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If you’ve never thought much of veggie burgers, these Mushroom Pecan Burgers may change your opinion!

I first developed the original version of this recipe (for my first cookbook, The Everyday Vegan).

That was around 1999, when we thought the world might end with Y2K (remember that?), and vegan certainly wasn’t trendy with celebrities.

Quite the opposite, it was a word that, if known, conjured imaged of radical vegetarian extremists or hippies buying tofu out of water bins in patchouli-scented health food stores.

Back then, commercial veggie burgers were few and far between. So, I took to making my own!

Fast forward 20 years and we have quite a few vegan burgers to choose from when shopping.

But guess what? I still take to making my own.


Quite simply: they taste better!

Beyond taste, homemade burgers are

  • (1) more affordable
  • (2) usually healthier with more whole foods ingredients
  • (3) adaptable to tastes and dietary needs (ex: reducing salt or substituting seeds for nuts)

These Mushroom Pecan Burgers were one of my first burger recipes. They were delicious, but a touch delicate. Better suited for a pita than layering in a burger bun.

For LTEV, I decided to rework the recipe to make them firmer, and also more savory. In addition, I tweaked the recipe to give a gluten-free and nut-free option.

Now, my husband loves a good vegan burger. Whenever we go out for vegan food, he looks for a burger first!

And these Mushroom Pecan Burgers are one of his all-time favorite recipes. They are hearty and so scrumptious with an irresistible umami flavor.

Which is why I highly recommend these burgers for Father’s Day. Try pairing with homefries – the special dad in your life will love it!

Need ideas for a sauce for these Mushroom Pecan Burgers? Try my Almonnaise, or a thickened Chickpea Dressing (just use less water), or my take on “thousand island” dressing in my ebook. All yummy!

Oh! And if you have a nut allergy, I substitute pumpkin seeds here (these are my absolute favorite, especially for snacking). You can also use sunflower seeds, but I’m partial to pumpkin seeds here.

That’s it, kids! Enjoy…x Dreena

Mushroom Pecan Burgers, Take II
These burgers have an irresistible umami flavor profile, and great texture. Absolutely scrumptious! 
Course burgers, entree, Main Course
Keyword burgers, mushrooms
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lb brown cremini mushrooms (ends of stems trimmed), chopped (cremini have more flavor than white button mushrooms, but white mushrooms can also be used)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 ¼ cups diced onion
  • couple pinches sea salt
  • 3-4 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 – 2 1/2 tbso tahini
  • 1 tbsp light miso ex: brown rice
  • ½ tsp ground sage
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp  balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 ¾ cups rolled oats use certified gluten-free for that option
  • 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 1 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce optional, omit for wheat-free/gluten-free version
  • ½ cup pecans lightly toasted (see note; can substitute pumpkin seeds)
  • In a large skillet (use largest you have) over high heat, add the balsamic vinegar, mushrooms, and pepper. Cook, stirring only occasionally, until the mushrooms have started to brown and shrink down (9 to 10 minutes). Push most of the mushrooms to the outer edges of the skillet (creating a well in the center), turn the heat down to medium or medium-low, and add the onion and salt. Cook for a couple of minutes, then add the garlic (adding the garlic later helps prevent it from burning). Stir the mushrooms into the onion mixture and cook for another 6 to 7 minutes, until the onion is softened and translucent. Add the 1 tablespoon of the balsamic vinegar to the pan, stir, and then remove from the heat.  In a food processor, combine about three-quarters of the mushroom mixture with the tahini, miso, sage, oregano, tamari, oats, fresh parsley, and Worcestershire sauce (if using). Process until it just comes together. Add the pecans, pulse once or twice (to break up but not fully process), and then add the remaining mushroom mixture, pulsing once or twice just to incorporate.  Remove the blade, and shape mounds of the mixture into patties with your hands (yielding six, or five larger patties). The patties can be refrigerated or cooked immediately. To cook, place on a nonstick skillet over medium or medium-high heat and cook the patties for 6 to 8 minutes, then flip and cook for another 4 to 5 minutes until a golden sear has formed on each side, working in batches, if necessary. (To oven-bake, place patties on baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Bake at 400 degrees, for roughly 10 minutes on one side, then flipping and baking another 10 minutes.) Serve up!  Makes 5 to 6 patties.
  • Serving Suggestions: Because these burgers take a little more prep than others, pair with the simplest of spuds, such as baked whole sweet or white potatoes. But if you’re up to just a little more prep, try Lemon Dijon Green Beans or Sunshine Fries with Rosemary and Coarse Sea Salt. A green salad will round out the meal and add freshness; try one loaded with raw veggies and drizzled with Walnut Mustard Vinaigrette.
  • Toasting Nuts:  To toast nuts, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Place in oven preheated to 400 degrees, and bake for 7 to 12 minutes, tossing once or twice through the baking process to distribute through evenly during cooking.  Watch carefully as toasting times vary by nut, and they can turn from golden to burned in just seconds.
  • For nut-free version, use pumpkin seeds. If using roasted (salted) pumpkin seeds, you may want to reduce salt. These are my favorite roasted pumpkin seeds, they are absolutely delicious! 

