Rabbit Pasta with Green Olives, Fennel, and Preserved Lemons

Some people don’t like generalizations, but, well…that’s a generalization too, isn’t it? However, you sometimes need to paint a picture in broad strokes. And differences which are specific to certain cultures are interesting, which is why many of us travel, to experience them. (It’s also what makes us all delightfully different.) Most don’t come out of thin air, and often contain a kernel of truth,…

Some people don’t like generalizations, but, well…that’s a generalization too, isn’t it? However, you sometimes need to paint a picture in broad strokes. And differences which are specific to certain cultures are interesting, which is why many of us travel, to experience them. (It’s also what makes us all delightfully different.) Most don’t come out of thin air, and often contain a kernel of truth, although I’ve heard some doozies from people in various corners of the world about their perceptions of others.

One generalization that I’ve experienced, which has been confirmed by other Americans who have French partners or spouses, is that we’ve had things said to use that are rather…abrupt, or would be considered borderline insultant back in the States. If you read L’Appart, you may recall dear Romain saying to me probably the worst thing that you can say to a man, whereas I thought the obstetrician did a pretty good job with what he had to work with down there, and I’ve never had any other complaints from partners. But his best friend is half French, half American, so he sort of grew up experiencing some of our good aspects, and some of our…uh, eccentricities, so I can just laugh that stuff off.

Well, most of the time.

Continue Reading Rabbit Pasta with Green Olives, Fennel, and Preserved Lemons...

Easy Vegan Meatballs

This vegan meatballs recipe is easy to put together, full of protein, and packed with flavor! A perfect go-to plant…

A Couple Cooks – Recipes worth repeating.

This vegan meatballs recipe is easy to put together, full of protein, and packed with flavor! A perfect go-to plant based dinner.

Vegan Meatballs

Here’s a go-to when you need a plant based dinner that’s protein-packed: this Vegan Meatballs recipe! Now, there are two problems with most vegan meatballs recipes. Vegan meatballs take a long time to make, and many recipes don’t have much protein (so you’re hungry an hour later). This vegan meatballs recipe solves both problems. This recipe takes under 30 minutes to make, and it’s packed with protein! Even better: the flavor is outstanding.

The secret to the best vegan meatballs

Ok, you might need to use a new-to-you ingredient for this one. But we promise: this will revolutionize your vegan meatballs game! The key? Tempeh. Here are the particulars on this powerhouse ingredient:

  • Tempeh is a compressed cake of whole soybeans. It can include seeds like millet or grains like rice, wheat, or barley (most brands are gluten-free). It has a nuttier flavor and firmer texture than tofu. Read more about Tempeh vs Tofu here!
  • Tempeh is protein packed. One serving has a whopping 20 grams protein! That’s double the protein in one serving tofu.
  • Wait, are soy products healthy? Soy products in moderation are part of a healthy diet! Per to the Harvard School of Nutrition, soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week.
Vegan meatballs

Consider a double recipe!

Before you start, think about whether you’d like to make a single or double recipe for these vegan meatballs. Here’s what to know:

  • This recipe makes 14 meatballs, about 2 to 3 servings. They’re easy to cook in one skillet and feed a family like ours (2 adults and 1 preschooler).
  • Consider doubling the recipe, because they save well! They hold up very well refrigerated or frozen (without sauce). Instant lunch or dinner!
  • You’ll need a very large skillet for a double recipe. Use the biggest you have to cook them!
  • Use the 2x button in the recipe below. You likely won’t need the full quantity of olive oil: you can likely cook the meatballs in less than 6 tablespoons (start with ¼ cup).

Important: steam the tempeh first

The cardinal rule when using tempeh in recipes: it tastes bitter raw. While it’s completely safe to eat raw, you’ll want to cook it to remove that flavor.

  • Steam the tempeh for just 10 minutes. It gets just the right moistness to the tempeh and removes the bitter flavor.
  • Steaming doesn’t make the recipe take any longer, because you can prep everything while the tempeh steams.
  • You’ll need a steamer basket for this recipe. Don’t have one? Here are a few ways to steam without a steamer.
Vegan meatballs recipe

Tips for cooking vegan meatballs

Once you’ve got your tempeh steamed, you’ll simply mix the dough together with breadcrumbs and spices. When you cook them, here’s the main thing to note: use chopsticks to turn them! It’s hard to use a spatula to flip the balls so they get golden on each side. Chopsticks make it much easier! Of course, you can use whatever method you like. Just try to get each side lightly browned!

