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Even though most of us embrace a meaty chili or a rack of ribs, there is a significant number of vegetarians — and vegans — in the region. Like most of us, they enjoy something different every now and then.

You don’t have to be vegetarian to enjoy the occasional meatless dinner or vegan side dish.

Here are a few recipes sure to appeal to all.

EASY TOMATO BASIL CREAM PASTA

2 servings uncooked spaghetti

1 large ripe tomato or two smaller tomatoes

1⁄2 cup raw cashews

1⁄4 cup water

1 tbsp tomato paste

1 tbsp olive oil

2- 4 garlic cloves, minced (I used 3)

1 tsp salt, or to taste

3-4 tbsp water or wine, (optional)

1-2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 cup packed fresh basil, finely chopped

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Chop tomato and add it to the blender (including skin and seeds). Now add the cashews, water, and tomato paste. Blend until smooth.

Add your pasta to boiling water and cook pasta according to package directions.

Meanwhile, add olive oil to a large skillet and heat to low. Add the minced garlic and sauté for a few minutes being careful not to burn it.

Pour the sauce from the blender into the skillet, stir, and bring to a simmer. Add the salt and let it cook for 4-5 minutes, watching closely. You may add water or wine to thin out the sauce to you desired consistency, but this is not necessary.

Remove sauce from heat and stir in the chopped basil and pepper. Once the pasta is done cooking, rinse and drain it. Add the drained pasta back in the pot and now gradually add pasta sauce until your desired amount is achieved. Stir and serve immediately.

Makes 2 servings, likely with sauce leftover.

EASY CHINESE NOODLE SOUP from errenskitchen.com

4 cups chicken stock

3 green onions, finely sliced into rounds

1 tablespoon oyster sauce

1 tablespoon low sodium light soy sauce

1 tablespoon low sodium dark soy sauce

4 oz dried Chinese noodles of your choice

4 leaves bok choy, sliced

In a large saucepan, heat the chicken stock and bring to a boil.

Add the green onions, bok choy or Chinese greens, soy sauces, oyster sauce & the noodles.

Reduce the heat and cook according to noodle package instructions (just until tender). Serve hot.

TASTY PINEAPPLE FRIED RICE from tastybite.com

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 tsp. garlic, chopped

1⁄2 cup carrots, diced

1⁄2 cup peas

1 cup fresh pineapple, diced

2 pouches Tasty Bite Jasmine Rice

1⁄4 cup soy sauce

4 Tbsp. sesame oil

1⁄4 green onion, chopped

Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic and saute for 4 minutes.

Add in carrots, peas and pineapple. Cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly. Add Tasty Bite Jasmine Rice, soy sauce and sesame oil. Cook for 3 minutes stirring constantly. Top with green onion. Enjoy!

TASTY THREE-LAYER DIP from tastybite.com

2 pouches Tasty Bite® Madras Lentils ™

1 1⁄2 cup sour cream

1 1⁄2 cup guacamole

1 large bag of tortilla chips

Layer ingredients in 8×8 inch in the following order: Tasty Bite® Madras Lentils ™ Sour Cream Guacamole Refrigerate for one to two hours to set in mold if desired.

LEMON TOFU CHEESECAKE from vegetariantimes.com

2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1⁄4 cup maple syrup

1⁄4 tsp. almond extract

1 lb. Japanese-style firm silken tofu

1⁄3 cup sugar

1 Tbs. tahini or almond butter

1⁄2 tsp. salt

1 to 2 tsp. grated lemon zest

1⁄2 tsp. almond extract

1 Tbs. cornstarch dissolved in 2 Tbs. soy milk or rice milk.

Crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium bowl, mix cracker crumbs, syrup and extract until crumbs are moistened. Pour into oiled 9-inch pie plate; press mixture firmly to form crust. Bake 5 minutes; let cool while preparing the filling.

In food processor or blender, combine remaining ingredients and process until smooth, about 30 seconds. Pour mixture into crust. Bake until top is slightly browned, about 30 minutes. Cool and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled and firm, about 2 hours.

GLAZED CHOCOLATE AVOCADO CUPCAKES

1 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour

3⁄4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 tsp. baking powder

3⁄4 tsp. baking soda

3⁄4 tsp. salt

1 avocado, pitted and peeled

1 cup pure maple syrup

3⁄4 cup plain soymilk

1⁄3 cup canola oil

2 tsp. vanilla extract

Glaze 1⁄4 block soft silken tofu (from 14-oz. container), drained and patted dry 3 Tbs. pure maple syrup 1⁄2 tsp. vanilla extract 1⁄8 tsp. salt 4 oz. semisweet vegan chocolate, melted To make Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12-cup muffin pan with paper liners.

Whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl.

Purée avocado in food processor until smooth. Add maple syrup, soymilk, oil, and vanilla, and blend until creamy. Whisk avocado mixture into flour mixture.

Spoon batter into prepared cupcake cups. Bake 25 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with some crumbs attached. Cool.

To make glaze: Blend tofu, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt in food processor until smooth. Add chocolate to tofu mixture and blend until smooth.

Transfer to bowl. Dip tops of cupcakes into glaze, pulling straight up from glaze to form peaks.

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