Home | triple tuesday: pasta recipes {a meat free family}

triple tuesday: pasta recipes {a meat free family}

by Heather

Okay, I am soooo thrilled by all your excitement to win some coffee!  Keep those entries coming in to win some Godiva coffee.  You know you want it.

In addition to the coffee, there was also excitement around the lasagna pictures I showed (and donuts too!).  I promised I’d share, so here they are + 1 more special recipe.

What’s on the docket for today you may be asking?  Only delicious, comforting and meat free pasta dishes.  I think I’ll start with the easiest recipe and end with the most challenging, not that any of them are too challenging.

First up, seriously addicting creamy and cheesy tofu mac n cheese with caramelized onions and collard greens.  I’ve made this just about every week for the past 4 weeks.  It’s that good.

Next we’ve got a fall flavored pumpkin mushroom lasagna.  Don’t you just love that crust o cheese?

Lastly we’ll finish up with a traditional spinach and zucchini lasagna.  You won’t even miss the meat.

Believe me, none will disappoint.

I’ve gotta say, I’m a huge pasta lover.  I can boil it, eat it plain and be happy.  Eating pasta alone, while they are whole grains, still leaves you missing other pieces to the nutrition puzzle.  In each recipe we’ve got veggies (oh yum!), protein in the form of cheese and/or tofu and delicious whole grain goodness from the pasta.

And as always with pasta recipes, the leftovers just keep getting better.  The sauciness soaks into the noodles and flavors keep developing.  I highly recommend making big batches for easy lunches + quick dinners.  If there are just 2 of you 1 lasagna can feed you for an entire week.  That’s time and money well spent.

Ready to get to it?  I sure am!

This mac n cheese is lighter on the dairy thanks to the silken tofu adding creaminess.  But you get so much more from the tofu than creaminess.  Here we can load up on our calcium too from the tofu, cheese AND collard greens.  Collards are packed with nutrients and should be added to everyone’s meal rotation.  I hope this is just one more way you can enjoy those lovely greens.

Protein Packed Caramelized Onion and Collard Green Mac N Cheese
Serves  6

Adapted from peas and thank you


  • 13.25 ounce box of whole wheat pasta shells
  • 4 cups onion, sliced
  • 1 bunch collard greens, de-stemmed and chopped
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 block silken tofu
  • 1/4 cup non-dairy milk (unflavored/unsweetened)
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp stone ground mustard
  • 2 cups sharp cheddar cheese


  1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat add the oil and onions.  Stir a few times and once the onions begin to brown, add water 1 tbsp at a time.  You’ll continue adding water + caramelizing the onions for about 10 minutes.  You’ll use between 1/3-1/2 cup of water here.  Remove from pan.
  2. Next add the collards to the pan and allow to cool/brown for 5-7 minutes.  Add in the brown sugar once the collards begin to wilt.  When all the collards are wilted and slightly crunchy remove from pan.
  3. In the meantime, ina large pot of boiling, salted water cook the pasta and drain once done cooking according to package directions. Return to the pot and melt in the butter. Toss to coat.
  4. Blend together the tofu, milk, salt, pepper, and mustard. Stir into the pasta and add the cheese, onions and collards.
  5. Over low heat continue to stir for 3 minutes or until creamy.

I always go for seconds here.

I originally made a pumpkin lasagna earlier in the year when my friend and I were making freezer meals.  I was instantly a fan, and since now it’s now fall and pumpkin season, time to bring out the pumpkin lasagna!

Not your traditional lasagna one bit, but don’t let that scare you away.  Pumpkin pairs perfectly with cheesy goodness.  The mushrooms, onions and sage add a savory element to this pumpkin dish.  Quite the unique recipe you should really try!

Pumpkin Mushroom Lasagna
Serves 8

Adapted from PreventionRD


  • 1.25 pound sliced fresh mushrooms
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, divided
  • 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cup solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1.5 cups plain soy milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried sage leaves
  • Dash of pepper
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 10 ounces whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 12 ounces cottage cheese
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese


  1. In a large pot, boil water and cook noodles until they are just bendable (not fully cooked).  Drain and lay on a towel.
  2. While your pasta cooks, in a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms, onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt in the oil until tender; set aside. In a small bowl, combine the pumpkin, soymilk, sage, pepper, and remaining salt.
  3. In a blender or food processor add the cottage cheese and garlic.  Blend until smooth.  Set aside.
  4. Spread about 1/2 cup pumpkin sauce in an 9in x 9in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with three noodles (snip off approx. 2″ of each noodle so they fit in the dish). Spread ~3/4 – 1 cup pumpkin sauce to edges of noodles. Top with 1/3 of mushroom mixture, 1/2 cup cottage cheese and 1/3 cup mozzarella. Repeat layers. Top with remaining noodles and sauce ending with the addition of parmesan on top.
  5. Cover and bake at 375 degrees for 45-60 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and the lasagna bubbles along the sides. Let stand for 10-15 minutes before cutting.

