Following up from yesterday’s post on my vegan cocktail party menu, I am excited to share my meatball slider recipe with you today.
My favorite part about this appetizer option was that they can be made ahead of time and assembled right before you need them. If you want a make-ahead option, make and bake the balls, then freeze. To heat up, warm spaghetti sauce in either a saucepan or crock pot and add the meatballs. Once thawed and warmed through, add to the slider buns!
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 1/8 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
- 1/2 tsp. dried basil
- 8 oz. mushrooms, chopped
- 1/4 cup red wine
- 1/3 cup copped sun-dried tomatoes
- 1/2 cup carrots, shredded
- 15 oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (can use oat flour for gluten-free version)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup parsley
- 3 cups Spaghetti Sauce
- 16 Slider buns
- In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the onion a pinch of salt, and saute until translucent. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, dried oregano and basil. Stir together and cook another 2-3 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms, reduce the heat to medium-low and cook until mushrooms are reduced and browned.
- Stir in the red wine and deglaze, scrapping up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Continue to cook until the liquid has evaporated.
- Add the mixture to a food processor bowl along with the beans, carrots, and sun-dried tomatoes. Pulse until mixture comes together.
- Add the breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, parsley, and pinch salt/pepper. Pulse to combine. You don't want a puree, but it should stick together with relative ease.
- Place in a bowl and let chill in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour.
- Roll into balls, for the sliders, they should be big enough to place onto a slider bun. If you are making this for another use, you can make the meatballs as large/small as you desire.
- Cooking step 1, saute: Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a saute pan and add the formed balls. Cook over medium-high heat for about one minute on each side. You want the balls to get slightly crunchy/browned on the outside.
- Cooking step 2, cook in the over: Place the balls on a lightly sprayed/parchment lined baking sheet and cook at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes.
- Warm the spaghetti sauce in a saucepan & add the meatballs.
- Place a meatball and 1 tbsp. spaghetti sauce on each slider bun.
This past weekend we hosted one of my favorite traditions, our Holiday Cocktail Party! Filled with good friends, Christmas beverages, and small bites- a great excuse to dress up and hang out!
Of course I pondered over the food menu for weeks, trying to figure out the perfect mix of enticing savory and sweet treats that I could put out and forget. I love hosting but I hate being in the kitchen all night; I wanted appetizers that could be served warm but be just as delicious after an hour on the table.
For starters, one of my favorite appetizers- herbed mushroom triangles from Chloe’s Kitchen. My parents used to make these all the time for dinner parties, a special treat when we were able to sample some. Theirs featured sausage and cream cheese, my vegan version contains mushrooms and herbs.
The real beauty of these apps is that they can be made ahead of time, frozen and then baked… right from frozen! I made a big batch the weekend before, kept the oven on and just popped in what I needed as the party progressed. Simple is good, especially after a few glasses of wine!
The sleeper hit of the night, my meatball sliders, were another great 2-bite appetizer. Hearty enough to stand up to the many eggnog martinis that were flowing throughout the night. I’ll be sharing this recipe tomorrow.
The other savory item, one that I regretfully did not get a photo of, were the French Love Bites with Cranberry Sauce. A simple, yet impressive vegan appetizer I plan on making again and again. The recipe, found in The Native Foods Cookbook, features a simple tempeh pate rolled in puff pastry, baked and sliced into pinwheels then topped with cranberry sauce. So, so good. If you are looking for a wow vegan appetizer for your next get together, I highly recommend this one!
To prep, I made the pate ahead of time and rolled it into the puff pastry that afternoon. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Then, place on a baking sheet, bake for 25 minutes, let cool slightly and slice.
Rounding out the menu, my favorite part- dessert! Featuring two bar recipes from Chloe’s Vegan Desserts, another must-have cookbook.
Just like the mushroom popovers, I made the bars the day before and sliced them into small bites the morning of the party. Those were then placed into containers, kept in the fridge and replenished on the platters as needed!
Lastly, to celebrate the season and bring everything together- we served vegan eggnog martinis! Yum! I’ll be posting that one on Friday.
I live in a dietitian/food blogger bubble.
A world where everyone knows that you can make chips out of apples, creamy sauces out of cashews, and 1,345 salads out of kale. It’s the place I feel most comfortable in, but quickly forget that not everyone lives here.
Like my friend L. Who came over for dinner the other night, when I was serving up this spaghetti squash pasta with homemade ratatouille sauce. Like most girlfriend dinners, this one started out with a good ½ bottle of wine consumption as I finished up the meal.
After I roasted my squash, I pulled it out of the oven to begin shredding. Shredding and sipping. Going about my business as I always do when I make spaghetti squash pasta, not even noticing that L was watching with fierce intensity.
“Is that really squash!?”
(It’s large, yellow, and I already told her it was squash)
“And you are shredding it!?” “Into pasta?”
Into pasta my dear. A fabulous, gluten-free, low-calorie alternative to traditional pasta.
A trick that I thought everyone knew, and that everyone was doing.
But that’s because I live in blogger world. In the real world, not everyone knows- so here is my quick primer. The other beauty about spaghetti squash? It tastes great with just about any sauce you crave: spicy arrabiata, creamy vegan pumpkin alfredo, lightened up pesto, pomodoro, and on and on. It’s pretty knock out though when combined with this fresh ratatouille.
