New Noshes: Meal Planning for the Coming Week

by Julie

(coffee for two at sparkroot)

I’ve been thinking a lot this weekend about the ways in which food brings us together. From sharing a simple cup of coffee with another person to inviting a host of friends over for an informal gathering, food serves as the means to center and ground us within a conversation or interaction.

So this week’s recipes and posts are dedicated to moments that draw us outward–to connect–with a friend, family member, companion, co-worker, or a stranger sitting at a nearby table. Many of them, including the carrot-coconut soup and the vegan pesto, are from readers, who have begun to share their own recipe favorites with me. I am grateful for these connections, and I hope these recipes encourage you to continue to reach out. For perhaps, in these moments of outward connection, we are able to see a fuller version of ourself. *Cheers!*


Coconut-Carrot Soup (courtesy of Elaine, adapted from The Guardian)

Shopping List: 1 tsp coriander seeds; 2 tsp cumin seeds; 1 tsp fennel seeds; 3 tablespoons Earth Balance; 4 shallots, peeled and sliced; 1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped; 2 inches ginger, peeled and sliced; 1 whole stick lemongrass, pounded; 3 kaffir lime leaves; salt; 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dimes; ½ butternut squash, peeled and diced; 5 cups vegetable stock; 2 cups coconut milk; 3 tablespoons lime juice; 4 tablespoons chopped cilantro, to serve; 1½ limes, quartered, to serve

To Prepare:

Put the seeds in a small frying pan and dry toast on low heat for three to four minutes. Transfer to a spice grinder or pestle and mortar, and grind to a powder.

Melt the Earth Balance in a large pan and add the ground spices, shallots, chilli, ginger, lemongrass, lime leaves and a teaspoon of salt. Cook on medium-low heat for 10 minutes, stirring often, until the shallots are very soft. Add the carrots, squash and stock, and cook on a low simmer for 20 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Remove the lime leaves and lemongrass, and use an immersion blender to puree the soup until very smooth. Stir in the coconut milk and lime juice, adjust the seasoning to taste, and serve garnished with cilantro and a wedge of lime.


Heather’s Quinoa Recipe (from 101 Cookbooks)

Shopping List: extra-virgin olive oil, sea salt, 1 shallot, 3 cups cooked quinoa, 1 cup fresh or frozen corn, 1 1/2 cups kale or other dark green, 2 cups extra-firm nigari tofu (browned in a skillet), 1/3 cup pesto (recipe follows), 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds, 1/4 roasted cherry tomatoes or chopped sun-dried tomatoes

Recipe for Vegan Parmesan Cheese and Pesto (courtesy of Shannon via Oh She Glows)

Vegan Parmesan Cheese

Shopping List: 1/2 cup toasted sesame seeds; 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast; 1/4 teaspoon sea salt

To prepare: Preheat over to 350F. Toast sesame seeds in the oven until golden and then throw all ingredients into a blender. Process for 30-60 seconds.

Vegan Pesto*

Shopping List: 2/3 cup Vegan Parmesan Cheese; 6 tablespoons raw cashews; 4 cups fresh basil, stem trimmed and leaves roughly chopped; 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice; 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil; 2 small handfuls of fresh spinach; 4-5 cloves garlic; 1 teaspoon sea salt

To Prepare: Blend cashew and olive oil in food processor until smooth. Add garlic, parmesan, and lemon juice and process some more before adding the basil and spinach. Blend well.

*Helpful tip: This recipe makes enough pesto for Tuesday’s quinoa dish and Wednesday’s pizza


This is a great dish to serve for a small dinner party or as an appetizer at a potluck.

Gluten-free Pizza

Shopping List: 1 package of Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-free Pizza Dough Mix; artichoke hearts; 1 cup onions, diced; 1 red bell pepper; 1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted and sliced; 3 cups fresh spinach; 1 1/2 – 2 cups vegan pesto, for sauce

To Prepare:

Preheat oven to 350F. Make the crust by following  the instructions on the package. Roll out the dough on a pizza slate or baking pan and coat lightly with olive oil. Bake for 7-10 minutes. Remove from oven and top with sauce and veggies. Put pizza back in oven and bake 25-30 minutes more.

Can serve with: salad greens


Cast Iron Stir-Fry with Avocado, Basil and Peanuts

Shopping List: (for sauce) 2 tablespoons hoison sauce; 2 tablespoons mirin; 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon soy sauce (or gluten free tamari); 1 tablespoon agave syrup; 2 tablespoons water; (for the stir-fry) peanut oil (in a spray bottle if you’ve got it); 14 oz tofu, cubed; salt; fresh black pepper; 1 pound broccoli, cut into florettes, stems sliced 1/4 inch thick; 1 small red onion, sliced into half moons; 1 bell pepper (red, yellow or orange), sliced 1/4 inch thick; 2 teaspoons fresh minced ginger; 4 cloves garlic, minced; 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper; (for garnish) avocado, diced; roasted salted peanuts; 2 big handfuls fresh basil leaves, chopped

Can serve with: brown rice, polenta, or other grain + salad


Roasted Eggplant Salad with Artichoke Hearts

Shopping List: 1 large eggplant (1 to 1 1/2 pounds; 12-ounce jar marinated artichoke hearts, with liquid, chopped;  large stalk celery, diced; 1 small red bell pepper, cut into short narrow strips; 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley; 1 tablespoon white balsamic or white wine vinegar; salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Can serve with: pasta/grain of choice and/or baked tofu or tempeh; cooked white beans

Thanks to everyone for the great recipes! Keep ’em coming!