Cauliflower and Walnut Crumb Pasta

This cauliflower and walnut crumb pasta is quick and simple to make. Vegan with a gluten-free option that doesn’t require the use of gluten-free breadcrumbs. Requiring only 10 ingredients and ready in 30 minutes this meal is perfect for a quick weeknight supper.

Cauliflower and walnut crumb pasta in a large cast iron skillet with a wooden serving spoon.

If you’re in need of a super quick and delicious weeknight meal grab a large skillet, get some water boiling and make this dinner tonight. All you need are 10 ingredients and about 30 minutes to prepare a family-friendly vegan and gluten-free supper.

Cauliflower and walnut crumb pasta on a grey bowl sprinkled with freshly chopped parsley.

Walnut Crumb

To create a crumb for coating the pasta and cauliflower I decided to use finely chopped walnuts and a blend of dried herbs. This adds and earthy flavor and crunchy texture to the pasta that cannot be matched by breadcrumbs. It also makes this crumb gluten-free!

Simply place the walnuts, herbs, and spices into a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles…you guessed it…breadcrumbs. To a hot skillet, add olive oil and sauté the walnut crumbs until their fragrant. About 4-5 minutes. Watch closely to prevent burning. Once done, remove from heat and set aside for later.

Feel free to use this walnut crumb in place of breadcrumbs in other recipes. It would be delicious on top of a macaroni and cheese, lasagna, or used between the fillo dough layers on my Vegan Spanakopita.

Cauliflower Pasta

To prepare the cauliflower pasta, begin by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. While the water is boiling, break up lasagna noodles into strips. Alternatively, use linguini noodles or any other long thin pasta shape. Be sure that your pasta is gluten-free in necessary. Cook pasta according to package directions.

While the water is boiling, heat olive oil over a large skillet. Once hot, add onions and garlic to the pan and sauté until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Next, add cauliflower florets and optional red chili flakes. Allow the cauliflower to brown a bit for 4-5 minutes. Once the cauliflower has a nice golden color add 3/4 cup of water. The cauliflower should be allowed to steam for 10-15 minutes. If after 15 minutes the cauliflower is still hard, continue adding water a few tbsp at a time. When the cauliflower is tender, remove from heat.

When the pasta is done, drain and place in the skillet with the cooked cauliflower. Top with walnut crumb mixture and toss to combine. Sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.

Cauliflower and walnut crumb pasta  in a large cast iron skillet.

And that’s it! Quick and easy! This cauliflower and walnut crumb pasta is a simple recipe that is sure to become your family’s go-to weeknight dinner. So grab a fork and enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

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

Garlic-phytochemicals

Onion- antioxidants; fiber; vitamin C; folate

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

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Cauliflower and Walnut Crumb Pasta

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: 30-minutes, cauliflower, easy, quick, simple, walnuts
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

Walnut Crumb

  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ¼ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried parsley
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • sea salt to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Cauliflower Pasta

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
  • ¾-1½ cups water
  • red chili pepper flakes to taste
  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped
  • 8 lasagna noodles, broken into strips or pasta of choice
  • parsley for garnish

Instructions

Walnut Crumb

  • Place walnuts, herbs, and spices into a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  • Add olive oil to a hot skillet and saute walnut crumb for 4-5 minutes until fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside for later.

Cauliflower Pasta

  • Prepare pasta according to package directions.
  • While the pasta cooks, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Once hot add onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent. About 3-4 minutes.
  • Add cauliflower and chili pepper flakes to pan and saute for 4-5 minutes until slightly browned. Add ¾ cup water to the pan and allow to steam the cauliflower about 10-15 minutes. If the cauliflower is still hard, continue adding water ¼ cup at a time until the cauliflower is tender.
  • Add chopped walnuts and cooked pasta. Toss to coat. Serve warm and top with chopped parsley.
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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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Roasted Beet and Walnut Salad

With Vegan Feta

This simple, healthy, delicious roasted beet and walnut salad makes for a fantastic holiday side dish. All you need is 1 dish, 4 ingredients, and 45 minutes. Loaded with nutritious beets and walnuts, fresh parsley, and tangy vegan feta, make this vibrant salad a part of your Thanksgiving table this year.

Roasted beet and walnut salad with feta and fresh parsley on a white plate with a bowl on walnuts and a wooden spoon.

