hidden veggie pasta sauce.

this dish is a staple at my house.  perfect for picky eaters, or anyone who loves food, really.  this sauce is versatile and can be different every time.  one of the main reasons i love this sauce so much is because i can throw in all the veggies that are on the verge of going bad in my fridge, and it becomes the base for several tasty meals.


in this case i used what i had recently bought at the farmer’s market: heirloom eggplants and round(!) zucchinis.  i had some tomatoes, chives and basil on hand as well.  


hidden veggies pasta sauce.
makes about 6 cups.

3 cups of whatever veggies you have on hand (broccoli, zucchini, eggplant, kale, collards, spinach, green beans, carrots, celery - you name it!), diced
1/2 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic
4 cups diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1 tbsp italian seasoning
black pepper and salt to taste 

over medium-high heat, saute onions and garlic until browned and fragrant.  (if the onions are sticking, just add a few tablespoons of water or vegetable broth to help move them around.)  add your veggies (save leafy greens until later) and cook until slightly browned.  add tomatoes/tomato sauce and italian seasoning and cover.  lower heat to medium, and simmer for about 20 min, or until veggies are semi-soft.  add leafy greens (if you have any) and fresh basil.  cook for another couple of minutes.  then, using a hand-held/immersion blender, puree sauce until relatively smooth.  you can also transfer sauce carefully to a blender and blend until smooth.  season with black pepper and salt.  enjoy over your favorite whole grain pasta!  mine is tinkyada’s brown rice pasta.  i love to add chili pepper flakes for some spice, and nutritional yeast instead of parmesan cheese.  

 ©2013 amanda corissa  

raw: creamy kale & arugula pesto with zucchini pasta.

i <3 kale.

i love eating food that loves me back.  kale is amazingly nutritious.  i once read that it works on the level of our dna by coaxing our genes to create immune-boosting enzymes.  this makes me happy when i eat it, which i do at least a few times a week.  

kale is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powerhouse.  among many other nutrients, it provides a huge amount of vitamin k per serving (1 cup cooked) at 1,328% daily value.  vitamin k is useful for regulating our body’s anti-inflammatory responses.
while i use kale in smoothies, for salads, stir-fries, i also sneak it into sauces like these for picky eaters at home.  this creamy pesto sauce is a great way to hide this superfood!
i don’t know about you, but come summer, i want to spend less time in a hot kitchen.  but, i’m also the type of person who gets sick of eating the same thing over and over again.  i mean, don’t get me wrong, i love salads, but i can’t have them for every meal.  unless of course, i change the way the salad looks and feels! 

ultimately, this dish is a salad.  you can take all the different ingredients, slice them up, combine them in a bowl and munch.  but if you make it this way, it is so much more fun!

and, what’s great is that you can use this sauce for lots of different things!  while we’re using this for a raw meal, you can also heat this sauce up for warm pasta dishes - pour it over your favorite whole grain linguine or use it to layer your lasagna.
you can also use it as a base for a pesto pizza, or as a spread for your sandwich instead of mayonnaise. 

this (like all recipes) is a template! you can really have fun with this by adding different components. avoiding nuts? switch out the cashews for chickpeas (sticking to a raw diet, how about sprouted chickpeas?). you can also use walnuts or almonds instead. instead of kale and arugula, try spinach and collards or use a whole bunch of baby greens! the combinations are endless.

creamy kale & arugula pesto with zucchini pasta.
serves 2

2 - 3 zucchinis
big handful kale
handful baby arugula
as much basil as you’d like (i used equal parts to the kale and arugula)
1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 2 hours
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic (depending on how much you dig raw garlic)
1-2 lemon, juiced
1/2 tsp sea salt

spirilize zucchini (this is the spirilizer i use) and set aside.  in a blender, combine remaining ingredients and blend together with a 1/2 cup of water until smooth.  for a thinner consistency, add more water tablespoon by tablespoon.  adjust seasoning.  pour sauce over zucchini and enjoy immediately! 

this meal will take you minutes to make!  top with anything you’d like: sliced cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds, lemon zest, almond slivers, or other diced vegetables.

note: if taking this meal to go, i suggest packing noodles and sauce separately.  combining the zucchini with the sauce waters it down over time. 

©2012 amanda corissa

coconut black bean dip.

maybe it’s the heavy, humid heat of this floridian summer, but all i’ve wanted to eat lately is fruit, black beans and corn.  i’ve always enjoyed corn, but never to this degree.  i must admit, i’ve become a bit obsessed.  i’ve been eating it in as many forms as i can get it: oven-roasted corn on the cob, frozen corn, polenta, corn muffins and popcorn (sprayed with bragg’s and nutritional yeast - yum!!).  i’ve even discovered a love for freeze-dried corn!  who knew.  i’ll eat it right out of the packet.  and i’m not shy about it either.  i will literally tear open that little ziplock bag, tilt my head back and pour as much as i can in my mouth.

one corn product that i haven’t been able to live without are these amazing oil-free corn tostadas that i found in the international section at whole foods market.  they are thick and crunchy and they make eating salads so much more fun!  it’s just an added bonus that there’s only two ingredients: corn and salt.  

my favorite way to eat them is as a vehicle for this amazing coconut black bean dip that i made a few months ago, on a whim.  you know those days when you really can’t be bothered cooking, but don’t have anything that can readily be eaten?  well, i was having one of those days.  

sometimes i feel like a magical kitchen genius.  i’m sure you’ve had these moments too - when you look in your pantry and fridge and feel like you have to go to the grocery store because you don’t have anything to eat?  but then you spot a can of this and a bit of that, and you somehow throw it all together and all of a sudden you’ve whipped up an amazing meal?  well this, my friends, is exactly how this bean dip came about.

in my pantry was a can of lite coconut milk and a can of black beans.

i also happen to have in my fridge some fresh cilantro and one lonely head of romaine.  inspiration hit.  

i was hungry.  i wanted a meal fast.  usually, this is when i turn to my vitamix.  literally, no more than fifteen minutes later, i had a damn good meal on the table.  

this is one of those dishes i’ve had to make again and again and again because it is so good.  i love to pour this dip, warm and saucy right off the stove, onto a big bowl of romaine and sprouts, scooping it up with my beloved tostadas.  it’s also great room temperature or cold, as the coconut helps thicken it up.  it is so versatile, so have fun with it!  enjoy .

coconut black bean dip.   
serves 4

2 cans black beans (i like eden organics because of their bpa-free lining)
1 can lite coconut milk
1/2 bunch of cilantro
2 dried chili peppers
2 limes, juiced
sea salt to taste

rinse and drain beans.  (in a perfect world, i prefer to make the beans from scratch, but when time is precious and bellies are empty…)  combine with remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.  pour mixture into a pot and simmer for about 20 minutes.  taste and adjust seasoning to your liking.  

dip will thicken as it cools because of the coconut.  due to its saturated fat content, coconut is solid at room temperature.  

serve warm over brown rice.  try it as a warm dressing over romaine and sprouts like i mentioned earlier!  enjoy it on tostadas with avocados and fresh salsa.  it’s great for leftovers the next day - the flavors meld together even more.  you’ll love it.

we enjoyed it over romaine, topped with a chunky avocado salsa and of course, tostadas on the side.

©2012 amanda corissa