Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Slow Cooker Manicotti

I ended up with an overabundance of manicotti noodles, because I accidentally purchased several boxes when I only needed one. This slow cooker recipe did not require cooking the manicotti shells first, which I always consider to be a win (I hate when slow cooker recipes want you to cook something outside the slow cooker, I'm using the slow cooker because I want it to be easy and for everything to be done in one place).

Recipe from Mom on A Misson.


-2 cups ricotta cheese
-1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese
-1 ½ teaspoons Italian Seasoning
-¼ teaspoons salt
-¼ teaspoon pepper

-8oz. package manicotti
-½ cup mozzarella cheese
-¼ cup Parmesan cheese
-Jar of your favorite pasta sauce
-cooking spray

Spray your crock pot with cooking spray and add 1/2 cup of the pasta sauce to the bottom. Make sure to spread out the sauce so the bottom is covered.

Put all of the filling ingredients into a gallon size freezer bag. Smoosh together until combined. Cut one corner of the freezer bag and pipe the filling into the manicotti shells. Place the shells in the crock pot in a single layer, until you cannot place anymore shells in a single layer. Top with sauce (make sure they are covered, this is what cooks the pasta). Fill the remaining shells (I only had two or three left) and place on top of the first layer. Pour the remaining pasta sauce over the manicotti, making sure that all shells are now covered in sauce.

Cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours on high. Add the 1/2 cup of mozzarella and 1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese during the last half hour of the cook time.

This recipe is pretty simple and it tasted good. I served ours with a side of Cajun Spiced Broccoli, because I had some leftover from the Rainbow Vegetable Pizza from yesterday that I wanted to use. This is something that I would make again as a quick and easy recipe if I didn't want to put too much effort into making dinner, but didn't want to order take-out.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Rainbow Vegetable Pizza

This is the 1,000th post on Vegetarian & Cooking! I almost can't believe how quickly the blog approached 1,000 posts. To see other Milestone posts, check out the Milestones tab above.

When I was searching for a recipe for today's post, I thought about doing a dessert, but I've been doing a lot of desserts lately. This blog started out as a way to show off all of the cool vegetarian/vegan recipes that are available and I decided that it would be best to find a recipe that showcases a ton of vegetables. This pizza is jam packed with vegetables and presents beautifully.

Idea from Gimme Some Oven.

-1 roll of refrigerated pizza dough
-1/2 cup pizza sauce
-3/4 cup shredded part-skim Mozzarella cheese
-Broccoli florets
-1 green pepper
-1 yellow pepper
-1 orange pepper
-1 red pepper
-Diced tomatoes
-Red onion
-Purple potatoes, thinly sliced

This is a lot of veggies and you won't use them all on the pizza. You can save the pepper slices in the freezer if you don't have an immediate use for them (although they would be good in yesterday's Pepper and Squash Parmesan).

The red onion can also be frozen and saved for later if you don't have an immediate use. In order to get the purple potatoes, I purchased a multi-color bag of small potatoes, so I was able to use only what I needed for the recipe.

To assemble the pizza: Spray a pizza pan with cooking spray and press the pizza dough into the pan. Create an outside crust by rolling the edges. Spread 1/2 cup of pizza sauce onto the crust, I don't like my pizza too saucy, so this amount was perfect for me, you can always add more if you want to. Top the sauce with 3/4 cup mozzarella cheese.

I created the color layers by starting with broccoli florets on the outside, then diced green pepper, dived yellow pepper, diced orange pepper, diced tomato, diced red pepper, red onion and purple potato in the center.

Bake the pizza at 375 for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. 


We both loved this pizza. Each bite was a different flavor combination, depending on how many different vegetables you ate. All of the vegetables were tender and their individual flavors shined through since I started with fresh, uncooked vegetables. The presentation of this pizza is beautiful -- you could experiment with creating different patterns or simply mix up the vegetables like on a traditional pizza, but I thought order them in single layers produced the best presentation. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pepper & Squash Parmesan

I made this recipe in an effort to use some of the vegetables which were in our freezer. I had an excess of pepper slices frozen from a previous recipe and a bag of frozen spaghetti squash from the end of summer. Due to the freezer clean out, I didn't use a whole spaghetti squash for this recipe, so it turned out to be more of a side dish than a main dish.

Adapted from Simply Taralynn.

