Spaghetti and Meatballs, Reimagined

Zucchini Quinoa Meatballs, Green Lentil Pappardelle, Fresh Tomato Sauce

Zucchini Quinoa Meatballs and Green Lentil Pappardelle
Fresh Organic Tomato Sauce with Basil, Parmesan

Imagine a super-moist, super-tasty meatball that has the added health benefits from green vegetable and quinoa. Imagine a pasta that is packed with protein, high in fiber, lower carb and gluten-free. Imagine skipping jarred sauce and preparing an easy homemade tomato sauce made from organic tomatoes and fresh basil. This is spaghetti & meatballs for 2017.

Zucchini Quinoa Meatballs, Green Lentil Pappardelle Recipe

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Kimchi Lasagne

Kimchi Lasagne

Kimchi Lasagne
Made with Gluten-Free Lasagne Noodles
Creamy Spicy Cabbage Kimchi Sauce with Beef

Funky tangy kimchi makes a flavor bomb of lasagna. Kimchi’s spicy, salty, sweet, sour, bitter, umami, fermented flavors simmered into a creamy sauce with ground sirloin and gochugaru (Korean red chili powder) replaces the ubiquitous tomato sauce in this fusion-style lasagna.

My friends at Explore Cuisine make an extraordinary noodle for lasagna recipes. It is produced in Italy of green lentil flour (50%), green pea flour, and brown rice flour. These no-boil noodles soak up sauce to two-and-a-half times their size to a perfect al dente texture.

The noodles are full of plant-based pea protein, a lovely olive-green color, organic and gluten-free. They are also higher in fiber and lower in carbs than traditional lasagna noodles.

The lasagna is garnished with shilgochu (Korean chili threads), scallion, and toasted sesame seeds for a striking garnish adding texture and spice. Shilgochu are finely-sliced dried chilis that are reddish-brown in color with smoky red pepper and fruity flavors, and a medium degree of heat.

Exploding with flavor and seasoned with a secret ingredient (you’ll have to see below), this lasagna paired with makkoli (Korean rice wine) is perfect for a rainy (or snowy) winter day.

Kimchi Lasagne Recipe

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Red Lentil Penne with Gorgonzola Sauce, Walnut, Apple, Mint

Red Lentil Penne with Gorgonzola Sauce, Walnut, Apple, Mint #glutenfree

Red Lentil Penne, Gorgonzola Sauce
Granny Smith Apple, Toasted Walnut, Fresh Mint

Gorgonzola, Granny Smith apples, and toasted walnuts have a particular affinity for each other. Here they are paired with gluten-free penne for a satisfying wholesome meal with higher protein, higher fiber, and lower net carbs. Explore Cuisine penne is made in Italy and comprised of only two ingredients: organic red lentil flour (73%) and organic brown rice flour (27%). Cool mint adds a note of freshness and counterbalance to the rich gorgonzola sauce while apple cut into allumette shape makes for a jaunty presentation.

Gluten-Free Red Lentil Penne Recipe

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Mandilli di Seta al Pesto {Handkerchief Pasta} #glutenfree

Mandilli di Seta al Pesto (Handkerchief Pasta) #glutenfree

~ Mandilli di Seta al Pesto ~
Silk Handkerchief Pasta with Creamy-Style Pesto
Edible Begonia, Basil, and Pecorino Romano Garnish

Imagine a pasta that is a gorgeous shade of olive green, higher in fiber and lower in net carbs than traditional noodles. One that is full of plant-based pea protein, organic, and gluten-free. My friends at Explore Cuisine make such an extraordinary noodle. It is produced in Italy of green lentil flour (50%), green pea flour, and brown rice flour.

Usually used for lasagna recipes, here the rectangular green lentil sheets stand in for handkerchief pasta in a beautiful mandilli di seta adorned with edible begonias. The basil pesto is an elegant creamy-style, unlike its more grainy rustic cousin. The method of plating mandilli di seta is also unique – pasta handkerchiefs are dipped in the pesto, coating the entire noodle with the dreamy sauce, then they are artfully folded onto the plate.

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Grilled Eggplant Pizza with Low-Carb Cauliflower Crust

Grilled Eggplant Pizza with Low-Carb Cauliflower Crust #LowCarb

Grilled Eggplant Pizza with Cauliflower Crust
with
Tomatoes, Kalamata Olives, Garlic, Basil, Mint, Red Chile Flakes, Mozzarella

OK Low-Carb, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegetarian friends – this pizza is for you! Smoky grilled eggplant tops a pizza crust made of cauliflower. Grape tomatoes, kalamata olives, garlic, basil, and mint are tossed with a bit of olive oil, salt and red chile flakes then loaded on top of the eggplant. Sprinkled with shredded mozzarella then popped in the oven until everything is nice and hot – this pizza will delight everyone, but especially those who want to replace the dough. Cauliflower naturally has lower carbohydrates, higher fiber, and more nutrients than traditional flour-based pizza dough. This is a true veggie pizza.

