peanuts-high in antioxidants (especially when roasted)

Sesame seeds-lignans, phytosterols

Tofu- calcium, copper, magnesium, B vitamins, isoflavones

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Buckwheat Noodle Stir Fry

Made with extra firm tofu, buckwheat soba noodles, baby bok choy, and stir-fried vegetables, this meal is sure to replace your favorite take-out restaurant. Grab your chopsticks, set your kitchen timer for 30 mintues and get ready for a delicious, home cooked, Asian-influenced dinner.
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian, Japanese, Vegan
Keyword: asian, bok choy, buckwheat, buckwheat soba noodles, carrots, green onions, mung bean sprouts, noodles, sesame seeds, soba noodles, spicy, stir fry, sugar snap peas, tofu
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • 14 oz extra firm tofu, pressed & cut into cubes
  • 3-4 large baby bok choy, quartered
  • 10 oz sugar snap peas
  • 10 oz shredded carrots about 4 cups
  • 9 oz mung bean sprouts about 2 cups
  • oz vegan soba noodles
  • sesame seeds and green onions for garnish

Tofu Marinade

  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1 tbsp garlic chili sauce or to taste
  • 1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 tsp ginger, grated
  • 1 tsp maple syrup

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a shallow dish, whisk together Tofu Marinade ingredients. Place pressed, cubed tofu into marinade and toss to coat. Let rest for 10 minutes. Bake tofu for 18 minutes then flip and bake for additonal 5 minutes. Reserve additonal marinade.
  • While tofu is baking, heat seseame oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place baby bok choy cut side down and cook for 3-4 minutes. Turn and cook additional 3-4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • Add another tsp of sesame oil and saute sugar snap peas, shredded carrots, and mung bean sprouts until tender and not overcooked, about 5 minutes.
  • Cook soba noodles according to package directions. Drain and toss with reserved tofu marinade.
  • Assemble bowls with noodles and top with sauteed vegetables and baked tofu. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
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Potato, Spinach, and Chickpea Curry

This cozy potato, spinach, and chickpea curry is sure to become your new favorite go-to weeknight meal. For a curry that only requires 10 ingredients it’s certainly hearty, filling, and nourishing. Grab a large pan and make this tonight for dinner.

Potato, spinach and chickpea curry on a bed of wild rice with vegan naan on the side.

Is it weird that I made this curry solely so that I could have an excuse to eat my vegan naan? Well, I never thought that what I ended up just throwing together would actually turn into one of my favorite go-to weeknight meals. Serve this curry over your favorite rice or grain. I chose to make it with wild rice but you could use jasmine, brown, or basmati. And you cannot have a curry without naan. Of course!

Why I love this curry

There are many reasons why I absolutely love this dish. First, it only requires 1 pan. Fewer dishes means less clean-up. And more time to spend with my family after dinner. Secondly, you only need 10 ingredients to prepare this weeknight meal. And they aren’t crazy weird ingredients either. They’re pantry staples as well as a few simple fresh ingredients. Super. Easy. Thirdly, it makes TONS of food. Plenty for leftovers. This meal is fantastic on the second day! Not like other weird leftovers that just don’t hold up overnight.

Potato, spinach and chickpea curry on a bed of wild rice with vegan naan on the side.

Lastly, I love this meal because it’s so simple. This dish is very self-explanatory. There’s nothing complicated about it. No need to explain procedures, share tips, or describe ingredients. And that’s why I love it. It’s perfect for inexperienced cooks or those who are newly-vegan. So if you’re looking for a simple, quick, delicious vegan meal search no further than this potato, spinach, and chickpea curry.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Garlic-Phytochemicals

Olive oil- Monounsaturated fats

Onion- Antioxidants; fiber; vitamin C; folate

Potato- Vitamin C; potassium; antioxidants

Spinach- Fiber; vitamin K; calcium; iron; magnesium; manganese; folate; vitamin B; vitamin A; glycolipids (cancer cell growth suppressors)

