Date Night Vegan Penne with Tempeh Chorizo and Red Pepper Cream Sauce

It’s still early spring, which means it’s perfectly acceptable to share this cozy pasta recipe, right?

Pasta is the ultimate date night meal. And if you gussy it up with tempeh chorizo and a creamy cashew red pepper sauce, you’ll most definitely succeed in impressing your person. As my dad always says, “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach!” Actually, the way to anyone’s heart is through their stomach. So even if you’re not making this for your special someone, you can still make this for your siblings, parents, that neighbour you just met, or even yourself (spoiling yourself with a pasta dinner like this is the best form of self-love!).

Almost every savoury recipe that you see on this blog has a balanced macronutrient ratio, and this one is a perfect example: tempeh chorizo provides protein, whole grain pasta provides carbohydrates, and the cashew red pepper sauce provides an ample amount of healthy fats. The sauteed kale adds micronutrients like calcium, vitamin K1, manganese, and cancer-fighting compounds. Cashews are also rich in micronutrients, including copper. Copper helps the body utilize iron, eliminates free radicals, and plays a role in the development of bone and connective tissue and in the production of melanin.

It actually makes the perfect meal to enjoy the night before a long run or hard workout. And aside from being healthy, this pasta tastes divine.

It comes together in just a few simple steps. First, you’ll make the tempeh chorizo, which is a recipe I developed in the very early days of blogging. However, instead of making 6 large patties, you’ll make 18 smaller ones.

Then, you’ll make the creamy roasted red pepper sauce. It’s a combination of soaked and drained raw cashews, roasted red pepper, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, vegetable broth, salt, and pepper.

The final step is cooking the pasta and sauteeing onions, garlic, celery, and kale, and tossing it all together.

All that remains to be done is serve the pasta and pour yourselves a glass another glass of wine.

We enjoyed this pasta with a simple salad of radicchio, escarole, and a creamy avocado dressing that I’ll be sharing soon. The bitterness of the greens provided a really wonderful contrast to the richness of the dish.

Tempeh Chorizo
Tempeh Chorizo
Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce
Tempeh Chorizo
Date Night Penne with Tempeh Chorizo and Red Pepper Cream Sauce
Date Night Penne with Tempeh Chorizo and Roasted Red Pepper Cream Sauce

Date Night Penne with Tempeh Chorizo and Red Pepper Cream Sauce

Penne, tempeh chorizo, and a creamy cashew red pepper cream sauce combine to create the perfect date night meal. 
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time50 mins
Course: Dinner, Entree, Main
Cuisine: Italian, Vegan
Servings: 4

Ingredients

Cashew Red Pepper Cream Sauce

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked in cold water for at least 4 hours or hot water for 1 hour, drained
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1 cup chopped roasted red pepper
  • 3/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

Pasta

  • 1 batch Tempeh Chorizo, made into 18 small patties (see note for recipe)
  • 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red or yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 celery stalks, finely chopped
  • 1 medium bunch kale, chopped
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 cups dry penne, rotini, fusili, or rigatoni pasta

Instructions

  • If you have not yet made the tempeh chorizo, do so before beginning anything else. 
  • Make the cashew cream sauce: Blend together the soaked and drained cashews, tomato paste, roasted red pepper, vegetable broth, salt, pepper, garlic, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast in a blender until very smooth and creamy. Transfer to a jar until ready to use. 
  • Heat the olive oil in a large heavy-bottomed skillet over medium. Add the onions, garlic, and a pinch of salt. Saute for 5 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the celery and cook 3 minutes more. Then add the kale, followed by the red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Cook until the kale is just bright green. Remove from heat. 
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, drain, and return to the pot. Add the sauteed greens and tempeh chorizo to the pot, followed by the cashew cream sauce. Toss to coat. Divide between bowls and enjoy with a glass of fine wine and a green salad. 

Notes

My Tempeh Chorizo recipe can be found here.
Red pepper cream sauce inspired by The Full Helping
Date night pasta idea inspired by Pinch of Yum

Did you make this recipe? Tag @holisticallie on Instagram and hashtag it #holisticallie.

