A Taste of Italy - #301

Please Note: There are several recipes listed on this page. Please scroll down the page, to find the recipe you are seeking. Thank you!

 Spaghetti and Wheatballs

Makes 3 to 4 servings (12 to 14 Wheatballs)

Spaghetti and Wheatballs

Makes 3 to 4 servings (12 to 14 wheatballs)

Easy enough to make for a special weeknight meal, but fancy enough to serve when hosting a casual dinner party, this dish will become a staple in your house. 

1⅓ cups lightly packed, fresh, soft whole-grain bread crumbs (about 3 to 4 large slices - must be fresh!) (see note)

1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

½ teaspoon garlic powder

⅛ teaspoon sea salt

½ cup chopped walnuts

2 cups chopped mushrooms

½ cup diced onion

¾ pound organic spaghetti (see note)

3 cups prepared vegan marinara sauce or your own homemade sauce 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a medium baking pan with unbleached parchment paper.

Put the bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and salt in a large bowl. Put the walnuts in a blender, and pulse to process into coarse crumbs. Add the walnuts to the bread crumbs and stir gently to incorporate.

Put the mushrooms and onion in a blender, and process to a chunky purée. Add the mushroom mixture to the walnut–bread crumb mixture and stir to incorporate. Spoon out about 1½ tablespoons of the mushroom mixture and roll it into a ball. Gently squeeze it together, to make sure it is compact and will hold together while baking. Continue in this way with the remaining mushroom mixture. Arrange the wheatballs on the lined baking pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Gently rotate each wheatball and bake for 12 to 20 minutes more, or until they are firm, crisp and golden.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender but firm. Drain the spaghetti well.

Meanwhile, pour the marinara sauce in a medium sauce pan. Bring the sauce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Gently add the wheatballs to the sauce, one at a time, cover, and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes. (SEE NOTE)

To serve, put one-quarter of the spaghetti into each of four pasta bowls, and top with 3 (or 40 wheatballs. Ladle marinara sauce over the top and serve immediately.

 Chef’s Note: To make fresh bread crumbs, put 3 to 4 slices of wholegrain bread in a blender and process into coarse crumbs.

 Chef’s Note: The wheatballs are very soft, (depending upon the type of bread used) and tend to break apart slightly when placed IN the sauce. Alternately, arrange 3 wheatballs over top of each serving of pasta, then spoon the sauce over the wheatballs.


Caesar Salad, Jazzy-Style

Makes 4 to 6 servings

12 cups lightly packed romaine lettuce, washed, dried, and cut into bite-size pieces


5 to 6 slices very fresh whole-grain bread

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon Italian seasoning

Caesar Salad Dressing, (see below)

1 tablespoon Cashew Parmesan (see below), plus more for serving (optional)

Cover and chill the prepared lettuce to allow it to crisp up.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with unbleached parchment paper. Cut each slice of bread into nine equally sized pieces. Put the bread cubes, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning in a medium bowl and stir gently to evenly coat the bread cubes. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, turning once, until the bread is golden and crisp. Put the baking sheet on a wire rack. Let the croutons cool for 5 to 10 minutes.

Place the dressing in a large bowl. Add lettuce and croutons. Toss well to thoroughly coat the lettuce and croutons with the dressing. Sprinkle with Cashew Parmesan (if using). Serve immediately with more optional Cashew Parmesan served on the side.


Caesar Salad Dressing

Makes 4 to 6 servings

8 ounces firm regular tofu, drained

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

2 teaspoons capers, drained and rinsed

1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 medium clove garlic

1/8 teaspoon sea salt

Freshly ground pepper


Put all of the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth and creamy. If the mixture seems too thick, add a bit of filtered or spring water, 1 tablespoon at a time, to achieve the desired consistency.


Cashew Parmesan

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/4 teaspoon sea salt or Himalayan pink salt, plus more as needed

Put the cashews and salt in a blender and process in brief pulses until the consistency of crumbled Parmesan cheese is achieved. Don't overprocess, or the mixture will turn into cashew butter. Taste and add more salt, if desired. Store tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to two days.

VARIATION: Cashew Lemon Parmesan: Along with the cashews and salt, add 1 teaspoon of lemon zest to the blender. Proceed as directed.


Pear, Apple, and Walnut Crostata

Makes 6 to 8 servings


2/3 cup raisins

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

1/4 cup unsweetened shredded dried coconut


2 firm pears, peeled, cored, and sliced

1 large apple, peeled, cored, and sliced

1/3 cup chopped walnuts

2 heaping tablespoons brown sugar, maple sugar, or sucanat

2 heaping tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Oil a 9-inch pie plate.

Put the raisins, oats, 1/3 cup walnuts, and coconut in a high-performance blender or food processor and process until the mixture forms a dough. Press the oat mixture evenly into the bottom and part of the way up the sides of the pie plate.

Put the pear slices, apple slices, 1/3 cup walnuts, maple sugar, 1 heaping tablespoon of maple syrup, and ground cinnamon in a large bowl and stir gently until combined. Pour the filling into the crust and spread it in an even layer, smoothing the top as you go. Bake the pie for 25 minutes. Remove the pie, and brush the top with 1 heaping tablespoon maple syrup. Tent the pie with foil and bake 10 to 20 minutes, until the fruit is softened and edges of crust are slightly golden. Cool 20 minutes and serve warm. Alternatively, refrigerate for 4 to 6 hours and serve the pie chilled. Covered tightly and stored in the refrigerator, leftover pie will keep about two days.