vegan italian

All posts tagged vegan italian

365 Meatless Meatballs

Published January 31, 2013 by Vegan Derby Cat Party


I came home from work exhausted on Tuesday, and realized that before I got to relax, we still needed to go to Target and Whole Foods. :p We were at that point where we really HAD to get groceries, no more procrastinating was allowed. I also realized that the last thing I wanted to do when we got home was cook, so I commissioned Thomas to make me some spaghetti and meatballs while I got a nice hot shower in. (I think I got inspired seeing the ad for Gardein’s new meatballs.)

I usually make my own out of TVP, and WF didn’t seem to have Gardein’s new product, so we decided to try the 365 brand. He baked them in the oven on a prepared cookie sheet according to package directions, combined them with 365 basil pasta sauce, and served it over whole wheat spaghetti.


They were really good. Well seasoned, nice texture, absorbed some of the sauce. Definitely glad we picked these up! We’ll have to try their other meat analogs sometime.


Leftovers made an excellent lunch the next day too! 😀

Vegan Iron Chef Ty: a self imposed challenge

Published April 27, 2012 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

This challenge came about because the basil that I had intended to use for Thursday’s meal was dead in the fridge by Wednesday. Of course, if I had read the instructions on the hydroponic packaging first, I wouldn’t have put it in the fridge, but rather in a glass of water on the counter as suggested, but hindsight is 20/20. RECIPE AT THE END! : )

So… enter Thursday, the weekend approaching and produce that still needed using up. I decided a pasta dish was in order and this is what I had to work with…


I decided to bake the tofu in the 1/2 jar of marinara sauce I had left over. Since I found sprouted, pre-pressed tofu, I’ve been using it almost exclusively as a time saver. I simply cut it into squares, tossed them in the sauce and baked for 20 minutes.


I was out of garlic, so I used some shallots and red onions as my base for a from scratch sauce. I used a little red wine to deglaze the pot.


Here the fresh tomatoes go in with a bunch of spices…


I added some frozen, chopped spinach at the very end of the sauce. Just a few minutes to heat through, but so that it stays nice and bright.


And here is everyone in, and tossed around to thoroughly combine.


Angel Hair w/ Tofu, Spinach & Greenbeans

8 oz package of thin pasta of choice, cooked al dente according to instructions
1/2 lb of green beans, trimmed and cut into bite sized pieces, added to cooking pasta for last 6-7 minutes!

1/2 jar of marinara sauce
1 block of pressed tofu, firm or extra firm

Olive oil for misting pot
1 shallot, chopped finely
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
2 large tomatoes, chopped
Splash of red wine, optional (I used some cabernet)

1/2 tsp. of garlic powder (I was out of fresh!)
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/2 tsp. of thyme
pinch of rosemary
pinch of salt
fresh ground pepper
crushed red pepper for heat

~1 c. of crushed tomatoes
1-2 c. of chopped frozen spinach


1. Preheat oven or toaster oven to 400*F. Pour half of jar sauce into a baking dish. (An 8×8 or glass pie dish works great!) Add tofu squares and cover with remaining sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20-30 minutes. (I baked for 20 minutes and turned off the toaster oven, and just let it sit until I was ready.)

2. (Set your pasta water to boil!) Mist a medium pot with olive oil and raise to medium heat. Add shallots and onions, and cook for about 5 minutes, until golden and softened. (If you have some garlic, add a clove or two, minced here! I was out!) Pour in a splash of red wine if using, and let it cook off for a minute or two.

3. Add tomatoes and spices of your liking, and cover to simmer for 5 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes and simmer until pasta is almost ready. Mix in the frozen chopped spinach a few minutes before the pasta is done.

4. Add green beans to cooking pasta for last 6-7 minutes. Drain, return to pot, add sauce, and tofu and sauce and combine well. Top with nutritional yeast and/or vegan parm. Enjoy!



This was pretty good! Still got a nice, fresh tasting dish, even with some of the jar sauce mixed in. The baked tofu gave it a nice mozzarella type feel, and the green beans cooked up perfectly. Yum!

