shaved fennel and crushed olive salad

Last week I childishly pouted that nobody really loves fennel salads and so many of you commented that you wanted one, I am delighted I’ve been given the external validation I require to share a new one here. This fennel salad is from Ca…

Last week I childishly pouted that nobody really loves fennel salads and so many of you commented that you wanted one, I am delighted I’ve been given the external validation I require to share a new one here. This fennel salad is from Café Altro Paradiso, which shares a chef — Ignacio Mattos — with two other New York restaurants, estela and Flora Bar. What I love about the cooking at these restaurants is that there’s a quiet minimalism to each dish that belies the actual complexity of flavors. It’s particularly evident in salads. At estela, my favorite is this endive salad, which seems like the most plain pile of lettuce until you find the heap of loudly flavored texture and crunch below, for scooping onto the leaves. This fennel salad looks equally unassuming when it comes out: a mountain of shaved bulb. But it sits on a piquant medley of crushed olives, thinly sliced stems, minced fronds, sharp cheese, citrus zest, juice, wine vinegar, olive oil, and seasoning that I’m not sure I ever want to stop eating.

what you'll need

Fennel is divisive. Olives are divisive. I know this salad isn’t for everyone — I mean, what is, truly, except puppies, kittens, and thriving postal service — and if you’re about to tell me that you’d like this except for the fennel and/or the olives, shh, you don’t need to because I already know. I’ll have something you like more next week. Everyone gets a turn. I’ve gone full Mom Voice, haven’t I?

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Baked Rigatoni Pasta

This easy baked rigatoni is all about crowd pleasing flavor! Bake this tublar pasta with garlicky tomato sauce, fresh basil, and gooey mozzarella. Here’s a vegetarian dinner idea that marries basic Italian flavors into a mess of garlicky, gooey goodness: Baked Rigatoni! It’s a pasta bake that’s got all the comfort of tomato sauce and cheese, but has intrigue and uniqueness in the flavors. The tomato sauce is full of garlic and a little fennel for meatiness, and it’s got lots of fresh peppery basil for a herbaceous kick. Cover it in gooey mozzarella cheese and you’ve got a dish that’s hearty enough to please any eater. Ingredients in baked rigatoni The sauce in this baked rigatoni is full of tangy tomato flavor! As you’ll see, we’ve used a few tricks to get big flavor with little effort. Here’s what you’ll need: Rigatoni pasta Marinara sauce Use your favorite, high quality brand. Fire roasted crushed tomatoes If you can’t find them, use any high quality crushed tomatoes. More on fire roasted is below! Fresh garlic Key for big Italian flavors! Onion powder and fennel These add to the meatiness. Fresh basil Peppery fresh basil brings an herby zing. Fresh mozzarella […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This easy baked rigatoni is all about crowd pleasing flavor! Bake this tublar pasta with garlicky tomato sauce, fresh basil, and gooey mozzarella.

Baked rigatoni

Here’s a vegetarian dinner idea that marries basic Italian flavors into a mess of garlicky, gooey goodness: Baked Rigatoni! It’s a pasta bake that’s got all the comfort of tomato sauce and cheese, but has intrigue and uniqueness in the flavors. The tomato sauce is full of garlic and a little fennel for meatiness, and it’s got lots of fresh peppery basil for a herbaceous kick. Cover it in gooey mozzarella cheese and you’ve got a dish that’s hearty enough to please any eater.

Ingredients in baked rigatoni

The sauce in this baked rigatoni is full of tangy tomato flavor! As you’ll see, we’ve used a few tricks to get big flavor with little effort. Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Rigatoni pasta
  • Marinara sauce Use your favorite, high quality brand.
  • Fire roasted crushed tomatoes If you can’t find them, use any high quality crushed tomatoes. More on fire roasted is below!
  • Fresh garlic Key for big Italian flavors!
  • Onion powder and fennel These add to the meatiness.
  • Fresh basil Peppery fresh basil brings an herby zing.
  • Fresh mozzarella cheese Use shredded mozzarella if you can’t find it.
  • Parmesan cheese Grated Parmesan finishes it off with a savory sharpness.
Rigatoni

What is rigatoni?

Rigatoni is a tube-shaped pasta that usually has ridges on the outside, used in cuisine from Southern and Central Italy. It’s larger in diameter than penne and is cut straight, not on the diagonal. Rigatoni comes from the Italian word rigato which means “ridged”. It’s easy to find at most grocery stores.

What we like about rigatoni? One bite of rigatoni feels somehow more substantial than penne, and the shape tends to hold sauces a bit better. However, it’s very similar to penne and can easily be substituted for it. Rigatoni is a short cut type of pasta, so you can substitute it with many short cut pasta shapes.

