My name is Ashley McLaughlin and this is my blog, Edible Perspective. To learn more about my journey head on over to my about + FAQ pages. I'm thrilled that you stopped by. Enjoy!


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Baked Doughnuts For Everyone: From Sweet to Savory to Everything in Between, 101 Delicious Recipes, All Gluten-Free


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dinner, not cookies

Yesterday on facebook, I asked if you guys were more in the mood for dinner or cookie recipes.  I then asked if that was a dumb question to ask, figuring the answer would clearly be cookies.

Apparently it was not a dumb question, because dinners won!  Although, that was only out of 11 votes.

This is definitely the time of year when healthy dinners go flying out the window, and quick + easy take out sounds so much easier.  And then there are the cookies.  Cookies, cookies, everywhere!  Personally, I have not gotten my fill of cookies yet, so you will definitely be seeing a few gluten free cookie recipes soon!  I’ve really been cookie deprived for the past year, because I’ve been scared to attempt GF cookies.  I figure December is the best month to conquer my fear.

But back to the point of this post.

Dinner.  I ran out to grab a few last minute things at the store, once Chris got home [only have 1 car] and whipped this up in only about 20-25 minutes.

First, I got a huge pot of water boiling and 2 boxes of GF noodles out + ready.  Each box only has 4 servings, as opposed to the typical 8, for non-GF noodles.

photo 1

Around 5pm, I quickly [seriously this took 5 minutes] added ingredients into the slow cooker, for my homemade red sauce.  I’ve never tried it in the slow cooker, but knew it could be done.  And let me tell you, I will never be making it on the stove again.  I set it on high and let it cook for 3hrs.  You can also set it to low and let it go all day while you’re at work.

I doubled the recipe, obviously.

When it takes no extra effort to double something, I double it.  Especially when it’s freezable!

photo 2

While the water was coming to a boil, I got started on the creamy pasta sauce.

First, add the garlic + whirl it around.

photo 3

Next, add the tofu, spices, oil, milk + cheese.

Whirl that around until creamy + smooth.  Taste test x100.

photo 4

Add the noodles to the pot!

If using GF noodles, do not overcook!!!

If using GF noodles, do not overcook!!!

Yes, I repeated myself.

And always rinse with cold water to stop the cooking and prevent a gummy mess.

photo 1 (2)

While the noodles were cooking, I got started on our veggie side dish.

Green beans, for a change of pace.

Lemonized + garlicized.

photo 5

After rinsing the noodles, they went back in the pot, along with 6 handfuls of baby spinach + the creamy sauce.

photo 2 (2)

This cooked for about 5 minutes over medium heat, until everything was nice + hot.

photo 3 (2)

Now, I’m kind of stumped on what to call this.

It’s kind of like a ricotta stuffed shells, manicotti, and lasagna filling, but a bit creamier.  I realize you may think tofu as a sauce sounds weird, but let me tell you, it’s delicious.  I fed this layered in lasagna, to my Ohio family, and they loved it.

If you’re new to tofu, this is the first recipe you should start with!  Plus, an added bonus, you don’t have to press the tofu!  Another bonus, you don’t have to fill shells or manicotti noodles or spread it on partially cooked lasagna noodles.  Believe me, it’s quite the mess.  A third bonus!, there is no need to bake this meal in the oven!

Winner, winner, creamy pasta dinner.

Can we just call it, creamy pasta?

photo 5 (2)

Marinara Topped, Creamy Pasta?

photo 2 (3)

Yes, I think that’s what I’ll call it!

Marinara Topped, Creamy Pasta serves 6 [adapted from Dairy-Free Spinach Stuffed Shells]

  • 16oz pasta of choice

  • marinara sauce

  • 16oz block, extra firm tofu

  • 6-8c fresh baby spinach

  • 2T sunflower oil

  • 3T milk

  • 1/4c parmesan cheese

  • 1 large garlic clove

  • 2t oregano

  • 1t basil

  • 1t parsley

  • 1/2t salt

  • black pepper

  • 1/4t red pepper flakes [opt]