food photos by Charlotte Singh

The post Vegan Mushroom Pecan Burgers (oil-free, gluten-free, nut-free option) appeared first on Dreena Burton.

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Update: FULL oil-free dressing ebook now available!


Yes. That is not a typo!

I love dressings and sauces, and have developed many that are delicious, vegan, and oil-free.

Today I share one of my all-time favorites: Maple-Chipotle Chickpea Dressing!

As the name suggests, this dressing is made with a base of chickpeas. Combined with tahini, it becomes thick, rich, and creamy.

It is naturally oil-free, and is also gluten-free and (obviously) dairy-free. I love this dressing.

I created it one day with some leftover chickpeas, and was immediately hooked!

I especially love it over steamed kale (steam the kale leaves just like the collards), along with hot quinoa and a mix of seasonal veggies.

For this photo shoot, we used sweet potatoes and avocado with the kale and quinoa. This combined with the dressing makes a pretty wicked lunch bowl!

It’s so nourishing and wholesome, and every bite hits a little different flavor note that’s just so scrumptious.

Also, it’s a substantial dressing with a fairly thick texture, which ‘clings’ nicely to salad ingredients.

There are many ways to make salad dressings and sauces without oil, using nuts, seeds, avocado, and even applesauce!

After creating this recipe, I decided to create a full collection of oil-free dressings, which includes this popular dressing.  That ebook is available here.

The flavors in this chickpea dressing meld together so very well.

If you don’t have chipotle hot sauce, you can use chipotle powder. But use it sparingly, it can be very intense.

Enjoy the recipe! x Dreena

Maple-Chipotle Chickpea Dressing

A creamy, flavorful dressing made with a base of chickpeas and flavored with maple syrup and the smoky essence of chipotle!

  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 – 1 tbsp tahini (adjust to taste, 1 tbsp will give a richer, fuller flavor)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2  1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 1  1/2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp chipotle hot sauce (I use Tabasco brand; can use more if desired!)
  • 1/4 cup water (or more to thin as desired)
  • optional: 2-3 tbsp cilantro (chopped)
  1. n a blender (I use the Blendtec twister jar), add all ingredients except the cilantro. Puree until very smooth (this will take less than a minute in a high speed blender, may take several minutes in a standard blender). Taste, and adjust with additional lime juice, sweetener, or salt as desired. If using the cilantro, stir through. For a thinner dressing, add a touch more water and stir through. Serve! Makes about 3/4 – 1 cup dressing.

photos: Emma

The post Oil-Free Vegan Maple-Chipotle Chickpea Dressing (also nut-free, gf) appeared first on Dreena Burton.