Cheeseburger Calzones (Vegan)

Published December 15, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

It was time to use up my thawed & proofed pizza dough! (Whenever I order pizza from our local pizzaria I always order a dough ball too, wrap it in plastic wrap, and throw it in a bag in the freezer for another use.) Since the pizza rolls I made last time broke my pizza stone with their awesomeness, I made these on prepped cookie sheets this time. The tofu ricotta recipe here is similar to the one I use in my lasagna recipe. I used silken tofu, because that’s what I had on hand, and it worked great, and I adjusted the seasonings by taste. These were super delicious and filling! : )

Vegan Cheeseburger Calzones

1 large ball of pizza dough
pizza sauce
1 recipe tofu ricotta, below
2 burger patties, thawed, drained & crumbled (I used Gardein!)
Additional toppings (I used sliced kalamata olives)
vegan cheese (I used Daiya cheddar & mozzarella)

Tofu Ricotta

1 package firm or extra firm regular or silken tofu, lighty pressed & crumbled
1 tbsp. lemon juice
~1/2 c. nutritional yeast
2 tbsp. vegan parm, optional
Italian seasoning, salt & pepper to taste (crushed red pepper flakes would be good too, I just realized!)
~2/3 c. frozen, chopped spinach or greens, optional

Directions: Using a fork, combine all ingredients in a medium size bowl, and set aside.

Directions: Preheat oven to 425*F and prepare cookie sheets.

1. Knead dough lightly to squeeze out any air bubbles and divide into 4 pieces with a sharp knife. Roll out into circular shapes about 8″ in diameter.

2. You can either spread a thin layer of pizza sauce or not, up to you. If you do, make sure to leave about 2cm-1″ of space at the edge for sealing when you’re done.  Place about 1/4 of ricotta mixture on one half of the circle. Top with about 1/4 of crumbled burger. Add additional toppings and cover with shredded cheese. Fold plain half over and roll the edge to seal, crimping with your fingers. Cut 2-3 vent holes in the top.

3. Repeat with remaining dough and toppings.

4. Bake for 20-25 minutes. I had to use both oven racks, so I switched the cookie sheets half-way through for an even bake. Let cool slightly and enjoy! Serve with additional pizza sauce for topping and/or dipping! : )

Easy Vegan Meat Sauce w/ Penne & Cheezy Bread

Published November 3, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

This satisfying meal came together really quickly and easily for a great weeknight dinner with some simple shortcuts. A jar of sauce helps speed the pasta along, and I had proofed a thawed dough ball (from a local pizzaria) that I had frozen in the freezer.

Easy Vegan Meat Sauce w/ Penne

1 jar of pasta sauce
1 c. of TVP
1 c. of water
1 veggie bouillon cube
2 tsp. Italian seasonings
Salt & Pepper
crushed red pepper flakes, optional


1. Set a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook pasta according to box directions for al dente texture.

2. Meanwhile, pour jar of pasta sauce into a saucepan with 1 c. of TVP, 1 c. of water, and a veggie bouillon cube. Add Italian seasoning, salt & pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes, if using. Heat until bubbly over medium heat. Cover and simmer on low until pasta is ready, adjusting seasonings to taste.

3. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add sauce and nutrtional yeast, and combine. Top individual portions with vegan parm.


Cheezy Bread

Olive oil for misting
1 medium pizza dough ball
Garlic powder
Daiya vegan cheeses, I like using a combination of mozarella and cheddar


1. Preheat oven to 450*F and prepare cookie sheet or baking pan if not using a pizza stone. (Mine broke!)

2. Roll out pizza dough and score with a dinner knife without cutting all the way through. Spray with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with garlic powder. Cover generously with shredded cheese and bake for 10 minutes.



Vegan Fire & Spice’s Tempeh Cacciatore & my Baked Penne

Published September 25, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Here I prepared another awesome dish from Vegan Fire & Spice and served it with some of my very own Baked Penne for an awesome vegan Italian feast! James was over, and he & Thomas were getting their costumes ready for Thomas’ Superhero birthday party, which was last night. James is a meat and potatoes type of person and didn’t like the tempeh, but had a GIANT second helping of my baked penne, so that was a pretty good compliment. Especially since the penne is loaded full of things he would hate to know he ingested like TVP, nutritional yeast, and vegan cheese. : ) I used brown rice penne here too, just to check it out. It smelled sweet when it was cooking, but was fairly indiscernible in the dish. I used some shallots in the penne sauce for extra flavor.