-2 cups spaghetti squash
-2 cups bell pepper slices (I used a mixture of red, orange, yellow and green)
-2 tablespoons capers
-3 tablespoons parmesan
-1/2 cup pasta sauce

In a hot skillet saute the spaghetti squash and bell peppers until the bell pepper slices are tender. Add in the capers and pasta sauce. Stir to coat. Serve topped with Parmesan cheese.

The capers added a nice salty bite to the recipe, the pepper slices added nice color since I used a variety of different bell peppers. Overall this had good flavor and I was happy to split it with Dave as a side dish.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Cinnamon Sugar Apple Muffins

As much as I love to be able to sit down and enjoy a bowl of cereal for breakfast -- some mornings I know that just not going to happen. Muffins are a great portable alternative and when they're homemade, I know exactly what went into making them. I usually make a dozen or more muffins and then freeze most of them to enjoy later, so that whenever we're low on cereal or have a busy week, the muffins can be thawed and enjoyed for breakfast.

Recipe slightly adapted from Pinch of Yum.

For the apple muffins:
-1½ cups finely chopped apples
-⅓ cup olive oil
-1 cup milk
-2 teaspoons white vinegar
-⅓ cup brown sugar
-1 large egg
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-2½ cups all purpose flour
-1 teaspoon baking soda
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-½ teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon allspice

For the crunchy topping:
-2 tablespoons butter
-3 tablespoons white sugar
-½ teaspoon cinnamon

Add the vinegar to the milk and let it sit for a few minutes to turn into "buttermilk."

In a large bowl, whisk the olive oil, "buttermilk", brown sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Add the flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and allspice. Stir until just combined. Fold in the apples.

Scoop the mixture into a greased muffin tin -- I used a regular sized muffin tin to make a dozen muffins.Once the muffin batter is in the muffin tin, create the topping -- melt the butter, add the sugar and cinnamon; spoon over the tops of the muffins.

Bake the muffins for 15 minutes at 350 degrees or until the tops spring back when pressed.  

I really liked this muffins. The cinnamon flavor is light, not over powering. The crunchy mixture on top was proportionally correct -- it didn't overwhelm the muffin, it just provided a little crunch to muffins. These were full of apple pieces and a nice light way to start the day. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Buttermilk Blueberry Breakfast Cake

A warm and delectable weekend breakfast cake, this balances tart and tangy with light and sweet. Perfect for a special breakfast, and it keeps for a few days for an ongoing treat.

Recipe from Alexandra's Kitchen.

-0.5 cup butter, softened
-1 lemon, for zest
-1 cup sugar
-1 egg
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-2 cups flour
-2 teaspoons baking powder
-1 teaspoon salt
-0.5 cup buttermilk
-2 cups blueberries

Whisk the softened butter, lemon zest, and most of the sugar, reserve a few tablespoons to sprinkle on top of the finished batter right before baking. Add the vanilla extract and the egg and whisk for another two minutes.

Coat the blueberries in 1/4 cup of flour to control the juice a little bit. Stir together the rest of the flour, the baking powder and salt.

Now combine the flour, the buttermilk, and the egg mixture until wet. Carefully add the blueberries.

Spray an 8x8 baking dish with cooking spray, then pour the batter evenly into the dish. Do you remember the small amount of sugar you reserved from earlier? Use it now, sprinkle it across the top of the batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

While the cake was baking, I prepared a simple blueberry and lemon syrup to serve on top, mainly because I wanted to do something with the lemon I had used for zest. Heat 1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup sugar on the stove and stir until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the peel, pith, skin and seeds from the lemon, add the pulp to the pot with a handful of blueberries. Bring the pot to a boil. Monitor it, stirring occasionally, until the syrup is thick.

We liked the lightness of this cake, the burst of flavor from the blueberries, and the beautiful marble color. This cake is recommended, to start your day off on a sweet note, and to share with family or friends.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Brief Food Tour of NYC

Dave and I just returned from a brief spring break trip to New York City. We spent about twelve hours in the city, so here's a little glimpse of the vegetarian options that we enjoyed in the city. There are so many amazing options in NYC and this is in no way representative of everything that there is to eat. We were staying outside the city with friends, so we only ate lunch and snacks in New York City. 

Our foodie stop was Shake Shack. This was recommended to us by multiple people, they have several locations throughout the city and a kiosk in Grand Central.