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This Thai Chickpea Almond Curry isn’t a new recipe.

However, it’s a popular recipe!

This dish is from my Let Them Eat Vegan cookbook, and I had the recipe posted on my blog a while back.

However, with site revisions and needing to migrate all my recipes from one software to another, I had to delete the beloved Thai Chickpea Almond Curry!

Today, I’m bringing it back!

Better than ever with new photos, so you can truly appreciate how delicious and easy this dish is to make.

This is one of those dishes that I hear from readers about regularly.

Thai Chickpea Almond Curry is popular because it’s:
  1. Delicious! Really. really. delicious.
  2. Simple and quick to prepare.
  3. Easy to veggie-adapt.

Delicious: This Thai Chickpea Almond Curry is big on flavor. Not heat. Unless you want it.

It’s important to differentiate. Spice does not have to be hot-spice. This dish has great depth of flavor with spices and seasonings, but heat only if you want.

I like just a little heat, so the kids will also enjoy it. Of course, if you want to kick it up – do so!

Simple Prep: See the photo below? After you blend the sauce, everything into one baking dish – into the oven.

Boom, you’re done!

Adapt with other vegetables: I hear from readers all the time that use other fave veg in this dish.

If you don’t love bell peppers, swap in steamed cauliflower. Zucchini not available? Try steamed winter squash. Or green beans with steamed potatoes. If they are quick cooking veg, you can add raw to the sauce. If they are harder veg, steam first.

One key ingredient for this recipe is the red curry paste. The brand I use is Thai Kitchen. It’s widely available as a brand, however I have found not all stores stock these small jars of the curry paste, even though they carry other products in the Thai Kitchen line.

Some thai pastes aren’t vegan, they contain fish sauce or other ingredients. Make it easy on yourself and stock up on the paste ahead of time. Here’s an amazon link for US and Canada if that’s helpful.

Get your ingredients, get on that apron, and get cooking! This delicious Thai Chickpea Almond Curry is waiting…

x Dreena

While this bakes, you will be enchanted with the aromatic mingling of nutty coconut sauce infused with lime, ginger, and curry. It is a deeply flavorful dish that is also almost effortless in preparation. Everything comes together lickety-split and you have an exotic bean entrée to serve over rice!
Course entree, Main Course
  • 1 medium to large clove garlic
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt plus another few pinches, if desired
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice zest limes first, see below
  • 1 14-ounce can “lite” coconut milk
  • ¼ cup almond butter can use raw or roasted, see ntoe
  • ½ tablespoon tamari or coconut aminos for soy-free version
  • 1½ tablespoons peeled and roughly chopped fresh ginger
  • 1½ to 2 teaspoons red curry paste I use Thai Kitchen brand
  • ⅛ to ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional; or use more if you like the heat!
  • 1/2 tsp lime zest zest before juicing
Chickpea mixture:
  • 2 14-ounce cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed (3¾ to 4 cups)
  • 1 cup chopped in small cubes red pepper
  • 1 cup chopped in similar small pieces zucchini (see note)
  • ¾ cup green onion mostly white bottom portion, but some green as well
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Thai basil basil, or 1/4 cup chopped cilantro,(optional, see note)
  • A few lime wedges for serving
  • Preheat the oven to 400°F. First prepare the sauce: In a blender, or using a deep large cup and an immersion blender, combine the garlic, ½ teaspoon of the salt, lime juice, coconut milk, almond butter, tamari, ginger, and curry paste. Puree well. Pour the sauce into a baking dish (8 by 12-inch, or similar size) and stir in the red pepper flakes and zest. Add the chickpeas, red pepper, zucchini, green onions, and stir well. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25-30 minutes. Then remove the foil, stir through, and bake for another 5 to 10 minutes uncovered. (Note that the sauce should thicken but can become too thick, so keep an eye on it, and remove once it begins to thicken, so it is does not become pasty.) After this time, stir in the fresh herbs, and add any extra seasoning to taste (salt, crushed pepper, hot sauce. Serve (see suggestions), topping the portions with extra fresh herbs, if desired, and with a lime wedge on the side.
  • Nut butter note: Almond butter is my first choice in this recipe, but consider switching it up occasionally with natural peanut or cashew butter in place of the almond.
  • Feel free to substitute other veggies in part or in whole for the red pepper and zucchini. Other veggies to consider are steamed cauliflower, steamed potatoes, and green beans.
  • Herbs note: Fresh cilantro or basil is a delicious addition to this curry. However, if you don’t have it, the curry will still have plenty of flavour without it. If using, the flavour will be most vibrant when added at the end of cooking, just before serving.
  • Serving suggestions: This is delicious served with jasmine rice! You can also try any rice you love, or serve with quinoa.

