Summer Squash Vegan Mac 'N' Cheese w/ Herb Pesto by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

we're coming off of a pretty hectic week.  frank just returned from a trip upstate (do you californians call northern california upstate?), and i've been trying to keep it together working and taking care of amesy.  admittedly, when time gets tight, and there aren't enough hours in the day, my diet suffers.  no matter how many veggies are in my fridge, preparing myself high-vibe meals always falls short at the end of the day.  i like having options, or go-to's, so that isn't the case all the time.  because if i think about it enough, every day feels a bit chaotic in one way or another.  stocking my fridge or pantry with easy-to-put-together ingredients and halfway prepared meals is just where i'm at in life, and i'm kind of just going with it at the moment.  whether that's buying a pre-made protein and adding a salad to it, buying prepared vegetables and cooking up something on the side, or buying a box of mac 'n' cheese to have on hand.

there aren't many store-bought mac 'n' cheese brands that cater to my gluten-dairy-free diet, while also having good, wholesome ingredients. i'm so grateful to companies like Annie's that have options that appreciate different diets, and lifestyles, and that they're so readily available to all families at stores like Target.  i've been eating their mac 'n' cheese since i was young, and it's nice to come back to an old favorite when they came out with their vegan and gluten free variation.  it's a brand that has always been transparent, and i can trust it to feed my family in the right way.

it usually depends on how i'm feeling, or what the weather is like, but most times i prepare a big salad on the side, or add veggies to the the pasta itself.  this time i blended up some herbs i had leftover in my fridge to make a quick pesto, and sliced a couple of summer squash to sauté with garlic.  alone the mac 'n' cheese is tasty and super delicious, the cream sauce is made with pumpkin and sweet potato mixture that's ready to go when added to your plant-based milk of choice.  it all makes for a quick, fresh, meal that basically feels homemade ;)  

big hugs, all! xoxo

Summer Squash Vegan Mac 'N' Cheese w/ Herb Pesto | gf

| serves 4 as a main, 6 as a side |

herb pesto

  • 1 packed cup mixed herbs (i used a combination of parsley, sage, thyme, and oregano)
  • 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2-3 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • fine sea salt and freshly ground pepper

summer squash mac 'n' cheese


  1. for the pesto.  combine the herbs, oil, garlic, and lemon juice in food processor or blender.  season with salt and pepper, and refrigerate until you are ready to use it, or 1 week.  alternatively, the pesto can be made 1 week before using it. 
  2. for the squash and mac 'n' cheese.  heat a skillet over medium heat.  once it's hot, add the olive oil and garlic, stir and cook for about 45 seconds.  then add the squash and let it cook for about 4 minutes without disturbing it, letting it get a little brown.  turn them over and let the squash cook for another 4 minutes, until lightly browned and tender.  remove the squash from the heat.
  3. make the mac 'n' cheese according to the instructions on the box.
  4. in a large serving bowl toss the mac 'n' cheese together with the summer squash.  dollop the top with pesto blobs, and give it all a stir. serve with more pesto on the side.

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Target & Annie's. The opinions and text are all mine.

similar recipes:

summer socca salad w/ burst tomatoes + roasted zucchini by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

i've had a very loose summer "to-do" list, and i'm actually making progress on it (which is really encouraging because i'm the biggest procrastinator and lists rarely ever keep in line)! some items are coming along, while others are more of a long-term kind of deal:

  1. plant a wild flower/meadow garden (and keep it alive) - so far ✔
  2. work on toning my arms a la linda hamilton in terminator 2 - ✔ still a work in progress ;)
  3. grill (gf + v) pizza! - ✔ we did this the other night, and while the grill was too hot, and the bottom of the dough was black and charred, it was still awesome. i'm planning a major post for this recipe when we get it just right!)
  4. a designated no-social-media-day - eh, i have good weeks and not so good weeks with this one. 
  5. read more books, like real tangible books - half-✔. am i the only one who has my nose in the middle of about 5 books for the past 2 years? halp.

speaking of schedules and lists, the opposite can be said for what we've been eating recently. i've been on this kick of preparing easy peasy meals with familiar pantry items and whatever i pick up at the market that the weekend. there's always some sort of grain or legume, a punchy sauce to make things exciting, and little extras like fried capers or toasted breadcrumbs for added crunch and flavor. since the development side of my cookbook has wound down, i'm feeling like i have a surplus of quiet energy that's insisting to just go with the flow. for a while it was a non-stop schedule of recipe testing, styling, and shooting. and while it's been a really fulfilling project, it was also mentally and physically exhausting. so laying back and letting food, and cooking be breezy is what life is dictating at the moment, and i'm just going with it! this socca salad recipe is very much in line with what meals have been looking like around here this summer, veg-heavy, super gratifying, and importantly, low key. 

my husband has always been on board with socca since i first began making it a few years ago. it was one of the first bread-y things (since going gluten-free) we could partake in and enjoy together, and it's been a wrap since then.  this recipe is a very basic socca recipe, one that i've been making and tweaking for years. it's one of those tried and true recipes that i love preparing for lunch, dinner, or as an appetizer for when we have friends over.  socca is so good that sometimes it's best when left plain and topless, but it can also be a blank canvas for just about anything you want to pile on top of it; in this case a simple summer salad. there's a bit of easy prep required but nothing that's tiresome or laborious, just some mixing, roasting, baking, and serving, all for an uncomplicated summer meal!

big hugs! x

summer socca salad w/ burst tomatoes + roasted zucchini (v + gf)

i make this socca 2 ways. the first one is using the entire batter in a 10-12" pan for 1 large, slightly thick round. the other way is to divide the batter between 2 pans and make 2 smaller soccas with a crispy texture. both variations are great, but i tend to like a smaller crispier socca when served with a salad. the toppings can of course vary to include different grains or vegetables, and the yogurt or hummus can be substituted for creme fraiche or labneh if dairy is your thing.  

