Cheezy Garlic Shells Pasta Florentine Vegan Recipe

It's a little spicy. It's a lot garlicky. It's a little cheezy. It's totally delicious. 

Very easy to make. One pot does it all. 

1/2 box small shells pasta
1 shallot, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 inch ginger, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
2 tbls nutritional yeast
2 tbls olive oil
1/2 an 8 ounce bag of spinach
1 tsp crushed pepper flakes
1 tsp dry basil
2 tsps black pepper
1 tbl salt
Cook the pasta in water seasoned with the 1 tbl salt. 

I use Alton Brown's cold water pasta method. Add pasta to medium large pot. Cover with water an inch over the pasta. Add salt. Bring to  boil and then simmer until al dente. 

When pasta is al dente, remove it from the water into a heat safe storage container. Retain approximately 2/3 cup of the pasta water in the pot and discard the rest. 

Return pot with pasta water to stove. Medium high heat. Add olive oil, garlic, shallot, jalapeno, ginger, yeast, crushed pepper flakes, basil, spinach and black pepper. 

Simmer uncovered for 7 minutes. 


Vegetarian Weight Loss

I have a disorder known as polycystic ovarian syndrome. It has many annoying side effects, not the least of which is an inclination toward weight gain. Honestly, I wouldn't really care at all how fat I am, except for that I need my clothes to fit. I don't want to/can't afford to go out and buy all new clothing. And it's certainly not practical to do it on a monthly basis. With that in mind, here are a few interesting salads I've dreamt up in my quest for keeping my existing wardrobe.

In the summer when local romaine is on sale it's a no-brainer. Add some onion and tomato. If you can grow your own tomatoes you'll really be off to a good start. If not, canned are better tasting than you might expect. Just be sure to read labels. A lot of the 'flavored' canned tomatoes are filled with sugar. Better to take the plain and add your own spices. I'll also throw some frozen broccoli or peas or cauliflower in there. If you do it the day before there's no prep. If you want the salad right away, you'll need to pan cook the frozens. It's easy. Just over low heat  in an ungreased non-stick frying pan.  Or roast in a hot oven if want. 425 degree F for about 5 minutes for broccoli florets or the like.

When corn ears are in season they make a geat salad addition. I roast corn on the cob on the outdoor grill or in the oven at 425 F for 12 minutes. Then I use a knife to cut it off to add to my salad.

Bell peppers make great salad additons. All colors. When you can't get them fresh, the frozen kind thaw quickly.

Fresh roasted potatoes make a great salad. Best not to base your salad on them if weight loss is your goal. Instead a few sprinkles to give it bulk. With just a little bit they'll make your light salad seem rich and heartly.

Top some salads with the occasional garnish of nuts. Although caloric and fatty they are weight loss friendly. Full of healthy fats that suppress the appetite. Just limit the portions.

The salad dressing is the real culprit in turning a healthy light lunch into something that ruins our weight loss plans.

I have a simple method for thwarting that phenomenon. I use regular store bought vinaigrette dressings, but I use less than 1 tbl and I dilute it with plain white vinegar. It has the flavor and richness, but with less calories and fat. That way I can have two heaping bowls of salad without adding tons of calories and fat to them. Sometimes I'll even just dress my salad with plain vinegar and a dusting of nutritional yeast. Some fresh cracked black pepper really livens things up.

Another easy and tasty trick is the leverage the power of heat. Hot sauce is fat free and practically calorie free as well. Half a serving of vinagrette and 1 serving of hot sauce make an awesome salad dressing. Sometimes I'll just use the hot sauce on its own. It's great. And all that heat satisifes your appetitite quicker.

The fact is, weight loss comes easy for some and harder for others. These aren't things we get to choose. Being a vegetarian or vegan... that is entirely up to us.