The Baked Ziti That Will Change Your Life | Vegan, Cheap, Meat Eater Approved

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Last week I had the incredible opportunity to travel to Washington DC for a plant based dietitian job interview at the Physician’s Committee for Responsible Medicine.  They had me stay at their guest house, The Baker House, with interns who are occupants there for the summer.  If you haven’t already heard of the PCRM, it is an organization whose mission is ultimately to provide evidence based expertise to save the world. You can imagine how nervous/excited this wanna-be superhero was for this interview!!!

Back to the ziti- The ladies residing at The Baker House, Sofie and Catherine, are two brilliant, friendly, open minded vegans that became my close friends insanely quickly.  Catherine has made this dish a bunch of times and raved how it is always a win. Girl- you got that right!  Pool money to make dinner and eat it together!? Of course!!! Which lead me to enjoy the dish that I am sure will get anyone to give more vegan meals a try. Thank you ladies!

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Baked Ziti That Will Change Your Life

Adapted from One Green Planet’s Recipe

Ingredients (total cost at Whole Foods: $21)

  • 1 lb ziti pasta
  • 1 24oz jar marinara sauce (we used an organic fat-free option plus some that was already open in the fridge)
  • 1 1/2 cups vegan mozzarella shreds (we used 1 bag of daiya shredded mozzarella)
  • 1 lb firm tofu, drained
  • 2 Tbsp nutritional yeast or vegan grated parmesan
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup vegan cream cheese (we used 1/2 of a container of tofutti)

Steps

  1. Boil water and cook ziti to manufacturer’s instructions and preheat oven to 425*F
  2. For ‘ricotta’: crumble tofu in a large bowl and add in nutritional yeast (or parmesan), salt, pepper, oregano, garlic powder, and cream cheese. Mix fully with a fork or large spoon.
  3. Mix the cooked pasta, most of the marinara sauce, and ricotta in a large bowl
  4. In a large baking pan, add some marinara to line the bottom, transfer the mixture in, and spread it out evenly.
  5. Top with the rest of the marinara and finally the layer of mozzarella shreds
  6. Cover the dish with foil and bake ~20 minutes, uncover, and cook for another 5-10 minutes.
  7. Eat with a side of greens and those people who actually get you and still like you! 😉 xo
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Catherine, Sofie, and I eating takeout from ‘Hip City Veg’ on the Smithsonian Steps

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Memorial Day Watermelon Salad and Video

In honor of Memorial Day, I decided to make my favorite watermelon salad with mint and lime.IMG_20150525_094125The mint reminds me of my Grampa, who served in the army in World War II.  This is a great side dish or breakfast that is perfect for hot weather.  I uploaded a short video that shows how easy it is to make.  To watch the video, click here.

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Watermelon

The search for refreshing stops here.  Watermelon is of course hydrating, but is also high in vitamins and minerals.  The red color of watermelon provides the incredible antioxidant lycopene, which was shown to be effective in preventing skin damage from the sun in tomatoes according to a study published in the British Journal of Dermatology.  Watermelon also provides vitamins like vitamins A, B6, and C and minerals like potassium, copper, and magnesium. According to USDA’s supertracker, 1/4 watermelon provides 7g of protein.

Mint

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It is incredible how mint grows everywhere like crazy, but it costs $4.00 to buy a tiny organic package of it wrapped in plastic at the grocery store.  I highly recommend growing it yourself and throwing it into everything.  It is delicious in salads, wraps, smoothies, and the flavor is not overpowering.  I love it blended with frozen bananas for a refreshing mint ice cream.  This mint can also be used as a great herbal tea.

Lime

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I recommend a squeeze of lemon or lime on everything.  It adds vitamin C which is necessary for absorption of iron.  Many female vegans ask me how I get enough iron and eating nutrient dense foods is my first answer, but I am also intentional about my squeeze of lemon or lime juice.  Plants are abundant in minerals like iron, but the delicious vitamin C from lemons and limes adds great flavor to any bland meal and provides the antioxidants and vitamins necessary to help absorb all of my nutrients.