avocado kale sauce

Avocado Kale Sauce

WOW. Funny story, and by funny, I mean devastating: I had this recipe posted with a great back story. The photos were gorgeous. The commentary was hilarious (as always). It all came together beautifully. As I hit “Publish”, went to the page, and said, “Oops! I forgot to add my Featured Image!” I went back to edit it and add it in. As I hit “Update”, I was brought to my newly updated page, which had the Featured Photo…but, inexplicably, deleted ALL OF MY TEXT AND PHOTOS.

*deep breath*

So, here are the photos of this luscious and delicious sauce (which can be made vegan-friendly!) served with sweet potato noodles, here are the ingredients, here are the directions, and I promise that my next post will have more humor and substance to it. Ha! I realize that this recipe riffs on a few prior avocado sauce recipes I’ve made for this blog, but, eh, I still post a third one proudly. 😉

avocado kale sauce

avocado kale sauce

avocado kale sauce

Avocado Kale Sauce
(Makes roughly 2 – 2 & 1/2 cups)

Ingredients:
– 1 ripe avocado
– 3 – 4 kale leaves, washed, de-ribbed, and roughly torn
– 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or skyr or non-dairy yogurt or cashew cream (for vegan version)
– 1/4 cup room temperature water
– 2 tablespoons olive oil
– 1 clove garlic, peeled and left whole
– Salt, to taste.

Directions:

1.) In a blender, add avocado, yogurt of choice or cashew cream, olive oil, and garlic. Blend until smooth; if mixture is too thick, slowly more add water and blend until desired consistency is reached. Add salt to taste. Store in refrigerator if not using immediately; will keep fresh for up to 4 days.

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vegan avocado cilantro sauce

Vegan Avocado Cilantro Sauce

As of late, I have turned to the magical Florida Avocado over its Haas counterpart. What’s my main reasoning? Well, honestly, my local C-Town supermarket has dozens upon dozens of Haas avocados in stock, all of them constantly hard as rocks. When I go grocery shopping after work, I want a ripe avocado, not an avocado that, if thrown at someone’s head, is hard enough to give them a nice concussion.

When it comes to being always perfectly ripe, a Florida avocado has never let me down. They are easily three to four times the size of your average Haas, and they are great when making an avocado-based recipe en masse.

Behold, my Vegan Avocado Cilantro Sauce!

vegan avocado cilantro sauce

One Florida Avocado is enough to help yield about two cups of this wonderful sauce. It’s so creamy, you’ll think there is yogurt or dairy in it. Nope! It’s absolutely plant-based!

What is great about this sauce is its versatility, no matter what your diet prefrences are. I have tossed zoodles in it. I have topped Triscuits with it.  I’ve put it on pan-fried chicken breasts. I have drizzled it on my soft-boiled eggs. It’s always a nice condiment to keep in your fridge, and I find its shelf life can be up to three days! Just think of all of the ways you can use it between now and then…

Honestly, the next few photos are just an excuse for me to inject some #yolkporn into your day. Ha! Though, I must admit, this sauce is great with soft-boiled eggs and cilantro. If that’s up your alley, I suggest you give it a try.

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Vegan Avocado Cilantro Sauce
(Yields roughly 2 cups)

Ingredients:

– 1 Florida Avocado, peeled, pit removed, and roughly chopped
– 1 – 2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
– Small handful of cilantro, washed and de-stemmed
– 1/4 cold water
– Juice of 1/2 lemon

Before We Get Started…

– Honestly, I have never made this recipe with anything other than a Florida avocado. I would guess that, in lieu, two ripe Haas avocados would be an appropriate substitute if you can not find a Florida avocado.

– Add more water if necessary if sauce is too thick, one tablespoon at a time.

– Though this is a recipe about avocados, I feel that I’ve used the word “avocado” too much in this post. For that, I apologize. Ha!

Directions:

1.) Add all ingredients to a food processor or high-speed blender. Combine until smooth. The sauce should hold some thickness, but be easily pourable. If not using immediately, refrigerate. This will keep up to three days in the fridge.

one pot pasta

One-Pot Pork & Vegetable Pasta

Who isn’t a fan of one-pot meals? The fewer pots and pans I have to wash, the happier I am. I’ve lived with a rotating cast of roommates for the past seven years that have had varying levels of kitchen cleanliness, from keeping the sink so clean you could eat out of it to leaving dishes in a gravity-defying two-foot tall stack for three days straight. I’d rather wash one large pot at the end of the night if I’m going to be washing other peoples’ dishes as well. 😉

(Ahhh, New York, New York…roommates…)

one pot pasta

This recipe is based on a wonderful one-pot recipe I yanked from Buzzfeed a couple of weeks ago. On weeknights when I’m struggling to come up with a meal, Buzzfeed has saved the night dozens of times over the past few years. Seriously. Bless ’em. I’ve tried quite a few one-pot recipes from them. Most work, while a choice few have failed. (A watery pasta – chili – soup amalgamation I tried this winter certainly wasn’t one for the record books.) This one, however, has quickly become a staple for me. It easily makes dinner for two, and I can get an additional three or four lunches out of it. Surprisingly, I don’t get sick of it for a few consecutive lunches, either. It’s that delicious.