Dave and I split the 'Shroom Burger with fries. The 'Shroom Burger is crispy fried portobello mushroom topped with tomato, lettuce, Munster cheese and the signature Shack Sauce. We both really enjoyed this burger -- Dave and I have eaten veggie burgers at various places and this was the first time that someone had served a fried portobello as the burger. It was great, thanks Shake Shack!

We split the burger, because it was necessary that we each get our own milkshake. I had the peanut butter (pictured here), Dave had a caramel. There are basic flavors, as well as a flavor of the month. At the location we tried the milkshake flavor of the month was yellow sponge cake and I'm sure that it is heavenly, because the peanut butter and caramel shakes were perfection in a cup.

The second day we were in NYC, we spent a little time wandering around Grand Central station looking for a certain place which was recommended to us.

We stopped at Cafe Grumpy and enjoyed a Flat White, which is a mixture of microfoam and espresso. 

With the cookies we had picked up from the Jacques Torres Chocolate location also in Grand Central. These cookies are quite heavenly, the mixture of chocolates throughout the chewy cookies helps to add texture as well as additional flavor. We picked up a cookie for our hosts as well (they're pretty big, we probably should have split one) since they recommended Jacques Torres Chocolate to us. My friend Sara had sent me his chocolate chip cookie recipe a few years ago, which I attempted to recreate for you here at Vegetarian & Cooking!

Dave was insistent that we pick up some falafel from a street cart (since we couldn't have the experience of trying the quintessential NYC hot dog from a street vendor). We enjoyed a falafel gyro near the Staten Island Ferry -- it consisted of falafel wrapped in pita with lettuce, tomato and yogurt sauce. The falafel was flavorful and this made for a nice early lunch.

The last thing we tried was the iconic "slice" of pizza. We stopped at Little Italy Pizzeria on 43rd street. The restaurant claims to be world famous and the first of all of the Little Italy Pizzeria's in NYC (there are many). There are no seats. You order your slices at the counter and can either take them to go, or enjoy them standing up at the dining counter.

We each had a slice of cheese pizza, I really love pizza, I think that I could eat it every day. I was happy with the slice that I had. The New York style pizza has a very thin crust and this piece was nice and crispy on the bottom. The cheese was melted perfectly and the sauce had nice flavor. 

I think for this trip Shake Shack won out as the favorite place to eat for both of us. Getting a seat was a little crazy, because the location was so busy. I would recommend getting your food to go and sitting on a bench or finding a table in a park to eat at if you're going to visit Shake Shack. 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Kale, Roasted Celery Root, Deviled Eggs and Spiced Almond Salad

This recipe is not for the faint-hearted. The ingredients list is a bit of a doozy, however, you probably already have most of it on hand and it's pretty easy to multitask during most of the steps.

I saw this recipe on Food Network while binge watching Southern At Heart which features a winner of Food Network Star. Dave and I don't have cable, so we spend a lot of time watching free shows on the internet -- Food Network has a pretty good selection and they rotate their video options. Although I wasn't initially a fan of Damaris, the star of Southern At Heart, while she was on Food Network 
Star, this recipe really intrigued me.

Recipe slightly adapted from Damaris Phillips at Food Network

Garlic Confit
-2 whole heads garlic
-3 cups vegetable oil

Deviled Eggs
-6 eggs 
-1 tablespoon Miracle Whip
-1 tablespoon whole-grain mustard
-1 teaspoon garlic confit oil, for drizzling

Spiced Almonds
-1 egg white
-1 tablespoon brown sugar
-1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
-Salt and freshly ground black pepper
-1 cup blanched and slivered almonds

Roasted Celery Root
-1 large celery root, cut into large dice (about 2 1/2 cups)
-Cooking Spray
-Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Creamy Garlic Vinaigrette
-1/3 cup honey
-2 tablespoons garlic confit
-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
-2 egg yolks
-Salt and freshly ground black pepper
-1/2 cup sherry
-1/2 cup white vinegar
-2 cups garlic confit oil
-10 ounces kale

Garlic Confit: Cut the tops off of the garlic heads, leaving the root ends intact. Add to a small saucepan and cover with the vegetable oil. Cook over medium-low heat for about 45 minutes (do not simmer!). Remove the garlic heads from the oil and allow to cool. Remove the cloves and squeeze out the cloves from their skins and mash slightly; set aside. Reserve the oil.