photo credit: Angela MacNeil

The post Thai Chickpea Almond Curry: NEW photos (vegan, gluten-free, oil-free) appeared first on Dreena Burton.

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Hummus Tortilla Pizzas are the ultimate thin crust pizza!

I’ve always loved thin crust pizzas.

Just as I am very fond of sauces and dips, I enjoy a thin crust pizza because it lets all the flavors and the textures of the toppings shine through.

Sure, there are times for that dough-y pizza, but I’ll choose a crispy, thin crust brimming with tasty toppings 99% of the time.

Years back, when writing The Everyday Vegan, I discovered how an otherwise ordinary whole-grain soft tortilla could be baked and transformed into the perfect crispy, personal pizza.

Later, when writing Vive le Vegan, I had a hummus epiphany: layer it on a pizza crust.

Any pizza crust is good, but a tortilla crust? Especially good! 

After posting a few pics of hummus tortilla pizzas on my FB page, I realized many of you hadn’t tried them.

Let’s change that, right here right now!

Rather than give you a recipe for one very specific pizza, I am going to outline the recipe method, and then offer suggestions on how to pair various hummus varieties with simpatico toppings.

That way you can customize your own Hummus Tortilla Pizzas!

To begin, here is the recipe method for hummus tortilla pizzas.

This outlines how long to bake the tortilla, at what temperature, and roughly how much hummus to use for each pizza.

Hummus Tortilla Pizzas

  • whole-grain tortilla shells of choice (whole-wheat, sprouted, gluten-free, etc, 10" or similar size (1-2 shells per person))
  • hummus of choice (about 1/3 – 1/2 cup per pizza)
  • toppings of choice (ex: olives, capers, sliced bell peppers, roasted mushrooms, thinly sliced onions, diced tomatoes, etc, see suggestions below)
  • chopped fresh herbs/nutritional yeast/black pepper/coarse salt (for serving)
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Place whole-grain tortillas on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 7-9 minutes, until just crispy and golden (watch, they can turn from golden to burnt quickly).  Remove and let cool on baking sheet while preparing toppings/hummus. When ready to bake, spread a layer of hummus (fairly generous, and using more around the edges rather than in the centre to prevent pizza from getting soggy in the middle) over the tortilla and add your toppings. Bake immediately (don’t let sit with hummus on tortilla for too long as the tortilla will become soggy), in a preheated oven at 400 degrees for 7-10 minutes (just to heat through toppings). Remove, slice, and serve! Sprinkle portions with chopped fresh herbs, a sprinkle of nooch, and/or a touch of coarse salt/black pepper.

Toppings Note: Very moist vegetables will release water when baking and can make your pizza soggy. So, choose vegetables that don’t release too much juice, or pre-roast the veg to concentrate the vegetables. It’s fine to use some wetter vegetables (ex: tomatoes, mushrooms), just don’t overdo them, and combine with other toppings that are dried (ex: sliced onions, chopped bell peppers, olives).

Hummus Tortilla Pizzas: pairing toppings with hummus varieties

Chipotle-Lime Two Bean Hummus: Toppings: sliced red bell pepper, cubed or sliced avocado (can add before or after baking), thinly sliced red onion or chopped green onions, olives, sliced tomatoes (few). For serving: chopped cilantro or parsley.