The Tempeh Cacciatore was outstanding and Thomas & I were only sad that we served it to James without having him try a piece first so there would have been more for us! 🙂 A sauce full of tomato and carrot that just felt like Italian home cooking, and gave the tempeh wonderful flavor. I’m definitely hooked on this book and will be making lots more from it in the future.

brown rice penne

fresh out of the oven!

cacciatore sauce

A really great pairing!

and in our costumes! James (Deadpool), Thomas (Symbiote Spiderman), Me (Black Cat) and our friend Eric (Wolverine)!

My Spaghetti & Vegan Meatballs, a keeper

Published August 28, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

I’ve made this dish several times since it’s inception last year (Here!), and with a couple of last little tweaks, it has moved from an experiment to a definite keeper. If you want the extra “beefy” kick to the meatballs, you can use a “not beef” vegan bouillon cube or you can just enjoy the nice combination of flavors for what they are. I gave the sauce a little extra love with some fresh basil from my patio garden. Don’t forget a generous topping of vegan parm, and enjoy! : )

Maggiano’s, Boca Raton – Custom Vegan Dish

Published June 9, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

So yesterday was my niece’s 16th birthday, and we had dinner at Maggiano’s in Boca. Upon hearing the location I immediately typed it into vegan eating out to find out how my prospects looked. Not fantastic, but not too bad. They recommended any of the “string” pastas (spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine, etc.) and garlic and olive oil sauce. They also made a point of mentioning that they had no problem creating a custom dish with existing ingredients to meet dietary restrictions. I perused the regular menu to see what sorts of items they included in some of their signature dishes, and made a list.

This was actually really delicious. Fettuccine with garlic and olive oil, spinach, pine nuts, and sun dried tomatoes! Yum! Eating vegan when dining out can yield great results, it just takes a little bit of thought.

Pasta with TVP (“Meat”) Sauce

Published May 11, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Last night I wanted a satisfying dinner that wasn’t too complicated or time consuming to make, so I streamlined my spaghetti & “meat”balls recipe, and came out with the recipe below! This does not require the use of a cutting board or knife at all. I did, however, throw in a handful of fresh basil from my patio garden to give it a little something extra…

Pasta with TVP/”Meat” Sauce

1 lb of pasta, cooked according to package directions


1 1/4 c. TVP
1 1/4 c. water
2 tsp. liquid smoke
2 tsp. vegan worcestershire


1 tsp. dried garlic
1 tsp. dried onion
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 c. veggie stock (I used water + 1 crumbled bullion cube)
1  28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (or chopped or diced + 8 oz can tomato sauce)
squirt of raw agave, optional
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried parsley
Salt & Pepper

Optional Toppings/Mix-ins

1/4 c. nutritional yeast, optional
1/4 c. vegan parm, optional
handful of Daiya mozzarella, optional


1. Prepare TVP. Bring water, liquid smoke and worcestershire up to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in TVP, and set aside.

2. Add all sauce ingredients to a medium pot over medium to med-high heat. Stir until it starts to bubble. Add TVP, lower heat and simmer, partially covered, for at least 15 minutes. (i forgot the partially part, and it came out just a little watery, but it was fine, cold on day 2!)

3. Add optional mix-ins to sauce, if using, and combine drained pasta and sauce. Enjoy!

Italian Feast: Roasted Garlic & Tomato Basil Pasta with Moussaka Pizza and Cheesesticks

Published April 10, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

So I went all out for this Italian themed Sunday feast. I had picked up a medium and large dough ball from my local pizzeria on the way home from work Friday, and I really wanted a roasted garlic sauce to go with some fresh tomatoes and basil. I totally winged this sauce and I thought it came out pretty awesome. I ended up making pizza sauce by using up some leftover tomato paste and adding some Italian spices, salt & pepper, and veggie stock to thin it out. This doubled as the dipping sauce for the cheesesticks. I got to use up some of the leftover [Veganomicon] moussaka I made earlier in the week by dismantling it and using it as an amazing pizza topping. I couldn’t believe how great that combination came out on the pizza. Somehow I managed to get everything done and still hot, so that was nice too!

Roasted Garlic & Tomato Basil Pasta

8 oz desired pasta shape, cooked according to box instructions (I used farfalle)

1/2 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
2 small to medium tomatoes, roughly chopped
10 cloves of garlic
1 large shallot, sliced thinly
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
pinch of Italian seasoning (I use and Italian blend grinder that has salt & pepper too)
Salt & Pepper (but I still used a little extra sea salt & fresh ground pepper)
Olive oil for misting

1/2 c. vegan parm
1 tbsp. vegan mozzarella/Daiya Italian shreds (it was what i had left after the pizza making ; )
about 8 big basil leaves, sliced into chiffonade (see note below!)