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Superfood Hot Chocolate (Vegan)

This superfood hot chocolate is my favourite afternoon pick-me-up or healthy dessert when I’m craving something warm and sweet and the end of the day. It’s packed with good for you ingredients like cocoa, reishi mushroom, cashew butter, coconut oil, cinnamon, vanilla, and is sweetened with a Medjool date. Reishi mushroom helps with relaxation and a healthy stress response, and I find that it helps me wind down in the evening. It’s also believed to benefit heart health.

Warm drinks like this one are a crucial part of my self care rituals. There’s something really meditative about sipping a warm drink, made with intention, in the peace of your own home. I enjoy going out to cafes, but I would take a homemade drink like this one any day.

I don’t have grand plans for the weekend- brunch with a good friend today, then working on a paper for the rest of the day and work tomorrow. I’m trying to find ways to incorporate little things that bring me joy into every day, and that seems to be helping to get out of the slump that I seem to have fallen into. In other news, I impulsively registered for the Ottawa Marathon earlier in the week, so I’ll be in training mode for that for the next seven weeks or so. I ran 25 km on Thursday, and it was a real wake-up call that I’m not where I want to be as far as stamina goes. I’m tempted to set a lofty time goal, but then again, I don’t feel that my fitness is where it was in October when I ran 3:25:54 at the Toronto Marathon. I’m not going to put too much pressure on myself, but I’m a competitive person and I REALLY want to run under 3:25 to get a guaranteed entry at Boston 2020. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t at least a bit disappointed with myself for not pushing harder in October- I mean, what’s 54 seconds? Had I known how close I was going to be, I definitely would have gutted out a stronger finish. Run and learn, though!

Well, that’s all for today. I hope you love this healthy hot chocolate!

Superfood Hot Chocolate (VEGAN)

A healthy hot chocolate made with cashew butter, coconut oil, cocoa, cinnamon, reishi mushroom, and sweetened with Medjool date. The perfect cozy tonic for your body and soul. 
Prep Time2 mins
Cook Time5 mins
Total Time7 mins
Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Vegan
Servings: 1 mug of hot chocolate

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tbsp Botanica Reishi Hot Cocoa (see note)
  • 1 tbsp cashew butter or other nut/seed butter
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 pitted Medjool date
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp virgin coconut oil (makes it ultra frothy)

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. 
  • Pour into a small saucepan and heat over medium, whisking occasionally, until hot. Pour into a mug and enjoy. 

Notes

I used Botanica Reishi Hot Cocoa in this recipe (not sponsored, just a product I really enjoy). If you are unable to find this product, simply use an additional 1/2 tbsp of cocoa powder instead! 

Did you make this recipe? Take a photo and post it to Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook with #holisticallie and @holisticallie!

Smoky Barbecue Black Bean Burgers

Believe it or not, I was an extremely picky eater as a kid. The number of meals I would eat could be counted on one hand, while the number of meals I turned my nose up to could easily fill a small book. My poor food-loving parents, huh? They were always trying new recipes from their many cookbooks and magazines, and I had zero appreciation for how avant garde they actually were. Thankfully, my older brother was an adventurous eater who was able to validate my parents’ efforts to feed us healthily.

My top five least favourite dishes? Tofu pesto (yeah, that was a Moosewood cookbook classic), parathas (Indian sweet potato-stuffed flatbread), bulgur burgers, salmon burgers (the only way I would choke them down was with a thick layer of Cheez Whiz), and anything containing ground meat.

I never liked meat, but it wasn’t until around age 10 that I began to warm up to vegetables. I always loved my carbs, though! I think I must have been on the 80/10/10 diet before it was even a thing, ha!

These veggie burgers are, according to my trusty taste testers, my best yet. They are sturdy, flavourful, and have crispy exteriors, which are my top three veggie burger parameters. The smoky flavour comes from smoked paprika (my secret weapon for endowing that elusive meaty note to vegan cusine) and subtle sweetness from barbecue sauce. And they actually hold together, thanks to the inclusion of both ground walnuts and bread crumbs. I chose to serve them on buns with pickles, lettuce, tomato, and my homemade green goddess sauce that I originally created for my Vegan Meatball Pizza, only I subbed cilantro for the parsley to give it a southwestern flair.