How to Make a Cauliflower Pizza Crust

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Roasted Asparagus with Olives, Parmesan Inspired by Alain Ducasse

Rice Noodles with Pan-Roasted Asparagus, Olives, Parmesan
Pan-Roasted Asparagus over Brown Rice Noodles
Kalamata Olives, Balsamic Reduction, Shaved Parmesan

Organic brown rice noodles make this a fabulous gluten-free meal. Or omit the noodles and serve this asparagus as a low-carb side dish. Either way, French Master Chef Alain Ducasse’s recipe for “Roasted Asparagus with Black Olives” is a springtime winner. It’s the genius combination of just a few choice ingredients, it shines in its simplicity: Asparagus, Olive Oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Olives, Parmesan.

In his snappy cookbook, Nature, Ducasse shares “simple, healthy, and good” recipes featuring plenty of fruit and vegetables, grains with a little meat or fish, all cooked in olive oil. The Chef admonishes us, “You can’t cook well without good ingredients.” To that end, make sure to choose the freshest asparagus, high quality olive oil and balsamic vinegar, and authentic Parmesan for this recipe.

Pan-Roasted Asparagus over Rice Noodles Recipe

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A Unique Pasta Made of Black Beans – Gluten-Free, Lower-Carb

Pasta Made of Black Beans Only - Gluten-Free, Lower-Carb

Black Bean Spaghetti
with
Butternut Squash, Mushrooms, Kale, Cabbage
Parmesan and Chives
in a
Savory Garlic Sauce

This spaghetti is made from 92% black beans and 8% water and has 25 grams of protein and 12 grams of fiber in every serving. I discovered it at my local Whole Foods Market in 2013 and have been a fan ever since.

The flavor is definitely reminiscent of beans, and the tooth is chewy in a pleasant way. It turns out that this gluten-free pasta substitute is actually good. Really good. I love the creamy black color, al dente texture, mild sweet bean-y flavor, and earthy aroma. Generally, dried pastas have 5 to 7 grams of protein and 2 to 3 grams of fiber per serving, so, not only is this black bean spaghetti quite tasty, it is more nutritious as well. Where beans replace flour, it is naturally lower in carbohydrates, with 17 grams of carbs per serving.

I pair this black pasta with bright colorful vegetables – butternut squash, mushrooms, kale, and cabbage – and a super savory garlic sauce. Finished with freshly grated parmesan and a sprinkling of chives – this dish has broad appeal – even if one is not looking for a gluten-free and low-carb pasta substitute.

 Black Bean Spaghetti Recipe

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Pickled Tofu Carpaccio, Beet Syrup, Asian Slaw

Pickled Tofu, Beet Syrup, Asian Slaw

Pickled Tofu Carpaccio, Beet Syrup, Asian Slaw

By his own admission, he’s not a tofu guy. But my brother Don is definitely a foodie. Never met a foie gras he didn’t like. Tofu does not elicit even a glimmer of interest or enthusiasm. He trusts his sister though, so when she offers him a vibrant pickled tofu carpaccio – he definitely gives it a try.

Not to my surprise, it receives a big thumbs up. With the combination of exotic spices, sweet and hot juxtaposed to crunchy and soft elements, he advises to try all the flavors in one bite – calling it both a science experiment and a volcanic eruption.

Pickled Tofu Carpaccio, Beet Syrup, Asian Slaw Recipe

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A Pasta Made Exclusively from Black Beans?

black bean spaghetti, heirloom tomato, garlic, basil

black bean pasta
heirloom tomato, garlic, basil, red pepper flakes, olive oil

The noodles are marketed as “Organic Black Bean Spaghetti Shape” but the shape is actually closer to a cross between linguini and capellini. A long flat skinny noodle. The flavor is definitely reminiscent of beans, and the tooth is chewy in a pleasant way.

I was not expecting to be impressed, but it turns out that this pasta substitute is actually good. Really good. Love the creamy black color, al dente texture, mild sweet bean-y flavor, and earthy aroma. I think my gluten-free friends will be extra happy at our next Italian-themed dinner party…

black bean pasta recipe

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butternut squash lasagna, tomatillo sauce

butternut squash lasagna, gluten-free lasagna, vegetarian lasagna

roasted butternut squash & corn lasagna
layered with corn tortilla, shredded mozzarella, and tomatillo sauce

butternut squash lasagna, lasagna,

Already? The school year is winding to a close. It’s time to thank the parent volunteers for their energy, support, and dedication in helping maintain the library at Rolling Hills Country Day School. As is tradition, our  librarian recognizes all the parent volunteers at a special “Luncheon in the Library” held in their honor. Not only is Mrs. Love an inspiring passionate librarian and mother of three Country Day students, she is also a fabulous cook! I’m thrilled to have her share her recipe here, it was a smashing success (vegetarian & gluten-free too)!

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