Are you up for a third and final?

I thought so. Smile

The base for this recipe comes for my mama.  Well, Aunt Ruth… I think my dad’s Aunt Ruth.  She has a famous lasagna my mom has been making for-ever, and since I asked for the recipe, I finally made it… well my meat free variation of it.

So here it is.  Get ready to be excited!

All the traditional lasagna flavors without the meat (although you could totally add it in if you’d like!).  Using frozen spinach here is such a cinch.  The most challenging part is getting all that dang water squeezed out.  If you have a tofu xpress it works great here, but you can also place the spinach in a clean dishtowel and squeeze the water out over your silk.  Both ways work and leave you will yummy spinach for your even yummier lasagna.

Spinach and Zucchini Lasagna
Serves 8


  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, minced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 zucchini, diced into moons (sliced in half length ways, then small moon shaped pieces)
  • 4 cups frozen spinach (pre-defrost), thawed and the excess water pressed out
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 6 ounce can tomato paste
  • 16 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 10 ounces of whole wheat lasagna noodles
  • 16 ounces cottage cheese
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, grated


  1. In a medium pot over medium-low heat, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, sauce, garlic, basil and half the sea salt.  Simmer uncovered while you prep the remaining ingredients.
  2. Add the zucchini to a medium skillet (coated with olive oil spray) and cook over medium-high heat until the zucchini is browned and soft.  Set aside.   Add the onion next and cook until soft and translucent.  Set aside.
  3. In a large pot, boil water and cook noodles until they are just bendable (not fully cooked).  Drain and lay on a towel.
  4. Combine cottage cheese with eggs, pepper, the remaining sea salt, and Parmesan cheese.  I use
    a blender or food processor for this.
  5. Place a scoop of the tomato sauce in a 13×9 in baking dish, then place a
    layer of noodles. Spread cottage cheese mixture over the noodles, zucchini and onion, a sprinkle
    with grated Mozzarella cheese and a couple of scoops of tomato sauce.  Repeat layers 3 or 4 times.
  6. Bake at 375 for 30-35 min.  Let stand 10-15 min. before cutting into squares.

Three pasta recipes.  Hopefully 3 ways to be inspired in the kitchen.  Definitely 3 ways to eat good food.

What’s your preference – mac n cheese or lasagna?

I used to hate lasagna growing up, but a few years ago I ate my moms lasagna and thought, ‘wow this is good stuff!’.  Now I love it. Smile

Happy Tuesday!


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Lauren @ What Lauren Likes September 27, 2011 - 5:33 am

Yum! These all look soo good! Great recipes 🙂

Erica September 27, 2011 - 5:53 am

ah! All looks freaking amazing. I miss cheese 🙁

Get Healthy with Heather September 27, 2011 - 8:23 am

I would miss it too! Sorry to tease ya.

Ashley @ My Food 'N' Fitness Diaries September 27, 2011 - 7:30 am

That Mac ‘n Cheese sounds and looks amazing! I think I can smell it as we speak… 🙂 A perfect chilly weather comfort food!

Get Healthy with Heather September 27, 2011 - 8:24 am

Oh so very comforting!

Meg September 27, 2011 - 7:42 am

I cant decide between the pumpkin mushroom or the spinach zucchini lasagna! I’ve bookmarked this to make SOON!

Get Healthy with Heather September 27, 2011 - 8:24 am

I hope you love em Meg!

Hilliary@ HappilyEverHealthy September 27, 2011 - 8:05 am

All of these pasta dishes sound amazing! Thanks for posting the recipes!

Noelle (@singerinkitchen) September 27, 2011 - 9:02 am

YUMMY pasta recipes…I am looking at making a King Ranch Casserole so we’ll see how that goes.

Get Healthy with Heather September 27, 2011 - 9:58 am

What’s a king ranch casserole?

Allie {a teaspoon of LIFE} September 27, 2011 - 9:53 am

Oh oh ohhhhh! I think I would kill for the pumpkin mushroom lasagne! I want to try it today! I can’t believe my asshole grocery store doesn’t have any canned pumpkin. maybe I’ll buy a fresh one and make it myself.

Get Healthy with Heather September 27, 2011 - 2:15 pm

I like your dedication to pumpkin! Hope you love! What a lame grocery store.

lynn @ the actor's diet September 27, 2011 - 2:19 pm

those lasagnas look heavenly!

Katie September 27, 2011 - 6:38 pm

I typically like lasagna and I think I have to try that pumpkin one, because lately my pumpkin addiction has been through the roof. I cannot get enough of it. I usually only use it for breakfast, but have wanted to try dinner pumpkin recipes. Thanks for sharing! I’ll give it a shot next week. 🙂

Isabelle September 27, 2011 - 8:20 pm

I haven’t had lasagna in years, I never used to like it as a child too!
I think ill have to give another try especially since you’ve posted these delicious recipes 🙂

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