  1. Boil noodles according to package directions + rinse with cold water when done cooking.

  2. While water is boiling, add the peeled garlic clove to your food processor and process for a few seconds.

  3. Empty the water from the tofu carton and squeeze excess moisture out with a kitchen towel or paper towels.

  4. Add the tofu, milk, oil, cheese, all spices to the food processor and process until smooth. 

  5. Taste + add seasoning if desired.

  6. Add pasta, spinach and tofu sauce back to the pot over medium heat, stirring frequently until heated through + spinach has wilted. ~5-7min

  7. Top with marinara + extra cheese.

tips/substitutions:  The pasta I showed in the first photo is decent for GF pasta.  It wasn’t gummy in this dish at all, but the flavor is slightly earthy.  However, that is masked by the flavor of the dish.  It was on sale + has decent nutrient stats.  If you want to veganize this, add 2T nutritional yeast, instead of parmesan cheese or just leave it out altogether.

slow cooking the sauce:  I added all of the ingredients to the slow cooker and placed on high for 3 hrs.  I uncovered the slow cooker for the last 45min to let some of the moisture cook off.  You can also add all ingredients and place on low for 8hrs.  If it’s too thin, add 1T more tomato paste, until desired consistency is met.  You can use any spices you like.  For this batch, I used garlic, oregano, basil + thyme.  It freezes well, once cooled, in jars or freezer bags and is far superior to store bought sauce.

photo 3 (3)

How about those green beans?

Lemon Garlic Green Beans

  • 2 large servings of green beans

  • 1 lemon

  • 1 garlic clove, minced

  • 1/2T sunflower oil

  • salt + pepper

  1. Heat a pan to med/med-high and add the oil.

  2. Once hot add the beans + juice from 1 lemon, stirring occasionally until crispy + brown.  ~7-9min

  3. In the last minute of cooking, stir in the garlic + serve immediately or the garlic will burn in the pan.

  4. Top with salt + pepper.

Couldn’t get easier than that!  Loved these and this whole dinner.

Definitely going to become a staple around here, and i already froze 2 portions for leftovers.

photo 4 (2)

And the iPhone photos?  Well, I got rid of my light box, since it’s so large + our house is so small.  Phone photos actually turn out better than my camera photos, when using kitchen light.  Crazy but true.

Aaand, I was going to post another Photography 101 post today, but tonight’s dinner trumped a photo lesson.

Hope you don’t mind.

Back to the cookies tomorrow.  Mandel bread perfecting continues!


Reader Comments (44)

I really like the photos -- it must be a lot easier taking them with the phone, especially at dinner time, than setting up the light box and trying to get things to look like the sun is shining, perfectly through the windows! There's nothing like home made sauce on top of pasta for dinner...yum!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlauren@spicedplate

I love this! It's like the best of both worlds!

Nice change from all the cookie recipes! This looks wonderful, I'm having pasta myself for dinner tonight!

i have a brick of silken tofu in my fridge just waiting for this kind of inspiration...i know what's for dinner!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeather (Heather's Dish)

I will definitely have to try putting my red sauce in the slow cooker next time! Also, try the quinoa brand of gfree pasta. I find it cooks up a bit firmer and has a more toothsome texture than the brown rice stuff - much harder to overcook!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGabby @ Gabby's Gluten Free

I only eat dinner so that I can get to eating cookies and not feel too bad about it...haha :)

Glad you posted the can only handle so many cookie recipes...this looks delicious!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAnna

Yum! How creative and delish :)

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLauren @ What Lauren Likes

Or you can just call it Christmas pasta since it's all beautifully red and green :)

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCait's Plate

Mmmm. I have been loving marinara sauce!!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLizAshlee

Love any healthy version of a creamy pasta!

Man, you are quite the cook AB.

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeff

i definitely had a dinner of chocolate last night. So this is a much needed sugar-high break.