Tomatoes- Vitamin C; potassium; polyphenols

Turmeric- Iron; manganese; potassium; vitamin B6; vitamin C; curcumin (cancer fighting and anti-inflammatory)

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Potato, Spinach, and Potato Curry

A cozy potato, spinach, and chickpea curry made with only 10 ingredients and 1 pan. It's a hearty, filling, and nourishing meal.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Indian, Vegan
Keyword: chickpea, coconut, coconut milk, curry, curry powder, garbanzo beans, Indian, naan, potatoes, spinach, turmeric
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp olive oil sub water if oil-free
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 russet potatoes, cubed into bite-sized pieces
  • 1, 15oz can diced tomatoes, drained with juice reserved
  • 1, 15oz can chickpeas, drained, rinsed
  • 2, 15oz cans coconut milk, one regular, one light
  • tbsp curry powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 3-4 cups fresh spinach

Instructions

  • Heat large skillet with olive oil and add diced onion. Cook 3-4 minutes until translucent.
  • Add garlic cooking for 30 seconds.
  • Saute potatoes for 5 minutes, stirring to prevent sticking.
  • Add drained tomatoes (reserving the liquid for later), chickpeas, and spices. Stir to coat.
  • Add coconut milk, and ⅓ cup of canned tomato juices. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and allow to simmer for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  • In the last few minutes of cooking, add spinach and stir to wilt. Once the spinach is wilted, turn off the heat.
  • Top with fresh parsley and serve over rice (or favorite grain of choice) with vegan naan bread.
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Warm Autumn Vegetable Salad

With Pumpkin Tahini Dressing

Warm autumn vegetable salad drizzled with pumpkin tahini dressing. All you need are two sheet pans and a bowl for this amazingly satisfying lunch. Vegan, gluten-free with nut- and oil-free options this salad makes a fantastic side or meal and works great for meal prepping.

Warm winter vegetable salad on a bed of butter lettuce with purple and yellow flowers and a bowl of fresh cranberries.

Warm Autumn Vegetables

Ok, this has got to be why I love fall so much. There’s nothing like prepping a bunch of vegetables, seasoning them in some well-thought-out spices, tossing them in the oven, and enjoying the aroma that fills my house while they roast. This, to me, is what the autumn months are all about. So let’s discuss these vegetables a little bit shall we?

Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are just amazing! They’re so versatile (baked, boiled, steamed, mashed…you know the different ways to prepare a potato!) and they really are very sweet. In this dish I remove the skins but if you would prefer the extra fiber (there’s already a lot of it in this salad) feel free to keep it on. It’ll give the sweet potato a nice crunchy, caramelized texture.

Multi-colored carrots

I love the additional colors from the multicolored carrot variety. You can totally use regular ol’ orange carrots if you cannot find the multis, it’s no big deal. Just remember that you want to eat the rainbow. The greater the color variety in your food, the more nutrients you’re consuming.

Delicata Squash

The delicata squash is by far my FAVORITE squash. Ever. I think I love it so much because you can eat the skin! Less prep time means more time enjoy the cool autumn days outside with my family and less time making meals. Plus, who doesn’t love the cute little half moon shapes of a delicata squash? Pro tip: save the seeds of your delicata squash and use them in this recipe for chili roasted squash seeds. Also, did you know that you can save the pulp (or scooped out portion) of the squash and put it to go use here.

Parsnips

And let’s not forget the parsnips! Now these are the secret star of the show. They are actually really sweet and are amazing when roasted. They’re also fantastic in soups and stews. Be on the lookout for more parsnips recipes from me as the season rolls into autumn, but for now, let’s just appreciate them in this delicious little salad.

Warm winter vegetable salad on a bed of butter lettuce with purple and yellow flowers, pumpkin tahini dressing, and a bowl of fresh cranberries.

Pumpkin Tahini Dressing

I love making my own dressings. Nothing beats the convenience of store bought but I also like to be in control of the amount and type of fats and sugars that are in my dressings. And most store-bought dressings contain gums. Ew. So let’s whip up this fun fall dressing together ok? It’s thick, lightly pumpkin-y, nut-free, and oil-free.