Creamy Hummus: Toppings: roasted mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, chopped or sliced green peppers. Serving: Sprinkle of nooch or Cheesy Sprinkle!

Peanut Sesame Hummus: Toppings: blanched snow peas, chopped green onions, chopped red peppers, pineapple chunks. For serving: sprinkle of cilantro or parsley, mung bean sprouts, chopped peanuts.

White Bean Hummus with Fresh Basil and Thyme: Toppings: dry Moroccan olives or kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes. For serving: julienned fresh basil leaves.

Curry Chickpea Hummus with Raisins: sliced red peppers, baby spinach, cubed baked potatoes or sweet potatoes (or squash!). For serving: drizzle of mango chutney, sprinkle of chopped parsley or cilantro.

Marinated and Roasted Tomato Garlic Hummus: Tofu Feta or Soy-Free Feta (recipes in Plant-Powered Families), capers or green olives, roasted zucchini or sliced fresh zucchini. For serving: chopped basil or touch of chopped oregano; brazil nut parm.

Roasted Red Pepper Almond Hummus: caramelized onions, cherry tomatoes, sauteed kale, olives. For serving: chopped fresh parsley, sprinkle chopped almonds.

Smoky Cannellini Bean Sweet Potato Dip: roasted sliced fennel, diced green peppers, diced or sliced Tempeh Tickle. For serving: extra chipotle hot sauce, reserve some toasted pine nuts for sprinkling on servings.

SO many options for Hummus Tortilla Pizzas, right?!

Hey, I’ve missed one! How about that Pumpkincredible Hummus? Can you imagine it on a pizza? What would you choose for toppings?

Have you ever had hummus tortilla pizzas? If so, share your favorite combinations!

More ideas for hummus tortilla pizzas in Plant-Powered Families

Enjoy, kids! x Dreena

The post Hummus Tortilla Pizzas: How-To and Flavor Pairings (vegan) appeared first on Dreena Burton.

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These baked oatmeal cups will serve you for breakfasts – and also snacks, packing lunches, activities, and travel.

Oatmeal is usually a sit-down meal. I get frequent requests for healthy breakfasts that are “grab ‘n go”.

Also requests for more variety in breakfast. You guys feel the same?

In our Plant-Powered Families group, the topic of quick and varied breakfasts comes up often.

Most of us rely on a few routine breakfast foods: cereals, toast, bagel, oatmeal, maybe a green smoothie.

These baked oatmeal cups are a simple ‘grab ‘n go’ solution. Bake up a batch or two on the weekend, and you’re good to go for the week.

The ingredients are simple, yet offer some customization to swap in other add-ins for variety.

These baked oatmeal cups don’t have to be the same thing over and over!

In addition, kids love them and they aren’t messy to eat. They hold together nicely for easy toting and packing in lunches.

Ingredient Talk: Baked Oatmeal Cups

One ingredient in these baked oatmeal cups that requires some discussion is the brown rice syrup.

Whenever I use brown rice syrup in a recipe, I get a lot of questions about substitutions. 

Is it difficult to find brown rice syrup in your area? I’m not sure why readers ask how to substitute so frequently. 

Here’s the thing with a sweetener like brown rice syrup: it’s very thick and sticky, much like corn syrup in consistency.

Maple syrup and agave nectar are not good substitutes when consistency is important.

In these baked oatmeal cups, consistency is important. If you use maple syrup or agave, it will be too thin. As a result, the baked oatmeal cups won’t hold together well.

Therefore, the best substitute is a thick coconut nectar. With coconut nectar, I have found the consistency can vary. Some are thinner. So check the jars/bottles in the store. Tip back and forth. If it’s thin like maple syrup, take a pass. If it flows slowly more like brown rice syrup, that’s your pick!