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay @ Lindsay's List

i will definitely try this dinner - i'm excited about that sauce! :)

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersarah (sarah learns)

This looks truly amazing! I do need to try cooking with tofu more often...I love it in Pad Thai. I also need to try nutritional yeast. So many good intentions and then life gets in the way...need to write a list of new things to try for the New Year! Your blog is definitely going to be the one I come to. Found the Buckwheat Grouts free of allergens by Eden Organic out in Vancouver at Whole Foods. I will have to drive into the big city of Toronto to get some more. my health food stores where I am carry Eden Organics but not the Buckwheat. Go figure? They call them Buckwheat hulled whole grain...same as grouts? Excited to try your buckwheat cakes when I get some free time. Happy cookie baking...that is what I am currently up to my ears in! lol

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm! deeeeelicious!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelsey

I know it's only like, oh, 8 o'clock in the morning, but can I still make this anyway? Yes? Okay, I'm off!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKelly @ Foodie Fiasco

That looks delish! Can't wait to try it on my carnivorous family ;)

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterVivian

I am surprised about the de Boles pasta - I recently made a big complaint to them about their GF Spaghetti style pasta as it immediately crumbled to pieces when I put it in the hot water. I haven't tried the penne style though, so maybe there is hope! I did just recently discover bionaturae brand. While I still love Tinkayada, I LOVE this one. Just had to share :) Thanks for another tasty looking recipe!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSara

Let me know what they think!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Have you tried to purchase it online?? You may find it cheaper! Just an idea. I would think that the hulled whole grain, would just be the full buckwheat groat, which should work! If it says toasted or kasha, that is not what you want! :) I hope you enjoy this dish...definitely a good one for the kiddos!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Thanks Daaaaaaad!!! I'll have to get mom to make this for meatless Monday!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Very true!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Hahaha, I suppose you are right. ;)

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Yesss, you must!! It was TOO easy! Also, I do like the quinoa pasta a lot, but it's typically more expensive. The deBoles has been on sale + has had coupons at WF, making it dirt cheap. :)

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

The silken should work, but you may not need the milk since it's a lot creamier. Let me know what you think!! :)

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Haha, yes! Much easier. I used it a lot last year, though!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

wow yum!!!!!!! need to go get some tofu!!!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

The best gluten free cookie recipe that I have come across:

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

I just found that recipe today and it looks excellent!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

This sounds delicious!! I'm a big fan of tofu being used for a sauce. You get delcious creaminess + the protein for your meal on one.

This meal looks delicious! Great idea to put the tofu in the sauce to really help boost the protein content of the meal. We already had leftovers planned for tonight or I certainly would have made it. I did, however, make the lemony, garlic green beans only I used asparagus. Delish!!!! I loved how lemony and fresh they tasted. Thanks!!

December 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLeslie Paquette

I am brand new to this whole gluten free thing so this recipe is so inspirational! I can't wait to give it a try. It made me realize I'm not destined to eat PB sandwiches on gluten free bread forever!!!

Love the quick comfort food. I bet veganizing by subbing nooch for Parmesan would be great!

December 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaitlyn@TheTieDyeFIles

[...] got the idea for dinner from this post on The Edible Perspective. However, since I don’t eat tofu(more on that here), I used part-skim ricotta to add a bit of [...]

December 17, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterWhen Home Doesn’t Exactl

This time of year, sweet baked goods are everywhere. Absolutely everywhere. And they look amazing, sound amazing, make us drool like crazy...but when it comes right down to it, we don't make cookies or cakes or desserts every single day usually. Dinner, though? Yeah, that kind has to happen waaaay more often and it seems like everybody is just posting soups. A good, hearty, but still rather easy/fast pasta dish like this really hits the spot.

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJessi @ Quirky Cookery

I've been trying to think of more easy, comforting dinners like this, but haven't come up with too many. I'll keep thinking! :)

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Yup! That would be perfect!

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

No, you're definitely not!! Good luck to you!

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

So glad you enjoyed the green beans!

December 18, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

OMG this slow cooker tomato sauce sounds AWESOME. I recently started to use my slow cooker a lot more, so this is absolutely perfect for me. Thanks for the GREAT idea!

December 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIrina G (Fit Flexitarian)

You're welcome!! Hope you like it!

December 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

[...] lid off.  Will also thicken as it sits.Serve on toasted buns.Recommended side dishes:beer frieslemon garlic green beansAlso recommend this Marinara Topped Creamy Pasta, for a quick, healthy + festive Christmas [...]

December 22, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterlentil sloppy joes « the

[...] inspired by Daily Garnish and The Edible Perspective [...]

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