How to make baked rigatoni: basic steps

This baked rigatoni is missing one thing that most rigatoni recipes have: meat! That makes it even easier than most to put together, and it works as a vegetarian main dish. Here’s all you have to do to make it:

  • Boil the pasta to al dente. Air on the side of a firm al dente, since the pasta will cook a little more as it bakes. See below for more!
  • Make the sauce. Saute garlic, add marinara, fire roasted tomatoes and spices, and simmer just a few minutes.
  • Combine, top with cheese, and bake. You’ll bake 25 minutes: 15 with foil and 10 without.
Baked rigatoni

How to cook pasta to al dente

What’s al dente? In Italian it means “to the bite” and means pasta that is still firm on the inside when cooked. The ideal al dente texture is a tender exterior balanced by a firm bite with a fleck of white at its core. Note that for this rigatoni recipe, you can air on the side of firm because the pasta cooks more as it bakes. Here’s how to cook pasta to al dente:

  • Boil the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water.
  • While cooking, check pasta continually for doneness.
  • As soon as the pasta has a tender exterior but a fleck of white at its core, drain it! Even a few seconds can be the difference between al dente and limp noodles.

Make ahead tips!

Yes! You can make the pasta right up until the baking step. Then refrigerate it until baking! We’d suggest refrigerating for only 24 hours. You may have to bake slightly longer: make sure that it’s fully warmed through and the cheese is fully melted.

Rigatoni

Fire roasted tomatoes have the best flavor

Last note on ingredients: we recommend using canned fire roasted tomatoes here. Why fire roasted? Fire roasted canned tomatoes have a sweet flavor right out of the can. So you don’t have to spend a long time simmering for great flavor. There are several of brands of fire roasted tomatoes these days that should be available at your local grocery.

Using these tomatoes is a little less crucial for a recipe like this where you’re combining them with marinara sauce. So if you can’t find them: buy the best quality tomatoes you can find!

Variations on baked rigatoni

You can always add mix-ins to this rigatoni! Here are some ideas on ingredients to add:

  • Cooked ground beef or plant based meat crumbles: Make it ultra traditional and saute meat or veggie crumbles. Add them to the pasta and sauce before baking.
  • Spinach and mushrooms: Saute mushrooms and spinach like in our Vegan Lasagna filling.
  • Other veggies. Saute other veggies you have on hand to add to the mix! Some ideas: kale, red pepper, zucchini, and so forth.
Cheese pull

This rigatoni recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use gluten-free or legume pasta.

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Baked rigatoni

Baked Rigatoni Pasta


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 8
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This easy baked rigatoni is all about crowd pleasing flavor! Bake this tublar pasta with garlicky tomato sauce, fresh basil, and gooey mozzarella.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound rigatoni pasta
  • 24 ounce jar marinara sauce
  • 15 ounce can crushed fire roasted tomatoes (or best quality tomatoes)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup basil, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese (or shredded)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for sprinkling.

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Brush a 9 x 13″ baking dish.
  2. Start a pot of well salted water to a boil. Boil the rigatoni until it is just al dente (start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside; usually around 7 to 8 minutes). Drain.
  3. Meanwhile, mince the garlic. In a separate pot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and fennel seeds and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. Add the basil and tomatoes and stir for 1 minute. Stir in 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder and 1 pinch red pepper flakes and the 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Remove from the heat.
  4. Pour the sauce and the drained pasta into the baking dish. Top with torn pieces of mozzarella. Sprinkle the entire top with generous sprinkles of Parmesan cheese.
  5. Cover with foil and bake 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for an additional 10 minutes until browned.
  6. Remove the pan from the oven and top with 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided over the top. Let stand 5 minutes. If desired, garnish with chopped basil. (Make ahead instructions: Make the pasta through Step 4 and cover with foil. Refrigerate until baking, up to 24 hours.)

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Rigatoni

More rigatoni recipes

Love rigatoni? Us too! Here are a few recipes that highlight this tasty pasta shape:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Vegetarian Sausage & Broccoli Pasta

Thanks to Linda McCartney’s for sponsoring this post The pairing of fennel-seedy Italian sausages and broccoli is always delicious. Here the broccoli is cooked until super soft which, along with garlic, lemon and cheese, allows it to act as a kind of impromptu ‘pesto’ for the pasta. I’ve used Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Sausages, amped up with the addition of chilli flakes and fennel seed, instead of using an Italian sausage here to keep things vegetarian (or even vegan if you don’t use the cheese). This is a perfect weeknight dinner as it’s so quick to make and only requires one pot and one pan. 

The post Vegetarian Sausage & Broccoli Pasta appeared first on Izy Hossack – Top With Cinnamon.

Thanks to Linda McCartney’s for sponsoring this post

The pairing of fennel-seedy Italian sausages and broccoli is always delicious. Here the broccoli is cooked until super soft which, along with garlic, lemon and cheese, allows it to act as a kind of impromptu ‘pesto’ for the pasta.

I’ve used Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Sausages, amped up with the addition of chilli flakes and fennel seed, instead of using an Italian sausage here to keep things vegetarian (or even vegan if you don’t use the cheese). This is a perfect weeknight dinner as it’s so quick to make and only requires one pot and one pan. 

Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Fennel Sausage & Broccoli Pasta

Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Fennel Sausage & Broccoli Pasta

Yield: serves 2
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, finely sliced
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seed
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 200g dried pasta
  • 150 to 200g broccoli or tenderstem broccoli
  • 3 Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Sausages, defrosted
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
  • 20g ricotta or Parmesan style vegan cheese, finely grated
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat 1 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan over a medium-low heat. Once hot, add the sliced shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden (around 5 minutes). Add the fennel seed and chilli flakes, stir, and let them warm through for 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile add the pasta and broccoli to a medium pot of well-salted, boiling water. Leave to cook until the pasta is al dente (for me this was about 10 minutes). 
  3. Break up the defrosted Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausages into small chunks and add to the frying pan along with 1 more tablespoon of oil. Mash with the back of your spoon to break the sausage up and fry it for around 5 minutes, stirring often, to allow the sausage to brown and crisp up a bit. 
  4. Clear a space in the frying pan and pour the remaining tablespoon of oil here. Add the garlic to this pool of oil and allow to cook for a couple of minutes until starting to turn golden. Once this happens, stir it through the Linda McCartney Vegetarian Sausage. Add a splash of pasta water to the frying pan and use your spoon to scrape up any golden bits from the base of the pan. 
  5. Once the pasta is al-dente and the broccoli is cooked, remove the broccoli from the pot using tongs or a slotted spoon – it should be pretty soft at this point which will help it break down to form a bit of a sauce. Roughly chop the broccoli and add to the frying pan.
  6. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the pasta to the frying pan too (or drain the pasta in a colander, reserving a mugful of pasta water, then add to the pan) and stir through, adding a splash of pasta water as needed to help make a saucy texture. Add the cheese and lemon juice, stir through and taste to check the seasoning. Add extra salt and some pepper as needed. Divide between 2 bowls and eat!

The post Vegetarian Sausage & Broccoli Pasta appeared first on Izy Hossack - Top With Cinnamon.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

Here’s the very best vegan shepherd’s pie! The hearty veggie and lentil filling contrasts fluffy potatoes in this stunning plant based dinner recipe. Wow is all we can say about this one. This vegan shepherd’s pie is the dinner recipe version of wearing a fuzzy sweater and drinking hot mulled cider. It’s cozy comfort food to the max! Imagine: a creamy gravy filled with tender vegetables, lentils and scented with fennel and sage. Then a fluffy layer of Yukon gold potatoes, topped with fresh rosemary. It’s layered together in a baking dish and then baked until golden. This one’s a whole food plant based (WFPB) stunner: perfect for impressing guests…or just yourself. Why it’s the best vegan shepherd’s pie Know one thing: vegan shepherd’s pie is not quick and easy! Though we do have hundreds of fast and easy dinner recipes. But this one is cozy, slow-cooked comfort food. You’ll need 1 hour to make this recipe. And we think you’ll agree with us: this is 1 hour very well spent. Pull this one out when you’re looking to impress…it’s perfect for a Sunday dinner. But if you’re well organized, you can serve it on a weeknight, too! Here’s why […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s the very best vegan shepherd’s pie! The hearty veggie and lentil filling contrasts fluffy potatoes in this stunning plant based dinner recipe.

Vegan shepherd's pie

Wow is all we can say about this one. This vegan shepherd’s pie is the dinner recipe version of wearing a fuzzy sweater and drinking hot mulled cider. It’s cozy comfort food to the max! Imagine: a creamy gravy filled with tender vegetables, lentils and scented with fennel and sage. Then a fluffy layer of Yukon gold potatoes, topped with fresh rosemary. It’s layered together in a baking dish and then baked until golden. This one’s a whole food plant based (WFPB) stunner: perfect for impressing guests…or just yourself.

Why it’s the best vegan shepherd’s pie

Know one thing: vegan shepherd’s pie is not quick and easy! Though we do have hundreds of fast and easy dinner recipes. But this one is cozy, slow-cooked comfort food. You’ll need 1 hour to make this recipe. And we think you’ll agree with us: this is 1 hour very well spent. Pull this one out when you’re looking to impress…it’s perfect for a Sunday dinner. But if you’re well organized, you can serve it on a weeknight, too! Here’s why we think this recipe stands out:

  • The filling is thick, meaty and savory. It’s hard to make vegan recipes taste as satisfying as meaty dishes. Here, fennel seed tricks your brain into thinking there’s meat (it’s used in sausage). The gravy is ultra thick, and the tender French cut-onions are vaguely reminiscent of a meaty texture.
  • It’s full of plant-based protein. This shepherd’s pie is filled with plant-based protein: lentils and peas help it to have sticking power.
  • It can be made in about 1 hour. Most recipes don’t brag about this. But with a shepherd’s pie, it can take multiple hours to make. But we’ve tweaked this one to be as easy as possible within the genre (even faster than our vegetarian shepherd’s pie).
Vegan shepherd's pie

Make sure to use Yukon gold potatoes!

