Tuesday, October 27, 2015

RECIPE: Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bake

Difficulty Level: Moderate
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Flavorful, hearty 10-ingredient Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Bake with simple tofu ricotta and vegan parmesan cheese! A plant-based meal that's perfect for fall and winter!
Serves: 6-8
  • 2 large spaghetti squash (~3-4 pounds each)
  • 3-4 Tbsp (45-60 ml) extra virgin olive oil, plus more for squash
  • Sea salt + black pepper, to taste (~1/2 tsp each), plus more for squash
  • 2 lemons, juiced (~1/3 cup or 80 ml)
  • 12 ounces (340 g) extra firm tofu, drained and pressed dry for 10 minutes
  • 3 Tbsp (9 g) nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup (30 g) fresh basil, packed
  • 1 Tbsp (3 g) dried oregano
  • 1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  • Vegan parmesan cheese
  • 25 ounces (708 g) favorite marinara/red sauce
  • optional: Fresh basil, chopped
  • optional: Red pepper flakes
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with foil.
  2. Carefully halve your spaghetti squash lengthwise using a sharp knife. I find the best way is to pierce the skin with the very tip of the knife and push it all the way through to the other side. Rock the knife back and forth to cut one half all the way through, then repeat on the other side.
  3. Use an ice cream scoop (or sharp spoon) to scrape out the seeds and most of the stringy parts. It should appear pretty clean.
  4. Brush the interior with oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Place cut-side down on baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, or until a knife easily pierces the skin and flesh. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly. Also reduce oven heat to 375 degrees F.
  5. In the meantime, add all tofu filling ingredients to a food processor or blender and pulse to combine, scraping down sides as needed. You are looking for a semi-pureed mixture with bits of basil still intact.
  6. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more salt and pepper for flavor, nutritional yeast for cheesiness, and lemon juice for brightness.
  7. Once fully baked and slightly cooled, use a fork to scoop out spaghetti squash into fine strings. Set aside.
  8. Lightly grease a 9x13-inch (or similar size) baking dish and lay down 1/3 of the squash. Top with several spoonfuls of tofu ricotta, then pour on a layer of marinara sauce. Repeat until all ricotta filling and marinara is used up - about 3 layers. Make sure the top layer is sauce.
  9. Loosely cover the dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 10-15 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the top is golden brown. Cover with foil if the squash is browning too quickly.
  10. Let cool briefly, then serve with desired toppings (listed above). I prefer red pepper flakes and vegan parmesan cheese. Fresh basil adds a nice pop of color.
  11. Best when fresh. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in a 350 degree F oven for 20-25 minutes, or until completely warmed through.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

RECIPE: Spaghetti Squash Casserole with Spinach

PREP TIME10 mins
COOK TIME60 mins
TOTAL TIME1 hour 10 mins
Serves: 8
Difficulty Level: Moderate
·       1 medium spaghetti squash
·       1 tbsp organic butter
·       1 cup sweet onion, chopped
·       ½ cup red bell pepper, chopped
·       2-3 garlic cloves, minced
·       3 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
·       ½ cup plain Greek yogurt
·       1 free range egg
·       1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
·       salt and pepper to taste
·       2 cups spaghetti sauce
·       ¾ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
·       ½ cup Parmesan cheese
·       ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs (or see notes to make your own)

1.     Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut squash in half length wise, remove all seeds and place on baking sheet face down. Bake for 40 minutes or until tender.
2.     Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat, add butter, onions, bell pepper, and minced garlic, saute for 4-5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add chopped spinach and continue cooking another 2-3 minutes, or until spinach is cooked and wilted. Remove from heat.
3.     Once squash is cooked and cooled, use a fork to shred flesh into large bowl. At this point, increase oven temperature to 400 degrees.
4.     Add free-range egg, Greek yogurt, chili flakes and half of bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine.
5.     Pour 1 cup spaghetti sauce into 2 quart baking dish. Next, spoon spaghetti squash mixture over sauce and spread evenly. Then layer sautéed veggies over squash, stirring just slightly to combine it with squash, add another cup of spaghetti sauce, spread evenly then top with remaining bread crumbs, Parmesan and ¾ cup mozzarella cheese.
6.     Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until lightly browned.
7.     Top with additional red pepper flakes and Parmesan cheese if desired, then serve!

To make your own seasoned bread crumbs, toast one piece of bread until nice and crispy, allow to cool completely, then tear into smaller pieces and add to NutriBullet or food processor, add 1 tsp parsley, 1 tsp oregano, ½ tsp onion powder and ¼ tsp garlic powder. Blend 10-15 seconds or until you have fine crumbs.

