Basil Pesto Pasta with Roasted Vegetables

I thought this was really good! My kids thought it was okay, and husband said it would have been better if the veggies had been softer. SIGH.

rating: 8.5

Basil Pesto Pasta with Roasted Vegetables


1 lb. of whole wheat penne pasta
Homemade Basil Pesto (recipe below)
2 zucchini, sliced
2 yellow squash, sliced
1 red onion, cut into 1″ cubes
15-20 mini bell peppers (assorted peppers), tops cut off
2 tablespoons of olive
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of ground pepper


Preheat oven to 400.
Place zucchini, squash, red onion, and mini bell peppers on baking sheet. Season with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss to coat.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.
Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions.
Drain pasta when done and reserve ½ cup of cooking liquid.
In a large bowl add cooked pasta, roasted vegetables, basil pesto, and ½ cup of reserved cooking liquid. Toss to coat.
Serve. Top with additional parmesan cheese if desired.


Basil Pesto:


2 cups fresh packed basil
¼ cup pecans
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
clove garlic
1 tsp. lemon zest
½ cup of olive oil (or ⅔ cup depending on the type of consistency you like)
⅓ cup of shredded parmesan cheese


Blend basil, pecans, garlic, salt, pepper, and lemon zest.
Slowly add the olive oil till smooth.
Once completely blended stir in the parmesan cheese.


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Roasted Chickpea Gyros

These chickpeas were so good! I had some left over and threw them in different salads throughout the week! These sandwiches were really tasty, but my 10 year old said they are “super messy”. I used store-bought tzatiki, but you could make your own.

rating: 9

Roasted Chickpea Gyros
serves 4
time needed: 35 min.


1 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed (1 ½ cup soaked chickpeas if starting from dry)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp paprika*
1 tsp ground black pepper
½ tsp cayenne pepper
¼ tsp  salt
4 pita flatbreads
1 cup tzatziki
¼ red onion, cut into strips
2 lettuce leaves, roughly chopped
1 tomato, sliced


Pat dry chickpeas with paper towel, removing any skins that may come off.
Gently toss chickpeas with oil, paprika, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt.
Spread chickpeas onto a greased rimmed baking sheet and roast at 400 degrees F (200 C) for about 20 minutes, until lightly browned but not hard.
Spread some tzatziki onto one side of the pita, then sprinkle in ¼ of the chickpeas and add veggies. Fold in half and enjoy!
*If you don’t like spicy foods, halve the amount paprika, black pepper, and cayenne pepper. Taste a chickpea before baking and adjust flavors as needed.
If your pita breads crack when you fold them, cover them with a moist paper towel and microwave for 20 to 30 seconds. Assemble your sandwich immediately after microwaving.


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Springtime Vegetarian Minestrone Soup

Yes, I am aware that it is winter. I have never loved minestrone but I thought I would give it another chance. And you know what? This soup was good! My kids picked out various veggies, but husband and I both really liked it. And it was easy peasy!

rating: 9

Springtime Vegetarian Minestrone Soup

serves 8
time needed: 30 min.


1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup diced celery
1 large onion, diced
2 cups zucchini, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 oz) kidney beans, drained
6 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
2 cups uncooked penne pasta
2 cups baby spinach, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste


In a large pot over medium-high heat, saute carrots, celery, onion, zucchini, and garlic in olive oil until just barely tender. Reduce heat to medium and stir in tomato paste, tomatoes, and beans.
Gradually add vegetable broth and Italian seasoning. Bring to a low simmer, stirring occasionally. Stir in penne pasta and spinach, then let soup simmer until pasta is cooked and veggies are tender, about 7 minutes. Season minestrone with salt and pepper and serve warm.


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Loaded Guacamole Vegetarian Tacos

This guacamole was excellent, and so were the tacos! Husband and son were asking where were the other toppings, like cheese, but I told them they didn’t need that stuff (they got it anyway). I could eat these all day long.

rating: 9.5

Loaded Guacamole Vegetarian Tacos
makes 6 tacos
time needed: 28 min.


for the guacamole:

2 avocados, pit and skin removed, roughly chopped
1/2 of a lime
1/2 of a lemon
1/4 salt (plus extra as needed)
1/3 cup corn kernels (raw, from about 1/2 of a large cob, or thawed from frozen)
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
2 tablespoons diced poblano pepper (I omitted)
1 tablespoon diced red onion
1 tablespoon diced jalapeño pepper (I omitted)
2 teaspoons minced cilantro
1 clove garlic, minced

for the black beans:

1 can black beans (15 ounces)
1/3 cup corn kernels (raw, from 1/2 of a large cob, or thawed from frozen)
1/4 cup red bell pepper, diced
1/4 cup poblano peppers, diced (I omitted)
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

for the tacos:

6 small flour or soft corn tortillas
2 cups chopped iceberg or romaine lettuce
1 tablespoon minced cilantro
hot sauce, such as Cholula or Sriracha (optional)
lime and/or lemon wedges


prepare the guacamole:
Mash the avocado in a medium bowl with a fork (or molcajete) until it reaches your desired consistency, chunky or smooth. Add a small squeeze each of lime and lemon juice, along with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix well and taste. Add more lime juice, lemon juice, and salt as you like. Stir in the remaining guacamole ingredients. (To make ahead, cover the bowl with plastic wrap and press gently against the guacamole. The entire surface of the guac should be touching and covered by the wrap, to keep air out. Then, cover the bowl with a second sheet of wrap, and refrigerate.)

prepare the black beans:

Add all of the black bean ingredients to a 2 quart sauce pot and heat over medium-low until hot. Turn off the heat and allow to cool to a very warm, eatable temp (a few minutes should do it).


