Tag Archives: avocado

Creamy Avocado Pasta

Sometimes I really struggle to stay meatless on Mondays if I’m craving a nice creamy pasta dish for dinner. It doesn’t happen often, but when the hunger for rich food strikes, the avocado is my secret, meatless weapon against dairy-meat-munchies!

The avocado in this creamy pasta recipe works as a binder, creating a rich, smooth dressing with flecks of bitter greens and zesty citrus notes. You’ll notice that there’s no Parmesan cheese in this dish. Most varieties of that cheese are made with animal rennet– not good for Meatless Monday! I use almonds, nutritional yeast, and plenty of salt in my recipe to replace the “oomph” that Parmesan might add.

Creamy Avocado Pasta (serves 2)

1/2 pound vegan pasta
1 medium avocado
1 1/2 cups spinach, arugula, or romaine lettuce
1/2 cup basil leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon or lime juice, plus extra for seasoning
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup almond
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm, about 8-10 minutes. Reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid, and drain.

Meanwhile, scoop out the flesh of the avocado and place in a food processor. Add the greens, basil, citrus juice, garlic, salt, pepper, almond, and nutritional yeast. Blend until smooth.

Pour the pesto over the pasta in a serving dish. Toss to coat the pasta with sauce, adding a little pasta water as necessary to loosen the sauce. Taste the finished pasta and season to taste with lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately.

This pasta is best served on the same day it is prepared, since the avocado will oxidize and turn the sauce an unsightly brown color after a while.

 

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Local Box Meal Plan: June 20-24

Peaches – Caskey Orchards 
Blueberries – JB Organic
Assorted Summer Squash – Gundermann Acres and Texas Natural 
Basil – Pure Luck 
Fennel – Bar W 
Avocado – G&S Groves 
Tomatoes – ABJ Farm and My Father’s Farm 
Black Radish – My Father’s Farm   
Summer Peas – Just Peachy Farm OR Engel Farms
Indian Cucumber – My Father’s Farm   

Peach-blueberry pie – Let me know if you’re getting tired of peach/blueberry combo recipes. I just love the two together in the summer. You can use store-bought pie crust here if you don’t want to make your own.

Chicken penne with basil

Spanish-style stuffed bell peppers

Cucumber, carrot, and radish salad with creamy avocado dressing – You can peel the Indian cucumbers and eat them in the salad raw, as you would a regular cucumber. If you don’t have crème fraiche on hand (and who usually does?) just sub sour cream. Or even whole milk.

– Stephanie

Local Box Meal Plan: Feb. 21-25

I am so, so excited about getting strawberries this week. What a rare local treat! Here’s the full list, video, and menu plan.

Strawberries – Gunderman Farm
Avocado – G&S Grove
Spinach – Orange Blossom
Planting Onions* – Orange Blossom
Collard Greens – Gunderman Farm
Fennel – J&B Farm
Mushrooms – Kitchen Pride
Bok Choy – Gunderman Farm
Grapefruits – G&S Grove
Meyer Lemons – G&S Grove
Multicolored Carrots – Animal Farm

Strawberry and spinach salad – I like to savor the first strawberries of the season in all their fresh, raw glory, and they have a natural affinity for spinach. Mix sliced strawberries with roughly chopped spinach, thinly sliced carrots (their sweetness goes well with the strawberries), pecans, goat cheese, and a balsamic vinaigrette. I like to make the vinaigrette with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and a bit of honey.

Fennel salad with lemon – This month’s Cooking Light magazine has an entire section of Meyer lemon recipes – pick one up if you get the chance. This salad would be a great side dish for grilled or broiled fish.

Broiled grapefruit – Makes a lovely breakfast.

Chicken, Mushroom and Bok Choy Soup – The original calls for shiitake mushrooms, but just use what you get. And sub several of the planting onions for the green onions.