Here’s the recipe, I hope you enjoy. x Dreena

Baked Oatmeal Cups
Take your oatmeal to-go! Grab a couple of these oatmeal cups to curb that morning hunger in a nutritious way.
Course Breakfast, Snack
Keyword oatmeal, oats
  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup oat flour
  • 2 tbsp ground chia seed I use ground white chia, ground black chia seeds also ok
  • 1 tsp cinnamon see notes for ideas
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/8 tsp rounded sea salt
  • 1/2 cup pureed overripe banana puree in a mini-food processor or with an immersion blender, or mash very well
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup see note
  • 1/2 tbsp molasses can use blackstrap or regular
  • 2-3 tbsp pumpkin seeds optional, see note
  • 3 tbsp non-dairy sugar-free chocolate chips or raisins optional, see note
  • Prepare 15-16 muffin cups, lining with muffin liners. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine the oats, oat flour, ground chia, cinnamon, baking soda, and sea salt. Stir to combine. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined. Using a cookie scoop, place mounds of the batter (about 1/4 – 1/3 cup) in each cup. Use a spatula or your fingers to lightly pack in mixture (dampen fingers to make it easier). Bake for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool in pan for about 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy warm or cooled. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • Makes 15-16 granola cups.
  1. Spice Note: Instead of cinnamon, try 1/2 tsp of nutmeg, or a combination of 1/4 tsp ground cardamom and 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg. If you use and love vanilla bean powder, try 1/2 tsp vanilla bean powder as a substitute, or in addition to, these spices.
  2. Brown Rice Syrup Note: Don’t substitute maple syrup here, it’s not thick and sticky enough. Other alternatives to brown rice syrup are coconut palm nectar and barley malt syrup.
  3. Pumpkin Seeds Note: Seeds/nuts are optional, and you can try other options such as sunflower seeds, hemp seeds, or chopped nuts like pistachio, almonds, or pecans. Chocolate Chip Note: Totally optional if you don’t want to add chocolate. You can also substitute raisins or other dried fruit like cranberries, goji berries, dried cherries, dried berries, chopped dates, chopped apricots.
  4. Idea: For more flavour variations, add a small amount of pure flavour extracts or citrus zest. For instance, try adding 1/2 tsp of orange zest with 1/2 tsp orange extract – would be lovely with dried cranberries! Or, try 1/2 tsp almond extract with dried cherries and chopped almonds as add-ins.

Let me know what add-ins you like in these, and any other variations you make!

The post Baked Oatmeal Cups appeared first on Dreena Burton.

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Serving up some sweet potato pasta sauce, kids!

All aboard the sweet potato love train!

Where are we now? Let’s see, we’ve covered cake, muffins, hummus, fudge, soup, more soup, fries, salad. I know there’s more – plus more in my books – plus more to come!

This sweet potato pasta sauce is a superb alternative for people that want an alternative to tomato-based sauces – either because of food sensitivities – or just for variety. 

Once the sweet potato is cooked, this is very fast to prep. Everything into the blender – vroom! Sweet potato pasta sauce is DONE!

No matter what recipe I post, I’m asked “what can I use instead of ________?”

With this recipe, I anticipate those blanks will be: sweet potato, smoked paprika, chickpea miso, and fresh thyme.

Here goes:

Sweet potato is the main ingredient in this recipe, so best to keep it. However, it can possibly be substituted with a deep orange winter squash, but it will not be as luscious. Sweet potato is usually easy to find and not pricey, so plan for it.

Smoked paprika: Just don’t. It’s the one thing you must not substitute! Smoked paprika has a unique flavor that is different from regular paprika. Buy some, you will not regret it. #thatsapromise

Fresh thyme: I know it’s more convenient to use dried thyme. Here, I wouldn’t. The fresh herb offers a lot in this sauce. If you have another fresh herb like fresh oregano, use that. A lesser amount of fresh rosemary would also be nice.