1. Preheat oven to 400*F. Lightly mist an 8×8 baking dish with olive oil.

2. Combine tomatoes, garlic, shallots, balsamic, and seasonings in prepared pan and spray lightly with olive oil. Bake for 30-35 minutes. (I baked in the toaster oven because I had the big oven going with the pizzas, so I covered it with foil (to keep from burning) for the first 20 minutes, and then uncovered for 15 minutes.)

3. Toss with freshly drained pasta, add vegan parm, mozzarella, and basil. (NOTE: to chiffonade basil take the leaves and pile them on top of each other. Roll them up and slice thinly. Presto. You look fancy. This was my first time doing it!)

Serve with a little extra basil on top for garnish, and enjoy!

(sorry for the blurry pic!)

Lots of yumminess ready for roasting.

Getting those lovely bites of melt-in-your-mouth garlic was amazing. Really nice with the fresh basil that I clipped from my new patio herb garden!

And now for the cheesesticks & pizza…

I scored the dough with a dinner knife so that they’d be easy to pull apart once cooked, but wouldn’t fall apart during the process.

I then lightly misted with olive oil, sprinkled with garlic powder and added Daiya cheddar and italian shreds.

Mist once more with olive oil and sprinkle with a little more garlic powder and vegan parm if you like.

After kneading and stretching the dough, make sure you stab it a billion times with a fork to keep the air bubbles at bay.

Here is the dismantled moussaka turned pizza toppings: thinly sliced, roasted eggplant, zucchini, and potatoes and a few dots of the almond cream sauce over the tomato paste based sauce I made.

And here it is all melty with Daiya goodness and ready to hit the table.

It was a true feast!

Spaghetti and Vegan Meatballs

Published February 2, 2011 by Vegan Derby Cat Party

Okay, so I had a craving for spaghetti and meatballs last week, and finally got around to it last night. If you don’t care about homemade sauce, you could make this really fast by substituting jar sauce, but really, it cooks while you do everything else, and it’s pretty easy, so try it? ; ) I was really pleased that my flax seed/wheat gluten combination worked out. Feel free to play around with the vegan parm/nutritional yeast/bread crumb combination to suit your palate or cupboard contents.

Ty’s Spaghetti & Vegan Meatball Experiment

1 lb of spaghetti, cooked according to box directions


1 1/4 c. TVP
1 1/4 c. water or stock (or water + bouillon)
1 tbsp. liquid smoke
1 tbsp. vegan worcestershire

1 tbsp. ground flax seed
3 tbsp. hot water

2 tbsp. vital wheat gluten
1/4 c. of bread crumbs, (I used panko)
1/4 c. of vegan parm
1/4 c. of nutritional yeast (you can just use another 1/4 c. of bread crumbs instead, if you like)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
Salt & Pepper, and a pinch of Italian seasoning (I have an Italian seasoning grinder that has all of these in one.)


Olive Oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 an onion, chopped (I used red.)
pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 c. veggie stock (I used 1 c. water + 1 bullion cube)
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes (or chopped or diced + 8 oz can tomato sauce)
1 tbsp. tomato paste
squeeze of agave or pinch of sugar, optional
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried parsley
Salt & Pepper


Preheat oven to 400*F and prepare a cookie sheet.

1. Prepare TVP. Bring water, liquid smoke and worcestershire up to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in TVP, and let it cool.

2. Spray a medium pot with olive oil and heat to low-medium. Add onions and pinch of salt. Cook until onions soften, about 5-7 minutes, add garlic and crushed red pepper flakes and cook an additional minute. Add stock, tomatoes, and spices. Raise heat to medium and drop to a simmer. Cook covered for 15 minutes and partially covered, for another least 15 minutes.

3. In a ramekin or other small vessel, whisk ground flax seed with hot water until mixture thickens slighty. In a large bowl mix TVP, flax mixture and all other meatball ingredients until well combined. Turn out onto a surface and knead for a minute or two. Shape into 1 1/4″ balls and place on prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 12 minutes.

4. When meatballs are ready, add them to the sauce. Serve over cooked spaghetti and top with additional vegan parm! Yum!

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