Why I Love Beets

I love beets. I love their versatility. Their texture. The slight sweetness they have when they’re roasted. And in this salad the earthy and crunchy walnuts, salty and creamy feta, bright and fresh parsley work beautifully with roasted beets.

Thanksgiving Side

I also love Thanksgiving. And let me tell you, this dish is going to be perfect on your Thanksgiving table. It’s so incredibly easy to make and it will only take up about 30 minutes of that precious oven time you have allotted for the day.

Roasted beet and walnut salad with feta and fresh parsley on a white plate with a bowl on walnuts and a wooden spoon.

Preparation

I also love dishes that require virtually no preparation. (Are you sensing a theme here?) The prep time on my roasted beet and walnut salad is about 5-10 minutes. But if that is even too much to commit to on Thanksgiving morning, you can totally peel, dice, and bake your beets the day before. Just re-heat them gently in the microwave or a low-temperature oven and add the remaining ingredients before serving.

Make It A Meal

If you are finding this recipe any other time of the year other than November (or December), consider turning this dish into a meal. It’s so quick and simple that you could definitely throw it together on a busy weeknight. Or even make it over the weekend and have it prepped for weekday lunches.

Turn it into a meal by pairing it with pasta. Dice the beets into smaller bite-sized cubes and decrease the roasting time. When finished toss with your favorite pasta shape and some olive oil as well as the walnuts, vegan feta, and fresh parsley. You could also add garbanzo beans either while the beets are roasting or after they’ve been roasted.

I would love to hear what you think of this simple roasted beet and walnut salad. Let me know if you use it as a side at a holiday meal or for a quick weeknight meal.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Beets- folate, manganese

Parsley- vitamin C, iodine, iron, phytoestrogenetic properties (cancer-preventing properties)

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

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Roasted Beet and Walnut Salad

This simple, healthy, delicious roasted beet and walnut salad makes for a fantastic holiday side dish. All you need is 1 dish, 4 ingredients, and 45 minutes. Loaded with nutritious beets and walnuts, fresh parsley, and tangy vegan feta, make this vibrant salad a part of your Thanksgiving table this year.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: beet, easy, gluten-free, healthy, holiday sides, light, parsley, quick, salad, vegan, vegan feta, walnuts
Servings: 6 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • 6 whole beets, peeled cubed
  • ¼ cup walnuts use more or less depending on preference
  • ¼ cup vegan feta, crumbled* use more or less depending on preference
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped use more or less depending on preference

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F. Peel and dice beets and place in an 9×13 baking dish. Roast beets for 30-40 minutes stirring half way. Beets are finished cooking when they are tender and slightly crispy on the outside.
  • Add walnut pieces, crumbled feta, and chopped parsley to beets.
  • Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

I use this recipe from Erin Ireland for the vegan feta. It’s absolutely amazing and so simple that there’s no way I could improve it.
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Roasted Green Vegetables with Vegan Walnut Pesto

Roasted green vegetables get dressed up with a vegan walnut pesto. Five ingredients and 30 minutes are all you need to make this healthy and satisfying side dish.

Roasted green vegetables (asparagus, Brussel's sprouts, and zucchini spirals) on a wooden platter and to a bowl of vegan walnut pesto.

If you don’t think you like asparagus or Brussel’s sprouts you have to give this roasted green vegetables with vegan walnut pesto a try. Don’t write these veggies off completely, ok. I guarantee that the key to enjoying these vegetables is properly prepping and roasting them. Allow me to share a few tips for selecting, preparing and serving each of these vegetables.

Asparagus

When selecting asparagus it’s important to remember that you want thin, sturdy stalks. The thicker the stalk, the tougher and more bitter it will be. Not exactly the most desirable, right? After rinsing, snap the asparagus to remove the tougher bottom of the stalk. This part of the vegetable isn’t something you’ll want to eat. Lastly, cut the edible portion of the asparagus in half and it’s ready to roast in this dish.

Brussel’s sprouts

As far as Brussel’s sprouts go…I’ve been there. I know that they can seem very un-appealing at times. But just like the asparagus, there’s a trick to making them delicious. I’m convinced that the best way to serve Brussel’s sprouts is shaved. They cook quickly, get a nice crispy texture, and transform into something overwhelmingly amazing.

Zucchini

I don’t think its any secret that zucchini is super versatile. In this recipe I decided to add texture and interest to the dish by using spiralized zucchini. You can either buy the zucchini spiralized or do it yourself. I like making it myself to cut down on plastic and ensure freshness. This is the spiralizer I use. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done.

