Vegetable and Tofu Pad Thai



I’ve never revisited or republished a recipe on this blog before, but I’m sharing a revamped recipe with you today. I made pad thai recently for dinner and after sharing it on instagram and facebook, I got many requests for the recipe. So I reviewed my old recipe to see if it still held up. Well, that old post was from 2008. That’s almost prehistoric for blog history. So I decided to clean it up a bit. It’s still the same basic ingredients. I’ve had seven years of pad thai practice, both the cooking and the eating. So I think it’s time. Red Boat fish sauce, one of the best anchovy-based fish sauces out there, released a kosher fish sauce, so now, kosher pad thai dreams can really come true for everyone.

I visited a new local to me Asian market on Sunday, so I had just replenished my supply of rice noodles and other goodies, so this week has been filled with various Thai and Chinese treats.

The important thing about pad thai is having everything ready to go when you want to start cooking. Everything cooks quickly.

Start by cooking the pad thai sauce in a small sauce pan. You will want to mix equal parts brown sugar, fish sauce and tamarind concentrate. To that mixture, you will add some vegetable or chicken broth. Boil the mixture and then let it simmer so it can thicken.

While the sauce is cooking, get your rice noodles ready. Fresh rice noodles are amazing, but the dried rice sticks work fine and are simple to cook. Just submerge the noodles in boiling and let them sit for several minutes until soft. Drain and then rinse with cold water until ready to use.

I beat up some eggs and let them cook in a pan. I set those aside.

Next, I sauteed up some shallots and garlic and then added some tofu and chicken style seitan to the pan.

Then, I added some Chinese broccoli and some shiitake mushrooms to the pan. I let those cook a few minutes.

Next, I added the rice noodles to the pan and stirred in the sauce.

After everything was incorporated, I stirred in some bean sprouts and scallions and got ready to plate it.

Serve the finished pad thai with some crushed up peanuts and lime wedges. I love what the lime juice does to this dish.


Vegetable and Tofu Pad Thai
Cuisine: Thai
Serves: 4 servings
  • 3 tbsp. fish sauce
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. tamarind Concentrate
  • ¼ cup vegetable or chicken broth
  • 8 oz. pad thai rice noodles
  • canola oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup diced extra firm tofu
  • 8 oz. chicken or seitan
  • 1.5 cups slices shiitake mushrooms
  • 1.5 cups sliced chinese broccoli
  • 2 cups bean sprouts, washed
  • 4 scallions, chopped
  • ⅕ cup crushed peanuts
  • Lime wedges
  1. Combine the fish sauce, brown sugar and tamarind concentrate in a small sauce pan. Heat on medium. Add in the broth. Let it come to a boil and then turn the heat down.
  2. Soak the rice noodles in boiling water until soft. Drain and set aside.
  3. Heat up a couple of teaspoons of canola oil in a wok or large pan. Beat the eggs and add to the pan. Scramble them a bit. Transfer eggs to plate and set aside.
  4. Add another teaspoon or two of oil to the hot pan and add your proteins. I like adding tofu or seitan, but feel free to play around with it. Add some beef or chicken or shrimp if that's more your speed. Let it cook a few minutes.
  5. Add in some veggies. This is where I added mushrooms and broccoli. Let that cook a bit.
  6. Now, add the noodles to the pan and stir.
  7. Stir in the sauce.
  8. Finally, add the bean sprouts and the scallions and turn off the heat.
  9. You're just about done!
  10. Serve pad thai topped with some peanuts and some lime wedges on the side. I love fresh squeezed lime juice on mine!



Roasted Beets and Beet Greens with Pasta

roasted beet pasta900

If you’ve been following along on Facebook and Instagram feed, you probably already know all about my CSA and the amazing produce I get each week. I’ve been getting a weekly share from a local farm called Alstedes. Each week it’s like a foodie birthday present. As I pick up the crate of veggies and farm fresh cage-free eggs, I get a huge smile on my face. What am I going to make first out of all the amazing goodies?