Don’t even think about using Russet potatoes here! Some people claim the best shepherd’s pie is made with Russet potatoes. But we beg to differ! Maybe you can pull it off if you load them with dairy. But for a vegan shepherd’s pie: use Yukon gold potatoes. They have a naturally buttery flavor and creamy texture that can withstand the lack of dairy. Also, isn’t that bright yellow color beautiful?

Time saver: canned lentils vs cooked

Here’s a little time saver: you can use canned lentils instead of cooked for this vegan shepherd’s pie recipe! This speeds up the recipe so you don’t have to get out yet another pot. Here are a few notes:

  • Look for canned lentils near the canned beans in the grocery store. Use any type of canned lentils you can find. Make sure to drain before adding them to the filling.
  • Or, cook your own lentils! If you can’t find canned lentils, cook your own lentils and add 1 1/2 cups of the cooked lentils to the filling. Use our Brown/Green Lentils or Black Lentils recipes. You can cook them in water and omit the seasoning listed in the recipe. Do cook with the kosher salt, but don’t add extra salt after cooking since the filling will be seasoned. If you can, do this step in advance and refrigerate until making the filling.
Vegan mashed potatoes
Make the mashed potatoes in advance as a time saver.

Some meal prep tips: make it even faster!

The canned lentils are a little trick to make this vegan shepherd’s pie quicker to prepare. Here are a few more things you can do to make your life easier the day of baking:

  • Make the mashed potatoes in advance. This will actually work to your advantage since it also helps the texture set. Refrigerate the Vegan Mashed Potatoes until serving, then reheat them to make it easier to spread onto the filling.
  • Make the filling in advance (if you’re really motivated!). If you’re really into meal prep, you can make the filling in advance too! Then refrigerate until serving. You can reheat it before baking to keep the same bake time in the recipe (20 minutes). You could also bake it from cold, and you’d need a few more minutes of baking time. Let us know if you try that out!
Vegan shepherd's pie

Step up vegan shepherd’s pie: add truffle oil!

Serving this vegan shepherd’s pie at a dinner party? If you’d like to impress, here’s a trick: stir a little truffle oil into the potatoes layer! Truffles are a luxury flavor of mushroom that’s used in Italian cooking. The exotic flavor is often paired with potatoes, like in these Truffle Fries! Stirring in a little truffle oil to taste would add a layer of magic to this dish. Here’s more about truffle oil: how to use & where to buy it.

More vegan comfort food recipes

Want to continue to impress with plant based dinners? These vegan comfort food recipes are fan favorites and will knock your socks off (promise):

  • Best Vegan Pot Pie This vegan pot pie is next level: hearty vegetables, a gooey sauce, and a flaky, sage crust. Better yet, it’s easy enough to make on a weeknight!
  • Favorite Vegan Lasagna This vegan lasagna will become your new favorite: guaranteed. Full of flavor, it’s whole food plant based (dairy free) and a winner with everyone!
  • Best Vegan Pizza This best vegan pizza recipe is a total crowd pleaser! The veggie pizza toppings are so full of flavor no one notices it’s cheeseless.
Vegan shepherd's pie

This vegan shepherd’s pie recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

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Vegan shepherd's pie

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie (Best Ever!)


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 6

Description

Here’s the very best vegan shepherd’s pie! The hearty veggie and lentil filling contrasts fluffy potatoes in this stunning plant based dinner recipe.


Ingredients

  • 1 recipe Vegan Mashed Potatoes
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces portabella mushrooms (2 large mushroom caps)
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried sage
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1 15-ounce can lentils, drained*
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (or liquid aminos)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary, for the garnish

Instructions

  1. Start the mashed potatoes: Start the Vegan Mashed Potatoes recipe**. (You can also make these in advance; just reheat before spreading onto the filling to bake.)
  2. Prep the vegetables: Meanwhile, dice mushrooms into bite-sized chunks. Peel and slice the carrots into thin half-circles. Cut the onion into thin slivers length-wise (also called French cut; see the instructions in 1:40 of the linked video).
  3. Make the filling: In large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil on medium high heat. Cook the mushrooms for 5 minutes until golden and tender. Reduce the heat to medium and add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the sliced onion and carrots. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and cook 5 to 7 minutes until the onions are tender and just browning.
  4. Reduce the heat to medium low. Stir in the flour, fennel seeds, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and dried sage and cook for 1 minute. Add the vegetable broth, peas, lentils (drained if canned), soy sauce and remaining 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Cook for about 5 minutes until the broth is very thick and the vegetables are heated through.
  5. Finish the mashed potatoes: When the potatoes are done cooking, mash them according to the instructions in that recipe.
  6. Bake: Pour the filling into a 2-quart small baking dish. Spread the mashed potatoes in a layer on top. Bake 18 to 20 minutes until the potatoes are lightly browned. If desired, broil for 1 to 2 minutes to brown the top. Garnish with chopped rosemary and serve warm.

Notes

*If you can’t find canned lentils, cook your own lentils and add 1 1/2 cups of the cooked lentils to the filling. Use our Brown/Green Lentils or Black Lentils recipes: you can cook them in water and omit the seasoning. Do cook with the kosher salt, but don’t add extra after cooking.

