As with most holidays that are widely celebrated, I tend to want to stick at home and this Valentines Day was no different. Despite my sweet husband making reservations (per my request) at a favorite restaurant that was serving up one delicious menu, I opted to stay at home instead and make dinner for the two of us. Perhaps it was due to the fact that we’d been gone for a week in Northern California exploring, which for me means eating my way through, and I was (burp!) I bit done with eating out. It was a time for a home-cooked meal.

After a quick trip to the store, I pulled together this no frills, no fuss, fast delicious and nutritious meal.

VdayDinner2It worked perfect for our low-key Valentines date/dinner but this is a meal to be enjoyed any day of the week. There’s so many variations one can make to this dish; change the sauce up, the veggies, different noodles…this is why I love pasta, NO rules!

Here’s the recipes:

Arugula Salad – Arugula (I used half of a bag of 365 brand pre-washed), sliced radishes (I love the combo of spicy radishes and peppery arugula), topped with a lemon agave dressing, which is just fresh lemon juice and pulp, olive oil, and agave to your tasting, and of course plenty of pepper (I love pepper!).

Brown Rice Pasta w/Roasted Red Pepper Sauce, Mushrooms, and Spinach 


1 large jar of roasted red peppers, drained

2-3 Tbls olive oil

2 shallots, finely chopped

4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

1.5 cups of unsweetened almond milk

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1.5 Tbps of cornstarch or arrowroot

Pinch of red pepper flakes

1 – 2 cups of sliced mushrooms (I used shiitake but any will work)

1 bunch of spinach

Pasta of choice

To Make: Cook pasta according to directions, drain, and set aside.

Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat, add the shallots and garlic and cook 4-5 minutes until golden brown and soft. Transfer to a blender and add the following: roasted red pepper, almond milk, red pepper flakes, nutritional yeast, and arrowroot. Season with salt and pepper. Blend until creamy and smooth. Once blended, place back in large (make sure your pan is large and deep, you will be adding all the ingredients to the pan eventually) saute’ pan and bring to a simmer, once it begins to simmer, turn to low and continue to simmer until it thickens.

While the sauce is simmering, in another pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil, saute’ the mushrooms until softened 3- 4 minutes.

Once the red sauce is thickened, add the noodles and the mushrooms to the pan, mix well. Add the spinach on top of the mixture and begin slowly stirring it in until wilted.

At this point your done and can begin dishing it up, topping it with some fresh herbs. Or…you can be like me and dump it all in a large casserole dish and place it in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes while you FINALLY take a shower for the day. I personally like it this way as it gets very warm, gooey in the middle, and the top noodles get a bit of a crunch.

Along with the salad, I’d bought some Cibatta bread which I sliced and served with a Basil infused olive oil we had bought at Ledson winery in Sonoma, along with one of many bottles of wine.


We may or may not have shared a row of decadent vegan chocolates but there appears to be a row missing, burp!

Hope your V-Day, in-or-out, was equally delicious.

Hearts for every day of the year – Kat




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