Spaghetti Squash for Pasta: a How-To
1.After washing the outside of your squash, slice it in two. Even though you are not eating the skin, you still want to wash it as your knife will come in contact with the outside, which can bring dirt and bacteria inside.
2.Slicing your squash in half may seem easier said than done, depending on how sharp your knives are. If you own a microwave, pop it in there for a minute or three to soften the skin. It’s easier to cut through. If you don’t have a microwave, you can also pop it in the oven while you preheat it. Or just hack it with your sharpest knife and hope for the best! (kidding)
3.Once you have it in two equal halves, remove the seeds. I do this with a small paring knife, but you can use a spoon or your fingers.
From here, I lightly spray cooking oil onto the open halves. This helps the seasoning to stick, and for the top not to dry out and burn.
4.Now season with whatever works in your recipe. Cumin, oregano, and chili for Mexican dishes (try it with enchilada sauce or on tacos. It’s weird and it’s awesome!) Oregano, basil, thyme for Italian and so forth. I use dried spices here.
5.Then place in a 425 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes or so until done. Alternatively, you can place the squash cut side up in a oven safe dish filled with an inch or two of water. This will prevent the squash from drying out, but I never have that problem. I’m told you can also cook a squash in the microwave but I don’t have one so I can’t confirm cooking times.
6.Remove from the oven (or microwave) when finished and let cool slightly. Using a fork, gently scrape the inside of the squash- thin, ribbon like strands will start to appear- that’s your pasta! Keep going until you are just left with the outer shell. Season the shredded squash with a pinch of salt, pepper if desired. Top with sauce and eat!
Ok, back to the bubble. Enjoy!
Spaghetti Squash with Ratatouille Sauce
For the Ratatouille Sauce:
- In a large dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat.
- Add the onion, bell pepper and cook, stirring occasionally until onion is translucent.
- Add the rest of the vegetables (eggplant, zucchini, garlic) and a generous pinch of salt and black pepper. If you like a little kick, add a smidge of crushed red pepper flakes.
- Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the red wine to deglaze, stirring to remove any bits from the bottom of the pan.
- Add the tomato paste and stir to combine.
- Add the crushed tomatoes and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Just before serving, stir in the basil.
For the squash:
- Prepare as instructed in the "basic prep" steps above.
- Toss squash strands with a pinch salt/pepper and top with sauce!
The first day back after a Holiday weekend always seems to drag on longer than other days of the week. While I always wish I was still celebrating with family and friends, I am ready to get back into the office and feel productive. We have been traveling every weekend since Halloween- enjoying new cities, catching up with old friends, and working on upcoming projects. While it’s been fun, I am ready to unpack my suitcase for more than a few days and get back to doing what I love best- cooking & sharing.
Don’t get me wrong, I love traveling and all of the eating that goes with it but I am really ready to get back to some healthy fare! There is only so much champagne, appetizers, and desserts one can take. When faced with excessive amounts of food, I usually stick with intuitive eating to make sure that I am enjoying myself but not going overboard. I hate the feeling of being overly full, which has a way of ruining the energy of the holidays.
While I have been eating fairly well over the last month of traveling, it’s way more food and calories than I normally consume. Nothing to get overly worked up over, but a good time to check in and get back to the food that makes me feel good. As I posted on facebook over the weekend, enjoy the holidays but don’t let one day (or two) of indulging lead to a free-for-all until New Years. Get back on track as soon as you are able!
We arrived back in Sacramento early yesterday morning after a whirlwind few days in Portland with BL’s family. We don’t get to see his side of the family as much as we would like so we took advantage of every minute: hiking, wandering around Portland, beers at local breweries, and plenty of games. After a major grocery store run, it was back to making nuturing food we could enjoy during the week.
First up, this salad. I originally wanted to put Kale in it (I was craving kale, this should tell you the lack of green vegetables that have been in my diet recently) but saw a package of shredded collards at Trader Joe’s and went with it. Such an easy swap! Massage the leaves like you would with kale. Another benefit of using a heartier leaf like collards is that this salad stays fresh without limping! I am eating another bowl as I type this and it’s just as crunchy as it was yesterday afternoon.
I feel silly sometimes posting a salad recipe as any combination of vegetables, grains and seeds should taste good with this dressing. Add what you’ve got!
Collard Power Salad with Lemon-Tahini Dressing
- 1 cup butternut squash cubes
- 1 tsp. oil
- 1 package shredded collards or 6-8 cups collard leaves, center rib removed and leaves shredded
- 1 cup shredded carrots
- 2 large tomatoes, sliced into thin 1/2 moons
- 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked and cooled to room temperature
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/8 cup hemp seeds
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1/2 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 1 large lemon, zested and juiced (about 1/4 cup)
- 1/8 tsp. smoked paprika
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Toss butternut squash cubes with 1 tsp. oil and pinch salt/pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast until tender, about 25-30 minutes.
- Prepare dressing by combing all ingredients for lemon-tahini dressing. Whisk together and season with salt/pepper.
- Place shredded collards into a large bowl. Add a few tablespoons of dressing onto the collards and massage well.
- Add the butternut squash, black beans, carrots, tomatoes, cooked quinoa and 1/4 cup dressing.
- Toss well, massage into remaining ingredients.
- Top with pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds.
- Drizzle with remaining dressing if you wish!