weeknight

Cozy Weeknight Staple: Creamy Vegan Tomato Sauce by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal


you guys have completely inspired me to come up with quick, delicious add-ins to make meals more fun and easy-going.  i didn't know just how many of us truly struggle to put dinner on the table.  or how much we all need help menu planning for the week, meal prepping, etc.  so, i'm popping in here with this super easy weeknight sauce that can go on all the things.  i prepped on sunday while amesy was napping, and then cooked it on tuesday night - easy-peasy.  my sincere hopes that this back pocket recipe gives you some inspiration, perhaps this weekend! ☺️

the sauce is my grandmother's recipe.  her name was florence, and she was from naples, italy.  regrettably, i never got to meet her, she passed away when my dad was young.  but my uncle kept this single recipe of hers alive and taught my mom and dad how to make it when i was a kid.  the tomato sauce was almost a weekly staple in our house.  on weekends my dad would make pizza and slather it all over.  the sauce was the best part.  and other times my mom would make an easy weeknight pasta, or meatballs if there was enough time.  always the all-purpose topping!

the sauce is pretty rustic.  you start with whole, peeled san marzano tomatoes (sclafani brand is my favorite, even though they're no where to be found in LA), and from there you add a good amount of fresh herbs (parsley, basil, oregano, and thyme), diced onion, minced garlic, and a  bit of coconut sugar to cut through the acidity of the tomatoes.  from start to finish the sauce takes about 30 minutes depending on how good you are with a knife.  the cashew cream takes less.  the only thing that requires your attention is remembering to soak the cashews the night before, or the morning of (depending on when you're making it). and if you're really in a pinch, buy a store-bought variety you love and add the cashew cream to that (i have a couple favorites in the notes below, if you're looking for a good brand).  once you add the cashew cream though the sauce turns into something that feels indulgent, but isn't, and truly makes a cozy winter weeknight (or weekend) meal!

i hope it comforts you as much as it does us! big hugs! xo

**BIG NEWS! there's an option to print recipes now! yay! find the link below just above the ingredient list



creamy vegan tomato sauce

PRINT THE RECIPE!

this is the perfect recipe to shortcut!  if you don't have the desire/time to make the sauce, just buy a 24-ounce jar of your favorite store-bought variety.  i personally like lucini or rao's brands. frank and i have been topping everything with this sauce, from pasta (duh), roasted chicken breasts, you could add a big pot of gigante beans to it, there are infinite ways to utilize it.  

| serve 2 as a main, or 4 as a side |

cashew cream

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews, soaked overnight 
  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 2 teaspoonS apple cider vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt & fresh pepper

creamy tomato sauce

| makes about 3 cups |

  • 1 28-ounce can peeled san marzano tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup minced basil
  • 1/4 cup minced parsley
  • 1 tablespoon minced oregano
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • salt & fresh pepper
  • 1 small onion, diced small
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced 
  • 1/2 cup cashew cream


method

  1. place cashews, water, vinegar, and garlic in a high-speed, upright blender (preferably a Vitamix) on high for a few minutes, scraping down the sides of the blender container, until creamy.  season with salt and pepper.  if your cream is too thick, add more water a 1/2 tablespoon at a time until it's reached your desired consistency. you don't want the cream too thin, think: greek yogurt consistency. scrape the cashew cream into an air-tight jar and store in the refrigerator.  the cream can be made a few days in advance if need be.
  2. to make the sauce, add the can of tomatoes to a large mixing bowl, and crush them until the tomatoes are broken (i find that using a potato masher works really well for this).  add the chopped herbs, sugar, a few big pinches of salt, and a few grinds of ground pepper.  let it sit and marinate while you cook the other ingredients.
  3. heat a large lidded pot over medium heat, once hot, add the onion and stir, cook until the onion is soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.  add the garlic and stir, cook for 1 minute.  then add the tomato sauce mixture, increase the heat and bring it to rolling simmer.  give it a stir, then cover. turn the heat down to low, and let the sauce cook for 20 minutes, until the sauce has reduced and thickened a bit.  remove from heat and stir in the cashew cream (if you want it creamier, add 1/4 cup more cream).
  4. top your favorite pasta, roasted chicken breasts, a bean and quinoa mix, ground beef, lamb meatballs, etc, etc.!

similar recipes:


vegan caesar pasta salad

vegan caesar pasta salad

crusty-baked vegan alfredo w/ caramelized shallots & kale

crusty-baked vegan alfredo w/ caramelized shallots & kale

cauliflower pasta w/ za'atar & olives

cauliflower pasta w/ za'atar & olives

"Cheesy" Herb-Crusted Squash by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal


the past few weeks have been a little crazy around here.  frank and i have essentially been switching off weeks for work travel, all mixed in with the beginning of the holidays, and family and friends coming in to town.  life seems very, very full at the moment.  i took a trip for work at the beginning of the week with lots of mixed emotions.  it was the first time i was going to be away from amesy and something about not seeing him wake up in the morning, and not being there for his nighttime dinner-bath-sleep routine made me somewhat of a mess.  i think that a lot of times it's the anticipation of things that are far worse than what the reality is.  while i missed amesy dearly, it also felt really good to put my work hat on, be in a different city (that i can't wait to go back to one day!), and let myself sit with the idea that i was okay without him.  something about being a mom for the past 14 months has felt very safe. and so getting outside of that (wonderfully amazing) comfort was a much needed reminder that we as moms can wear two different hats and still be ok. :)

switching gears to squash, and "cheesy", crusty goodness!  so basically this recipe is roasted squash that's breaded with grain-free cracker crumbs, a good bit of nutritional yeast (giving it that cheesy quality), herbs, and seasoning.  there's also a good bit of olive oil that tops these squash chunks making the topping extra crispy and flavorful.  it's a great back pocket recipe to have around this time of year when you need a hearty side dish, or are just looking to up your squash game ;)  i highly recommend serving this with the pomegranate seeds, they definitely offer that little bit of brightness at the end of each bite.

holiday hugs, friends! xo



"cheesy" herb-crusted squash | v & gf

i used grain-free, vegan crackers and made my own crumbs (instructions below), but any cracker crumbs or bread crumbs will work well here. this recipe can also be easily doubled if you're serving more than 2-4 people.

| serves 2-4 people |

  • 1 small-ish winter squash (1-2 pounds)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup cracker crumbs (i used these)*
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme and sage, plus more thyme sprigs for garnish (optional)
  • fine salt & freshly ground pepper
  • chopped parsley, to serve
  • pomegranate seeds, to serve

*quickly pulse whole crackers in a food processor or blender until you get small cracker crumbs.



method

  1. preheat the oven to 400Β°F.
  2. slice the squash in half, then slice into quarters.  drizzle a good amount of olive oil into the bottom of a rimmed baking dish (enough to cover the bottom generously).  
  3. whisk together the cracker crumbs, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, herbs, salt, and pepper.
  4. brush the squash halves with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.  sprinkle the crunchy "cheese" mixture onto each of the squash pieces, pressing the crumbs onto the sides if need be, and spray the topping with oil (or drizzle with oil)
  5. bake for 35-40 minutes, until the squash is tender, and the tops and sides are golden brown.
  6. serve the squash warm topped with chopped parsley and pomegranate seeds.  

more holiday-friendly recipes:


cauliflower kalamata dip

cauliflower kalamata dip

garlic & spice-roasted carrots w/ tahini yogurt

garlic & spice-roasted carrots w/ tahini yogurt

fruity kale salad, for a crowd

fruity kale salad, for a crowd