Tag Archive | pasta

American Style Hotdog Pasta Casserole

Ok, so I’m not American. And I’ve adjusted this recipe a lot. Not just in veganising it but also in adapting it for my Kiwi tastes. This is adapted from a non-vegan recipe which used packet sauce. I make my own cheesy blachemel but you could use a packet vegan cheese sauce to good effect (such as the Cherish one if you’re in Au/NZ – I don’t know about the US brands – sorry).



  • 1 500g package of dry pasta (spirals or macaroni work best)Foods_755
  • 2 small onions, diced
  • 1 Tbls sugar
  • 1 package of vegan hotdogs, sliced diagonally into 3 cm (ish) slices
  • 1 cup sun-dried or semi-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • Retain oil from sun-dried tomatoes for frying
  • 1 litre (1.5 batches) of cheesey sauce (prepared without the onion)
  • Sesame seeds for topping (about 1/4 cup?)


Cook the paste for half the recommended duration. So in this case the packet called for 10-12 minute pasta and I cooked it for 5 minutes before straining it. Let it sit in the strainer while you finish the rest.

Prepare sauce.

Preheat oven to 175ºc (About 350ºF).

Caramelise the onion in a large fry pan according to the ‘cheating’ method which adds sugar. Then add the hotdogs and sun-dried Foods_757tomatoes. Cook on med-high heat until hotdog slices start to brown up.

Mix the pasta and hotdog/onion/tomato mixture together thoroughly. To do this I add them back into the big stock pot I cooked the pasta in, put the lid on and toss it vigorously. But I’m lazy and don’t do my own dishes (yay spouse!) – so do whatever works for you.

Add the pasta and sausage mix into a greased casserole or lasagne dish. Pour in all the sauce – yum. Top with sesame seeds.

Cover with foil (or lid if you have one) and cook for 20 minutes. Remove foil and cook for a further 5-10 minutes to brown.




  • Add 1 cup of frozen peas before cooking
  • Mix fresh baby spinach through cooked pasta (when you add the sausage mix)


Meatless Bean and Gluten Balls (+ Creamy Med Pasta Sauce)

Meatless Bean and Gluten Balls


(makes 32 large bean balls – halve for smaller balls)


  • 2 tins (or 4 cups) cooked beans (I use kidney and borlotti or three bean mix)
  • 2 cups greens (spinach or silverbeet etc) – optional
  • 1 brown onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup diced celery (around 4 or 5 stems)
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped (grated if your food processor isn’t very powerful)
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • Egg replacer for 2 eggs
  • Mixed herbs, salt and pepper – to taste
  • 2 cups gluten flour (vital wheat gluten)
  • Breadcrumbs to coat (about 1/2 cup at most)


Blend beans, greens, onion, celery, carrot and egg replacer (and any spices or flavourings) in a food processor until smooth and paste like.

Add the paste to a large mixing bowl. Then slowly mix in the gluten flour (vital wheat gluten). This will become a very stiff dough-like mixture and will become hard to mix near the end so use a sturdy spoon or spatula.

Bean Ball Dough

Green Bean Ball Dough


Hand kneed dough lightly. Cut the dough into 32 even chunks with a knife – I usually slice it into about 4 to 6 strips/logs and then cut those into smaller chunks.

Roll into balls and coat in breadcrumbs.


Rolled Green Bean Balls

Line and grease a cookie tray or large baking dish. Cover in foil and cook for 15 to 20 minutes at 180ºc then cook uncovered for a further 15 minutes to brown.


Cooked Bean Balls

Can be served with pasta and sauce (e.g. Creamy Mediterranean Pasta Sauce below) OR with mashed veggies and gravy.


