Forest Lake Church Cooking Class
September 21, 2017
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Spinach “Chicotta” Stuffed Pasta Shells
Yield: 25 stuffed shells. Servings: 4-5
2 (15 oz.) cans of chickpeas
2/3 cup cooked spinach
2/3 cup soaked cashews
½ cup nutritional yeast
1 lemon (juice)
½ tsp. garlic powder
½ tsp. salt
6 cups marinara sauce
12oz jumbo pasta shells
¼ cup chopped basil (Garnish only)
¼ cup ground cashews (Garnish only)
Step One: The Chicotta Cheese
• Soak the cashews for 1-12 hours to soften.
• Combine the cashews, chickpeas (drained & rinsed), nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, and lemon juice in a food processor and process until smooth and creamy. Add small amounts of water to achieve desired consistency. Should be somewhat firm.
• Transfer mixture to a bowl and gently fold in about 1 cup cooked spinach (freshly steamed or frozen/defrosted).
• Refrigerated for several hours for best flavor and consistency.
Step Two: The Marinara Sauce Commercial favorite brand is fine or try this one (www.allrecipes.com/recipe/best-marinara-sauce-yet/)
1/3 cup diced yellow onion 1 Tbsp olive oil 2 (15oz) cans diced tomatoes 1 (6 oz) can tomato paste 2 cloves garlic, chopped 1 tsp. dried oregano ½ tsp. pepper (optional) Salt to taste
• In a large pan, heat the olive oil and add in the diced yellow onion.
• Meanwhile, in the food processor, pulse the diced tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper to slightly chunky (or completely smooth if you prefer).
• Pour the tomato mixture into the skillet with the onions, and simmer for at least 25 minutes.
Step Three: The Pasta
• Cook 25 jumbo shells according to the package instructions. Some shells will break or become deformed during cooking, however, so it’s better to cook a few extras.
• For best results, gently add the shells to boiling water and remove when al dente. Gently scoop them out into a colander and transfer the best ones to a plate to prepare for stuffing.
Step Four: The Stuffed Shells
• Carefully hold the shell open in one hand and gently spoon in about 2 tablespoons of the “chicotta” cheese and spinach mixture.
• Cover the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking dish with 2/3 of the marinara sauce
• Place stuffed shells in baking dish.
• Drizzle the remaining marinara over the top of the shells.
• Finally add a layer of finely-ground cashews (a great substitute for parmesan cheese that can be made by simply blending the nuts into crumbs).
• Cover this pan with foil and bake at 400 degrees F for about 20 minutes until thoroughly heated.
• To serve, spoon some of the marinara sauce onto the plate and rest several shells on the top. Optionally garnish with chopped basil and any extra nuts.
Sweet Tater Tot Chili Casserole
• 1 15oz can black beans rinsed and drained
• 1 15-oz can pinto beans rinsed and drained
• 1.5 cups corn frozen
• 5 ounces spinach fresh (about 1/2 a bag)
• 1 16-oz jar salsa
• 1 cup shredded cheese low fat (optional)
• 1 16-oz bag sweet potatoes tater tots, puffs, or crowns
• 1 medium avocado (Garnish)
• 1 lemon or 1 lime fresh squeezed
Wilt spinach in nonstick pan, about 1 minute. Combine spinach, corn, beans, and salsa in a bowl. Pour into bake-ware. Top with optional cheese and potatoes.
Bake at 425 for 30 minutes, or until tater tots start to brown.
Before serving, dice an avocado and sprinkle it with fresh lemon or lime juice. The avocado could also be mashed and divided among the plates.
