Pepita Pesto on Spaghetti Squash

I told a friend that I’d make a green meal for St. Patrick’s Day.  I wanted to use natural greens (no food colouring), so here’s what I came up with – green pepitas, or pumpkin seeds, in basil pesto.  I chose spaghetti squash because it’s nice and light.

What you need:

1 spaghetti squash

1/4 cup  toasted pepitas (otherwise known as pumpkin seeds)

3/4 – 1 cup basil

1/2 clove of garlic

1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan (I use lactose-free l’Ancetre brand)

olive oil

salt

pepper

What you do:

1.  Cut the spaghetti squash in half and bake for 30-40 minutes on 400F, or until you can remove the squash easily with a fork in stringy strands.

2.  Toast the pepitas lightly.

3. Place the pepitas in the food processor and grind well.

4.  Add basil, garlic, salt and a bit of pepper to the pepitas and add as much olive oil  as you need to make it smooth.  Then add the parmesan and give it one last whirl.

5.  Remove the squash from its shell with a fork.  Top with pesto.

I’m serving it with peas, but that’s just to add more green for St. Paddy’s Day!

Nut Crusted Portobello Mushroom Appetizer

These mushrooms are full of flavour!

What you need:

2 portobello mushrooms

1/2 cup ground almonds

2 tablespoons grated parmesan

salt

pepper

1 egg

olive oil

What you do:

1.  Place ground almonds, cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl.  In another bowl, crack the egg and beat it up a little.

2.  Remove the stems and clean mushrooms with a damp cloth – if you clean them in water they will absorb too much water.  Cut the mushrooms into strips, a few centimetres wide.

3.  Coat each mushroom strip in egg, then the almond mixture.

4.  Heat a frying pan on medium heat, then add a little olive oil.  When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms.  They should not be overlapping.  Cook on each side for a few minutes, until they become golden on all sides.

5.  Serve them on their own, or with a bit of mayo on the side.

Quick Lemon Pasta

Looking for ways to use up my bumper crop of arugula, I made up this easy pasta dish.  You can easily substitute the arugula for fresh basil; just use a little less.  It’s a super fast meal to prepare!

What you need:

Pasta (I used brown rice spaghetti by Tinkyada)

fresh lemon juice

parmesan (I use lactose-free l’Ancetre)

arugula or fresh basil

salt and pepper

What you do:

1.  Cook the pasta in lots of water.

2.  Squeeze lemon juice, about 1/2 a lemon per person.  Mix it with a tablespoon or two of parmesan per person, a big drizzle or olive oil, and salt and pepper.

3.  Chop arugula roughly and place in the bottom of a bowl.  Place hot pasta on top of the arugula so the arugula wilts a tiny bit from the heat of the pasta.  Pour the lemon mixture over top and mix it all up.

4.  Enjoy!

lemon block print

Tomato Basil Yogurt Breakfast Tart

This breakfast tart can be made with or without a crust, and is pretty simple to whip up.

What you need:

3/4 cup plain yogurt

6 eggs

1/4 to 1/2 cup vegan or regular parmesan (I use L’Ancentre lactose free)

1/2 cup basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 /2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

4-6 roma tomatoes

optional: small chunks of prosciutto

What you do:

1.  Beat eggs with a fork, then mix in yogurt, parmesan, chopped basil, salt and pepper.

2.  Cut tomatoes in half and remove the seeds and liquid.  This is a step you don’t want to miss, because of you do your tart will be watery.   I used grape tomatoes, which taste great but take a long time to deseed.

3.  Pour the egg mixture into a greased pie plate, frittata pan or partially baked pie crust.  Place the tomatoes on top, then top with a little more parmesan.

4.  Bake at 375 F for 25-30 minutes, or until the middle has set.

5.  Cool for 10 minutes before serving.

I have used this mushroom crust recipe when I didn’t want a typical pastry crust, and it’s delish!

Mushroom Crust:

1/2 lb mushrooms

2 Tablespoons butter

1/2 cup breadcrumbs

1.  Chop the mushrooms and saute in butter for 10 minutes.  Mix in breadcrumbs, then pat into a greased pie plate.

2.  Bake 10-15 minutes at 375F.

3.  Fill with egg mixture and continue baking.