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Springdale, Arkansas, United States
Yoga and reading are my passions - followed closely by cooking plant-based meals. My husband is my guinea pig for my recipes and thankfully he's a willing subject!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

21-Day Vegan Restart - Day 5

Hmmmm... It seems that my "Days" for this restart plan are not matching up to the calendar!  Oh well, life and stuff to do seems to get in the way of keeping strictly on the correct day.  So, I'll pretend that this is only Day 5.  

Tonight, actual January 8, I made a delicious addition to my tried and true recipe book.  That means, Fred approved!  




Enter, Penne al Forno!  I have no idea what this actually means in Italian, and really with my alterations to this dish it should be called Rotini al Forno.  My picture-taking skills being somewhat lacking, this picture really does not do justice to the color and beauty of this dish! 

Here is the original recipe from PCRM's 21-Day Vegan Kickstart with my changes noted in BOLD:


Penne al Forno (or rather Rotini al Forno in my world!)
Serves 4
While you don’t need to bake this dish, it finishes off nicely in the oven, helping everything set and giving the sauce a slightly caramelized taste.


8–10 fresh basil leaves (or 1 tsp dried basil)
2 carrots, sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced (left out 'cause Fred hates celery)
2 zucchini, sliced
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
Water for boiling
16 ounces brown rice penne pasta (I used 3 cups of regular old rotini pasta, would use 2 cups next time)
2 roasted red peppers, chopped (I used canned)
3 Roma tomatoes, chopped
6–8 green olives stuffed with garlic, sliced, or ¼ cup pitted whole kalamata olives (I found some HUGE olives stuffed with garlic & the bottle says 1 olive is a serving, so I used 4 olives)
2 cups Basic Tomato Sauce (see below) (I used 2 8-oz cans of Hunts Garlic Roasted Tomato Sauce.  I would definitely sub one can for a low or no sodium variety.)
Options: 2 cups rinsed cooked cannellini beans (I used one can of white cannellini beans rinsed and drained.)


Roll the basil leaves tightly and slice them into ribbons. Over medium heat, sauté the carrots, celery, zucchini, and onion for about 3 to 5 minutes (this will ensure they are soft enough by the time they are done baking and will help all the flavors meld). Bring the water to a boil. Add the brown rice pasta and stir. Cook the pasta until it is slightly underdone (it will finish cooking in the oven). Immediately mix all the ingredients together in deep baking dish. Cover the dish. (I forgot to cover.) Bake the pasta at 350 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes. If you want to add the beans, stir them into the pasta just after it comes out of the oven.
Making It Simple: Slice all the veggies and forgo sautéing them. Just throw it all in a baking dish and bake it for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Tip: Cook the pasta after you are done preparing the veggies so that it does not sit for a long time.


Based on my changes, per MyFitnessPal, calories were reduced to 323 calories per serving, 63 carbs instead of 119, but reduced protein to 13g from 22g.


Per serving:
  • Calories: 607
  • Fat: 4.4 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0.8 g
  • Calories from Fat: 6.1
  • Cholesterol: 0
  • Protein: 22 g
  • Carbohydrates: 119 g
  • Sugar: 14.8 g
  • Fiber: 10.9 g
  • Sodium: 133 mg
  • Calcium: 88 mg
  • Iron: 5.8 mg
  • Vitamin C: 103.3 mg
  • Beta Carotene: 3853 mcg
  • Vitamin E: 3.7 mg
Source:21-Day Weight Loss Kickstart by Neal Barnard, M.D.; recipe by Jason Wyrick of the Vegan Culinary Experience.


Basic Tomato Sauce
Serves 3
Roma tomatoes are the tomatoes par excellence for sauces. They are inexpensive, and you’ll taste their depth of flavor and robustness in the finished dish.
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 medium tomatoes (preferably large Romas), chopped
1/4 cup water
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme or oregano or 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Options: 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin; 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil or cilantro
Over medium heat, sauté the onion until it turns a rich brown color. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 more minute. Add the tomatoes and then the water and stir. Add the salt, pepper, and thyme/oregano/rosemary. Simmer the tomatoes until they turn into a sauce (only 3 or 4 minutes for a very fresh tomato sauce, and about 7 to 10 minutes for a smooth, heavily cooked sauce). Press on the tomatoes every 30 seconds or so as they cook to help them release their juices. Add extra water as needed to achieve the desired consistency.
Options: If you use cumin, add it along with the salt and pepper. If you are using fresh basil, stir it into the sauce immediately after it comes off the heat. Only cook the sauce for 3 to 4 minutes and as soon as it comes off the heat, stir in the fresh cilantro.
Making It Simple: Instead of chopping and cooking down the tomatoes, stir in 12 ounces of crushed fire-roasted tomatoes and simmer the sauce until it’s warm.
Per serving:

  • Calories: 24
  • Fat: 0.2 g
  • Saturated Fat: 0 g
  • Calories from Fat: 6.3
  • Cholesterol: 0
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Carbohydrates: 5.3 g
  • Sugar: 2.7 g
  • Fiber: 1.2 g
  • Sodium: 104 mg
  • Calcium: 17 mg
  • Iron: 0.4 mg
  • Vitamin C: 11.5 mg
  • Beta Carotene: 328 mcg
  • Vitamin E: 0.4 mg

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