Roasted green vegetables (asparagus, Brussel's sprouts, and zucchini spirals) on a wooden platter being set on a table next to a bowl of vegan walnut pesto.

Once you’ve decided to make this side dish (and believe me, you really should make it), it’s going to pair nicely with marinated tofu or a lentil loaf. Throw pasta in the mix for a unique take on a warm pasta salad. Or add beans or lentils to take this dish from the sidelines to the main attraction.

Share with me how you would use this dish to up you vegetable game.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Asparagus: Folic acid, vitamin C, thiamine, B6, glutathione, protodioscin

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Roasted Green Vegetables with Vegan Walnut Pesto

Roasted green vegetables get dressed up with a vegan walnut pesto. Five ingredients and 30 minutes are all you need to make this healthy and satisfying side dish.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: asparagus, brussels sprouts, side, vegan, zucchini
Servings: 4 people
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • 2 medium zucchini, spiralized or cut into half moons
  • 1 bunch asparagus, ends removed and trimmed
  • 1 lb brussels sprouts, shaved or cut in half
  • olive oil spray
  • ½ batch vegan walnut pesto *see notes*

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Coat vegetables with olive oil cooking spray and toss.
  • Roast vegetables for 30 minutes stirring half way though to ensure even cooking.
  • Add Vegan Walnut Pesto to warm vegetables and serve.

Notes

*Check out my Vegan Walnut Pesto or sub your favorite homemade/store bought pesto
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Vegan Walnut Pesto

Traditionally made with pine nuts, this version of 5-ingredient vegan pesto is prepared with raw, unsalted walnuts. Use this pesto on your pasta or roasted vegetables, as a salad dressing, or a dip for raw vegetables. Simple, flavorful, and quick, this versatile vegan walnut pesto is sure to be your new go-to sauce.

Vegan walnut pesto topped with hemp seeds, walnuts, and basil leaves with vegetables in the background.

All that you need for this pesto are 5 simple ingredients and a small food processor. Toss the raw walnuts, fresh basil, vegan parmesan cheese, olive oil, and salt and pepper into a small food processor blending until combined. I prefer a smooth, thick pesto but feel free to prepare it to fit your preference and desired use.

Pesto Texture

If this pesto is going to be used traditionally for coating pasta or vegetables, make sure that it’s relatively smooth and pourable. You want it to be just thick enough to stick.

On the other hand, if you’re going to be using this pesto as a dip or spread, it would be best served with some chunks of walnuts. You can process the ingredients until smooth and then pulse in extra walnuts. Alternatively, dice some walnuts yourself and toss them in after processing. You will also want the pesto to be fairly thick so that it can scooped up.

To use this vegan walnut pesto as a salad dressing, make sure that it’s very smooth and has a very pourable consistency. You can achieve this by adding more olive oil or water to the pesto while processing.

Be sure to share with me in the comments below how you are going to be using this pesto.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Basil: Phytochemicals; volatile oils (antibacterial properties)

Garlic: Phytochemicals

Olive oil: Monounsaturated fats

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

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Walnut Pesto

Earthy, nutty, creamy, this pesto is perfect when paired with roasted vegetable or used as a sauce on your favorite pasta. Be bold and use it as a salad dressing or even a dip for raw vegetables.
Prep Time10 mins
Total Time10 mins
Course: Dips and Sauces
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: 10-minutes, 5-ingredient, basil, parmesan, pesto, vegan, walnuts
Author: Erin

Equipment

  • Small food processor

Ingredients

  • ½ cup walnuts raw, unsalted
  • ¼ cup fresh basil
  • ½-¾ cup olive oil depending on desired consistency
  • 2-3 tbsp vegan parmesan *see notes below*
  • 1 clove garlic
  • salt & pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients in a small food processor and pulse until well combined. Start by adding ¼ cup of olive oil and increase amount to reach desired consistency.
  • Serve on roasted vegetables or pasta. Use as a marinade for tofu or tempeh. Add to a fresh salad for a dressing or dip tray with raw vegetables.

Notes

I love this recipe for vegan hemp parmesan cheese from Hannah Chia.
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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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Vegan Date-Nut Bread

This breakfast vegan date-nut quick bread is sure to put you in the mood for fall. Requiring only 11 ingredients this simple bread is egg-free, can be made gluten-free and gets most of its delicate sweetness from dates. Enjoy it warm with coffee or tea and topped with fresh fruit and vegan cream cheese or butter.