I love beets. I love all kinds of beets. The first box that contained beets had me so happy. I had a bunch of red beets from the farmer’s market in my fridge, so when the golden beets came, I was exuberant. I love to see those rings when you cut in to a beet. They’re just so pretty. And the colors? I love it!

beet rounds

I often simply slice or grate beets and put them in a simple salad or side dish, but I decided to include them in something more substantial for dinner. I also wanted to include the beet tops. Did you know that you could eat beet greens? You totally can! Just wash them and eat them raw in a salad, or you can saute them! They’re fantastic and so good for you!

I started out by roasting my beets. I peeled and sliced the beets thinly and tossed in some olive oil, salt and pepper and placed on a baking sheet. I baked at 415 for about 20 minutes – keeping an eye on them so that they didn’t burn.

I cooked up the pasta, reserving some of the pasta cooking water.

I then sliced up both bunches of washed beet greens.

I toasted some pine nuts, then added some olive oil, chopped onion and garlic to the pan.

Next, I added the greens, some salt and pepper.

I love how fast everything cooks up in this dish. The greens take only a few minutes to wilt.

I tossed the cooked pasta in to the pan with a small amount of the cooking water.

I plated the pasta and greens and served with the amazing roasted beets and some goat cheese. So simple, yet so delicious!

Roasted Beets and Beet Greens with Pasta
  • 2 bunches of beets (about 6 medium beets)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • ½ cup pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • Beet Greens from two bunches of beets, washed and sliced
  • additional salt and pepper as needed
  • Goat Cheese
  • parmesan cheese (optional)
  • ¾ pound pasta, cooked according to directions on box (reserving some pasta water)
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Peel and slice the beets in to thin rounds. Toss with some olive oil, salt and pepper and place on baking sheet. Roast in oven for 20 minutes.
  3. Cook pasta according to the directions on the box, reserving some pasta water.
  4. Toast pine nuts in large pan for 2 minutes.
  5. Add in the olive oil, salt, pepper, onions and garlic and saute for 3-5 minutes to soften. Add in the beet greens and saute a couple more minutes.
  6. Mix in the cooked pasta and a couple tablespoons of the pasta cooking water.
  7. Plate the pasta and greens. Top with goat cheese, roasted beet rounds and Parmesan Cheese if desired.
  8. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Enjoy!


roastedbeets text

Butternut Squash & Kale Lasagna

finished piece

I am so happy that Passover is over and I have my kitchen back to normal. I have a love/hate relationship with Passover, and I’m just ready for some more low-key time in the kitchen.

This fabulous lasagna brings two of my favorite ingredients together. I love butternut squash and kale in so many ways, be it a hash or a salad. For some reason, they just go together!

This squash was actually purchased for Passover and I had intended to turn it in to this fabulous kosher-for-passover lasagna from Joy of Kosher. It was a huge hit last year, but I just didn’t get the chance to make it this year. So this dish is somewhat inspired by that amazing lasagna.

I like to use the no-boil lasagna pasta sheets because I’m lazy it skips one long step and they seem to work well.

I started by cutting down the squash. I peel off the hard skin and then using my trusty OXO peeler, I peel long strips of squash, using the full length of the squash. For this lasagna, used around 3 cups of squash strips, but you can certainly use more or less.

peeling butternut.jpg

I then cooked my kale and white sauce simultaneously.

I lightly sautéed the chopped kale in olive oil with fresh garlic. I didn’t need it to wilt completely. I just wanted some of the raw edge off of the leaves.


While  the kale cooked down, I tackled the white sauce.

I heated up some olive oil in a pan with garlic, sage, thyme and chopped onion. Once they were soft, I added some flour to the mix, cooked that a bit and then whisked in some milk. Once the mixture thickened, I added some freshly grated parmesan cheese, salt and some black pepper.

I remove both of the pans from the heat.

I then got to work on the lasagna.

I layered each of the ingredients in my pan. This recipe makes a 9×13  or two 8×8 square pans of lasagna. I used the square pans because they were more easily accessible after I was unpacking my kitchen from Pesach mode.

