Brown Rice Pasta with Roasted Asparagus and Tomatoes

There’s something about pasta with tomato sauce and asparagus that just goes together beautifully! If you haven’t tried brown rice pasta yet, consider trying it as an alternative to traditional pasta. It’s gluten-free and has a wonderful flavor and texture! Another ingredient that’s very versatile in plant-based meals is nutritional yeast. Its name may sound strange, but you can use it like Parmesan cheese and it’s especially great on Italian dishes! (It’s also high in B vitamins.) This pasta dish is super-simple, but very satisfying. While the veggies are roasting, cook your pasta and heat up your sauce, and you’re done! (Also, my local supermarket carries brown rice pasta and nutritional yeast, so they shouldn’t be too hard to find.)


Brown rice pasta (I likeHCV_BrownRicePastaWithAsparagus - 1 (1)HCV_BrownRicePastaWithAsparagus - 1Tinkyada brand)
Tomato or marinara sauce
Fresh tomatoes
Olives oil
Herbs and spices
Nutritional yeast (optional – I like Red Star brand)


Trim tough ends off asparagus and chop into pieces.
De-seed and chop fresh tomatoes.HCV_BrownRicePastaWithAsparagus - 1 (2)
Toss asparagus and tomatoes in olive oil.
Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and parsley flakes.
Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes, tossing occasionally.



HCV_BrownRicePastaWithAsparagus - 1 (3)Cook pasta (if using brown rice pasta, rinse after cooking).
Heat tomato or marinara sauce.



Top pasta with marinara, and then roasted asparagus and tomatoes.
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Sprinkle with nutritional yeast to for some added flavor.



Yellow Rice with Black Beans and Veggies

Turmeric and cumin (plus other seasonings) give yellow rice so much flavor! When making this dish, saute the diced veggies while the rice is cooking, and then add a can of black beans. You can use any combo of diced veggies that you have on hand. Couldn’t be easier… and it’s full of protein and healthy veggies!

HCV_YellowRice - 1Yellow rice:
1-1/2  cups rice (white, basmati, jasmine)
2 cups veggie broth + 1 cup water
1 Tblsp margarine or olive oil
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground cumin
Salt, garlic powder, onion powder
Dried parsley
Hot pepper or taco spice (optional)

HCV_YellowRice - 1 (1)1 can black beans, drained
Frozen corn (optional)



Make yellow rice:
Add broth and HCV_YellowRice - 1 (2)water to a large saucepan
Add margarine or olive oil
Add turmeric and cumin
Add other spices
Bring to a boil
Stir in rice and cover
Lower heat and simmer for approx 17 min

While rice is cooking, dice veggies small
(I like zucchini, tomato, broccoli, onion)
Saute in a little oil until soft
Add black beans and saute another minute
(You can also add some corn at this point)

HCV_YellowRice - 1 (4)Combine rice and veggie/bean mixture
Adjust seasoning if necessary

Great served with avocado slices and lime wedge!

Stuffed Peppers with Rice and Veggies

I remember growing up when my mother would make stuffed peppers, and I would love the way they smelled when baking in the oven! This version has a delicious seasoned rice and veggie filling. You can use any combo of veggies that you like! Chopped mushrooms and fresh herbs would be nice additions too. These are so flavorful and so inexpensive to make!

HCV_StuffedPeppers - 1 (1)5 bell peppers (green, red, yellow or orange)
1 cup rice (white, basmati or jasmine)
1 small can tomato paste
2 cups chopped veggies, diced small (I used zucchini,carrots,celery,onions and broccoli)
Herbs and spices



HCV_StuffedPeppers - 1 (2)After the veggies are chopped, heat 2 Tbsp oil in a skillet.
Add veggies and cook saute until soft.
Bring 2 cups water (or broth) + 1 Tbsp tomato paste to a boil.
Add rice, cover and cook approx 17 min.

While veggies and rice are cooking, slice top off of peppers and clean out the pulp and seeds. You may also have to slice a little off the bottom so they sit flat.



HCV_StuffedPeppers - 1 (3)When veggies and rice are cooked, combine both, along with herbs and spices. (salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley… I also like to add a little spicy taco seasoning)
Fill peppers with rice and veggie filling,
Spread some tomato paste on top of each pepper.
Set peppers in a baking pan.