Toppings

This is where you get get to be creative. The salad toppings I have listened down in the recipe are just recommendations and ideas. Use what you have and whatever is in season. I recommend a nut or seed, something creamy such as avocado or vegan cheese, and a lightly sweet fruit such as figs or pomegranates. These additional flavors and textures aren’t required of course. The salad is fantastic as is. But adding these topping will create a more intricate flavor profile and visual appeal. Go crazy!

Meal Prep

Finally, did I mention that this salad is perfect for meal prepping? Move over boring salads and bland sandwiches…prepare this on Sunday instead to get you through the upcoming work week. Store the vegetables, salad, and salad dressing separately in your fridge and assemble everything the evening before. Super simple, flavorful, satisfying, (insert more wonderfully descriptive adjectives here). You get the idea. This warm autumn vegetable salad with pumpkin tahini dressing is a packed lunch that will definitely keep you going long into the afternoon.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Carrots-vitamin A, fiber, manganese, niacin, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C

Cranberries-vitamin C, fiber, phytonutrients

Garlic-phytochemicals

Pumpkin- fiber, potassium, selenium, vitamin A

Sweet potatoes-vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, potassium, fiber

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Warm Winter Vegetable Salad with Pumpkin Tahini Dressing

Warm winter vegetable salad drizzled with pumpkin tahini dressing. All you need are two sheet pans and a bowl for this amazingly satisfying lunch. Vegan, gluten-free with nut- and oil-free options this salad makes a fantastic side or meal and works great for meal prepping.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Assembly5 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Salad
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: easy, gluten-free, meal prep, nut-free, oil-free, pumpkin, salad, tahini, vegan, vegetables
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Warm Winter Vegetables

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled, diced
  • 1 delicata sqush, de-seeded, diced
  • 2-3 parsnips, peeled, cored, diced
  • 4 mutlicolored carrots, peeled, diced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1, 15oz can black beans drained and rinsed
  • avocado oil spray omit if oil-free
  • 1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
  • freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • red chili pepper flakes, to taste

Salad Dressing

  • 3 tbsp runny tahini
  • 2 tbsp canned pumpkin not pumpkin pie filling
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • ½ tsp garlic, minced
  • ½ tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • tsp onion powder
  • 5 tbsp water
  • salt & pepper to taste

Salad

  • 4 cups lettuce of choice (arugula, spinach, butter lettuce…)
  • chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans)
  • toasted pumpkin seeds
  • vegan feta cheese
  • avocado diced
  • pomegrante arils
  • fresh figs

Instructions

Warm Winter Vegetables

  • Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • In a small bowl combine pumpkin pie spice, black pepper, and chili flakes (if using). Set aside.
  • Divide prepared sweet potatoes, delicata squash, parsnips, and carrots and place on prepared baking sheets. Spray with avocado oil cooking spray. Top with spice mixture and toss to coat.
  • Roast for 20 minutes then remove from oven and add cranberries and black beans to both baking sheets. Toss to coat and roast for additional 20 mintues.

Salad Dressing

  • In a small bowl whisk all salad dressing ingredients until well combined. If too thick, add water a tbsp at a time until desired consistancy is reached.

Salad

  • To assemble the salad: toss lettuce greens of choice with salad dressing. Divide between 3-4 plates. Top with warm winter vegetables and additional salad toppers. I suggest: chopped walnuts, pecans, or pumpkin seeds; vegan feta or diced avocado; pomegrante seeds or fresh figs.
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Spicy Cauliflower Casserole with Cashew Crust

This spicy cauliflower casserole with a cashew crust is the perfect weeknight meal or side dish. Loaded with hearty cauliflower florets, spices, and cashews it’s sure to please those that want a little extra heat as well as crunch in their lives. Made with 15 ingredients and ready to bake in less than 30 minutes, it’s amazing fresh out of the oven or as leftovers. Vegan, gluten-free, and with an oil-free option it’s perfect for those with special diets.