Italian breadcrumbs, and how to make them gluten free

Italian breadcrumbs are an important component to these vegan meatballs. It gives them just the right texture so they don’t fall apart. If you eat gluten-free, we’ve got some ideas. Here’s what to know:

  • Italian breadcrumbs are breadcrumbs mixed with herbs and salt.
  • Can’t find Italian style? Mix ½ cup plain breadcrumbs with ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt and ½ tablespoon Italian seasoning (or 1 teaspoon dried oregano and ¼ teaspoon each dried basil and thyme).
  • Try gluten-free panko or homemade. For gluten-free, it’s easy to find gluten-free breadcrumbs these days online or at your grocery. Or use gluten-free bread or crackers to make homemade breadcrumbs, then add the seasonings above.
Vegan meatballs

Make ahead and storage info

This vegan meatballs recipe is genius not only because it tastes great and has lots of protein. These also hold up very well! Here’s what to note about texture:

  • Store leftovers refrigerated for up to 5 days. Don’t store them with sauce, or they will get mushy.
  • Freeze leftovers after you allow them to cool. They’ll hold up in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. 

Ways to serve vegan meatballs

Once you’ve made your beautiful vegan meatballs…how to serve ’em? We’ve got ideas.

More vegan dinner recipes

There are lots of more vegan dinner recipes like this one! Here are a few more favorites to try:

This vegan meatballs recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free. For gluten-free, use gluten-free breadcrumbs or see the section above.

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Vegan Meatballs

Easy Vegan Meatballs


  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 14 meatballs (2 large or 3 modest)
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This vegan meatballs recipe is easy to put together, full of protein, and packed with flavor! A perfect go-to plant based dinner.


Ingredients

  • 8 ounces tempeh*, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup minced white onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
  • ¼ cup olive oil, divided*
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 to 3 cups favorite marinara sauce

Instructions

  1. Steam the tempeh: Place 1 ½ cups water into a saucepan with a steamer basket: the water surface should be right under the basket. Bring the water to a boil. Chop the tempeh into small pieces. Once boiling, add it to the steamer basket and steam it for 10 minutes while you prep the remaining ingredients.
  2. Mix the meatballs: Mince the white onion. Mince the garlic. Add them to a medium bowl with the breadcrumbs, fennel seeds and dried oregano. Once the tempeh is cooked, remove it from the steamer and add it to the bowl with the breadcrumbs. Stir in the soy sauce or tamari and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and mix. Once the tempeh cools slightly, use your fingers to mash it together into a uniform dough.
  3. Form the meatballs: Use your fingers to form the dough into golf-ball sized balls, about 13 to 14 total, placing them on a plate. 
  4. Cook the meatballs: Heat the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil in a non-stick large skillet over medium high heat. Add the meatballs and cook, turning them occasionally with chopsticks, until lightly browned on all sides, about 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium if it starts to smoke.
  5. Serve: Once cooked, you can remove the meatballs from a pan and refrigerate up to 5 days until serving if you’d like. Or serve immediately: turn off the heat and add the marinara sauce to the pan (beware of spitting). Simmer for about 1 minute until warm, then top with chopped basil or parsley and serve. Store leftovers refrigerated without sauce for 5 days, or allow to cool then freeze in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.

Notes

*The meatballs save well, so we recommend making a double recipe and refrigerating or freezing leftovers! Click the 2x button for quick doubled quantities.

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

Keywords: Vegan meatballs, vegan meatballs recipe

A Couple Cooks - Recipes worth repeating.

Easy Pizza Sauce

Homemade Pizza Sauce We love making homemade pizza. Sure, it takes a little effort to make pizza dough from scratch, but it is well worth it. And if you are going to take the time to make homemade pizza dough, PLEASE make homemade pizza sauce. To make …

Homemade Pizza Sauce We love making homemade pizza. Sure, it takes a little effort to make pizza dough from scratch, but it is well worth it. And if you are going to take the time to make homemade pizza dough, PLEASE make homemade pizza sauce. To make a really good pizza you need to start…

The post Easy Pizza Sauce appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Easy Marinara Sauce

My homemade marinara sauce is one of my all-time favorite recipes. I make this recipe ALL of the time, it is a staple in our kitchen. It’s a family recipe, that could be a secret family recipe, but since we don’t keep any secrets from you g…

My homemade marinara sauce is one of my all-time favorite recipes. I make this recipe ALL of the time, it is a staple in our kitchen. It’s a family recipe, that could be a secret family recipe, but since we don’t keep any secrets from you guys, I am sharing the recipe. You are our…

The post Easy Marinara Sauce appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

A Parmigiana Without Tomatoes? It’s Not Just Possible, It’s Fantastic

We’ve partnered with the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium to share delicious ways to use this savory powerhouse in your cooking—and prove that it’s so much more than just a topping. Known for its unmistakable taste and perfectly crumbly texture, this che…

We've partnered with the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium to share delicious ways to use this savory powerhouse in your cooking—and prove that it’s so much more than just a topping. Known for its unmistakable taste and perfectly crumbly texture, this cheese is made with only three ingredients, but the real magic comes after it's been aged for more than a year (in Italy, according to old-school methods).


Parmigiana is a true Italian classic, with quite possibly as many variations as there are cooks. While the most well-known version, parmigiana di melanzane, involves slices of eggplant (grilled or deep-fried, depending on which camp you're in) baked with tomato sauce and melting cheese, it’s a dish that lends itself well to adaptations—and has for centuries.

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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?

Read more »

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