Vegan Enchilada Bake, Baked Ziti, And Pesto Linguine On The Cheap
I’ve been really leaning on Vegan on the Cheap lately to fill in some of my weeknight meals with more affordable dishes. I was slow to get started, but now that I’ve cracked this cookbook I just can’t stay out of it! As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a hardcore enchilada fan, and I wasn’t sure how I was going to like taking shortcuts and turning enchiladas into the Deconstructed Enchilada Bake (page 158). Enchiladas without my sauce? And not drowning in melted Daiya?! “We’ll see…” Okay, okay. We loved it! And possibly the best part was that the tortilla “crust” kept anything from baking onto my 13 x 9 pan. Doing the dishes was a cinch, and after a casserole bake, that’s never the case.
I was enticed by the simplicity of Vegan on the Cheap‘s Baked Ziti (page 160). In fact, I even took the author’s suggestion to make the dish ahead and simply pop it in the oven and relax come dinner time. Except rather than relax I got some housework done, but it was still nice to have one less thing to worry about! I chose to go with the author’s “splurge” suggestion and bake a layer of vegan mozzarella on top; our baked ziti just needed cheese! The dish was simple, quick to prepare, and made enough for plenty of leftovers (hello, lunch!).
Another recipe from Vegan on the Cheap that got me with it’s simplicity was Linguine With Pesto (page 106). Homemade pesto is so simple to make and you don’t even have to have fresh basil, because spinach leaves can make a mean pesto as well. This recipe offers a few options, but mine was just basil, garlic, almonds, lemon juice, salt and pepper whirled around in the blender and then stirred into olive oil. So fresh, so easy, and so much cheaper than store-bought pesto sauces! After tossing my cooked linguine in the pesto sauce, I finished the dish by sprinkling with toasted pine nuts. Yum!
How tight do you keep your grocery budget? Are you a “buy what’s on the list and nothing more” kind of person or do you often splurge?