Spicy cauliflower casserole on a plate with a dish of cauliflower casserole in the background.

I know, I know…it’s pumpkin season. I didn’t miss the memo (but if you’re looking for something pumpkin be sure to check out my pumpkin pancakes). It was just impossible to keep this recipe to myself. Fall it’s just about pumpkin and apples am I right? How about the good ol’ casserole dish that takes you back to cozy evenings spent inside? Well, that’s what this little baby is for! My spicy cauliflower casserole with cashew crust is sure to become a new cold weather favorite in your home. It’s one of my personal favorites and it’s still delicious even if you remove some of the heat. Because guys, let me tell you, it does have a little kick. That being said I’ve made notes below indicated how to lower that heat intensity if desired. Like I said, this dish is for everyone.

So now that I’ve got your mouth watering let’s talk about exactly what you’ll need to whip up this amazing dish.

Cauliflower casserole ingredients including spices, chickpea flour, siracha sauce, flax milk, coconut aminos, cashews and a head of cauliflower.

The Base

Let’s start with the base of this casserole which is made up of only a few ingredients. We’ll need to combine garbanzo bean flour (keeping it GF here!), flax milk (or any milk alternative of choice), sriracha sauce, coconut aminos, black pepper to taste and of course, the star of the show, cauliflower. Cut the cauliflower into bit-sized florets and steam in batches until it’s just soft, about 4-5 minutes. You could skip the steaming step if you’re short on time just know that the cauliflower won’t be as tender after it’s been baked. It’s a personal preference thing.

While the cauliflower is steaming, let’s talk about the rest of the ingredients. Now remember how I said that you can adjust the spiciness of this dish? Well, here’s where you’ll want to pay attention. If you prefer, you can totally leave out the sriracha sauce. This is where all the heat in the cauliflower portion of the dish comes from. So you can either add none, a little, or A LOT. If you do omit the siracha sauce just be sure to add an extra 1/4 cup of flax milk to the mixture.

Once you’ve determined your spice preference whisk your sauce ingredients together. You want the mixture to be somewhat thick, but still pourable. Add the prepared cauliflower to the mixture and toss to coat being careful not to mash your cauliflower. Set that aside and begin working on that amazing crust.

The Crust

To prepare the cashew crust of our spicy cauliflower casserole you’ll need cashews, spices, arrowroot powder (or corn starch), avocado oil (if using), a food processor, and less than 5 minutes. That’s it! Now, here’s where we can discuss the heat level of the crust. The two culprits of heat in the crust blend are curry powder (mildly spicy), and cayenne (can get pretty intense). I’d recommend leaving in the curry powder as it adds lots of additional flavors aside from the heat, but definitely reduce or omit the cayenne if you’re wanting to remove the heat.

Once you’ve determined your desired heat level add the cashews, spices (as you see fit), arrowroot powder, and avocado oil (omit if oil-free) to the food processor and pulse until the cashews are very well chopped. Make sure you don’t get too over-zealous here with the food processor or you could end up with spicy cashew butter (although, that might be pretty amazing…). You’re looking for a crumbly, slightly crunchy texture as shown in the image below. And with that it’s time to assemble!

Cashews and spices in a food processor.
Close up of ground cashews and spices in a food processor to show texture.

Preheat your oven to 350F, prepare a 9×11 inch baking dish with cooking spray and pour in the cauliflower mixture. Spread the mixture evenly in the dish press down slightly to ensure that it’s packed. Top with cashew crust crumble and gently press down. Bake for 30-40 minutes checking to make sure that the crust isn’t burning. If the cashews begin to burn cover the dish with a large rimmed cookie sheet to prevent further browning. The casserole is finished when the cauliflower is tender and the top is a nice golden brown color. Now comes the really challenging part…try to practice some self-control while you wait for the dish to cool slightly. Or, if you’re like me, serve it immediately and hope you tongue can handle the heat.