I ladled some of the white sauce on to the bottom of the pan. I then added the pasta sheets. I spread some ricotta cheese over the pasta. I then added the chopped kale, then the thick layer of squash strips, then some sage leaves, then a small sprinkle of mozzarella and then more white sauce. I repeated this layer and when the pan was full and I used up the sauce, I topped everything with shredded parmesan cheese and more mozzarella. I also sprinkled on some more herbs and black pepper.

lasagna layers step by step.jpg

I baked everything in the oven until the cheese was bubbly and beginning to brown. We dug in. Amazing! My husband and daughter had two helpings! Totally making this dish again!

lasagna in 8x8.jpg

Butternut Squash and Kale Lasagna
Recipe type: Dairy, Pasta, Entree
  • 1 medium butternut squash, skin removed
  • 1 package No-Boil Lasagna Sheets
  • Sage Leaves, About 16-20
  • 1 14oz. container of Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 8oz. package of shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Additional Parmesan Cheese
White Sauce
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 6 sage leaves, chopped
  • 3 sprigs of thyme, leaves removed from stem
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 2 tbsp. flour
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese shreds
For the Kale Layer
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3-4 cups chopped kale (I like the bag from Trader Joe's)
  • salt
  • pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 375
  2. Cut the butternut squash lengthwise. I use the peeler to get thin slices of the squash. Peel about 3 cups of squash and set aside.
For the white sauce
  1. Heat up the olive oil in a saucepan and add the chopped onion, garlic and herbs. Once the onion and garlic have softened, add in the flour. Whisk quickly and then turn the heat to medium-low and whisk in the milk. Let the mixture thicken and add in salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Remove from heat.
For the Kale
  1. Heat up the oil oil in a large pan and add in the garlic and kale. Let the kale saute a bit so it softens. You are just trying to get the edge off a bit. You don't need it to cook down completely.
On to the Lasagna
  1. In a 9x13, ladle a bit of the white sauce to cover the bottom of the pan.
  2. Lay down the lasagna noodles and spread a layer of ricotta cheese over the noodles.
  3. Next, layer the kale then the butternut squash strips with some sage. Sprinkle a small amount of mozzarella over that and then ladle some more white sauce. Repeat the layering process again.
  4. For the final step, ladle the rest of the sauce over the pan and then sprinkle on some more mozzarella and parmesan. Sprinkle on some black pepper to taste and some extra chopped sage and thyme.
  5. Bake for around 40 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and beginning to brown.
  6. Enjoy!

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Tofu, Cauliflower & Greens with Soba Noodles and Miso Tahini Sauce

Soba Noodles in Miso Tahini Sauce

I’ve had a jar of tahini sitting in my pantry for too long. I really should use it more often. My intention when I bought it was to use it in salad dressings and similar sauces, but I just haven’t reached for it until now. I actually never intended to use it in this dish, but it just happened, and I’m glad it did.

I got a couple of bunches of broccoli rabe greens in my CSA and I wanted to include it in dinner. I also had a head of cauliflower begging to be used. Both of these veggies tend to get used as side dishes. I wanted to include both in my main course. So I came up with this soba noodle dish. I love cooking with soba noodles. I buy a gluten free version and they cook up so fast and taste excellent.


Tofu, Cauliflower & Greens with Soba Noodles and Miso Tahini Sauce
Recipe type: vegan, dinner, gluten free
  • Soba Noodles
  • 1 pound of extra-firm tofu, cubed and drained
  • 1 tbsp. tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. sesame oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1.5 tbsp. ginger, chopped
  • 1 head of cauliflower, washed and trimmed
  • 1 bunch of broccoli rabe greens (could also use spinach or swiss chard), washed and chopped
  • 2 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
Miso Tahini Sauce
  • 3 tbsp. tahini
  • 2 tbsp. white miso
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. ginger, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • ¾ cup water
  • 1 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • additional salt and pepper to taste
  1. Boil some salted water in a pot and cook the soba according to the directions on the package. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400.
  3. Mix the tamari and the sesame oil. Mix in to the cubed tofu. Place the tofu on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 20 minutes.
  4. Heat up the coconut oil in a large pan. Add in the sesame oil.
  5. Saute the onion, garlic, ginger and shallots for a few minutes to soften.
  6. Break up the cauliflower and add to the pan. Cook for about 8-10 minutes. Let the cauliflower brown a bit.
  7. One the cauliflower is softer, but still has some bite to it, turn the heat down lower add in the chopped greens.
  8. Add in the red pepper flakes, salt and ground pepper.
  9. In a separate bowl, whisk all of the sauce ingredients together.
  10. To serve, layer the soba noodles then the cauliflower mixture. Then pour the sauce over both. You can garnish with scallions, roasted sesame seeds and additional red pepper flakes if you like.
  11. Enjoy!