**Want to impress? Stir in a little truffle oil to the mashed potatoes to taste. Here’s our favorite All Natural White Truffle Oil.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Vegan

Keywords: Vegan Shepherd’s Pie

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Fennel Orange Salad

Here’s a refreshing and easy side dish: fennel orange salad! It pairs juicy orange and the subtle licorice essence of fennel with a citrus vinaigrette. Ready to meet our (and your) new favorite salad? Fennel orange salad! It features beautiful juicy oranges, with their vibrant color and citrusy flavor. Add to that a famous pairing: sliced raw fennel, which adds a subtle licorice essence. Throw it over greens with a few garnishes, top with a zingy homemade citrus vinaigrette, and wow! There’s so much going on flavor and texture-wise, it’s one of the most unexpectedly delicious salads we’ve ever made. Pair with rich pasta like lasagna or mac and cheese, or pizza. Or salmon. Or well….really anything! Here’s how to make it. What’s in this fennel orange salad? Fennel and orange are a famous pairing in Mediterranean and Italian cuisine. You may have seen a Sicilian version that’s a big plate of oranges with sliced fennel on top. Why are these flavors often paired together? Well, the sweet citrus flavor of oranges are lovely pairing with the subtle black licorice perfume of raw fennel. It’s truly a sensory experience. (Here’s a stunning cake with that combo). Alex and I designed […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s a refreshing and easy side dish: fennel orange salad! It pairs juicy orange and the subtle licorice essence of fennel with a citrus vinaigrette.

Fennel orange salad

Ready to meet our (and your) new favorite salad? Fennel orange salad! It features beautiful juicy oranges, with their vibrant color and citrusy flavor. Add to that a famous pairing: sliced raw fennel, which adds a subtle licorice essence. Throw it over greens with a few garnishes, top with a zingy homemade citrus vinaigrette, and wow! There’s so much going on flavor and texture-wise, it’s one of the most unexpectedly delicious salads we’ve ever made. Pair with rich pasta like lasagna or mac and cheese, or pizza. Or salmon. Or well….really anything! Here’s how to make it.

Fennel Orange Salad

What’s in this fennel orange salad?

Fennel and orange are a famous pairing in Mediterranean and Italian cuisine. You may have seen a Sicilian version that’s a big plate of oranges with sliced fennel on top. Why are these flavors often paired together? Well, the sweet citrus flavor of oranges are lovely pairing with the subtle black licorice perfume of raw fennel. It’s truly a sensory experience. (Here’s a stunning cake with that combo). Alex and I designed this salad as a green salad featuring that well-known pairing. Here’s what’s in this fennel orange salad:

  • Oranges: Use a mix of blood orange and Cara Cara for the best color and flavor contrasts. You’ll use a fancy technique to “supreme” the orange into sections (see below).
  • Fennel: Grab a bulb of fennel in the produce section! Learn more about fennel here.
  • Leafy greens: Use whatever type of baby greens you’d like! It’s nice to have a mix to vary texture and flavor. If you’re using baby kale, arugula or spinach, make sure to use some other milder greens or lettuces for contrast.
  • Shallot & pistachios: Shallot is a milder version of red onion: here it’s thinly sliced into rings. Crushed pistachios add a little crunch and texture.
  • Citrus vinaigrette: Top it all off in a homemade citrus salad dressing.
Citrus vinaigrette

Important: don’t section the orange with your fingers!

OK, before we start! Do not section the oranges with your fingers and throw the sections on top. This method is great for snacking, but a no-no for salads. Why? Sectioning the orange with your fingers keeps on the pith, which makes it very hard to eat with a knife and fork. For salads, there’s a different method entirely for sectioning an orange. It’s called…surpreming.

Yes, that’s right! There’s a fancy French method for cutting an orange for a salad called “cutting an orange into supremes”. It makes for perfectly peeled sections without the pith that are easy to eat! These are lovely for salads like this fennel orange salad or our Simple Citrus Salad.

Step 2: Cut off the peel

How to cut an orange…into supremes!

Here’s the basic concept, which you can find at How to Cut an Orange:

  • Step 1: Slice off the ends. Use a large chef’s knife to slice off both ends of the orange. Make sure you’ve cut through all of the pith and can see some of the orange flesh.
  • Step 2: Cut off the peel. Angle your knife and follow the round shape of the orange to remove the peel. Be careful not to cut too much of the orange flesh away.
  • Step 3: Cut away a segment (inside the membrane lines). Cut right on the inside of each membrane line to remove a segment. You don’t want to cut right on the membrane, but just inside of it. Make the two angled cuts, and the segment will pop right out.
How to cut an orange into supremes

Top it off with citrus salad dressing!