Deviled Eggs: It is easier to make deviled eggs with older eggs, not farm fresh eggs. Put the eggs in a saucepan and cover with water. Put the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, cover with a lid, turn the heat off and let the eggs sit for 12 minutes. After 12 minutes rinse the eggs in cold water until completely cooled.

Peel the eggs and cut lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks and mash the yolks in a bowl with the Miracle Whip and mustard. Put the filling into a ziplock bag and squeeze the filling into one corner, snip the corner of the bag with a piece of scissors and pipe the filling into the eggs. Drizzle each egg with a little garlic oil. I like to sprinkle mine with a little paprika because that's how my mom has always made deviled eggs.

Spiced Almonds: Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

In a bowl, whisk the egg white until thick and frothy. Add the sugar, cayenne, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper and stir to combine. Add the almonds and coat with the egg white mixture.

Use a slotted spoon to transfer the nuts to a foil lined baking sheet. If you have a little trouble with this, it's okay, just make sure to spray the foil with cooking spray to prevent the almonds from sticking. Bake 15 to 20 minutes, make sure to stir them a few times while they are cooking, so that they bake evenly.

Celery Root: The only celery root which was available at our grocery store was massive. Produce was kind enough to cut one down for us, because we didn't need two or more pounds of celery root, plus it was a little expensive.

Raise the oven temperature to 400 degrees F.

Place the celery root on a foil liked baking sheet, spray with cooking spray and roast for 20 minutes. You can toss the celery root in oil if you like, but there was already a lot of oil in this recipe and I'm trying to be calorie conscious.

Creamy Garlic Vinaigrette: In a food processor, add the honey, garlic confit, mustard and egg yolks and pulse to combine. Next, add the sherry vinegar and pulse to combine. Finally, turn the food processor to low and slowly drizzle in the rest of the garlic confit. Taste and add salt and pepper to the desired level of seasoning.

Our garlic confit and deviled eggs were cooked earlier in the day (prior to making dinner). I used the oven and our toaster oven at the same time to speed up the process of the spiced almonds and roasted celery root. While I filled the deviled eggs, Dave prepared the vinaigrette. Although there are a lot of steps, it's manageable with good organization. 

For each salad, I added roasted celery root and spiced almonds with deviled eggs on the side. We both like varying amounts of dressing, I enjoyed my salad with one tablespoon of dressing drizzle over it, Dave had a little bit more of the vinaigrette on his.

Overall I was very happy with how this turned out. I really enjoy deviled eggs, so I was happy to have them as an accompaniment to a salad. The celery root has a light celery flavor and a much better texture than celery (I like the crunch, not the stringiness). The spiced almonds were incredibly addictive, I might make some more of those just to snack on later -- they added sweetness and a little zing to the salad. I liked the creamy garlic vinaigrette  as well, it was full of flavor, which was nice because I like to lightly dress my salads, not drown them in dressing. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Mushroom and Poblano Tacos with Goat Cheese

I love tacos and finding new vegetarian variations of the taco always makes me happy. I made these with taco sized flour tortillas, but you could use corn tortillas or even crunchy shells if you prefer.

Recipe from The Wicked Noodle.

-2 tablespoon olive oil
-16 oz. baby bella mushrooms, thickly sliced
-1 medium red onion, sliced
-2 large poblano peppers, sliced
-1 large garlic clove, minced
-5 oz. goat cheese
-flour tortillas

Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add one tablespoon of olive oil and then add mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms are lightly brown. Pour the mushrooms into a bowl and, reduce the heat to medium.

Using the same skillet, add the  remaining tablespoon of olive oil then add the poblano peppers and onions to pan. Saute until crisp-tender, adding garlic to pan 2 minutes before the peppers and onions are done cooking. Remove from the heat, add mushrooms back to pan and toss to mix.

Serve the mushroom mixture in a warm flour tortilla with goat cheese on top.

I liked this recipe a lot. The mushrooms, poblanos and red onions were full of flavor and paired well together. The goat cheese added a nice creamy element to the dish and helped to balance some of the assertive flavors of the red onions. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Baked Pizza CousCous

I've had this recipe pinned for a while. I have been following Taralynn's blog since I started blogging four years ago and occasionally pin some of her recipes. Dave and I prepared this one night after school in an attempt to curb a pizza craving.

Recipe from Simply Taralynn.