I think you’re going to LOVE these burgers. They’re the perfect way to usher in a new season, and they’re so much fun to eat.

Black bean burgers with green goddess sauce.

Smoky Barbecue Black Bean Burgers

These hearty black bean burgers are spicy, smoky, and a bit sweet. They hold together perfectly and are accompanied by a tasty cilantro green goddess sauce. Enjoy them on buns or crumbled over greens with the green goddess sauce as a dressing! 
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time1 hr 20 mins
Course: Dinner, Entree, Lunch, Main
Cuisine: American, Vegan
Servings: 10 large burgers

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup brown rice, rinsed
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 medium sweet potatos, peeled and diced into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1 cup bread crumbs, preferably homemade (see note)
  • 3 cups cooked black beans (or 1 large can, rinsed and drained)
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup barbecue sauce
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tbsp hot sauce
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt, plus more to taste

For serving:

  • Tomato
  • Lettuce
  • Pickles
  • Green Goddess Sauce, made with cilantro instead of parsley (see note for recipe link)
  • Buns, collard or lettuce leaves, or pitas

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Cook the brown rice: In a small saucepan, combine the brown rice, water, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 40-45 minutes, until all of the water has been absorbed. 
  • Place the diced sweet potato on the prepared baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle on a pinch of salt and toss to coat. Roast for 40-45 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 F and leave it on to bake the burgers. 
  • Toast the walnuts in a large skillet over medium heat until browned and fragrant. Once cool enough to handle, finely chop and place them in a large bowl along with the breadcrumbs. 
  • Place the black beans into a food processor fitted with the ‘S’ blade. Pulse a few times until broken, but do not over-process. Add the beans to the large bowl. Then add the cooked sweet potato, brown rice, onion, garlic, barbecue sauce, spices, hot sauce, cilantro, and salt. Lightly mash the sweet potato and stir everything well to combine. Taste and add additional salt if desired. 
  • Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Divide the mixture into 10 tennis ball-sized rounds and place on the prepared baking sheets. Use your hands to gently flatten the burgers. Bake until the burgers are crispy on the outside but not burnt, about 35-40 minutes. 
  • Serve on buns, collard or lettuce leaves, or pitas with desired toppings. 

Notes

To make 1 cup of homemade bread crumbs: Cube 5 slices of desired bread (I like whole grain sourdough) into 1-inch cubes and toast in a 350 F oven for 7 minutes. Then place the toasted bread into a food processor fitted with the ‘S’ blade and blend until you have bread crumbs. 
Green Goddess Sauce recipe can be found here.

I’ve been feeling discombobulated this week, having just returned to work and a with big term paper due in seven days. I have a lot of negative feelings about university. I’ve never felt that my program is a good fit for me, and as whiny as it sounds, I can’t see a point in anything I’m learning. I still wish that I would have chosen to major in nutrition and dietetics, and I’m definitely not ruling that out. I guess I still have time to figure it out. But the one thing that always brings me joy is writing recipes and sharing them with the world. That’s where my heart is, and that’s what I’ll continue to do as I figure out everything else!

Thanks as always for reading my posts, and I will be back here again on Saturday with my standard weekend beverage post.

Did you make this recipe? Let’s see it! Post a photo on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram with #holisticallie and @holisticallie!

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Shake

Good morning! Popping in with a drink recipe and a few reads again. Hopefully you’ve fared all right during this emotional week of two heartbreaking tragedies, and that you were uplifted by the climate action protests around the world on Friday. As senseless and heartbreaking as these tragedies are, they make me extra grateful for this life, and remind me of its fragility. And the climate action protests are yet another reminder that we all can, and must, treat Mother Earth with more care and respect. Be kind to the earth, be kind to yourself, and spread love to all beings–human and non-human alike.

With that, I leave you with a smoothie recipe that is kind to your body and the earth. It doesn’t hurt that it tastes just like a peanut butter cookie in smoothie form, too! Of course, you can use whichever nut or seed butter you like.