HCV_StuffedPeppers - 1 (4)Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Pour a little water (1/2 cup-1 cup) in bottom of pan (this will help peppers to steam and cook)
Cover pan with foil and bake 40 min covered, and 10 min uncovered


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Stuffed peppers are so delicious and kid-friendly! They also re-heat very well!

Lentil and Veggie Shepherd’s Pie

Shepherd’s pie is definitely comfort food, and this one is so healthy, with lentils and familiar veggies that kids love! Lentils add protein and fiber to this dish, and you can use any combo of vegetables that you like. Mushrooms provide a nice texture with the lentils, but you can leave them out if you wish, or replace with sauteed, diced onion, zucchini, etc. A can of diced or crushed tomatoes is also a nice addition to the lentil and veggie mixture for the base. The key to making this is in the timing. While the lentils are cooking, saute any other veggies like mushrooms or onions, and also make mashed potatoes!

(Note: Smaller lentils like French lentils or red lentils will cook faster than the larger ones that are light brown in color.)

HCV_VeggieShepherdsPie - 11 cup dry lentils (If possible soak lentils the night before or at least a few hours – they will double in size and also cook much faster)
2 cups veggie broth
1 cup frozen mixed veggies (i.e. corn,carrots,peas,green beans)
1-2 cups mushrooms, chopped small
4 med potatoes, peeled and chopped (for mashed potatoes)
Spices – Salt, onion powder, garlic powder
Herbs – Parsley, sage

HCV_VeggieShepherdsPie - 1 (1)Bring veggies broth plus herbs and spices to boil. Rinse and drain lentils and add to broth. Cook until soft (approx 20-45 depending on type of lentils)
Add extra broth if necessary – should be a little soupy

In the meantime, start making mashed potatoes. Boil water (add salt) and add potatoes.
When potatoes are soft, mash with salt, pepper, 2 Tblsp margarine and 1/2 cup unsweetened almond or soy milk


Saute chopped mushrooms in a little margarine or oil.HCV_VeggieShepherdsPie - 1 (2)

When lentils are soft, add mushrooms and mixed veggies and cook 10 min longer.


Put layer of lentil mixture in pie dish (spray with cooking spray first)
Spread layer of mashed potatoes on top
Cook 350 degrees about 40 min and then broil 5 min to brown top


Enjoy! This is also great for leftovers and can be easily reheated in the microwave!

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Veggie Enchilada Casserole

I love vegetable enchiladas, especially when they’re smothered in enchilada sauce! This casserole has a lot of the same elements. I used spinach in this version, but you could also add broccoli, mushrooms, zucchini or other veggies you like. I like the fact that this casserole is similar to a lasagna and can be cut in squares. You can sprinkle some shredded non-dairy cheese on top if desired, but this casserole is great even without it. It’s extra delicious with a dollop of guac on top!

HCV_VeggieEnchiladaCasserole - 18 corn tortillas, cut in halves
1 can black beans (or any other type)
1 cup corn (fresh, frozen or canned)
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped

Enchilada sauce:
1 cup veggie broth
1 small can tomato paste
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
Salt, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano
Cayenne pepper or hot sauce (optional)

1/4 cup Daiya non-dairy cheese, shredded
(optional for top)HCV_VeggieEnchiladaCasserole - 1 (5)

Make enchilada sauce by combining all sauce ingredients in saucepan and simmer a few minutes.
Drain black beans and place in saucepan. Add 1/2 cup broth/water, plus seasonings (salt, garlic powder, onion powder) and bring to boil. Mash beans with potato masher.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Now you can start assembling casserole.
Spread 1/4 sauce in an 8×8 baking pan.
Place 5 corn tortillas halves to cover bottom.
Spread half of black beans on tortillas.HCV_VeggieEnchiladaCasserole - 1 (2)
Spread half of corn on beans.
Spread half of spinach (or other veggies)
Spread 1/4 sauce on top of veggies
Place 5 more corn tortillas halves on top
Repeat fillings the same as first layer.
Spread remaining 6 corn tortilla halves on top.
Spread remaining sauce over tortillas.
(Optionally, sprinkle shredded Daiya cheese on top)


Bake 30 min HCV_VeggieEnchiladaCasserole - 1 (3)covered, 10 min uncovered
Let stand for 5 min before cutting

For guacamole:
Mash avocado with lime juice, salt and cilantro


Serve with guacamole and/or vegan sour cream!