The last part of this fennel orange salad is a zingy citrus salad dressing that seals the deal. It features both orange and lemon, but it’s well balanced and is the perfect dressing to elevate the salad to a “next level” side dish. Here’s what’s in it:

  • Orange juice + zest
  • Lemon juice
  • Dijon mustard
  • Maple syrup
  • Olive oil

You’ll whisk the first four ingredients together, then whisk in the olive oil one tablespoon at a time until a creamy emulsion forms. It’s perfect for this salad, or throw-together salads on weeknights!

Fennel orange salad

What this fennel orange salad goes with? Everything.

This fennel orange salad is so darn versatile, it’s one of our new favorites! It’s right up there in our green salad hall of fame, with this Favorite Chopped Salad, Easy Arugula Salad, and Spinach Apple Salad. Here are some great recipes that would pair well:

This fennel orange salad recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant based, dairy-free, gluten-free.

Print
Fennel orange salad

Fennel Orange Salad


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

Here’s a refreshing and easy side dish: fennel orange salad! It pairs juicy orange and the subtle licorice essence of fennel with a citrus vinaigrette.


Ingredients

  • 1/2 recipe Citrus Vinaigrette
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 1 large shallot
  • 2 small oranges: blood orange or Cara Cara
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
  • 5 ounces baby mixed greens (about 5 cups)*

Instructions

  1. Make the Citrus Vinaigrette.
  2. Thinly slice the fennel and the shallot. If desired, save a few fennel fronds (the feathery green parts on top of the stalk) for a garnish.
  3. Cut oranges into sections or “supremes” following How to Cut an Orange.
  4. To serve, place the greens on a plate. Top with oranges, fennel, shallot, and chopped pistachios (and fennel fronds if desired). Drizzle with dressing and serve.

Notes

*Use whatever type you’d like! It’s nice to use a mixture of greens to vary texture and flavor. If you’re using baby kale, arugula or spinach, make sure they’re mixed with some other milder greens. Mixed lettuces are also nice, as they add a refreshing crunch.

  • Category: Side Dish
  • Method: Raw
  • Cuisine: Salad

Keywords: Fennel Orange Salad, Orange Salad, Citrus Salad Dressing, Citrus Vinaigrette,

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Vegan Biscuits and Gravy

Yep, these are the best vegan biscuits and gravy! A thick, peppery mushroom gravy coats impossibly flaky biscuits. All we can say is: wow. Are you a biscuits and gravy lover? Hailing from the state of Minnesota, I didn’t know what biscuits and gravy were until I moved south to Indiana. Here, I was intrigued to find that biscuits topped with a thick white sauce of crumbled sausage counted as breakfast. And after trying it, I found it oddly satisfying! Alex’s family are big fans of this hearty breakfast. So once Alex and I started eating more plant based recipes, we realized we’d have to find a vegan version. Thus, our vegan biscuits and gravy recipe was born! And let us tell you: it is every bit as satisfying as the original. (We think.) Why vegan biscuits and gravy? This website is devoted to mostly healthy, plant based recipes made of whole foods. So are these vegan biscuits and gravy a healthy, whole food breakfast recipe? Not really. This one counts as an occasional treat we’d serve as part of a special breakfast or brunch. Which 100% fits into our philosophy of all things in moderation! Why make vegan biscuits […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, Vegetarian Recipes

Yep, these are the best vegan biscuits and gravy! A thick, peppery mushroom gravy coats impossibly flaky biscuits. All we can say is: wow.

Vegan biscuits and gravy

Are you a biscuits and gravy lover? Hailing from the state of Minnesota, I didn’t know what biscuits and gravy were until I moved south to Indiana. Here, I was intrigued to find that biscuits topped with a thick white sauce of crumbled sausage counted as breakfast. And after trying it, I found it oddly satisfying! Alex’s family are big fans of this hearty breakfast. So once Alex and I started eating more plant based recipes, we realized we’d have to find a vegan version. Thus, our vegan biscuits and gravy recipe was born! And let us tell you: it is every bit as satisfying as the original. (We think.)

Vegan biscuits and gravy

Why vegan biscuits and gravy?

This website is devoted to mostly healthy, plant based recipes made of whole foods. So are these vegan biscuits and gravy a healthy, whole food breakfast recipe? Not really. This one counts as an occasional treat we’d serve as part of a special breakfast or brunch. Which 100% fits into our philosophy of all things in moderation!

Why make vegan biscuits and gravy? If you love this hearty Southern-style breakfast but also want to cut back on meat, this is the perfect way to indulge. The creamy, savory mushroom gravy packs just as comforting of a punch as sausage country gravy. And the vegan biscuits are impossibly flaky. Ready to hear our secrets?

Vegan biscuits

These are the best vegan biscuits.

OK, these vegan biscuits must be on your list of things to try if you love to eat plant-based! They’ve got those signature layers, but are made 100% of plants. The secret? Something we don’t often use: vegan butter. Because so many vegan butters are processed, Alex and I hadn’t been using it in our cooking. However: these days it’s easier to find a minimally processed vegan butter. And, our tests with coconut oil led to vegan biscuits that were dry and crumbly after they cooled. Vegan butter resulted in the best moist texture and savory flavor.