one pot pasta

I upped the ante a tad by adding some grated carrot into the dish; sautéed shredded carrots are something I’ve always enjoyed with pasta! I remember how I used to make a dish back in high school that I got from the back of a pasta box. I tossed small bow ties with sautéed carrots and onion, along with freshly crumbled bacon. In that case, it adds a really lovely sweetness to the savory bacon. In this dish, it’s simply a good excuse to squeeze an extra vegetable in. You know, health and all that jazz…

one pot pasta

One-Pot Pork & Vegetable Pasta
(Makes 4 large servings or 6 small servings)
(Recipe adapted from Buzzfeed’s One-Pot Pasta with Pork and Tomato Sauce)

Ingredients:

– 1 pound ground pork
– 1 tablespoon olive oil
– 1 medium onion, chopped
– 4 cloves garlic, minced
– 2 tablespoons tomato paste
– 1 tablespoon dried oregano
– 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
– 4 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
– 1 cup carrot, shredded
– 2 cups stock (chicken or veggie stocks work best)
– 1/2 cup water
– 8 ounces whole grain spaghetti, split in half for shorter strands
– Salt and pepper, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– Tomato paste is a must for this dish. The first time I made it, I did not have any. When I made it the second time with tomato paste, I noticed a very marked difference in flavor.

– If you want more variety in texture, substitute 14 ounces of crushed tomato and 14 ounces of chopped tomato for the 28 ounces of crushed tomatoes.

Directions:

1.) In a large pot or dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Add ground pork; use a wooden spoon or spatula to break up the pork. Spread evenly over bottom of pot for even cooking. Cook pork until evenly lightly brown on all sides. Add salt and pepper to taste.

2.) Add onion and garlic to pot and cook for 2 – 3 minutes. Add carrots and cook for another 1 – 2 minutes or until carrots are softened. Add tomato paste to pot and stir until the pork mixture is thoroughly coated. Add stock, water, tomatoes, and oregano and stir until combined.

3.) Add pasta to pot and submerge in liquid and pork mixture; be sure to separate the pasta strands slightly, or it may clump up while cooking. Bring mixture to a quick boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 10 minutes; do not disturb the pasta. Remove cover and stir pasta, cooking for another 8 – 10 minutes or until al dente. Remove from heat; add spinach and stir until wilted and combined with the pasta and sauce.

Butter-Roasted Tomato Sauce

The ability to make a good tomato sauce is something that runs in my family, well, at least I think it does. My Nana Peg used to make a sauce that was truly out of this world, the epitome of what one would think of when thinking about Sunday Gravy. Tomatoes, tomato paste, onions, garlic, hamburger, sweet sausage, and hot sausage were always included. It was so good, I’d always forgive the addition of mushrooms into the mix. (Ha!) One of my other aunts has taken over her traditional recipe, and I still get so excited when she brings me an occasional Ziploc bag full of that red gold.

Being of Italian heritage, there is definitely some Sunday Gravy in my blood, at least in the metaphorical sense. (Otherwise, I may have to see a doctor regarding that…) Have I attempted my grandmother’s recipe? Yes. Have I succeeded? Oh HELL no. Granted, I’ve always done it off of the top of my head. Maybe reading a recipe card would help me? Perhaps. Deep down inside, I feel that the ability to perfectly execute that particular sauce is pretty tacit knowledge. A good transfer of that is not always guaranteed.

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So, why not forge my own path?

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There is something nice about roasting sauce in the oven rather than on the stove top. The high heat brings out a bolder flavor in the tomatoes, while roasting cloves of garlic in the sauce borders on sweet with that slight aftertaste of raw garlic heat. Some people may think it’s odd to add butter to a sauce like this, but it compliments it wonderfully, adding subtle salty and nutty notes.

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Don’t stand in front of a stove. Through this all in a large baking dish, sit yourself on the couch for 40 minutes, and kick back while the oven does the dirty work for you. You’ve earned it.

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Butter-Roasted Tomato Sauce With Pasta
(Adapted from Bon Appétit’s recipe – Bucatini with Butter-Roasted Tomato Sauce )
(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

– 1 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes (such as Cento)
– 6 garlic cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
– ½ stick salted butter, cut into small cubes
– ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
– Salt and pepper, to taste

Before We Get Started…

– This sauce pairs well with bucatini, thick spaghetti, or perciatelli.

– Don’t were a nice shirt when crushing the tomatoes, as indicated in Step #2. Those tomatoes will likely squirt!

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 425°F.

2.) In a large bowl, place contents of peeled tomato jar, sauce included. Gently crush tomatoes with hands. Transfer tomatoes to a 13″ x 9″ baking dish and add garlic, butter, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Stir to combine.

3.) Place in oven and roast for 40 minutes, stirring sauce at the 20 minute mark.

4.) After removing from oven, use a fork or masher to break up any larger chunks of garlic or tomato.

If serving with pasta (see Before We Get Started… for suggestions):

5.) Using a large pot, bring salted water to a boil. Cook 12 ounces of pasta until al dente. Prior to draining, reserve ½ cup of pasta water. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add sauce and reserved pasta water to pasta and toss to combine. Bring heat to medium, cooking pasta and sauce for 3 – 5 minutes. Serve with fresh Parmesan cheese and additional red pepper flakes.