Here are some reads that caught my eye this week:

  1. How to wake up with more joy.
  2. We are unstoppable. Another world is possible.” The youth are rising in 112 countries and counting.
  3. Tiny Costa Rica has a Green New Deal, too. And it matters for the whole planet. The country wants to wean itself from fossil fuels by 2050.
  4. Have you heard of Loop? Now, similar startups are popping up, aiming to all but remove plastic from the consumption equation by offering products in refillable containers. But unlike zero waste stores, the refilling is done by the company itself. I’m really hoping this goes mainstream.
  5. I love my car-free lifestyle and am a pretty outspoken car-free advocate. George Monbiot expresses it so succinctly : “Let’s abandon this disastrous experiment, recognise that this 19th-century technology is now doing more harm than good, and plan our way out of it. Let’s set a target to cut the use of cars by 90% over the next decade.”



Peanut Butter Oatmeal Cookie Shake

A delicious smoothie that tastes just like a peanut butter oatmeal cookie! It packs a serious punch of fibre, potassium, and healthy fat. 
Prep Time5 mins
Total Time5 mins
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Vegan
Servings: 1 500 mL/16 oz smoothie
Author: Allison

Ingredients

  • 1 cup unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • 1 large frozen banana, chopped
  • 1 pitted Medjool date, soaked for 10 minutes if hard
  • 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1/8 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 ice cube

Instructions

  • Place ingredients in a blender and blend until very smooth. Pour into a glass and enjoy. 

Notes

If you do not have a high-speed blender, I recommend soaking the oats and almond milk together for 10 minutes before proceeding with the recipe. 

If you make this recipe, tag your photo #holisticallie and @holisticallie on Instagram!

Double Chocolate Protein Bars

Why buy protein bars when it takes ten minutes to whip up a batch in your own kitchen? These protein bars are packed with protein (obviously), healthy fat, complex carbs, and are lightly sweetened with pure maple syrup! The icing on the cake, so to speak, is the raw chocolate glaze. Made with just four ingredients (cacao butter, raw cacao, maple syrup, and almond milk), it propels these protein bars into “I can’t ever go back to store-bought” territory. 

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Well, we made it to Friday. If you have a Monday to Friday job, happy weekend! If, like me, you still find yourself working retail on weekends, I feel ya! Hopefully you can make the most of whatever time you have off over the next couple of days.

I don’t know anyone who actually craves store-bought protein bars. Sure, I will eat one in a pinch (and given that I work in a health food store, there is never any shortage of options for when one is feeling rather peckish). However, I have never been able to find one that suits my taste and quality preferences. Most of them contain at least a handful of ingredients that I am not keen on putting into my body, and I would rather keep things as healthy and natural as possible. Add to that the fact that I am trying to reduce my plastic footprint, and it’s easy to see why homemade is the way to go.

This protein bar recipe is the product of a desperate attempt to use up some protein powder that had almost reached its best before date. It’s entirely a first world problem, true, but I hate to waste food, and I couldn’t possibly stomach more protein smoothie bowls.

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These bars make the PERFECT afternoon snack when you’re low on energy and need a pick-me-up to get you through the afternoon. They are also phenomenal as a post-workout snack to kickstart muscle recovery. However and whenever you choose to enjoy them, I hope that they become your new favourite snack!

If you make this recipe, let me know! Leave a comment below, and tag me on Instagram with @holisticallie and #holisticallie!

Double Chocolate Protein Bars 

Servings: 10
Cuisine: Vegan
Time: 15 minutes + 30 minutes chill time

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup chocolate protein powder of choice (I used Botanica brand)
  • 1 cup oat flour
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt or pink Himalayan salt
  • 1/2 cup nut or seed butter of choice (peanut, almond, cashew, sunflower, tahini all work)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk

Raw Chocolate Topping

  • 1/4 cup cacao butter
  • 2.5 tbsp raw cacao powder
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp non-dairy milk

Instructions:

  1. Combine protein powder, oat flour, salt, maple syrup, and nut butter in a large mixing bowl. Stir until dough begins to form. Gradually add non-dairy milk until mixture reaches a cookie dough consistency.
  2. Line a 8×8 square baking pan with parchment paper. Press dough evenly into pan and flatten as much as possible. You want the dough to be packed as tightly as possible so that the bars do not fall apart.
  3. Prepare the raw chocolate. Place cacao butter in a heat-proof bowl over a pot of almost boiling water. Once melted, remove from heat and whisk in remaining raw chocolate ingredients. Pour over protein bar dough.
  4. Place in the freezer for 30 minutes or until chocolate has hardened.
  5. Slice into 10 even rectangles and store in the refrigerator until ready to consume.

 

 

Vegan Essentials: Cashew Tzatziki

Here is my second “vegan essentials” installment! Everybody loves tzatziki, but vegan and dairy-free folks often go without. Not anymore, with my vegan tzatziki sauce that tastes as good as, if not better than, the “real” thing! Cashews provide the dreamy, creamy base for this tangy, salty, and fresh-tasting tzatziki sauce that plays well with veggie burgers, kebabs, and all Mediterranean dishes!

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Cashew Tzatziki

Servings: 1 1/2 cups
Time: 5 minutes + 4 hours soaking time for cashews
Cuisine: Vegan, Plant-based

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews, soaked for a minimum of 4 hours and drained
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 tsp fine sea salt or Himalayan salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated cucumber, liquid squeezed out
  • 2 tbsp fresh mint, chopped

Instructions:

  1. Place cashews, water, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and pepper into a blender (preferably a high speed blender) and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a mixing bowl and add cucumber and mint.
  3. Store in a glass jar in the fridge until ready to use.

Vegan Essentials: Sunflower Seed ‘Parmesan’

It would seem as though every food blogger and her dog has a vegan ‘Parmesan’ recipe in her collection. Here is mine. It’s really nothing complicated or particularly original; however, I use sunflower seeds here because they are more affordable, more often locally produced, and less allergenic than the more typical cashews. This ‘cheese’ is versatile and can be sprinkled on everything from pasta to salads. 

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Hello again! I hope that you have had a lovely weekend. I’m dropping in with a quick and easy “vegan essentials” recipe: sunflower seed Parmesan. There are more vegan ‘Parmesan’ recipes on the web than I could shake a stick at, but I created one with a few simple ingredients that is perfect for sprinkling over pasta dishes and salads.

Continue reading “Vegan Essentials: Sunflower Seed ‘Parmesan’”

Tempeh Chorizo

This tempeh chorizo is guaranteed to please vegans and omnivores alike! It’s intensely flavourful and can stand in for the “real thing” on pizza, breakfast burritos and sandwiches, quesadillas, salads, and more! Rich in complete protein and without a single processed ingredient, I can’t think of a healthier (or more delicious!) faux meat! 

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Continue reading “Tempeh Chorizo”

Pan-Fried Maple-Tamari-Sriracha Tofu

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This tofu is guaranteed to turn any tofu hater into a lover! Nobody can resist the sweet, salty, and mildly spicy flavour of this dish. It is also incredibly versatile, and works well as a filling in wraps, a topping for bowls, and on its own as a tasty, protein-rich snack!

VEGAN
Gluten-Free

Servings: 4
Time: 30 minutes marinating + 15 minutes cooking

3 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tbsp sriracha (I like Simply Natural brand organic sriracha)
1 block (350 g) extra firm organic tofu, diced into 1-inch cubes
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil

Directions: 

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together tamari, maple syrup, and sriracha.
  2. Add tofu and toss to combine.
  3. Allow tofu to marinate for at least 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours, if possible.
  4. In a large skillet (preferably cast iron), heat coconut oil over medium heat. Once hot, add the tofu.
  5. Cook tofu for about five minutes, then carefully flip and cook for five minutes on the other side.
  6. Continue cooking the tofu until most of the marinade has caramelized and the tofu itself is crispy.
  7. Remove from heat and enjoy in wraps, on bowls, or as part of a plate with roasted sweet potato, greens, and sauce. The sky really is the limit with this tofu.