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Creamy Vegetable Soup

In my last post, I described how to make “cashew cream” for vodka-tomato-cream sauce. The recipe only used one cup (or half) of the batch of cashew cream, so here is another recipe that you can use with the other half! This recipe is so easy and also creamy and full of flavor! You can use any combo of veggies that you like. I like broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, but you can use potatoes, sweet potatoes or others as well! This soup is also a perfect use for an immersion blender… you can blend it smooth in seconds!

HCV_CreamyVegSoup - 1
6 cups veggie broth/water
Small bunch broccoli, chopped
Small bunch cauliflower, chopped
2 carrots. chopped
1 cup cashew cream (see below)
Salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder
Thyme, sage, parsley

Cashew cream:
1 cup unsalted cashews, soaked for a few hours
1 cup unsweetened almond milkHCV_CreamyVegSoup - 1 (1)
1 Tblsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
Garlic powder

Drain cashews and blend all ingredients for cashew cream in food processor until smooth
(Makes 2 cups)

Bring veggie broth/water to a boil.
Add chopped veggies.
Add herbs and spices.
Simmer until veggies are soft 10-15 min.HCV_CreamyVegSoup - 1 (2)

Remove from heat and blend with immersion blender until smooth. Stir in 1 cup cashew cream and simmer a few more minutes.

This soup is so creamy, and is a beautiful, vibrant green!

HCV_CreamyVegSoup - 1 (4)

Penne with Vodka-Tomato-Cream Sauce

Vodka tomato cream sauce always sounds so good, but it’s traditionally very decadent and made with butter, heavy cream and Parmesan cheese. I’m happy to report that it doesn’t have to be this way. This version is super-creamy and flavorful and best of all it’s dairy-free! Instead, it includes “cashew cream”. Cashew cream is a magical thing… it can be added to soups, sauces and casseroles to give a rich, creamy flavor!

HCV_PenneVodkaSauce - 11 can crushed tomatoes
1/3 cup veggie broth
1/4 cup vodka
1 cup cashew cream (see below)
Salt, garlic powder, onion powder
Basil, oregano, parsley
1/2 box penne pasta

Cashew cream: (makes 2 cups)
1 cup unsalted cashews, soaked for a few hours
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 Tblsp lemon juice
1 Tblsp olive oil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Garlic powder
HCV_PenneVodkaSauce - 1 (1)
To make the cashew cream, drain cashews. Add to food processor with other ingredients and blend until smooth. (This will make approx. 2 cups, so you can use the other half for another recipe)
Start cooking penne pasta.

In a large skillet, add crushed tomatoes and veggie broth (or you can first saute fresh garlic and onion if you prefer)
Add herbs and spices.
Bring to a simmer and add vodka (alcohol will cook off).
Simmer for a few minutes.
Lastly, stir in 1 cup of the cashew cream.
Add cooked penne to skillet and toss with sauce.

HCV_PenneVodkaSauce - 1 (2)This pasta is rich and creamy, and very satisfying! You can also sprinkle with fresh parsley or red pepper flakes.
Serve with a green vegetable or green salad!

Greek-inspired Bean and Veggie Stew

There are so many elements of Greek food that I love… Kalamata olives, tomatoes, artichokes, spinach and olive oil to name a few! I decided to come up with a stew that incorporates many of these ingredients with a light, flavorful sauce! You can play with the spices and add any combination that you like. In addition to what I used, basil, thyme and marjoram would also be good. I’m looking forward to making this dish again in the summer with fresh herbs from my garden!


HCV_GreekStew - 1

1 large potato (or two med size), peeled and diced
Grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
Fresh spinach
1 can navy (or white) beans, drained
1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
Kalamata olives, pitted
Oil for sauteing
Steamed rice

3/4 cup vegetable brothHCV_GreekStew - 1 (1)
1-2 Tblsp lemon juice
1-2 Tblsp white wine
Spices – Salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, dill, parsley
Saute potatoes (if you like, can also add peppers, onions, garlic) in skillet in a little olive oil or canola oil. Cook 5-10 min.
Add olives, tomatoes and artichokes. Saute a few more minutes.
Add beans.
Mix sauce ingredients and add sauce to skillet. Add fresh spinach and cover.
Simmer for 5-10 min covered until spinach is wilted.
(You can add a little more broth if needed)

HCV_GreekStew - 1 (2)

Serve over rice and enjoy!






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