When you’re shopping for vegan butter for these biscuits, try to find one that is minimally processed with real food ingredients. Another plus is organic! We used Miyoko’s Vegan Butter, which is made with mostly cashews and coconut (and happened to be organic). Let us know in the comments below if there are other vegan butter brands that you love.

The only special tool you need? A biscuit cutter.

Vegan mushroom gravy

Secrets to vegan mushroom gravy

Let’s move on to the sauce side of these vegan biscuits and gravy! Alex and I have a great vegan brown gravy that’s perfect on mashed potatoes. But for this recipe, we needed a country gravy to mimic the pale, chunky sausage gravy that’s traditional in this recipe. Here are the secrets to this vegan mushroom gravy:

  • Mushrooms and onion. To make those signature sausage chunks, we used diced mushrooms and onion. Use a mix of shiitake and baby bella mushrooms for a nuance in flavor, or go all baby bella.
  • Smoked paprika and fennel. Fennel seed is used in Italian sausage, so it adds a meaty flair. Smoked paprika adds a hint of smokiness.
  • Flour and almond milk. The standard country gravy uses flour as a thickener, and milk as the liquid. Unsweetened almond milk works just as well as dairy milk in this gravy.

How to reheat gravy

Vegan gravy has a tendency to thicken up even further as it cools. If you have leftovers that you refrigerate, we recommend warming the gravy in a saucepan over low heat to loosen it up a bit. If the gravy is still too thick once it’s heated through, stir in a little almond milk. And we mean a little, as in a tablespoon or so! You don’t want it to become too runny.

Vegan biscuits and gravy

Other plant based breakfast recipes

Want to stay plant based for breakfast or brunch? Here are a few other of our favorite plant based ways to start the day, some healthy and some more decadent:

This vegan biscuits and gravy recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Vegan biscuits and gravy

Vegan Biscuits and Gravy


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4

Description

Yep, these are the best vegan biscuits and gravy! A thick, peppery mushroom gravy coats impossibly flaky biscuits. All we can say is: wow.


Ingredients

  • 1 recipe Best Vegan Biscuits
  • 1/2 small yellow onion (1/2 cup minced)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 8 ounces mushrooms (we use a mix of shiitake and baby bella)
  • 6 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon whole fennel seeds
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup flour (for gluten-free, use 1 for 1 gluten free flour)
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Make the Vegan Biscuits.
  2. Finely mince the onion and garlic. Finely chop the mushrooms.
  3. In a large saucepan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook for 6 to 7 minutes until lightly browned. Stir in the soy sauce, then add the garlic, fennel, smoked paprika, sage and pepper and cook for 30 seconds over medium heat until fragrant.
  4. Stir in the flour so the mushrooms are coated. Then add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil and cook, bubbling rapidly, for 4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Reduce the heat to medium low. Add the almond milk and kosher salt. Cook for an additional 2 to 3 minutes, until thickened.
  6. Remove from the heat. The gravy will continue to thicken as it cools. Taste and add an additional pinch or two of salt as necessary.

Notes

*Prep time & cook time are for gravy only.

  • Category: Brunch
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Vegan Biscuits and Gravy, Biscuits and Gravy, Plant Based Gravy

More plant based resources

A few more plant based resources for fitting vegan recipes into your everyday:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, Vegetarian Recipes

Best Damn Lentil Soup

What makes this the best lentil soup? Let’s just say that everyone we’ve served it to immediately asks for the recipe…and seconds. Are you on the lentil train? Lentils are low in calories, high in nutrition, and budget friendly. Even better, they make 40 times less greenhouse gases than a burger. (Right? More on that below.) They’re are a plant protein that’s pretty perfect. And we’ve found our favorite new way to eat them: our Best Damn Lentil Soup. Yes, we’re pulling out the expletives because this one is so delicious, you won’t even remember that you’re doing your body and the planet good. You’ll just feel like you’re wrapped in a cozy hug. Did we mention it’s a totally plant based dinner recipe, too? This vegan lentil soup is ready to amaze you. Got an Instant Pot? Here’s the same soup in a pressure cooker: Instant Pot Lentil Soup What makes this the best lentil soup This vegan lentil soup is full of big flavor, despite being made only with plants. While some lentil soups rely on bacon or sausage to keep eaters coming back for more, this one does it without meat or dairy. Even our 2 year […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, Vegetarian Recipes

What makes this the best lentil soup? Let’s just say that everyone we’ve served it to immediately asks for the recipe…and seconds.

Best Lentil Soup

Are you on the lentil train? Lentils are low in calories, high in nutrition, and budget friendly. Even better, they make 40 times less greenhouse gases than a burger. (Right? More on that below.) They’re are a plant protein that’s pretty perfect. And we’ve found our favorite new way to eat them: our Best Damn Lentil Soup. Yes, we’re pulling out the expletives because this one is so delicious, you won’t even remember that you’re doing your body and the planet good. You’ll just feel like you’re wrapped in a cozy hug. Did we mention it’s a totally plant based dinner recipe, too? This vegan lentil soup is ready to amaze you.