Soba Noodles in Miso Tahini Sauce

Hong Kong Pan-Fried Noodles with Mock Duck

This month, in our Kosher Connection link-up, we are sharing “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” I had a very hard time with this. There are so many “best things” in my life of eating. Even the Food Network show breaks it up in to categories! If I could do some sort of award ceremony, I could give some special trophy for at least 10 different foods! I don’t have one favorite. I love so many different dishes for so many different reasons.


I decided to share with you this one dish today. These Hong Kong Pan-Fried Noodles with Mock Duck are simple to prepare, and it’s a dish that’s pure comfort food. It has a flavor and mouth feel that I crave every so often. This dish brings me back to dinners out with my family at KinhDo Restaurant in the Uptown area of Minneapolis. One of the dishes we often got was this fabulous mock duck noodle dish. More recently, I had a noodle dish at Buddha Bodai in Chinatown that reminded me of this dish. I decided to combine the two.

I trekked out to Chinatown last week to pick up some of the ingredients. Hong Kong Supermarket, one of my favorite stores, carries a huge selection of Asian noodles and sauces that happen to be kosher. With some vegetarian oyster sauce and noodles in hand, I headed back home to make this dish. I was very happy with the results.

Hong Kong Pan-Fried Noodles with Mock Duck
  • 1 tbsp. canola oil
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • 8 oz. Cremini Mushrooms, Sliced
  • 10 -12 oz. of Mock Duck or Seitan, sliced up in to bite-size pieces (You can use more if you like. This is what I had on hand.)
  • 1 package of Hong Kong Pan-Fried Noodles
  • 3 tbsp. Hoisin Sauce
  • 3 tbsp. Vegetarian Oyster Sauce
  • 3 tbsp. Dark Soy Sauce
  • 2 tsp. Crushed red chili peppers (optional)
  • 2 cups Fresh bean sprouts
  • ½ cup chopped Chinese chives
  1. Boil a pot of water. Cook the noodles for 1-2 minutes, then drain and rinse. The noodles are already cooked and don't need to be cooked any longer than that.
  2. Heat up the oil in a large wok or pan.
  3. Add in the onion, garlic and ginger. Cook for 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add in the mushrooms and mock duck or seitan. Cook for around 5 minutes, until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates.
  5. Mix in the cooked and drained noodles. Stir to incorporate. Stir fry the noodles a bit.
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the sauces with the crushed chili peppers.
  7. Pour the sauce in to the noodle mixture. Stir well.
  8. Mix in the fresh bean sprouts.
  9. Stir fry another few minutes.
  10. Mix in half of the chopped chives.
  11. Garnish with the rest of the chopped chives.
  12. Serve with some chili paste on the side.
  13. Enjoy!




Pasta and Veggies with Cashew Cream Sauce


Sometimes I make something and I wonder why I rarely or never make it. This dinner was one of those situations. It was that good and that easy.

As I do every day, I ask my husband what he thinks would be good for dinner the following night. He mentioned to me that he had a craving for some sort of pasta with a cream sauce. I knew I didn’t really want a heavy and rich cream sauce. Between the butter and heavy cream, I wasn’t ready for a stomachache.

I had one of those light bulb moments. Yosef from This American Bite recently had me drooling over his cashew based Mac and Cheese dish. In the past, I have been successful with various cashew based dishes. Cashews somehow add a wonderful nutty creaminess to a dish and can mimic what dairy and cheese can do. What if I made this Alfredo like sauce out of cashews? I had plenty of leftover cashews from when I made the candied nuts the other day.

I am so glad that I remembered about the cashews. It was so easy to make and I think I may even like using them more than a dairy based cream sauce.  The family couldn’t even tell the difference that there was no cheese or cream in the dish. Will definitely be making this again.

Pasta and Veggies with Cashew Cream Sauce


1 cup cashews
1 pound pasta (I used medium shells), cooked to al dente (reserve 1 cup cooking water)
1 cup vegetable broth
5 cloves garlic
juice of one lemon
2 tsp. basil, dried
2 tsp. thyme, dried
2 tsp. oregano, dried
2 tsp. sage, dried
2 tsp. pepper
2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
5 oz. mushrooms, sliced
1 cup peas
red pepper flakes (optional)
additional salt and pepper to taste


Start out by soaking the cashews in a bowl of water. Let it soak for at least 4-5 hours. I left my bowl in the fridge while I went to work.


