Vegan Valentine’s Day Menu

Schedule a last-minute Valentine’s date with a vegan girl or gal you met last night?  Need a last-minute menu for your vegan Valentine?  Just realized you really want to go vegan today because your heart is so filled with love?  Well have I got a menu for you!

Tonight’s Valentine’s menu stars two new favorites from and inspired by Jason Wrobel’s vegan special on the Cooking Channel – Cilantro Lime Pesto Pasta and Chocolate Avocado Pudding. Last night I did some prep work for my Valentine’s dinner – mostly so preparing dinner didn’t take the whole evening and partly because I wanted to post pictures.

Cilantro Lime Pesto Pasta

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ingredients

 PASTA:

  •  1 tablespoons olive oil
  • One 8-ounce box regular or gluten-free angel hair pasta
  • 1 cup black olives, pitted and quartered, plus more for  garnish
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup raw  pumpkin seeds

PESTO:

  •  2 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves, tightly packed, plus more for garnish
  • 3/4 cup  extra-virgin olive oil, preferably cold pressed
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts, plus more for garnish
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced  garlic
  • 2 teaspoons nama  shoyu or  tamari
  • 1/2 teaspoon  sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Pinch  cayenne pepper
  • Hemp seeds, for garnish

Directions

For the pasta: Bring a large pot of filtered water to a rapid boil. Add the olive oil and pasta to the water. Return to a boil. Cook uncovered until al dente, 6 to 10 minutes. Drain in a colander. Transfer the pasta to a large mixing bowl and fold in the olives, bell peppers and pumpkin seeds. Mix well to combine and set aside.  For the pesto: Place the basil, olive oil, cilantro, pine nuts, lime juice, garlic, nama shoyu, salt, pepper and cayenne in a food processor. Process until semi-smooth, with a little bit of a chunky texture. Combine the noodles and pesto sauce with your hands and mix vigorously. Top with a sprinkle of hemp seeds, the reserved black olives, basil and pine nuts.

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The above recipe is straight from the cooking channel website – you can click the title and it will take you straight there.  The recipe is perfect as is but because I am me and we all have different tastes – I modify!

Notes and Modifications:

  1. This is a perfect dish for those trying to please non vegans
  2. I don’t add the cayenne (personal preference)
  3. Olives are frowned upon in half of my house so I skip the olives.
  4. Additional vegetables are nice – mushrooms, zucchini, squash, whatever you fancy!
  5. I like to put the entire pasta dish in a small pot just to heat up the pesto – not cook it.  Then Serve!

Chocolate Avocado Pudding

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So Jason Wrobel made an amazing Chocolate Avocado Pudding on his special How to Live to 100 but when i started gathering ingredients I did not have hemp seeds on hand and was impatient to try an avocado pudding…so I stumbled upon a Five Minute Avocado Chocolate pudding on Kirbie’s Cravings.  The recipe on Kirbie’s Cravings is not vegan but with a simple modification from nonfat milk to non dairy milk of your choice – Vegan magic is made!

Ingredients:

1 ripe small or medium avocado 1/4 cup cocoa powder 1/3 cup raw agave nectar 1/4 cup Almond/Soy/Coconut Milk

Directions:

Blend all ingredients into a blender until smooth and creamy. You may need to add more agave nectar depending on the size of your avocado. It’s ready to eat immediately or you can also refrigerate.

Notes and Modifications:

  1. You can easily use Jason Wrobel’s recipe to make your own milk
  2. Top with coconut shreds, nuts, blueberries, etc.
  3. Add a teaspoon of vanilla to enhance chocolate flavor or use vanilla flavored milk
  4. This dessert will quickly become a staple

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day and I hope you are spending it with the one or ones you love!

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