Ratatouille Riggies: Eggplant Marinara with Rigatoni and Zucchini

(This picture is not my own, it's Rachael Ray's!)
Someone gave me this recipe from an issue of Rachael Ray's magazine. Last night my roommate and I were celebrating the return of our amazing friend so we all whipped this little number up together, had some wine, and danced all over our apartment. It was lovely! This recipe really surprised me with some awesome flavor. I didn't really read through the recipe before we started cooking and I think I was just expecting it to taste like plain ol' pasta with marinara and some veggies. I was wrong! The eggplant marinara sauce was AWESOME and the fried zucchini added some really wonderful flavor to the dish as well. We decided instantly that this needed to become one of our staple meals. I served this with some toasted baguette slices and some vino!

Tofu Salad

Here's a great lunch recipe for you! This is my own recipe that I have been making for probably... 4 years?! I have of course been adjusting it over time and I think it's pretty close to perfect (for me) at this point. I make this every year for the bluegrass festival I go to with my family to feed all of the vegetarians in our crew for lunch every day, and of course I also make it at home for myself! I usually just use this for sandwiches but I think it would be great on top of any garden salad or maybe even as a dip or on top of crackers. Today I made a "tofu salad melt" by toasting a few pieces of bread with a slice of Tofutti Cheese then adding a few good scoops of tofu salad and some lettuce. YUM! Also, I always make this recipe with two blocks of tofu because I find it just goes too fast when I only use one! Hope you like it!

Lime-Curry Tofu Stir-Fry

I just made this recipe, oh, about 30 minutes ago and I thought it was so wonderful that I just couldn't wait another second to tell the world about it (or at least the web surfers who stumble across my blog). My neighbor e-mailed this recipe to me about a week ago. She found it on allrecipes.com and knew it had my name written all over it. So, credit for this one goes to "kprzy" who submitted this recipe to the site. Anyway, the flavors in this dish are just AWESOME and so complimentary of each other. Spicy, creamy, sweet, and bold. Also, I want all of you coconut haters out there to know NOT to be afraid of coconut milk. I'm not a hater, but I know lots of people who don't like coconut and might be wary of something like this. Fear not- the coconut flavor really is super mild, and it's more the creaminess than anything else that you'll be taking from the coconut milk. Also, I think the flavors of the other ingredients kind of off-set the sweetness of the coconut anyway. Well, enough about that! You'll love this. Promise.

Not-So-Dirty Rice with Cajun-Style Collards

Here's a nice southern meal for y'all! Also, here's a nice little tidbit I learned while making this meal: Traditional "Dirty Rice" gets it's name from the chopped up chicken livers which look like brown flecks in the rice. Nice, huh? I think I'd prefer my rice WITHOUT livers of any kind, thank you.
Anyway, both of these recipes come from one of my newest cookbooks, "Vegan Planet" by Robin Robertston. They're listed as separate recipes in the book, but it's suggested they're served together so that's what I did. And it was a good choice. This is another meal that's slightly outside of my comfort zone... I'm not exactly sure why, but it's not something I would not normally choose. But once again, I was happy I decided to try something new! You should note however, that the collards alone would be wonderful but the rice by itself really wouldn't be that great. I thought it was a bit dry and didn't have a TON of flavor. I bet if I added some veggie broth to the mix it would have livened things up a bit. BUT, with the flavorful collards served over the top, it was awesome. You'll notice the two recipes have a lot of the same ingredients- but they took on slightly different flavors, and together, it just worked really well. Give this recipe a try! (Oh, and for the record, I want everyone to know that I really don't ever say "y'all"... I was just trying to sound authentic in the spirit of the recipe.) Ok, now for the good stuff!