By Niklas van der Wagt, Nikita Sridhar, and Samantha Smithies
UCLA Carbon Neutrality Ambassadors
Easy Pea-sy Pesto Pasta
This is one of my favorite go-to meals! You can make the pesto ahead of time and use it throughout the week in different dishes– lately I’ve been obsessed with Trader Joes’ frozen cauliflower gnocchi (anyone else??). You can also put it on eggs, roasted veggies, or good ole pasta. ALTERATIONS: Substitute kale, spinach or any other green veggie for the peas. Substitute cashews, pine nuts, or almonds for the walnuts.
- 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 1-2 cloves garlic
- 1 cup fresh basil
- ½ cup olive oil
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ cup walnuts
- 2 teaspoons parmesan or nutritional yeast (vegan)
- 1 cup pasta or gnocchi
- If using frozen peas, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil; add the peas and cook until softened. Drain.
- Blend basil, peas, garlic, pepper, salt, nutritional yeast together. Add olive oil until smooth.
- Boil pasta and drain.
- Top pasta with pesto. Garnish with sundried or cherry tomatoes, sauted veggies, or whatever else floats your boat.
Sometimes it can be hard to balance a healthy diet with cravings. For me, this handy dandy lasagna variant offers the best of both worlds. This recipe calls for parmesan cheese, but I use vegan cheese and it is just as delicious! And, if you are still not convinced to try this for yourself, it is a relatively easy dish to cook as well. Bon appetit!
- 3 large zucchini, trimmed and cut lengthwise into long strips
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon Italian herb seasoning
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese, or as needed
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Grease a 9×12-inch baking dish.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add zucchini slices. Boil for 3 minutes. Drain.
- Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook onion and garlic, stirring frequently, until onion is clear (about 5 minutes).
- Mix bread crumbs, 1 cup Parmesan cheese, and Italian herb seasoning in a bowl.
- Spoon 3 tablespoons tomato sauce into the bottom of the prepared baking dish and top with 1/3 of the zucchini slices, 1/3 of the onion-garlic mixture, and 1/3 of the crumb-Parmesan cheese mixture.
- Repeat layers twice more, starting with 1/2 of remaining tomato sauce and layers of zucchini, onion, and crumb mixture. End with remaining tomato sauce in a layer.
- Sprinkle 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese over the top.
- Bake in the preheated oven until lasagna begins to bubble (about 30 minutes).
- Preheat the oven’s broiler and broil the lasagna until cheese topping is browned, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Let the casserole stand for 15 minutes to set before serving.
Soyrizo Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa
Most of us have probably tried chorizo tacos at some point, but today we’re talking about soyrizo tacos, a healthier, more sustainable recipe! The recipe includes instructions for tomatillo salsa and other vegetables, but feel free to get creative. Enjoy!
For the tacos
- ½ a pack of soy chorizo (available at most supermarkets, usually in 11 or 12 oz packs)
- 1 tsp corn oil
- 6 corn tortillas
- ½ a white onion, diced Chopped cilantro (to taste)
For the salsa
- 5 husked raw tomatillos
- 1 raw jalapeño
- 1 clove of garlic
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- 1 tsp corn oil
- Salt to taste
- Put about 2 cups of water to boil, once it’s boiling add the tomatillos and jalapeño.
- Cook for about 7-8 minutes. Once the tomatillos and jalapeño have changed color from bright to dull green and are soft, remove them from the water.
- Add the tomatillos, about half a cup of the water that they were boiled in, garlic, salt, cilantro, and half of the jalapeño to a blender and blend until it is a smooth consistency.
- Taste the salsa for spice and salt. Add the other half of the jalapeño if desired.
- Finally, add the teaspoon of oil to a pan and cook the salsa on medium heat for approximately 3-4 minutes, until bubbly, then remove from heat.
- For the tacos, start by putting a pan on medium-low heat and adding the teaspoon of oil.
- Once the oil is hot, add the soyrizo and cook it for about 5 minutes, until it is slightly browned and crispy.
- Heat up your tortillas in the same pan.
- Finally, assemble your tacos!
- Garnish with onions, cilantro, and salsa to taste.
Creamy Mushroom Fettuccine
This recipe is seriously so good. If there is any mushroom fettuccine recipe you need in your life (whether you are vegan or not) this is the one! I modified this recipe from Bon Appetit, but substituted the cream for oat milk, and the cheese for Violife vegan parmesan cheese. In my opinion, the cheese is optional and just adds a nice garnishing touch, so if you don’t have any vegan cheese on hand don’t worry! Head on over to the Bon Appetit website if you want the original recipe, but here is the modified recipe I used.
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil
- About one box of crimini mushrooms (any type is fine)
- 2 medium shallots
- ½ cup oat milk
- Zest and juice of ½ lemon (most important part!)
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil (or 2 Tbsp. butter)
- Black pepper 1 box of fettuccine (or any pasta of your liking)
- Vegan cheese (optional)
- Prepare ingredients by finely chopping shallots and roughly cutting mushrooms into 1-inch pieces.
- In a medium sized pan, cook mushrooms in 2 Tbsp. olive oil until mushrooms get crispy (~4 mins). Toss and continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes, and season with salt.
- Add shallots to pan, and cook until shallots turn translucent.
- Start cooking pasta in pot of salted, boiling water, and remove when still very al dente.
- Transfer pasta to pot with mushrooms and shallots.
- Add ½ cup oat milk and 1 cup of the pasta water. Bring to a simmer and cook until the liquid has thickened (this step took a while for me – trust the process, it will eventually thicken).
- Turn the heat off, add zest and juice from ½ lemon, either 4 Tbsp. of olive oil or 2 Tbsp. butter, vegan cheese if desired, and lots of pepper.