This is my favorite kind of lunch: a big bowl of gluten-free fettuccine mixed with a big bowl of romaine lettuce tossed with a big spoonful of my homemade Caesar salad dressing.
How did I come with this? I kind of vaguely remember having something like this years ago at The Cheesecake Factory. (Years before I became vegan!)
This is not an exact recipe because I just throw it together but here is how I do it.
Pasta (I like this amazing gluten-free fettuccine)
Homemade Caesar dressing *
* For a less tangy Caesar, leave out the miso! The ingredients are: cashews, water, garlic, lemon juice, mustard, nooch and a pinch of salt.
Cook the pasta.
Cut the romaine into small pieces.
Drain the pasta and place it back into the pot. Add the romaine and a few spoonfuls of dressing and use tongs to toss it all together. The lettuce will wilt just slightly.
I always keep roasted red peppers and cashew cheese in the refrigerator. I had roasted the rest of the green garlic I got at the farmer’s market earlier in the week. So this lunch came together in seconds. All I did was add some lemon zest to the cashew cheese and sandwiched the whole thing up with some spinach.
Cashew Ricotta Cheese (makes about 1 cup)
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
1/4 to 1/2 cup water
Drain the cashews and blend in the blender or Vitamix with 1/4 cup of water. Add more water, by the tablespoon, if too thick. Strain in a fine mesh strainer, if it ends up too watery. If you use a Vitamix, you probably won’t need to strain. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Roasted red peppers
Cashew cheese + lemon zest + salt and pepper, to taste
Toast the bread. Spread roasted garlic on both toasts. Then spread the cashew cheese on top of the roasted garlic. Next, top with spinach and roasted red peppers. Eat it open faced or close it up for a typical sandwich. Enjoy!
The challenge from my husband went like this. “I went to Le Pain Quotidien for lunch and had green pea hummus. Can you make it?” Sure…
I started by thinking I would use my regular hummus recipe and sub 1/2 cup green peas for chickpeas. Then I was not sure about the tahini or garlic. So I went into the field, aka the Le Pain up the street, and did some research. I ordered the green pea hummus plate and it turns out the hummus is very light, no garlic or lemon. The sides were plain and the perfect accompaniment. I squeezed the fresh lemon over the top of the plate and seasoned it with salt and pepper. When the bill came, so did the recipe for the green pea hummus.
So today, I made the hummus and the rest of the plate for lunch. Truth is, homemade is better!
Green Pea Hummus *
1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen peas
2 tablespoons tahini or cashew butter
2 garlic cloves, optional
1 tablespoon water
S and P, to taste
Place all ingredients into the processor and and blend.
* Original recipe called for only 1 cup of peas and no water. I added more peas and added some water to get a consistency I like. I have used both tahini and cashew butter and I like cashew butter better but that is just my personal taste. Garlic is optional. I have also used both fresh and frozen peas and the frozen peas make the hummus just a bit sweeter and smoother. I think the frozen peas win!
Sides (make enough for as many people as you are serving)
S and P
Using a vegetable peeler, peel the outer skin of the zucchini and carrot. Continue to peel until you have a heap of shaved vegetables.
Cut a lemon into wedges.
Arrange the plate with a big spoonful each of green pea hummus, lentils, quinoa and roasted beets. Add a handful of arugula and dress with a touch of olive oil. Add a pile of shaved vegetables and a lemon wedge. Season with salt and pepper. Enjoy!
I make this for lunch when I am home by myself because it is so easy and my husband does not eat mushrooms, asparagus or artichokes.
1 small shallot
1 cup of mushrooms
1 cup of asparagus
6 artichoke hearts
Bunch of fresh parsley
The juice of 1/2 a lemon
S and P
Slice the shallot. Add a small amount of olive oil to a pan along with the shallots and sauté on medium until just softening.
Clean the mushrooms (brush with a paper towel, no water), slice and add to the pan. Cook until just turning brownish. Cut the asparagus into small pieces and add to the pan. Cut the artichoke hearts into quarters and add to the pan. Chop the parsley and mix with the vegetables.
When the asparagus have turned bright green, squeeze the fresh lemon juice over the top and enjoy!
I love spaghetti squash. It is a really sweet squash that shreds up like spaghetti. It is fun to make with my son and serve it with vegetables, sauce or like this, super simple.
1 spaghetti squash
1 clove of garlic
S and P
Preheat the oven to 400. Cut the spaghetti squash in half and place it cut side down in a baking dish with water about halfway up the side of the squash. Bake for 45 minutes. Take the spaghetti squash out of the oven and let it sit until you can handle it. Then using a fork, scrape out the inside. (This can be made ahead of time.)
Slice the shallot and mince the garlic. Sauté in a small amount of olive oil on low heat until soft. Season with salt and pepper. Shallots are garlic are both delicate so take time to make sure they don’t burn.
Add spaghetti squash into the pan with the shallots and garlic. Toss around to heat through. Enjoy!