Got an Instant Pot? Here’s the same soup in a pressure cooker: Instant Pot Lentil Soup

Best damn lentil soup

What makes this the best lentil soup

This vegan lentil soup is full of big flavor, despite being made only with plants. While some lentil soups rely on bacon or sausage to keep eaters coming back for more, this one does it without meat or dairy. Even our 2 year old was obsessed with this one! The tricks to how to make lentil soup that’s irresistible?

Saute onion and fennel. Using fresh fennel along with the standard onion brings a smoky, nuanced undertone to this soup. You can find fresh fennel in mainstream groceries in the produce section: it looks like a big onion with a fuzzy top.

Using fresh fennel along with the standard onion brings a smoky, nuanced undertone to this soup. You can find fresh fennel in mainstream groceries in the produce section: it looks like a big onion with a fuzzy top.

if you’re not sure how to cut fennel and how to dice an onion quickly: we can help! We have some great knife skills tutorials that can help you cut them in a flash:

Use fire roasted tomatoes. Fire roasted tomatoes are sweeter out of the can than standard tomatoes, which can have a bitter aftertaste. The tomatoes run the show here, so if you can’t find them, try to locate the best quality tomatoes you can.

Add minced garlic at the end. Typically garlic is added at the beginning of a soup, when you’re sauteing the vegetables. To bring even more flavor, here we’ve added minced garlic at the end when the soup is done simmering. You’ll add it and let the soup stand for 5 minutes to infuse the flavor.

Lentils nutrition

Lentils nutrition

Lentils are not only tasty: they’re full of nutrition benefits and are inexpensive to buy! So this lentil soup is not only good for your pocketbook, it’s healthy too. Here are a few of the major nutritional benefits of lentils:

  • Protein & Fiber: Lentils have a large amount of plant-based protein. 1 cup of cooked lentils has about 18 grams of protein and 15 grams of fiber. (Source)
  • Low in Fat & Calories: Lentils have virtually no saturated fat and are low in calories.
  • Protect Against Heart Disease: Lentils are rich in polyphenols, micronutrients thought to help protect against cardiovascular disease. (Source)

Good for the planet, too

What do lentils have to do with the planet? More than you may think. A recent New York Times article covered Food and Climate Change and indicated that the world’s food system is responsible for about 1/4 of the planet-warming greenhouse gases. The chart in the article shows the difference between beef and lentils (grouped under Beans). Beef accounts for 40 times more greenhouse gases than lentils. If that’s not motivation to make our Best Lentil Soup once in a while…we’re not sure what is!

Lentil soup recipe
You can also make this one in an Instant Pot.

Lentil soup variations

If you’ve got an Instant Pot, we’ve got a version of this lentil soup for the pressure cooker too! Head to Instant Pot Lentil Soup.

If you’re looking for a pureed lentil soup, try our Creamy Red Lentil Soup.

If you’re looking for a lentil soup with squash, our Superfood Butternut Squash Lentil Soup is perfect for fall: it also stars leeks and leafy green kale.

Lentil soup recipe

Why people love it

To make sure this really was the best lentil soup, we tested this recipe with our readers before publishing them here on A Couple Cooks. This cozy Instant Pot lentil soup went over with our real-life recipe testers! Here’s what they had to say:

  • “Made the soup last night. It divided into 6+ hearty portions. I liked the flavor. My husband said this could easily go into regular rotation at our house!” -Laura
  • “The lentil soup turned out great! We really liked it! We think it would serve 4 to 5 people, but I guess it depends on the people (my boyfriend can eat haha!).” -Amanda

What to serve with lentil soup

What to serve with this lentil soup? Just a soup does not a meal make: unless you eat a few servings, which we often do! Here are a few things we’d serve with lentil soup:

This lentil soup recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

Print
Lentil soup recipe

Best Damn Lentil Soup


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6

Description

What makes this the best lentil soup? Let’s just say that everyone we’ve served it to immediately asks for the recipe…and seconds.


Ingredients

  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 2 large carrots
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups brown or green lentils
  • 28 ounce diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 1 quart vegetable broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 3 cups spinach

Instructions

  1. Dice the onion. Dice the fennel. Peel and dice the carrots. Grate the garlic and set aside to stir in once the soup is cooked. (Got an Instant Pot? Go to Instant Pot Lentil Soup and continue at Step 2!)
  2. In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and fennel and saute for 6 to 7 minutes until translucent. Add the carrots, lentils, tomatoes, broth, water, salt, paprika, and oregano.
  3. Bring to a simmer. Simmer for 22 to 25 minutes until the lentils are tender.
  4. Stir in the spinach and grated garlic, and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Taste and season with additional salt and fresh ground pepper as necessary. Serve immediately. Stores refrigerated for up to 4 days and frozen for 3 to 4 months.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Lentil soup, Best lentil soup, Lentil soup recipe

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, Vegetarian Recipes