*This recipe is high in sodium. If you have to watch your sodium intake, skip the store bought salsa, and make your own at home without using salt. Here’s a good recipe: Fresh Tomato Salsa
Plant Based Bolognese
Prep time: 15 minutes Servings: 8
One-Pot Lentil Bolognese
Adapted from: Rachel Cooks http://www.rachelcooks.com/ Source: Full Plate Living
1 cup lentils
½ cup quinoa
1 28 oz. can Marinara or Pasta Sauce
2 celery sticks
5 garlic cloves
2 cups water
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
Salt to taste
Shaved cheese for serving (optional)
Combine vegetables and water in a blender and blend until well chopped or pureed as desired. Pour “broth” into slow cooker and add remaining ingredients.
Cook in Crock-pot on low for 7-9 hours depending on machine. Alternatively, cook in a rice cooker on “Brown Rice” setting. Serving recommendations: whole grain polenta, whole grain pasta, or whole grain toast
Easy Vegan Pesto
*Recipe adapted from my Smashed Potatoes with Garlic Pesto.
Prep time: 5 minutes Serves: 1 cup
Cheesy and flavorful despite being dairy-free, plus an option for lower oil/fat. It’s the perfect plant-based spread for Italian dishes and more!
• 2 cups packed (144 g) fresh basil (large stems removed)
• 3 Tbsp. (25 g) pine nuts or walnuts (if nut-free, try sunflower seeds!)
• 3 large cloves garlic, peeled
• 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) lemon juice
• 3-4 Tbsp. (9-12 g) nutritional yeast
• 1/4 tsp. sea salt, plus more to taste
• 2-3 Tbsp. (30-45 ml) extra virgin olive oil*
• 3-6 Tbsp. (45 – 70 ml) water (plus more as needed)
1. To a food processor or small blender, add the basil, nuts, garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and sea salt and blend/mix on high until a loose paste forms.
2. Add olive oil a little at a time (streaming in while the machine is on if possible) and scrape down sides as needed. Then add 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) water at a time until the desired consistency is reached – a thick but pourable sauce. (If avoiding oil altogether, sub the oil with vegetable broth or just use all water.)
3. Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor, salt for overall flavor, nuts for nuttiness, garlic for bite / zing, or lemon juice for acidity.
4. Perfect for adding to sauces, dressings, breads, and more! My favorite recently has been adding it straight to zucchini or carrot noodles (see photo) for a beautiful, healthy side dish.
5. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 1 week. After that, pour into ice cube molds, freeze, and store up to 1 month or more.
*I rely on a mix of extra virgin olive oil and water to make this pesto a “sauce.” If you’re trying to avoid oil, feel free to sub the EVOO for vegetable broth or water!
Serving size: 1 Tbsp. (of 16 Tbsp.) Calories: 39 Fat: 3.8 g Saturated fat: 0 g Carbohydrates: 1.2 g Sugar: 0 g Sodium: 32 mg Fiber: 0 g Protein: 0.8 g
Recipe courtesy of Sheryl Ellinwood, co-author of Three Plates at the Table
• 3 cups mixed frozen berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries)
• 1 banana, frozen
• ½ cup garbanzo beans, (canned, home-cooked or sprouted)
• 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
• 1 Teaspoon stevia
• 1 handful spinach
• Juice of ½ lemon
• 1/2 – 3/4 Cup extra liquid (water, soy or almond milk) to help blend
• Optional: Substitute 2 Tbsp. raw honey or Sucanat for the stevia.
Put all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth and creamy. Taste for sweetness and adjust.
*If you don’t have a high-speed blender, like a VitaMix, you will probably need to add some extra liquid in order to get this smoothie to blend well. Makes 2 large smoothies.
Brownie Batter Dessert Hummus
Prep Time: 5 minutes. Servings: 8
2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed well 5 Tbsp. cocoa powder ½ cup chocolate chips ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp. maple syrup ¼ cup non-dairy milk ½ tsp. salt 1 Tbsp. vanilla
ADD all of the ingredients except the milk to a food processor or blender. PROCESS until completely smooth. ADD as much milk as is required to get the consistency that is right for you. I used ¼ cup plant milk. PROCESS again. SERVE in a clear glass cup and garnish with a strawberry slice. This is a very nice fruit dip.