Eating Together: Eating together at the dinner table even once a week is a great way to connect with your kids over food. There are for sure certain flavors and textures that bring me back to childhood, so I like to bring those recipes into my own kitchen at home, creating new food memories with my family. These recipes are a comforting take on some of childhood Italian classics, with a plant-based twist.
• Baked Penne
• Plant-Based “Meat”balls
Full recipes below!
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Creamy and silky vegan ricotta layered with hearty pasta and Nana’s red sauce, who can beat this
comfort meal?! For a full Italian feast, pair this with Classic Italian “Meat”balls, garlic bread and a big salad.
1 box of penne pasta, cooked and strained
1 zucchini, peeled and cubed
1 Qt of Nana’s Red Sauce (p. 265 in the Wicked Healthy Cookbook) or your favorite jarred marinara
sauce (our favorite in a jar is Rao’s)
Handful of vegan parmesan cheese
Handful of vegan mozzarella
Tofu Ricotta (see recipe below)
1 block firm tofu, crumbled
3 T plain vegan cream cheese (we prefer Kite Hill or Miyokos)
3 T tahini
3 T nutritional yeast (optional)
2 t sea salt
10 ounces baby spinach, steamed and then chopped (optional)
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 t nutmeg
• Preheat oven at 380
• Crumble tofu in a bowl, add vegan cream cheese, tahini, nutritional yeast, sea salt, spinach, lemon juice
and nutmeg. Mix thoroughly.
• Add zucchini cubes to pasta in a large bowl.
• Ladle red sauce over pasta and zucchini, stir to combine.
• Take a casserole dish and add a layer of sauce on the bottom, then ¾ of the sauced penne, dollops of
ricotta and another layer of sauced pasta.
• Top with remaining sauce and and an even layer of your cheeses.
• Bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes (on the top shelf to melt cheese).
• Remove, cool and enjoy. This is a great family meal to freeze during the week!
CLASSIC ITALIAN “MEAT”BALLS
Top these on your next saucy pasta dinner…or even better as leftovers for “meat”ball subs or pizza!
MAKES 10-12 large meatballs
1 lb plant-based ground beef (we prefer Lightlife, or Beyond Meat ground)
2 T onion granules
1/4 C vegan parmesan
1/4 C panko breadcrumbs
3 T fresh parsley
1/4 C white onion, small diced
1/4 t black pepper
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 t chili flakes (optional)
• In a mixing bowl, stir ingredients thoroughly.
• Roll into ping-pong ball sized “meat”balls.
• Heat a sauté pan (cast iron preferred) on medium to high heat.
• Add oil, and place “meat”balls around the pan, sautéing until charred around all sides. Turn
until evenly cooked.
• Place meatballs in a shallow dish, cover with a few ladles of Nana’s red sauce and garnish with parsley
• Serve alongside Baked Penne.
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