Rinse and drain the cashews.

In the bowl of a food processor or blender, process the cashews with the vegetable broth, 3 cloves of the garlic, lemon juice and spices. Everything should be completely pureed.

cashew cream

Heat up the olive oil in a large saute pan.  saute the onions and 2 cloves of chopped garlic for a few minutes, until soft.

Add in the sliced mushrooms and peas, and any other veggies you may like. Cook for another few minutes.

Turn the flame to medium and add in the cream sauce. Let the sauce warm for a couple of minutes.


Add in the cooked pasta. Slowly add in the reserved pasta water until you reach your desired consistency.

Serve and Enjoy!



Meatless Monday: Olive, Lemon and Chickpea Pasta

It’s been a little while since I posted over here. I am back from vacation and back in to real-life mode. I initially intended to blog as I cooked while visiting the parents, but for the most part, they didn’t let me have my way in their kitchen.

Both of my parents are amazing cooks. They are also a bit possessive of their kitchen. I get so much of my inspiration from their ideas – both past and present.

My last might in Minneapolis, my Dad took over the kitchen – whipping up an amazingly simple and tasty pasta dish. This dish that I present here is more or less adapted from what he made.  The main difference, is that he used tuna for protein and I used chickpeas. I knew that my kids wouldn’t eat the hot tuna and I was not in the mood to make another dinner for them. This dinner pleased everyone.

Olive, Lemon and Chickpea Pasta

1 pound pasta (I used spaghetti, but fettuccine would work well)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup green olives with pimentos, chopped
1/3 cup kalamata olives, chopped
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
juice of one lemon
1-2 tsp. sea salt
2 tsp. fresh ground pepper
2 tsp. red pepper flakes (optional)
2 tsp. grated lemon rind
2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 cup peas
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
olive oil for drizzling
extra  Parmesan  cheese for sprinkling


Cook pasta to al dente, reserving about 1/2 – 1 cup of the cooking water.

I cooked my pasta while I cooked up the sauce/mix-in. Made everything run smoother.

In a large saute pan, heat up the olive oil. Add in the chopped onions and cook for a few minutes.

Add in the chopped garlic, olives and chickpeas. Cook for a few minutes.

Add in the spices, lemon rind and lemon juice.

Olive, Lemon and Chickpea Pasta

Add in the peas and Parmesan cheese.

Stir in the pasta, adding some of the cooking water as you go to wet the sauce a bit.

Serve on a plate. Top pasta with extra red pepper flakes, Parmesan cheese and a small drizzle of olive oil.


Olive, Lemon and Chickpea Pasta

Meatless Monday: Mushroom and Sage Pasta with Poached Egg

I’m like a kid when it comes to my herb garden. Every day after work, I get a little excited as I run to the backyard to see how things are going. How much did my basil grow? What’s the sage doing  now? I love that I don’t have to run out and buy my herbs. I just take a little pair of kitchen shears out with me and make a few snips.

My sage plant is looking pretty impressive these days. Perfect for an easy dinner. I love the way sage pairs well with mushrooms. My mouth began to water as I thought about how dinner would turn out. 

Mushroom and Sage Pasta with Poached Egg (serves 3-4)

1/2 box of thin spaghetti (cooked to al dente, reserve 1/2 cup cooking water)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
3 shallots, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/4 cup chopped sage leaves
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
1/2 container Cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/4 cup dry white wine
Parmesan cheese, grated
ground pepper
2-3 tsp. red pepper flakes
3-4 eggs

In a large pan, heat up the butter and olive oil.

Toss in the shallots and the garlic. Let them get fragrant.

Add in the mushrooms and chopped sage and thyme and saute for a few minutes.

Deglaze the pan with some white wine.

Stir in about 1/4 cup of the Parmesan cheese and some of the cooking water.

Add in some salt and freshly ground pepper and the red pepper flakes.  Taste a noodle to see if it needs more seasoning.

Let the pasta cook in the mushroom sauce.

Now it’s time to poach your eggs.  They only need a couple of minutes.

