Raw family dinner: “Rawvioli”

Cooking for a big family must be tough but cooking for one is not easy either. It’s not uncommon for me to way overestimate the amount of groceries I need and I can only eat leftovers from the same dish for so long. Our significant others are off chasing dreams in distant locations (aka working real jobs or also in graduate school not at Purdue) so we decided to have a “family dinner” in their stead.

The fare: raw and vegan. Neither of us have much experience prepping raw food and I recently purchased Gena Hamshaw’s cookbook, Choosing Raw and I’ve been itching to try out a few recipes. We decided on Root “Rawvioli” with Nut Cheese and Pesto.

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Begin with the beet slicing. A mandoline is a must for this dish. There’s just no way to safely slice the beets thin enough without it. Mandolines are not crazy expensive and they are so darn useful. I got mine this summer at H-E-B for like fifteen bucks–you can’t beet beat that. If you need some additional encouragement, you can find one here. Random and shameless mandoline plug concluded.

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Apron required. Beets are bursting with color and are likely to stain your hands and everything else.

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Monique was master chef of the nut cheese.

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The recipe requires the cashews to soak overnight. We’re grad students in business school…that did not happen. However, someone told me to boil water and do a quick 20-30 minute soak. It did the trick! The consistency of the final product was bit thicker than what is described in the recipe but whatever.

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Pistachio pesto. Raw pistachios were no where to be found in our midwestern college town so we settled with roasted and salted. If you ever find yourself in a similar predicament, just hold off on the salt called for in the recipe and you should be good. A few whirls around the food processor and boom! chopped nuts:

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The micro grater is super handy when mincing garlic. It’s quick and easy too.

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With the beets sliced and the nut cheese and pesto prepared, we were ready to assemble the RAWviolis!

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The final review: it. was. so. delicious. Our raw family dinner was a huge success! This dish is bursting with flavor: from the mild and possibly sweet cashew cheese with playful hints of oregano, to the bold and zesty flavors of garlic and basil in the pistachio pesto. Mmm! Beets were a perfect vehicle to these two rockstars. In truth, there was a lot of nut cheese and pesto leftover but be sure, we were not complaining. They will pair perfectly with crackers, chips, or even veggies. Gena nailed this one out of the park and we highly recommend it. Find her cookbook here.

Kitchen bloopers:

1. We had a side dish planned. It was a salad of sorts, where the homemade dressing was to be the featured item. It was a total bust and we ended up eating a bowl of romaine with whatever dressing I had in the fridge.

2. Looking glamorous and cooking doesn’t always work out… 😉 And food photography/quality food making action shots are not easy.

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3. I know I’ve had a successful cooking adventure when the kitchen is destroyed (see countertop in an earlier photo). It’s all in the HappiMess 🙂

4. Let’s not forget about failing to soak the cashews overnight. Lesson learned: read the recipe all the way before committing.

Purely fun:

Kitchen Gadgets MVP awards: the food processor and the mandoline.
Likelihood of making this dish again: pretty darn high.
Would I recommend this recipe to a friend: yes, I already did multiple times.
Currently craving: brownies and sleep

Stove Top Chili Lasagna

Here in Houston I have minimal kitchen supplies as I left my whole kitchen in Indiana for the summer. I didn’t have the time or space to move it down and that makes me really sad now…but I’ll be really happy when I have to move back North in 5 weeks. I guess you can’t win ‘em all.

 

I have one pot and one 8” skillet to make it through the summer so I have to get creative if I want to eat food that isn’t take out or microwaved. I am an avid Pinterest user and I make a point to actually attempt the recipes I pin along with the arts and craft ideas. Understandably, not everything turns out well when I first try it so I took two trials to test out this recipe from Mel’s Kitchen Café, to my great surprise even though I had a tiny 8” skillet and had to break the recipe in half and mix it together in my one pot, it turned out perfectly!

 

If you’re looking for an easy and quick dinner that will save nicely for further lunches and dinners then BOOM-BABY, this is your dish!

In total you’ll spend 25-30 minutes with prep work, cooking and plating this meal, I spent about 7 minutes eating each serving throughout the week. Let’s get to the good stuff…

Skillet full of yum

Skillet full of yum

 

Ingredients

2 tbls. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 tsp. Chili Pepper *Suggested: Chipotle Chili Pepper

1 Chopped Yello Onion

4 tsp. Minced Garlic

2 cans (28oz.) Diced Tomatoes *Suggested: Fire Roasted Style

10+ Curly Edged oven ready lasagna noodles

2 small chopped zucchini

2 small chopped yellow squash

1 chopped Japanese Eggplant

1 cup Skim ricotta cheese

Sprinkle Parmesan Cheese

Chopped Veggies

Chopped Veggies

Supplies
–       12” skillet

Directions

  1. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in the skillet at medium heat
  2. Add onion & cook until soft
  3. Add garlic to skillet and cook for 1 minute
  4. Drain cans of diced tomatoes and add to skillet
  5. Break Lasagna noodles and place on top of the diced tomatoes, allow mixture to simmer then reduce to a medium heat and cook for 10 minutes. Stir occasionally
  6. Mix in chopped zucchini, squash and eggplant. Cook for 8-10 minutes on medium heat.
    1. You want the veggies to be tender
  7. Remove skillet from heat and add ricotta cheese, plate and sprinkle parmesan cheese for serving
Fully cooked and fully cheesed stove top lasagna.

Fully cooked and fully cheesed stove top lasagna.