June 2015 Cooking Class

The June cooking class started, as usual with a green smoothie. Smoothies are fabulous way of sneaking more greens into your diet. This time the smoothie featured a green I had not previously used before, watercress. The basic recipe is 2 cups greens, 2 cups fruit, 2 cups water and the juice of 1/2 lemon.

Watercress Pineapple Blueberry Smoothie
Watercress Pineapple Blueberry Smoothie

Watercress Smoothie

  • 2 cups chopped watercress
  • 1 cup frozen pineapple cubes
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1 orange, peeled
  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

The items prepared for the June class were chosen because they were easy to prepare with common ingredients, involved little time in the kitchen and could be made ahead of time, making them perfect for the hot busy summer months. The menu consisted of Pasta e Fagioli Soup (a vegetarian version of the popular Olive Garden soup), Rice Buddha Bowl (a simple dish of rice and veggies in a teriyaki sauce topped with marinated tofu) and Frozen Chocolate Almond Banana Pie (a variation of the One Ingredient Chef’s Epic Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Ice Cream Pie).  The recipes are below.

Thanks again to James for the wonderful photographs.

Pasta e Fagioli - vegetarian style
Pasta e Fagioli – vegetarian style


  • 1 onion
  • 1 carrot, diced or julienned
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 – 28 oz cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 – 28 oz can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked)
  • 1- 28 oz can small white beans, drained and rinsed (or 2 cups cooked)
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 ½ tbsp vinegar
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • ½ of a 340g package Veggie Ground Round
  • ½ lb ditali pasta

Sauté onion, garlic, carrot and celery in a small amount of vegetable broth or water (1 to 2 tbsp) until onion is translucent. Add remaining ingredients except pasta and simmer 1 hour. Taste and adjust seasonings. Add the Veggie Ground Round, if using.

(Note: I have increased the canned tomatoes to two 28 oz cans rather than the previous 1 1/2 cans and increased the broth to 4 cups from 2. This makes for a lighter summer soup. Also , if using your own cooked beans, be sure not to overcook the beans as when added to the soup they will thicken it.)

Cook pasta until al dente. Cool under cold water. Either add pasta to hot soup just prior to serving or place pasta in individual bowls and ladle hot soup over.

Adapted from http://www.topsecretrecipes.com/Olive-Garden-Pasta-e-Fagioli-Copycat-Recipe.html


  •  Cooked brown rice (or soba, vermicelli or spaghetti noodles)
  • 2 cups chopped veggies of your choice per person (onion, garlic, peppers, carrots, celery, green peas, broccoli, mushrooms, etc)
  • Marinated tofu (recipe below)
  • Teriyaki sauce (recipe below)
  • Toppings – green onions, toasted sesame seeds
  1.  Make marinated tofu.
  2. Make teriyaki sauce.
  3. Stir fry your choice of veggies in oil, broth or water until almost done. Add teriyaki sauce and sauté until tender crisp
  4. Warm up brown rice. (optional, when warming up rice, add chopped onion, minced garlic, soy sauce and ground pepper)
  5. To serve: In a bowl layer warmed rice, veggies and marinated tofu. Top with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds

Adapted from http://ohsheglows.com/2014/06/03/speedy-veggie-lsquon-brown-rice-noodle-bowl-with-homemade-teriyaki-sauce/


Buddah Bowl
Buddah Bowl


  • 4 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 4 teaspoons coconut sugar (or granulated sugar of choice)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • pinch ground black pepper

Mix all ingredients together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat and store in a glass jar in the fridge.



Marinated Tofu
Marinated Tofu
  • 1 350 g package of extra firm tofu
  • 3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce
  • ¼ tsp dry ground ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup water

Drain tofu and slice into ¼ inch sticks. Place tamari, ginger, garlic and water in a non-stick frying pan and mix well. Add tofu and coat thoroughly in marinade. Slowly cook on very low heat, stirring occasionally, until all liquid absorbed by the tofu. (this will take about 30 minutes depending on the amount of heat used) Continue to cook until tofu is crispy. (this will take another 30 to 60 minutes) (Note, you can also make this in a low oven – 250F, especially if you find the tofu sticks to your frying pan). Store in the fridge, will keep for at least a week. Also freezes well.




  • 1 cup almonds
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 8 medjool dates, pitted

First Layer:

  • 5 large frozen bananas, sliced
  • ½ cup almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • ¼ to ½ cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract (if using peanut butter, omit or substitute vanilla)

Second Layer:

Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
Chocolate Banana Ice Cream
  • 5 large frozen bananas, sliced
  • 3 tbsp cocoa powder
  • ¼ to ½ cup almond milk


  • 1 can full fat coconut milk
  • 3 tbsp raw sugar or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

coconut cream

  1. Refrigerate the can of coconut milk for 1 day.
  2. Crust – In a food processor, process almonds until fine, add walnuts and process until fine. Add cocoa powder and salt and process until mixed well. Add the dates one at a time. Process until mixture is crumbly and holds together when pinched between your fingers. (if your dates are very dry, soak in water for several hours then pat dry). If the mixture won’t hold together, add a teaspoon of water to the mix. Press the crust mixture into a large spring form pan lined with parchment paper. Press in well with your hands or a small roller. Place in freezer.
  3. First Layer- In the food processor, place bananas, nut butter, and almond extract. Process until smooth. (It helps to let the frozen banana slices thaw slightly first) If needed, add almond milk to help it process, if needed. Spread over the crust and return to the freezer. If you have the time, let this layer freeze up well before adding the next layer, but if strapped for time, you can add the next layer right away.
  4. Second Layer-In the food processor, place bananas and cocoa and process until smooth, adding almond milk if necessary. Spread over Banana Nut layer and return to freezer. Freeze these layers well.
  5. Topping- Open the bottom of the can of chilled coconut milk. Pour out the coconut water (reserve for use in a soup or smoothie). Open the top of the can and scoop out the coconut cream. Whip the cream with a hand held beater with vanilla and adding enough sweetener to taste. Add the topping over the chocolate banana layer and smooth out. (If desired, top with shaved chocolate or chopped nuts.) Freeze sell before serving (about 24 hours)
  6. To serve – remove from freezer and let sit in the fridge for about ½ hour. Remove from the spring form pan, slice and serve.
  7. To store leftovers, slice and put in freezer so they aren’t touching. This way you can take out one or two pieces as needed.

Adapted from http://www.oneingredientchef.com/banana-pie/

Frozen Chocolate Almond Banana Pie
Frozen Chocolate Almond Banana Pie




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