If the tortillas are not soft and pliable (or if you like your tortillas warm), stack them on a microwaveable plate, separated with paper towels, and heat for 20 to 30 seconds.
Line half of each tortilla with lettuce. Spoon the black bean mixture over the lettuce (on half of the tortilla). Spoon guacamole on the other half. Top with a few shakes of hot sauce (optional) and a sprinkle of cilantro. Serve with lemon and lime wedges.


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One Pot Stove Top Enchiladas

These were excellent! And easy! You can totally change up the ingredients here, adding different veggies and could even do some vegetarian “ground beef” crumbles. We all liked this. I served this with some sliced avocadoes, sour cream, and some Mexican rice. Ole!

rating: 9

One Pot Stove Top Enchiladas

time needed: 30 min.
serves 6

3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
8 corn tortillas, cut into one inch pieces
½ yellow onion, small diced
1 small zucchini, small diced
1 small yellow squash, small diced
1 small red bell pepper, small diced
1 clove garlic, minced
¾ cup fresh corn kernels
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
1½ cup grated cheese, divided
1½ cup enchilada sauce
Cilantro leaves for topping, if desired


Heat a large skillet (10-12 inch) over medium heat and add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add corn tortilla pieces to the pan and cook for five minutes, until slightly crispy. Remove tortillas and set aside. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon oil to the pan and add the onions and a pinch of salt. Cook onions for 2 minutes and then add the zucchini, squash, pepper, garlic, corn, black beans and all of the spices. Stir until everything is combined and cook for ten minutes, until vegetables are tender.
Add the corn tortillas back in along with 1 cup grated cheese and stir. Next add the enchilada sauce and stir again. Top with the remaining ½ cup cheese, turn the heat off and cover for 5 minutes, until cheese is melted. Top with cilantro leaves, if desired.


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Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili

I made chili a couple of weeks ago, but I was looking for something to make with a bag of Beyond Meat’s Beefy Crumbles. I saw this recipe and decided to add the Beyond Meat to it. I warmed the Beefy Crumbles in a pan and just added it at the end. This was GOOD! My 10 year old said it was his favorite chili ever, and he liked it more than the other one. I liked it a lot too, but it does have a little kick to it. My 6 year old picked out all the beans, and husband had two bowls full.

rating: 9

Three-Bean Vegetarian Chili
(All Recipes magazine, Sept./Oct. 2016)

serves 6


1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 onion, cut into small dice
1 red bell pepper, cut into small dice
1 green bell pepper, cut into small dice
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced (I omitted)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 3/4 cups water
1 (15.5 ounce) can black beans
1 (15.5 ounce) can kidney beans
1 (15.5 ounce) can chickpeas
Sour cream, shredded Cheddar cheese, fresh cilantro leaves (optional)

note: I added 1 bag of Beyond Meat “Beefy Crumble”




Heat oil in a heavy 6-quart pot over medium heat. Cook onion, bell peppers, jalapeno, garlic, and salt, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in chili powder, cumin, oregano, tomato paste, tomatoes, and water and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes.
Drain beans, reserving liquid, and rinse under cold water. Add beans and 3/4 cup reserved liquid to chili and simmer, stirring occasionally, until heated through, 5 to 7 minutes.
Top each serving with sour cream, cheese, and cilantro (if using).



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Greek Spaghetti Squash Toss

This was really good! I ate this the next day for lunch, too, and it was even better. You could vary the veggies every time you make it. I added a little bit more feta because my 10 year old loves it.

rating: 9

Here is how I bake spaghetti squash: Cut the squash in half lengthwise from stem to tail and scrape out the seeds. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Place squash, cut-side down, onto the prepared baking dish. Place into oven and roast until tender, about 35-45 minutes.

Greek Spaghetti Squash Toss
(Cooking Light, Jan./Feb. 2017)

serves 1
time needed: 20 min.


1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1/3 cup unsalted chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
6 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 1/2 cups baked spaghetti squash
1 cup baby spinach, torn
Dash of salt
2 tablespoons crumbled feta cheese


Heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high. Add onion and garlic; sauté 4 minutes. Add chickpeas, thyme, and tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Add spaghetti squash, spinach, and salt; toss gently to combine. Cook 2 minutes or until spinach is just wilted. Sprinkle with cheese.



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