Everyday Mom's Meals: For My Vegetarian Friends

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

For My Vegetarian Friends

A couple weeks back on my Facebook page, I had a fan thank me for posting my Bean and Cheese Burrito recipe because she is a vegetarian, and she has trouble finding recipes that fit her diet, or that can be easily accommodated to. 

Now I will fully admit, we are some meat lovin' people in this house, and while we love our fruits and veggies too, we could never give up our cow, pig and chicken forever. But I respect those out there who choose to, and after hearing how happy she was to find a recipe on my page that fit her lifestyle, I decided to make a conscience effort to develop a new one just for those out there like her. 

Even though this has absolutely no meat in it, I'm telling you what, we didn't miss it at all? It's packed full of flavor and texture and so delicious, I think meat might just ruin it! I love the flavor combo of spinach and mushroom, and they shine in this dish. Add in cheese and pasta, and seriously, what could be better? 

This makes a great weeknight meal when you're busy but still want something hearty and yummy on the table. It's also elegant enough to entertain with. Especially, if you've got vegetarian guests, and don't want to cook two separate meals.

I'm going to try really hard to come up with more recipes for my veggie loving friends. It probably won't be the easiest thing I've ever done, with T-bones calling my name from the freezer, but I will try. I promise.

Baked Penne with Mushrooms and Spinach
1 lb. penne pasta, cooked according to package directions
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
1/2. cooking water from pasta
8 oz. white button mushrooms, sliced
1 medium white onion, thinly sliced
1 (10 oz.) box frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 TBS butter
1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 c. shredded Parmesan cheese, divided
2 tsp. dried parsley, extra for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 8x11 baking dish with nonstick spray. While pasta cooks, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Saute' stirring often until onions are translucent and tender. Add mushrooms. Cook another 5 minutes until mushrooms are browned. Add spinach and reduce heat to low. When pasta is cooked, reserve 1/2 c. of it's cooking water. Add to mushroom mixture. Stir well. Drain pasta well. Return to hot pot. Add cream and 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well to coat. Add mushroom mixture to pasta and combine. Pour into baking pan. Top with mozzarella and remaining Parmesan. Sprinkle with parsley. Cover with foil. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake 5 additional minutes. Garnish with extra parsley and Parmesan if desired. 

Shared on The Country Cook June 20, 2014

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