While the eggs cook a bit, plate up your pasta. Make a small indentation and place the egg there.

You want the egg to be runny. Stir the runny yolk in to the pasta.

Serve with some additional Parmesan cheese and a twist of ground pepper.


mushroom and sage pasta with poached egg

Vegetarian Yakisoba

This recipe is inspired by Mark Bittman and adapted from one of his recipes. I am addicted to cooking podcasts. I can often be found learning how to make obscure dishes while on the subway during my morning commute. While everyone else is playing Angry Birds or reading their Kindle, I am learning how to properly fillet a whole fish or spatchcock a chicken. I’m not complaining.

Today, I was catching up with Mark Bittman. He was preaching about the virtues of yakisoba. All I could think of are those commercials where they suggest that those heat & eat cups of Yakisoba bring families together. Anyhow, Mark Bittman had me at “fast food.” Aside from the ease of preparation and the fact that it’s hard to mess up, I like the flavors of the sauce and I had all the necessary ingredients at home. When the hubster came home and had a plateful, he declared it blogworthy.  So here it is.

Vegetarian Yakisoba 
adapted from Mark Bittman’s recipe

8-10 oz. Asian noodle – an egg noodle or gluten free soba is best
1 container of tofu – drained and sliced up
2 tbsp. chopped ginger
2 tbsp. chopped garlic
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup cut up broccoli
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped peppers
2 tbsp. chopped scallions

2 tbsp. ketchup
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce (I use a fish-free version)
2 tbsp. mirin or sugar
1 tbsp. sriracha or other hot sauce
2 tbsp. soy sauce

Marinate the drained tofu in some sesame oil and soy sauce for about 15 minutes.

Boil a pot of water and cook the noodles. Drain and set aside.

In a large wok, heat up the oil.

Add the ginger and garlic to the pan. Cook for 1 minutes. Add the tofu. Cook for 5 minutes.

Add in the rest of the veggies, except for the scallions.

Stir fry everything together for a few minutes.

In a small bowl, mix up the sauce ingredients.

Pour and mix them in to the vegetables.

Stir in the noodles.

Plate it up. Garnish with some chopped scallions.

Vegetarian Yakisoba


Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Hamburger Helper

I need to come out now and admit that I’m a stalker. I’m a grocery cart stalker. I like to see what other people are throwing in to their carts. I like to know what other people feed their families. I’m so curious. I always feel like nobody shops or cooks like me. I know that many people do. It just seems that whenever I’m in the checkout line at the store, the carts on either side of me come from a totally different food planet. There are thousands upon thousands of food items that people seem to stockpile – while I would never consider food. I just walk on by the boxes of Lean Cuisine and Lipton Skillet Meals. When I see things like that, the heavily processed foods, I get curious. What makes them so good? Aside from their MSG and other heavenly chemicals?

The other day, I peeked at a box of Hamburger Helper. I’ve never tried something like it. So many ingredients were listed on that side panel. I wondered if I could recreate something similar. Something the family would enjoy. Must fill 4 bellies plus possibly more for lunch the next day. It also must be budget-minded. It’s not intended to be gourmet, but I could up it’s worth a bit, simply by what I have on hand.

I honestly don’t know if what I made tastes anything remotely like what’s in the box, but we enjoyed it. That’s all that matters, right?

Vegetarian Hamburger Helper

1 tbsp. olive oil
1 tbsp. butter
1 small onion
4 cloves garlic
1 package of soy ground beef (I used the Trader Joe’s brand)
2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. thyme
2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. black pepper
8 mushrooms
1 can diced italian tomatoes
2 cups tomato sauce
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup milk
2.5 cups elbow noodles
1 cup shredded cheese

In a large, deep saute pan or pot, saute the onion and garlic in the olive oil and butter mixture.

Add in the beef crumbles and the spices. Cook for about 4-5 minutes.

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Hamburger Helper

Add in the mushrooms and diced tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes while stirring.

Add in the sauce and the liquid.

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Hamburger Helper

Add in the pasta.

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Hamburger Helper

Cook until the pasta is al dente. About ten minutes.

Add in the shredded cheese and cover the pot for about a minute or two.

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Hamburger Helper

Serve with some shredded parmesan cheese.

Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Hamburger Helper


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