Category: pasta

Hurry Up Alfredo – VYY Cookbook!

Hurry Up Alfredo with Basil

Alright, are you ready for the first recipe preview from the VYY cookbook?

This is one of my favorite recipes in the book. I make it almost once a week. It’s the perfect creamy pasta sauce when you’re feeling like alfredo. It’s also a great sauce for casseroles, over steamed veggies, on top of lasagna — wherever you want a basic creamy sauce. So not only is it really versatile, but it’s also really quick!

The whole sauce is made in a blender, so the faster you can toss ingredients into a blender, the faster it’s done. This also makes it super easy for additions. Recently I’ve been adding whole roasted red peppers (the kind they sell water-packed in jars).

Hurry Up Alfredo
Makes 2-3 Servings

1 Cup Soymilk
1/3 Cup Raw, Unsalted Cashews
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
3 Tbs Low-Sodium Tamari or Soy Sauce
2 Tbs Earth Balance Margarine
1 Tbs Tahini
1 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
2 tsp Dijon Mustard
1/2 tsp Paprika (smoked is awesome)
1 Pinch Nutmeg
2-4 Cloves of Garlic, optional
Black pepper, to taste

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. This may work best in a high-speed blender (like a Vita-Mix), but you can definitely make it in a regular blender. Just blend extra-long, or perhaps strain if if you want it perfectly smooth. Tiny bits of cashews won’t hurt anyone though!

If you’re making this sauce for pasta, drain the pasta and return it to the hot empty pan. Pour the sauce over, place on medium heat, and stir until heated through. Serve with lots of fresh cracked black pepper. I love it with steamed broccoli added in!

Don’t forget to pick up a copy of the book on the 16th!

Note to Testers

VYY Book

I’ve finally received my author copies of the book! Therefore I’m ready to mail my awesome testers their free copy! Since testing was done two years ago, I need updated addresses. If you were a tester, please email me at lolo @ with your current address and I’ll get a book to you in the mail! Many thanks for all your hard work!

Rustic Bread & Eggplant Lasagna

Rustic Bread and Eggplant Lasagna

My husband and I have been watching The Sopranos recently (yes, I’m apparently 10 years behind the curve here), and I can only listen to the characters talk about manicotti and baked ziti so many times before I get a serious craving for some Italian food. It got me thinking to a public television cooking show I saw a while ago, Lidia’s Italy. I remember she made a lasagna that used bread instead of noodles, and it struck me as brilliant.

I know making pasta isn’t hard, but there’s something about boiling lasagna noodles that is a huge pain in the ass. They’re huge, you must not over cook them, you have to prevent them from sticking to each other after draining… I don’t know, maybe I’m just lazy, but the idea of using bread really caught my attention. Of course, I couldn’t find Lydia’s recipe to go from, so this version is totally made up by me. But not only do I want to credit her for general inspiration, she also has an Italian cooking show, so she gives my crazy bread lasagna some legitimacy. Maybe. Shhh.

The easiest thing to use is a loaf of pre-sliced, crusty sourdough. I know I recommend sourdough for everything, but really, it’s awesome in this dish. You want the favor, of course, but you also want a sturdy “artisan” type bread that won’t fall apart in the oven. This isn’t a job for sliced sandwich bread. It’s best with bread that is even perhaps a little stale. Look for a quality sliced loaf in the day old section of your grocer and save a buck or two.

You can put absolutely anything in this lasagna. I picked eggplants because I had three of them. I think they are lovely in this, so I recommend them, but really, stuff this with whatever you like or whatever is handy.

Rustic Bread & Eggplant Lasagna
Serves 9-12

3 Tbs Olive Oil
4-6 Cloves Garlic, minced (optional)
2 28 oz Cans Organic Tomatoes, blended
2 tsp Salt
4 tsp Dried Italian Herbs
Olive Oil, for drizzling
2-3 Medium Eggplants, peeled
8-10 Large Slices of Sourdough Bread
1 Cup Breadcrumbs (or 2 more pieces of bread for toasting and food processing)
1-2 Large, Ripe Tomatoes, fresh, for garnish
Basil, for garnish

In a very large skillet with high sides, or a sauce pan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Sweat the garlic for 1-2 minutes, then add tomatoes, salt, and herbs. Cook for 30 minutes (bubbling), stirring occasionally. Invert a mesh strainer over the top of the pan to prevent splatter, if desired.

Preheat oven to 400º F.

Meanwhile, prep two baking sheets with parchment paper. Peel the eggplants by slicing off the top and bottom and using the cut edge to start your vegetable peeler. Holding the eggplant vertically, cut the eggplants into 1/2 inch slices. Arrange in one layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle liberally with olive oil.

Eggplant before roasting

Bake eggplant for 30-40 minutes at 400º, turning once, until very, very soft and browned in some places.

Spray both sides of each slice of bread with spray oil and “grill” in a hot skillet until browned on both sides. You can also simply toast the bread, but I think you get more flavor with grilling.

In a large baking dish (a lasagna dish), spread 1 1/2 cups of tomato sauce. Line the bottom of the dish with bread, filling as many as the gaps as possible without overlapping.


Place half of the eggplant on top of the bread, followed by another 1 to 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce.


Add a second layer of bread.


Add the second half of the eggplant, and all of the remaining sauce. Make sure that the bread is completely covered by sauce. Sprinkle breadcrumbs over the top.


Place fresh tomato slices on the top of the lasagna, sprinkled with salt and pepper.

Before baking

Bake for 40 minutes at 400º F. Remove from oven and let rest 10 minutes before cutting.

After baking

Top with basil leaves and drizzle sweet and thick balsamic vinegar (or balsamic syrup) on the plate if desired. Enjoy!

Rustic Bread and Eggplant Lasagna