Loaf of sliced bread on a wood cutting board with a vegan cream cheese topped slice plated on a white dish.

I’m so excited that September has finally hit. Here we are 1 week in and I’ve already got my fall decorations up. Anyone else hit that point yet where it’s like, “Buh-bye summer”? Of course here in Southern California we’re still 85 and sunny. But oh well…We can’t have it all.

Anyway, with most of the country cooling down I figured it was time to welcome fall with a super simple yet totally delicious vegan version of a date-nut bread. I subbed out the egg for a flax egg, white sugar for coconut sugar, and decided to try pecans instead of the usual walnuts (which was actually really tasty).

Loaf of bread on a wood cutting board with raspberries in the background and vegan cream cheese in the foreground.

Naturally Sweetened with Dates

Most of the light sweetness of this vegan date-nut bread comes from the dates themselves. I love the versatility of dates! They are wonderful natural sweeteners to breads, dessert hummus, and crust to name a few. Did I mention you can also just stuff them with some nut butter, dip ’em in chocolate and, BAM, you’ve got yourself a super simple snack that really hits that sweet-tooth craving. Anyway, because of their natural sweetness I didn’t have to add very much coconut sugar. If, however, you would prefer a sweeter bread, feel free to up the amount of coconut sugar to 1/2-3/4 of a cup.

Sliced bread on a wood cutting board with a vegan cream cheese topped slice plated on a white dish with fresh raspberries on the side.

Why coffee in the recipe?

The coffee in this bread is used as a flavor enhancer. Personally, I hate coffee. I know, I know…I’m probably the only person in America who doesn’t drink the stuff. (But I do love the smell.) So trust me when I say that you cannot taste the coffee in this bread. It only brings out the natural flavors already going on here. That being said, please don’t leave it out! I know it sounds weird to add something that you can’t really taste but trust me when I say, that it is necessary. Oh, and don’t have vanilla coffee? That’s totally fine! Try experimenting with another flavor and tell me down in the comments how it goes!

Loaf of sliced bread on a wood cutting board with a vegan cream cheese topped slice plated on a white dish with raspberries on the side.

May this vegan date-nut bread be a lovely new favorite in your fall breakfast repetuare! Be sure to dress it up with a smear of vegan cream cheese or vegan butter and enjoy with a fresh cup of coffee or tea. The loaf makes 10 healthy slices so it’s gonna last you a while. Place any extra in a freezer bag and freeze for those extra crisp fall mornings.

Enjoy friends!

Ingredient Health Benefits

Flax- Omega-3 fats; soluble and insoluble fiber

Pecans- Thiamine; Vitamin E; magnesium; protein; fiber; antioxidants; oleic acid; phytochemicals

Vegan Date-Nut Bread

This vegan date-nut quick bread is sure to put you in the mood for fall. Requiring only 11 ingredients this simple breakfast bread is egg-free and gets most of its delicate sweetness from dates. It is best served warm topped with fresh fruit and vegan cream cheese or butter.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Resting Time10 mins
Total Time1 hr 25 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: Vegan
Keyword: bread, breakfast, dairy-free, dates, gluten-free, pecans, quick bread, walnuts
Servings: 10 slices
Author: Erin

Ingredients

  • 2 cups dates, pitted, chopped
  • 4 tbsp room-temperature vegan butter
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • cup coconut sugar
  • 1 cup hot brewed coffee (I used vanilla roast)
  • 1 flax egg (1Tbsp flaxseed meal + 3Tbsp water)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • cups all-purpose flour (use gluten-free flour if desired)
  • 1 cup pecans or walnuts, chopped (I used a mix of both)

Instructions

  • Prehead oven to 350°F. Lightly grease an 8½ x 4½ loaf pan.
  • Begin by making the flax egg: whisk flax meal and water together in a small bowl and set aside for about 10 minutes until thick.
  • Place dates, butter, baking soad, salt and brown sugar in a mixing bowl. Pour in the hot coffee, stirring to combine. Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
  • Add the flax egg, vanilla, baking powder, and flour, beating gently until smooth. Stir in nuts.
  • Pour batter into prepared loaf pan, gently tapping the pan on the counter to remove any air bubbles.
  • Bake for 45 mintues, tenting with foil at 30 minutes to prevent over-browning. The bread is done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  • Allow to cool for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling wrack. Cool completely before cutting.
  • Serve with vegan cream cheese and fresh fruit.

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