DINNER AT EIGHT SHOW #702

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Zucchini Napoleon with Tahini-Nut Cheeze

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

 • 1 very large zucchini (3 to 3 1/2-inches in diameter at the wide end) or 6 to 8 “eight-ball zucchini

• 11/4 cups prepared vegan marinara sauce, divided, plus more as needed

• 1 recipe Tahini-Nut Cheeze (below)

• 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste

• 3 large slices Italian-style bread, torn into chunks (you may use whole grain bread or gluten-free bread, if you like)

• 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend

• 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Slice the large end of the zucchini into 12 slices, each about 3 to 31/2-inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick. Slice 6 more slices from the zucchini, each about 2 to 21/2-inches in diameter and 1/4-inch thick. (Or alternately, slice each 8-ball zucchini into about 4 to 5 slices, reserving tops and bottoms for another use)

Spread 1 cup of the marinara sauce in the bottom of a 9 by 12-inch or similar sized casserole. Arrange the 6 largest zucchini slices in a single layer over top of the sauce. Spread each slice with a generous amount of the cheeze. Sprinkle each slice with a dash of sea salt. Top with 6 more zucchini slices and spread each with generous amount of the cheeze. Sprinkle each slice with a dash of sea salt. Top each stack with a smaller zucchini slice, and spoon about 2 teaspoons of marinara sauce over the top of each napoleon. Tent with foil, and bake for 35 minutes.

While the napoleons bake, make the bread crumb topping. Put the bread chunks, Italian seasoning and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt into a blender and process into coarse crumbs. Transfer the bread crumbs to a small bowl. Add the olive oil and stir to thoroughly coat the bread crumbs.

Remove the napoleons from the oven, uncover and sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top. Bake uncovered for an additional 10 to 12 minutes, or until the topping is crisp and zucchini is tender, checking often and adding a bit more marinara sauce to the bottom of the casserole dish, if it is becoming dry.

Put the casserole on a wire rack and let cool 5 to 7 minutes. Serve 1 napoleon per person, surrounded by pasta, quinoa or brown rice with a bit of the sauce from the bottom of the casserole spooned over the top.

Tahini-Nut Cheeze

MAKES 8 SERVINGS

MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS

• 1/2 cup roasted, salted sunflower seeds

• 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika

• 1 can (14 to 16 ounces) white kidney beans, drained and rinsed (see note)

• 1/2 cup water

• 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sesame tahini

• 1 teaspoon reduced-sodium tamari

• 1/2 cup chopped raw cashews (see note)

• 1 medium clove garlic, chopped

• 1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Put all of the ingredients into a high-performance blending appliance in the order listed. Process until very smooth in texture, occasionally stopping the machine to scrape down the sides. The cheeze will be thick. Covered tightly and refrigerated, the cheeze will keep up to 2 days.

CHEF’S NOTES:

• If you do not have white kidney beans, you may use any other variety of cooked white beans in this recipe.

• If you prefer, you may soak the cashews first. To do so, put the cashews into a small bowl and pour water over to cover. Refrigerate for 1 to 4 hours. Drain, rinse well and use in recipe.

 Romaine, Mini-Pepper and Walnut Salad

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

SALAD

1 medium head romaine, torn in bite-sized pieces

6 to 8 mini sweet peppers, seeded and thinly sliced

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

DRESSING

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 teaspoon dijon mustard

Put salad ingredients into a large bowl. Put dressing ingredients in to a small bowl and whisk to emulsify. Pour dressing over salad. Toss and serve.

Vanilla Cream-Chocolate Pudding Parfaits

MAKES 6 SERVINGS

VANILLA CREAM

• 1/2 block (7 to 8 ounces) extra-firm regular tofu, drained and broken into chunks

• 3 tablespoons maple syrup

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

CHOCOLATE PUDDING

• 1/2 cup nondairy milk

• 3 tablespoons maple syrup

• 1/2 block (7 to 8 ounces) extra-firm regular tofu, drained and broken into chunks

• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

• 2/3 cup 55% cacao vegan dark chocolate chips, plus 6 more for garnish

To make the vanilla cream, put all of the vanilla cream ingredients into a blender and process until completely smooth. Transfer the vanilla cream mixture to a medium-sized bowl.

To make the chocolate pudding, put the nondairy milk and maple syrup into a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Put the tofu, vanilla and chocolate chips into the blender in the order listed. As soon as the nondairy milk mixture begins to bubble, immediately pour it over the tofu-chocolate chip mixture in the blender. Process for 1 minute, or until completely smooth.

To assemble the parfaits, start with six mini-martini glasses or small parfait glasses. For each serving, spoon about one-sixth of the vanilla cream into the bottom of the glass, then top with about one-sixth of the chocolate pudding, and garnish with a single chocolate chip. Repeat with the remaining glasses to make 6 servings in all. Refrigerate for 6 hours, or until completely chilled, before serving. Covered and stored in the refrigerator, leftover pudding will keep for about 2 days.