Creamy Mediterranean Pasta Sauce


  • 1 Tbl olive oil
  • 1 Tbl crushed garlic
  • 1 medium brown onion, diced
  • 1/2 cup whole kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes in oil, sliced
  • About 1/2 cup of red wine vinegar, OR red wine, OR half-and-half balsamic vinegar and water or apple juice – to deglaze
  • 1 tin crushed tomatoes (or 2 cups fresh diced tomatoes slightly puréed in a food processor or blender)
  • 140g, one tin or pottle, of tomato paste (or 2 Tbls of tomato powder)
  • 160g, one small tin, low fat coconut milk
  • Herbs and spices (I use mountain pepper, lemon myrtle, smoked salt, mixed herbs, and a pinch of cajun spice)


Heat the oil in a heavy based sauce pan. Fry the onion and garlic until brown.

Deglaze the pan with some of the red wine vinegar. Cook until partially absorbed.

Add olives and sundried tomatoes. Mix through then add more vinegar or wine. Heat for a few minutes.


Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. Mix thoroughly and heat for 2 to 5 minutes.


1 minute before serving mix through the coconut milk.


Serve with cooked spaghetti with or without added bean balls.


Creamy Spinach Pasta

Creamy Pasta 1

Creamy Noochy Bechamel Sauce (not-quite-mornay)


  • 4 Tbl (80 ml) of vegan margarine (e.g. Nuttelex in AU or Earth Balance in the US)
  • 4 Tbl unbleached plain flour
  • 2 cups nut or soy milk (I use a blend of soy and rice milk)
  • 1 diced onion
  • 3 or 4 cloves (or 2 heaped tsps) crushed garlic
  • 1 Tbl nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 a tsp white pepper
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp light miso (or 1/2 tsp dark miso) paste.
  • 2 Tbl hot water to blend miso.
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon.


  1. Heat margarine in a heavy based medium saucepan to medium high heat.
  2. Add garlic and onion.
  3. Fry until onion is soft and starting to go golden.
  4. Lower heat. Add flour and blend to a paste (roux).
  5. Add nutritional yeast, white pepper, and mustard. Mix.
  6. Slowly add milk and blend (about 1/4 cup at a time).
  7. Raise heat slightly if needed and stir for a few minutes to thicken. Add more milk and give more time to thicken further of needed.
  8. Add miso paste to a small glass or bowl and mix with a small amount of hot water.
  9. Add miso water to sauce. Blend.
  10. Add lemon juice and blend.
  11. Add salt, pepper, and/or paprika to taste.

Creamy Spinach Pasta

  • 1 bag (500g) high quality durum wheat pasta
  • 3 or 4 packed cups (one small 200g packet)  fresh baby spinach (or three portions frozen spinach pre-cooked/heated)
  • Pitted kalmata olives – sliced, halved or whole pitted
  • Sundried tomatoes – cut into strips
  • 1 batch of sauce.

Cook pasta as normal (i.e. follow package directions).

Drain pasta then return to the pot you cooked it in. Add sundried tomatoes to the pasta (normally these will be in oil in which case no extra oil is needed. However if you’re using the dried sort that you had to soak in water before using then you should also add a tsp of olive oil at this point) and stir through thoroughly. Add olives and spinach and make sure they mix right through then add sauce last. The heat of the sauce will wilt the spinach.

Serve and devour.

Creamy Pasta 2

Happy Healthy-ish Faux Cheese

This is my happy food. When I was a child my mother’s macaroni cheese could cure many ills and it was still my go to comfort food until I went vegan. I have used a lot of vegan cheese sauce recipes but this one I created accidentally when I needed to make some the day before shopping day. It is a mixture of trial and error and the many recipes that I had tried before it!

The very best thing about this cheese sauce alternative is that it doesn’t use a roux or any added oils or fats (apart from the oil in the tahini) which makes it lower in fat than most other vegan cheese alternatives and MUCH lower in fat than anything with animal based cheese in it. The creamy protein richness of the beans means that it doesn’t need the oil or margarine to make it satisfying but the tangy sweet orangness of the carrots makes it more convincing as a cheese rather than a hummus type thing (which is my usual issue with bean bases faux cheese).