Pasta with Tofu “Bolognese”
serves 8, a Fearless Homemaker original recipe
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
kosher salt + black pepper
2 (14 oz.) packages extra-firm tofu
2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
3 tablespoons tomato paste
2 (28 oz.) cans crushed tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/2 cup low-sodium vegetable broth (or chicken broth, if you’re not concerned with keeping this vegetarian)
12 oz. pasta, such as linguine or fettuccine
Parmesan cheese and Italian parsley, for serving

First, prepare the tofu. Press the tofu blocks between paper towels to remove as much moisture as possible. Then, using your hands, crumble into smaller pieces. Don’t worry about making them super small – you’ll crumble them further during the cooking process. Set crumbled tofu aside.
In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat, then add in the onion, carrots, and celery. Saute for 10-15 minutes, until onions are translucent and vegetables are softened. Add in the garlic and saute for 1-2 minutes, until garlic is fragrant. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Add the crumbled tofu and Italian seasoning to the pan and raise the heat to medium-high. Cook for about 30 minutes, breaking up the tofu into smaller pieces with a wooden spoon or spatula, stirring every 3-5 minutes. The tofu will gradually turn golden brown – be patient, as it takes some time! The less you fuss with it (especially in the first few minutes), the better the tofu will brown.
After about 30 minutes, once the tofu is broken down into ground meat-size pieces and golden brown, add the tomato paste. Saute for 3 minutes, stirring constantly to get everything well-combined. Then, add in the crushed tomatoes, bay leaves, red pepper, vegetable or chicken broth, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the pasta according to the package directions, until al dente. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid, and drain pasta. Add the pasta to the skillet with the sauce and toss to combine well, adding some of the cooking liquid if needed to achieve your desired consistency.

Serve immediately, topped with freshly-grated Parmesan cheese and parsley.

Friday, October 16, 2015

TIPS: Leeks

Leeks, like garlic and onions, belong to a vegetable family called the Allium vegetables. Since leeks are related to garlic and onions, they contain many of the same beneficial compounds found in these well-researched, health-promoting vegetables.

Tips for Preparing and Cleaning Leeks:

Leeks can be quite sandy, so careful washing is important. Here’s how to properly clean a whole leek.
  • Start by removing the outer layer of white (unless it is very fresh or from your own garden).
  • Trim the base with a sharp paring knife to remove all the roots.
  • Make an incision in the middle of the white stalk and cut toward the green tips, severing the leek in two, but with the bottom still intact.
  • Wash well under cold running water, pulling the leaves apart to rinse well between them.
  • Drain, green tips down, in a colander for a few minutes.

If the recipe calls for chopped leeks, it is best to chop them and then wash under cold running water. Allow to drain well before using.


Store leeks in a plastic bag or crisper drawer in fridge; do not wash until you are ready to use them. Or chop to desired cooking size and freeze.  Being a cold weather vegetable, leeks prefer the coldest part of the refrigerator, which is usually the bottom crisper drawer.  Properly stored, leeks can last about a month!

 A Few Quick Serving Ideas: 
  • Healthy sauté leeks and fennel. Garnish with fresh lemon juice and thyme.
  • Add finely chopped leeks to salads.
  • Make vichyssoise, a cold soup made from puréed cooked leeks and potatoes.
  • Add leeks to broth and stews for extra flavoring.
  • Braised leeks sprinkled with fennel or mustard seeds make a wonderful side dish for fish, poultry or steak.
  • Add sliced leeks to your favorite omelet or frittata recipe.

RECIPE: Garlic Family Soup

Difficulty Level: Moderate

6 leeks
sea salt
3 quarts water
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced in half, then sliced thinly lengthwise into half moons
6 shallots, peeled and halved lengthwise
1 head of garlic, cloves peeled and halved lengthwise
4 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
Bouquet garni: several sprigs of fresh parsley, tarragon, some bay leaves and celery leaves, wrapped in a leek green and tied with twine
1 1/2 lbs potatoes, peeled and cubed
fresh minced parsley for garnish

Trim and rinse the leeks, cutting off the dark green leaves and separating from the white and pale green parts.  Chop whites and pale greens.

Place dark green leek leaves in a large stockpot, cover with water and pinch of salt.  Bring to boil over high heat.  Cover, lower heat to medium, simmer 15 minutes. 

In heavy bottomed stockpot, combine chopped leeks, onions, shallots, garlic, olive oil, bouquet garni, and salt.  Sweat over medium heat, covered, until vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes. 

Strain leek broth and pour over vegetables.  Add potatoes.  Cover and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Cook 1 hour.  Remove and discard bouquet garni.  Blend soup, either in a blender or in the pot using an immersion blender.  Garnish with parsley and serve.

RECIPE: Easiest Leek Soup Ever


1 bunch leeks, chopped (white and light green parts only)
1 bunch celery, chopped
1 butternut squash, peeled and diced
1 apple, peeled and diced
Vegetable broth

Sauté all ingredients in olive oil until soft.  Remove from heat.  Add vegetable broth and purée. Season with salt and pepper.  Enjoy!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

RECIPE: Pear Bread

Difficulty Level: EASY

•3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan(s)
•1 teaspoon baking soda
•1/4 teaspoon baking powder
•1 teaspoon salt
•1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
•1 cup chopped walnuts
•3/4 cup butter, softened, or 3/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for the pan(s)
•3 eggs, lightly beaten
•2 cups sugar
•2 cups peeled and finely grated ripe but firm pears
•2 teaspoons vanilla extract
• Confectioners’ sugar (optional)

1. Heat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and lightly butter and flour a 10-inch tube pan or two 9-by-5-inch loaf pans.

2. Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Scoop out about 1/4 cup of the flour mixture and combine it in a small bowl with the chopped walnuts, tossing to coat the nuts.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the butter or oil, eggs, sugar, grated pear, nuts, and vanilla, and stir to mix everything well. Scrape the pear mixture into the flour mixture and stir just until the flour disappears and the batter is evenly moistened.

4. Quickly and gently scrape the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake at 350°F (175°C) for 60 to 70 minutes, or until the bread is handsomely browned and firm on top and a wooden skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

5. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack or folded kitchen towel for about 10 minutes. Then turn it out onto a plate or a wire rack to cool completely, top side up. Serve as is, sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

RECIPE: Roasted Apple Butter

Difficulty Level: Moderate

1 cup cider, divided into 1/4- and 3/4-cup amounts
7 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 pinch kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
3 pounds apples
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
1 pinch cloves

1.Preheat oven to 400°. Cut apples into large chunks (quarters for small apples, eighths for larger). Arrange on a large metal roasting pan, add the 1/4 cup of cider and lemon juice, then sprinkle with brown sugar and salt and dot with butter.

2.Roast for 30–35 minutes, or until apples are very soft and fall apart at the touch of a fork. Remove from oven and let rest for one minute, then pour the remaining 3/4 cup of cider over the pan. (This will help deglaze the pan and pick up the maximum amount of yummy caramelized flavor. Be careful when you pour, though, as it will sputter and steam a bit.)

3.Transfer apples and liquid to a large flat-bottomed bowl or pot. Mash with a spoon, fork, or potato masher until the pieces have been broken up into sauce.

4.Run the mixture through a food mill to remove the cores, seeds, and peels (see note above if you do not have a food mill). Stir in the spices, then give it a taste. Add more sweetener and/or spices until you have the flavor where you want it.

5.At this point, assess the consistency of your butter. If you’d like it to be a bit smoother, you can blend it up with a food processor or an immersion blender. (I like mine with a little bit of texture, so I leave it as is.) If it isn’t quite as thick as you’d like it to be, transfer it a heavy bottom saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until you’ve achieved the right consistency. (Beware of cooking it down too much though, as you can wind up with a very heavy, intense butter. I like mine at the point where it just holds its form when stirred or spread. When it cooks down more than this, I find it develops an overwhelming pectin texture, which isn’t my favorite.)

6.Once cooled, store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze it to keep it for longer.

RECIPE: Roasted Cauliflower

Difficulty Level: EASY 

1 large cauliflower, cut into inch-sized florets
1/2 teaspoon coriander seed
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
3 tablespoons sliced almonds

1.Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. With a mortar and pestle, or the flat side of a chef's knife, lightly crush the coriander seeds. Add the crushed seeds to a bowl along with the cumin, cinnamon, olive oil, and salt.

2.Scatter the cauliflower florets over a rimmed baking sheet, then toss them with the oil-and-spice mixture. Roast for 15 minutes, then stir and roast for 10 more minutes. Sprinkle on the almonds and roast for another 5 to 10 minutes, or until the cauliflower and the almonds are nicely browned. Serve hot, warm, or cold.

RECIPE: Spaghetti Squash

Difficulty Level: EASY 

1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise, seeds removed
1/2 tablespoon plus 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons whole-wheat breadcrumbs, toasted
Salt & pepper
1/2 cup low-fat or full fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/4 cup toasted hazelnuts, chopped

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Brush cut sides of squash with ½ tablespoon oil (or spritz with an olive oil mister), salt & and pepper. Place squash, cut sides down, on a rimmed baking sheet lined with foil. Roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.

2. With a fork, scrape the flesh of the squash to extract its long strands. Transfer to a large bowl. Add tablespoon of olive oil, ricotta, nutmeg, brown sugar, parsley, breadcrumbs, and hazelnuts, plus additional salt and pepper to taste. Toss all ingredients together and serve immediately, while squash is still warm.

Friday, October 2, 2015

RECIPE: Spaghetti Squash Delight

Difficulty Level: Easy


  •  1 spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
  •  2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  •  1 onion, chopped
  •  1 clove garlic, minced
  •  1 1/2 cups chopped tomatoes
  •  3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  •  3 tablespoons sliced black olives
  •  2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a baking sheet.

  2. Place spaghetti squash with cut sides down on the prepared baking sheet, and bake 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a sharp knife can be inserted with only a little resistance. Remove squash from oven and set aside to cool enough to be easily handled.

  3. Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir onion in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook and stir until fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and cook until tomatoes are warmed through.

  4. Use a large spoon to scoop the stringy pulp from the squash and place in a medium bowl. Toss with the vegetables, feta cheese, olives, and basil. Serve warm. Add spinach if you have it.