Raw collard wraps with avocado – I’ve stumbled across several different recipes for wraps that use raw collard leaves instead of lettuce or tortillas. It’s kind of genius if you think about it. The collards are a lot sturdier than lettuce, and healthier than a tortilla. Rather than point to one recipe or another, I’m just going to make this a California-style wrap, with diced avocado, grilled chicken, crumbled bacon, and shredded cheddar cheese. Use whatever veggie/protein combo you like.

*A note about planting onions: if you want to use these in your garden, just bury the white part and an inch or so of the green part of each onion in rich, organic soil, and go forth. I practice square foot gardening and will be planting 16 of these in one square foot (you’d be surprised how close together you can put many plants). If you’re interested in this method, I recommend checking out the book if you can get your hands on a copy. It’s not the best-written thing, but it’s detailed and has a lot of information. Another good, more general source of gardening info (but for Central Texas specifically) is The Natural Gardener’s information page. I especially like their month-by-month checklists.

-Stephanie

Local Box Meal Plan: Dec. 27-31

We’re not getting the video until tomorrow, so this meal plan is based off the list you received in your newsletters Friday. I’ll post the video here as soon as it’s ready.

UPDATE: Video added below.

Avocados – G&S
Arugula – Naegelin
Red Leaf Lettuce – Acadian
Red Beets – Naegelin
Sweet Potatoes – Various
Cabbage – My Father’s Farm
Onions – Naegelin
Mixed Superfood Greens – My Father’s Farm
Parsley – My Father’s Farm
Green Shallots – Green Gate

Some menu items for you to try:

Avocado green goddess dressing – Add a handful of parsley to this recipe, and use your green shallots in place of the green onions. This dressing would be great on a salad made with your red leaf lettuce and arugula.

Salmon with scalloped sweet potatoes – I’d use butter in place of margarine here, but otherwise this recipe looks pretty good as written.

Braised beets and cabbage – Would make a good side dish for roasted meat. Use your regular cabbage in place of the red called for here.

Pasta with sausage and greens – The recipe calls for collards, but use whatever hearty greens you get in your mixed bag.

I suspect we may have a lot of arugula and parsley to use up, so try this arugula-parsley pesto if that ends up being the case for you.

Local Box, 03.11.2009

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STRAWBERRIES!!! Just-picked, local, and delivered to my door. Does it get any better than this? Makes all the cilantro seem worth it 🙂 But back to those strawberries: If you haven’t snarfed them all already, I recommend letting them come up to room temperature before you eat them. Their flavor is excellent, but dulled by cold. (Want to read more on Texas strawberries? Click here.)

Also in the Local Box this week, we’ve got plenty of greens and a rogue avocado and grapefruit, too. It’s going to be a tasty week of local eating!

How do you plan to eat out of the Local Box this week?

Local Veggie Mish-Mash, with Quinoa

imgp7029I heart quinoa. Last night I cooked some up using a new-to-me method from Paula Disbrowe’s book, Cowgirl Cuisine. Instead of rinsing it ’till kingdom come, she toasts it before cooking. (On a cookie sheet, 350 for 8 minutes.) After toasting, I dumped it into a pot of boiling water (3 cups water to 2 cups quinoa) to cook for 15 minutes. Yum! Until it gets so hot I’m loathe to fire up the oven, this method will serve me well. It did last night, especially under the mish-mash of Local Box carrots, scallions, and collards I cooked lightly, then spooned over it. I even added sliced avocado at the end. When the ingredients are this right, it’s hard to go wrong.

What did you eat out of the Local Box yesterday?

Local Box Lookout, week of 03.09.2009

Here’s what to expect in next week’s Local Box:

  • baby carrots
  • red-leaf lettuce
  • cilantro
  • green shallots
  • kale
  • collards
  • strawberries
  • grapefruit
  • baby arugula
  • yellow onions
  • herbs
  • avocado

If you haven’t already, you can still order next week’s Local Box through Saturday and later, depending on your zip code. Click here to check it out!