Sauce of Awesome


  • 2 or 3 largeish carrots
  • 1 cup stock (mine is made with a lot of onions and celery – you may want to add onion to the cooking carrots if your stock is out of a packet or low on onions)
  • 1 Tbl soy sauce (we use a slightly watery tamari so you may want less if yours is stronger. Omit or reduce if your stock is high in salt)
  • 1 tin white beans – drained (butter beans or cannellini beans work best)
  • 1/4 cup of savoury yeast flakes (aka nutritional yeast)
  • 1 Tbl tahini (mine is usually unhulled you may want to double this amount if using hulled or mild tahini)
  • 1 & 1/2 Tbls white miso (mine is the chickpea and rice sort – this is more mild than soy based brown miso)
  • 2 tsps dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp onion powder (sub: 1/2 tsp galric powder OR reduce soy sauce and use 1/2 tsp onion salt)
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper (DO NOT sub black pepper – the white pepper adds a nuttiness that black pepper will over power)
  • 1 clove diced garlic (or 1 tsp garlic paste)
  • Rice milk as needed (normally around 1/4 and 1/2 a cup)


Chop carrots add to a large microwave safe bowl with stock and soy sauce. Also add any celery or raw onion if using it. I then cover the bowl (use one that has its own lid or just use a plate) and microwave the carrots and stock for about 2-6 minute on 1000w until very soft – you could also just cook them on the stove top if you don’t microwave.

Add stock and veggies to the blender with all of the other ingredients and start blending. Add rice milk and blend as needed to get a smooth consistency – I don’t measure this I would say it is between 1/4 and 1/2 a cup.


Soy free:

The thing that really made it work as a “cheese” was the astringency of the miso, the creamy bitterness of the tahini then the sweetness and texture of the carrots and beans. Using a soy-free white miso and omitting the soy sauce will make this soy free.

Gluten free:

If you use tamari and ensure that all of the ingredients are, in fact, gluten free then this is gluten free anyway!

Yeast flakes:

You could remove the yeast flakes but I would recommend trying it with them it the first time if you can (even if you HATE nutritional yeast) as it does add something and with all the other flavours you can’t really taste it.

Thicker – Melted cheese consistency:

To thicken the cheese (e.g. for a pizza or cheese toastie etc) add 1 to 1.5 cups of cooked millet to the mixture when you blend it and don’t use extra rice milk. Cook the millet with rice or soy milk instead of water. It is usually 1 parts millet to 2 parts liquid and it triples in volume when cooked – so in this case you would want 1/3 of a cup uncooked millet to 2/3 of a cup milk. Cooking times and directions will vary but it is just an absorption method –  bring to boil then lower and simmer for 10 mins or so on stove top OR cook it in the microwave for 10 to 20 minutes in short 2 minute bursts.

Make it EVEN Better (with some forward planning or lucky leftovers):

If you have it or are planning ahead you can add some cashew nut sour cream to make the sauce even better. Just add it at the end when you’re adding in the rice milk – you may not even need rice milk depending on the consistency of your cashew cream.

Vegan Macaroni and Cheese


To make a mac ‘n “cheese” just par-cook some macaroni for about 2/3 the time noted on the package (most dry pasta is vegan but do check because some may have egg in them). Add the drained par-cooked macaroni to a large lasagne or casserole dish. Add a full batch of the Sauce of Awesome, mix through and sprinkle sesame seeds and paprika on top. Bake for 10 minutes at 180°c.

I usually add frozen peas or frozen mixed veggies to the macaroni , before cooking, to give it some colour. Layering sliced leek through it can also be a nice addition.

Cauliflower Bake


This is very similar to the mac and cheese above. I use the purple and green cauliflowers when I can get them but white works just as well (or even use frozen). Chop up two heads of cauliflower into small to medium florets. Add to a large casserole or lasagne dish. Mix the sauce through well and cook at 180°c for around 25 minutes (it may take longer depending on the size of your florets) until the cauliflower are nice and tender.