| serves 2 as a main |


  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup + 1-2 teaspoons water
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2-3 garlic cloves minced


  • 5-6 small vine tomatoes
  • 1 medium zucchini (about 1 heaping cup), sliced into 1/4" thick slices
  • olive oil
  • salt + pepper
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 cups mixed baby greens
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3-4 tablespoons hummus or tahini yogurt sauce
  • herb flowers or torn squash blossoms, for serving (optional)



socca batter

  • in a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and pepper; whisk in 1 cup of water - batter should be similar to thin pancake batter (but not as thin as crepe batter), if batter is too thick, add water a teaspoon at a time until batter has thinned out.  drizzle in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and the garlic, whisk until thoroughly combined.  let mixture sit for 30 minutes or up until 12 hours lightly covered with a dishtowel.


  • preheat oven to 400° F and line a small baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.  in a small bowl toss together the tomatoes, zucchini, and 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil, season with salt and pepper.  turn out onto the lined baking sheet and bake until tomatoes are burst and zucchini is tender, about 12-14 minutes. (if you're using smaller tomatoes like grape or cherry, cook time may be less.) remove from oven and let cool.  combine the quinoa and greens in large bowl, then add the cooled roasted vegetables, set aside.


  • when you're ready to make the socca, place a 10-12" cast iron skillet (or an oven proof skillet) on an oven rack in the bottom third of your oven, then preheat to 450° F. 
  • once the oven is preheated, carefully remove the skillet from the oven, pour the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil into the skillet and gently swirl the pan to distribute the oil.  give the socca batter one last whisk and then pour it into the skillet, swirling to evenly cover the pan.  quickly place back into the oven and bake for 12 minutes, until the edges are lightly browned; turn oven temperature up to 500° F and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until edges are crisp and browned and top of socca is golden.
  • remove skillet from oven, and let it rest while you dress the salad.  drizzle salad with 3 teaspoons olive oil, and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper.  use a spatula to lift the socca from the pan and place on a large cutting board. slice the socca in half, or serve whole and top with hummus or yogurt, and the burst tomato and roasted zucchini salad. 


**to make a smaller, thin socca (like the one pictured). heat two 10-inch skillets in the oven. once oven is preheated, remove pans one at a time; add 1-1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil and swirl to cover pan. add half of the socca batter and swirl to cover the bottom of the pan; place back in oven and repeat with other pan. cook until edges are golden and crisp, about 10 minutes; turn oven temperature up to 500° F and cook for another 2-3 minutes, until edges are brown and top of socca is golden.  remove from heat and serve with hummus/yogurt, and salad. 

related recipes 

spring fattoush salad

spring fattoush salad

a midsummer cherry + amaranth panzanella salad

a midsummer cherry + amaranth panzanella salad

green shakshuka w/ smoky socca

green shakshuka w/ smoky socca

raw veggie + ginger rice bowl w/ sriracha tahini by Lindsey | Dolly and Oatmeal

last week frank and i did a lot of birthday celebrating (as our birthdays are 3 days apart), so like any good pair we celebrated with dinners out and a good amount of birthday sweets.  needless to say, my body was completely whacked out in reaction to my consumption of bits of gluten here and there, and sugary treats.  frank and i both came to a quick conclusion that we needed to get back to our old routine of cooking at home, and not eating desserts almost every night.  since the celebrations have ceased i have been consuming a fair amount of ginger to help calm and balance this body of mine.  

with that in mind, i wanted to make a healthful and soothing dinner, and this rice bowl was just the thing to help do that.  the rice was cooked with ginger to infuse some of that anti-inflammatory goodness, and loaded with raw veggies as to not let any of those good nutrients escape. the tahini sriracha was inspired by the flavors in this blog post, and by my friend who had us over the night and made a delicious and simple bok choy salad with toasted almonds and sesame oil dressing - yummo!  i'm a big fan of veggie rice bowls, and this is similar to one i made awhile back, but here i used veggies that were a cinch to slice thin, making them easier to chew and digest.   and i think by now you've learned that i love, love, love tahini!  and spicy sriracha...with the tahini...mind. blown.  if you're not so into the spicy factor, don't use the sriracha, the tahini will still be delicious.  

here is to being mindful of what we put in our bodies - to healthful meals, and veggie-love!

raw veggie + ginger rice bowl w/ sriracha tahini

| serves 4 | 


for the rice bowl

  • 1 cup black forbidden rice
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
  • 1 bunch bok choy, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • 4 large carrots, cut into matchsticks
  • 1 large zucchini or 2 small zucchinis (i used 1 small zucchini and 1 small summer squash), ribboned, cut into matchsticks, or julienned with a peeler
  • 1 bunch scallions (about 6), sliced thin
  • 1 ripe avocado, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons thai basil, chopped small
  • 1/3 cup raw almonds, toasted and roughly chopped

for the sriracha tahini

| makes about 2/3 cup | 

  • 1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons brown rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sriracha sauce (or more depending on how spicy you want it) 
  • water to thin consistency  


  • combine rice with ginger in a medium sized saucepan, cover with 2 cups of water and bring to a boil.  once water boils, stir once, cover and turn down heat to low.  cook for 25-30 minutes.  set aside
  • while rice is cooking make the sriracha tahini.  in a medium sized bowl, combine tahini, sesame oil, rice vinegar and sriracha.  one teaspoon at a time, thin sauce to desired consistency.  set aside
  • in a large bowl, combine ginger-rice with the bok choy, carrots, zucchini, and scallions.  serve and top with sliced avocado, basil, almonds and scallions  
  • dress the bowl with a couple dollops of sriracha tahini and enjoy!