Chickpea miso. I’m always, always… always asked about chickpea miso. I like to use chickpea miso for two reasons: first, it offers a soy-free alternative for people, and second, I love the flavor myself! But for sure another mild miso like brown rice will do just fine.

I think that’s the rundown on this sweet potato pasta sauce!

Only thing left: for you to make it.

Recipe time! Enjoy… x Dreena

Sweet Potato Pasta with Smoky Breadcrumb Topping
The use of caramelized sweet potatoes in a pureed pasta sauce gives a luscious, buttery texture, as well as a substantial texture. Topped off with a little smoky crunch, it’s purely delicious!
Course entree, Main Course
Keyword pasta
  • 2 cups cooked sweet potato flesh yellow or orange, see note for cooking tip
  • 2 med-large cloves garlic roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp sea salt adjust to taste, see directions
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 1 tbsp chickpea miso or another mellow miso like brown rice miso
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika
  • couple pinches freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 ½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
For pasta:
  • 1 1/4 lb. whole-grain pasta of choice can be gluten-free, see note
Breadcrumb Topping:
  • 1 cup whole-grain breadcrumbs can be gluten-free
  • 1/4 cup ground almonds almond meal, or ground pumpkin seeds for nut-free version (can use more breadcrumbs if preferred)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika rounded
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  1. Prepare pasta according to pasta directions, and cooking to ‘al dente’ (retaining a slight bite, not fully soft) while preparing pasta sauce and breadcrumb topping.
Pasta Sauce: In a blender, add sweet potato along with the garlic, salt, pepper, tahini, miso, 1 cup of the water, thyme, paprika, nutmeg, and lemon juice. Puree until becoming smooth and then add remaining water and puree again until fully smooth.
    Breadcrumb Topping: Combine breadcrumbs and almond/pumpkin seed meal with smoked paprika and sea salt. Bake at 375 for 7-8 mins until crumbs turn golden. Be sure to stir once or twice through baking so the crumbs brown evenly. Also watch carefully as the mixture can quickly burn once it becomes toasty. After 4-5 minutes, keep a check on it. Let cool fully, then store in airtight container in fridge until ready to use.
    1. Once pasta is just about cooked (but not fully soft), drain but don’t rinse. Return to the pot with the pasta sauce over medium-low heat. Allow sauce to heat and thicken with the pasta for a few minutes. (See note if adding spinach) Taste, and season with extra salt or pepper or other seasonings if desired. Serve, topping each portion with the breadcrumbs topping.
    2. Serves 4-5.
    Recipe Notes
    • Sweet Potato Cooking Note: Rinse sweet potatoes but do not peel or pierce. Place whole on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake at 425 for 40-60 minutes (baking time will depend on whether you are using smaller or larger sweet potatoes). Bake until fully softened and caramelizing. For 2 cups, use 1 very large sweet potato or 2 smaller (see note). After baking, let cool slightly.
    • Sweet Potato Note: It’s always helpful to bake extra as you can store leftovers in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for a couple of months. Let cool enough to remove skins, and use in recipe or cool further and then store in airtight container in fridge until ready to make the pasta.
    • Pasta Note: Many varieties of dry pasta are packaged in 1 lb bags. This recipe yields a generous amount of sauce, and so you can use more than 1 lb of pasta to stretch it out if you like. I typically use about 1 1/4 lb of dry pasta. If you only want to use 1 lb, your pasta will just be a little “saucier”.
    • Spinach option: For a ‘greens’ boost, try adding 2-3 cups of baby spinach leaves. Add the spinach while heating the sauce, working through until just wilted. HOWEVER, do not use spinach if you expect to have leftovers to reheat. It does not taste good in this sauce when reheated. If you want to add the greens in this case, gently steam separately and add to individual portions.

    food photography by: Angela MacNeil

    The post Sweet Potato Pasta Sauce with Smoky Breadcrumb Topping appeared first on Dreena Burton.

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