Enjoy friends!

Close up of forked spicy cauliflower casserole with a cashew crust on a plate.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Cauliflower: fiber, vitamin C, biotin, folate, sulforaphane to block cancer-causing chemicals

Lemons: excellent source of Vitamin c, contain Vitamin A, calcium, & potassium

Avocado oil: monounsaturated fats, protein, potassium, magnesium, folic acid, B vitamins, vitamin E, vitamin K

Flax: omega-3 fats, soluble and insoluble fiber

Spicy Cauliflower Casserole with Cashew Crust

A creamy cauliflower casserole with a crunchy spicy cashew topping.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: cashews, casserole, cauliflower, entree, gluten-free, oil-free, side, spicy, vegan
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

Cauliflower Casserole

  • 1 head cauliflower diced into bite-sized florets
  • cup unsweetened plant-milk of choice I use flax milk
  • 1 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • ¼ cup sriracha sauce (or to preference)
  • 2 tbsp coconut aminos
  • black pepper (to taste)

Cashew Crust

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot
  • 1 tsp curry powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • pinch cayenne pepper (or to preference)
  • 1/2 tbsp avocado oil (omit if oil-free)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9×11 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Cauliflower Casserole

  • Cut cauliflower into bit-sized florets. Steam cauliflower in batches for 4-5 minutes until tender.
  • While cauliflower is steaming, prepare the rest of the cauliflower casserole ingredients by whisking together in a large bowl.
  • Once cauliflower is steamed, add to mixture and gently toss until evenly coated.
  • Gently press into prepared baking dish.

Cashew Crust

  • Place all cashew crust ingredients into a food processor and pulse until a crumbly texture is reached. (See photos above.)
  • Sprinkle on top of the cauliflower mixture and gently press down.
  • Bake for 30-40 minutes checking to make sure that the crust doesn't burn. If over-browning occurs place rimmed baking sheet over casserole dish and continue cooking until cauliflower is tender and filling has set.
  • Serve warm and store leftovers in refrigerator for 3-4 days.
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Walnut and Tofu Bolognese Sauce

This walnut and tofu “meat” bolognese sauce will be your new go-to family dinner during the cold weather months. Vegan and refined-sugar free with gluten-free and oil-free versions, this recipe will surely satisfy everyone at the table. Made with loads of fresh vegetables and simple, pantry-staple ingredients this meal will become your family’s new favorite dish.

Two bowls on walnut and tofu "meat" bolognese sauce in white bowls.

There aren’t many dishes I miss since going vegan over a year ago. But a good, hearty bolognese sauce is one of them. Well….was one of them. Since this recipe has been in my life, I definitely don’t miss my old version. This walnut and tofu “meat” bolognese sauce has it all going on. It’s got plenty of protein just like the original but it’s made even better by including all the veggies. And, let’s be honest, any excuse to eat pasta is a good one. Let’s explore this vegan bolognese sauce a little more shall we?

Pasta and walnut and tofu "meat" bolognese sauce on a fork.

Baked Tofu “Meat”

So this bolognese sauce is made up of three parts: the sauce, the walnut “meat”, and the tofu “meat”. I have found that including both tofu and walnuts in this recipe really enhances the texture and assists in recreating a “traditional” bolognese sauce. The baked tofu is simply crumbled, marinated in spices and oil (or water for an oil-free version), and baked in the oven. Super, super simple right? So while that’s baking in the oven we can move on to the rest of the “meat” sauce.

Walnut “Meat”

To complete the texture of the vegan bolognese sauce we need to make the walnut “meat” sauce. This is just as easy as the baked tofu portion of the recipe mentioned above. Simply place the walnuts into a food processor and pulse until the texture resembles that of, you guessed it, ground beef. Once the vegetables are soft, the walnuts and baked tofu will be added along with the sauce and a few spices.

Two bowls on walnut and tofu "meat" bolognese sauce in white bowls.

