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Pasta, Peppers, Pesto, and Purple Carrot Cake

Posted Feb 03 2009 11:18pm
This post brought to you by the letter P! I made all these P foods to take to a Super Bowl Sunday dinner.

I made P enne P asta, P eppers & Onions & Sausage, P esto, P erfectly Steamed Broccoli, Vegan P arm, and P urple Carrot Cake, and there’s also a store bought P an Baguette.

Penne Pasta
(inspired by Penne Vodka in Vcon )

Serves 6-8

1 T. olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 – 28 oz. cans fire roasted crushed tomatoes
½ cup dry wine
1 t. Italian seasoning
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. granulated sugar
½ t. red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup almond butter
¼ cup fresh basil, minced
1 pound penne pasta

Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add in tomatoes, wine, spices, and sugar. Simmer, covered, for 20 to 30 minutes. In the meantime, prepare pasta; drain but don’t rinse. Add almond butter to tomato sauce and mix thoroughly. Add in basil, then pasta. Gently mix to coat.

Peppers with Onions and Sausage

Thinly slice one onion, one red pepper, and one green pepper. Saute in olive oil until softened. Season with salt and pepper. Add in one link of Italian style sausage, sliced. (I used Everyday Dish seitan sausages.)


Makes 1 cup

2 cups fresh spinach
¼ cup fresh basil
¼ cup other greens, such as dandelion or mizuna (or more spinach)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/3 cup pistachios or pepitas, or a combination of both
¼ cup olive oil
½ t. salt
pepper to taste

Mix all together in a food processor until smooth.

Here’s my super Super Bowl dinner plate:

Purple Carrot Cake

For some reason, I got it in my head awhile back that as soon as purple carrots came to the market, I had to make a Purple Carrot Cake. Finally, I was able to buy some.

I wanted an amazing purple-flecked cake, but that’s not what you’re going to see. You can’t even really see purple carrots in a cinnamon spiced cake, which I made, and the purple actually looks black when baked. I double checked this, because being the food nerd I am, I baked a tiny white cake version.

Purple carrots have an orange center, so you can see a little orange color, and they don’t taste any different. Be careful handling them – they stain!

I dedicate this recipe to our favorite Chocolate Covered Vegan, Katie. I look to Katie for lots of recipe inspiration. Aside from being a fellow Texan, Katie and I share many food loves – chocolate, peanut butter, oats, broccoli, and anything purple. I don’t make many carrot cakes, Naturally I looked in blogland for a recipe, and I found Katie’s Bugs Bunny Cake recipe. I needed to make a portable cake, and her recipe was for a 9 x 13 cake – perfect. She said it was a hit, so I used her recipe as a go-by and combined it with an awesome (nonvegan) recipe from a local chef. The cake I made was also a hit. Don’t wait for purple carrots to make it!

Thanks for your help, Katie! Here’s my recipe.

Purple Carrot Cake with Tart Cherry Sour Cream Frosting
2-1/4 cups AP flour
2 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 t. fresh nutmeg
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt
2/3 cup white sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1 T fresh minced ginger
1 t. vanilla extract
2/3 cup canola oil
3 EnerG eggs
2 cups grated purple carrots
1 cup diced mango
½ cup toasted pecan pieces
½ craisins (or raisins) soaked in ¼ cup spirit of your choice (I used an orange liqueur)

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt. In a stand mixer, combine sugars, ginger, vanilla, and oil. Mix well. Mix in eggs. Gradually add in flour mixture and mix well. Stir in carrots, mango, pecan pieces, and craisins. Spread in 9 x 13 pan and bake 35-40 minutes or until tester comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

Tart Cherry Sour Cream Frosting
¼ cup tart cherries (Razzcherries would be great here!)
¼ cup nondairy milk
2 t. vanilla extract
2 t. rum or brandy
¼ cup vegan margarine
¼ cup vegan cream cheese
2 cups powdered sugar

In a small saucepan, combine cherries and milk. Bring to a simmer. Let simmer 4 minutes until cherries are soft and plump. Remove from heat and when cooled, puree with the vanilla and rum; set aside.

Combine the margarine and cream cheese in a mixer and beat until light and fluffy. Add in puree, then slowly add in powdered sugar. Spread over cooled cake.

That’s All Folks!
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