The Vegetables

In this section of the recipe I like to keep things as close to the original meat version as possible. That being said I always use: onions, carrots, celery, and zucchini. Some people like to include mushrooms. Personally, I love mushrooms, just not in my bolognese sauce. But if you’re one of those mushroom bolognese folk then by all means, throw them in! This recipe is very forgiving so you can use whichever vegetables you have or, to save money, vegetables currently in season. Some other vegetable ideas include: eggplant, leeks, and winter or summer squash.

There you have it my friends! My super simple walnut and tofu “meat” bolognese sauce. Throw this sauce on your favorite whole-wheat or gluten-free pasta. You could even up the veggie intake more if you’d like and spiralize yourself some zucchini, sweet, potato or carrot noodles. The possibilities are endless and that’s part of the appeal of this recipe. Make it your own and customize it to your family’s preferences.

Enjoy and be sure to let me know what you think down in the comments below.

Two empty white bowls with pieces of walnut and tofu "meat" bolognese sauce left.

Ingredient Health Benefits

Basil- phenolic compounds

Carrot- vitamin A; fiber; manganese; B vitamins; potassium; vitamin C

Celery- vitamin A; vitamin C; B vitamins; calcium; iron; magnesium; phosphorus; potassium

Garlic- phytochemicals

Olive oil- Monounsaturated fat; polyphenols; anti-inflammatory properties

Onion-antioxidants; fiber; vitamin C; folate

Oregano- antioxidants

Tomato- vitamin C; potassium; polyphenols

Walnuts- omega-3s; B vitamins; phosphorus; magnesium; copper; phytochemicals

Walnut and Tofu Bolognese Sauce

Vegan and refined-sugar free with gluten-free and oil-free versions, this recipe will surely satisfy everyone at the table. Made with loads of fresh vegetables and simple, pantry-staple ingredients this meal is sure to become your family's new favorite dish.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time50 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian, Vegan
Keyword: gluten-free, oil-free, pasta, refined-sugar free, sauce, tofu, vegan, walnuts
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Baked Tofu

  • 16 oz extra firm tofu
  • tbsp coconut aminos/soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • tsp chili powder
  • tsp paprika
  • ¾ tsp garlic powder
  • tbsp olive oil (use water for oil-free version)

Walnut Bolognese Sauce

  • 1-2 tsp olive oil (use water for oil-free version)
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 medium onion, finely diced
  • 1 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1 cup carrot, finely diced
  • 1 medium zucchini, diced
  • 1 cup walnuts pulsed in food processor to resemble ground beef
  • 28 oz tomato sauce (Trader Joe's is my favorite)
  • ½ cup pasta water
  • 2 tsp dried basil
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • salt to taste

Pasta

  • 16 oz pasta of choice (use whole-wheat, gluten-free, or spiralized zoodles)

Instructions

Tofu Crumbled "Meat"

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Begin by pressing the tofu in a tofu press or place between two cloth dishtowels and top with something heavy. Press for at least 10 minutes.
  • While tofu is being pressed, whisk together the coconut aminos, nutritional yeast, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder and olive oil. The mixture should resemble a paste.
  • Crumble tofu into the size of ground meat and mix with marinade until all tofu pieces are coated.
  • Spread into an even layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 30 minutes stirring half way through cooking. Watch the tofu closely so that it doesn't burn.

Pasta

  • Prepare pasta according to package directions cooking until al dente. Reserve ½ cup pasta cooking water for bolognese sauce.

Walnut Bolognese Sauce

  • Prepare walnuts but pulsing in a food processor until course. Should resemble ground beef.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add olive oil, garlic, onion, celery, carrots and zucchini. Cook for 4-5 mintues until onion is transleucent and zucchini is soft.
  • Add pulsed walnuts, prepared tofu crumbled "meat", tomato sauce, basil, oregano, salt (to taste), and reserved pasta cooking water. Simmer for 10-15 minutes allowing flavors to combine.
  • Serve over pasta and top with vegan parmesan cheese.
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