-1 box couscous
-1 2/3 cups of boiling water
-4 tablespoons of garlic olive oil
-2 medium zucchinis, cut into bite sized pieces
-1 1/2 cups Mozzarella Cheese
-1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
-3 cups pizza sauce
-1 tablespoon of butter

Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a medium pot. Lightly brown the couscous. Once the couscous is lightly browned, add the 1 2/3 cup of boiling water to the pan and simmer the couscous for twelve minutes.

In another skillet, heat the remaining olive oil and cook the zucchini pieces.

Once the couscous is finished cooking add the butter it and stir until melted. Add in the zucchini and pizza sauce. Stir to combine.

Pour into a 9x13 pan and top with mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Bake for 15 minutes at 350. 

I really liked this recipe. The couscous absorbed all of the wonderful flavors of the sauce and helped to convince me that I was eating "pizza." The zucchini added a nice fresh element to the dish and the cheese on top helped to curb my pizza craving. This is a recipe that we will be preparing regularly. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Garlicky Quinoa Bowls

One day a week Dave and I are both home during lunch, so we're always looking for quick, but healthy recipes to put together. This garlicky quinoa bowl was easy to make and was a filling lunch for both of us. We divided the large bowl pictured above into four smaller servings.

Adapted from Amuse Your Bouche.

-3/4 cup quinoa
-1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
-1 cup broccoli, separated into florets
-Small onion, diced
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-14 ounce can chickpeas, drained
-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
-Juice of half a lemon
-Black pepper

Add the quinoa and the vegetable stock to a pan, and place over a low heat. Simmer gently, stirring regularly, until all of the stock has been absorbed, the quinoa is soft.

Meanwhile, heat a skillet sprayed with cooking spray, and add the onion, broccoli and garlic. Cook over a very low heat for 5 minutes, stirring regularly, until the garlic is soft and the broccoli crisp tender. Add the chickpeas to the skillet, and cook for another 5 minutes.

When the quinoa and vegetables are both ready, combine them, along with the olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper. Mix to combine, and serve warm.


Cooking the quinoa in vegetable broth helps to give it more flavor. I used cooking spray for sauteing the veggies to cut down on the calorie count and used the olive oil for a dressing instead. The veggies added a nice freshness to the dish and the quinoa and chickpeas were filling.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Red Velvet Ice Cream with Brownie Chunks

Happy Birthday to me. Today is a collaborative post between Dave and me, he made this recipe (he's our resident ice cream maker), but I'm putting together the introduction. I've had a fabulous birthday week already due to all of Dave's planning. Rather than create some sort of a cake for my birthday post this year, I wanted to do something a little different. We love using our ice cream maker and thought that this red velvet ice cream would do the trick. It has all the trappings of traditional red velvet cake in delicious, creamy, frozen treat form.

Other Birthday Blogs:
Cake Batter Cupcakes
Birthday Cocktail

Recipe from Cake 'n' Knife.


-1.5 cups heavy cream
-1 cup buttermilk
-0.5 cup sugar
-1.5 tablespoons cocoa powder
-5 drops red food coloring
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-Pinch of salt
-5 egg yolks
-1 cup small chunks of brownie

In a saucepan on the stove top, mix the cream, buttermilk, 0.25 cup sugar, cocoa powder, food coloring, vanilla, and salt. Stir and heat the mixture at medium heat until it comes to a simmer and the sugar has dissolved. When this is accomplished, remove from heat.

Meanwhile, separate 5 eggs and reserve the yolks. Save the egg whites -- add another whole egg and scramble for a lighter breakfast that still keeps some of the additional flavor and texture of the one added yolk. Beat the yolks with the other 0.25 cup sugar.

Once the initial cream mixture step is complete, temper the egg yolks by stirring about 0.5 cup of the cream into it. This is intended to raise the temperature of the eggs without cooking them. Now pour the eggs into the saucepan with the cream mixture, reheat on medium and simmer for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring regularly.

Put the ice cream base in the freezer so that it can cool completely. After half an hour, pour the cooled mixture into a home ice cream maker, and let churn for 15 to 20 minutes. When it starts to get really thick, add the brownie chunks and let them fold in, or help with a small rubber spatula. For the brownie chunks, grocery store bakery brownies serve perfectly, cut into pieces.

Transfer the ice cream to a loaf pan and put it in the freezer. It's good now, but it will firm up even more after a few hours on ice.


This recipe makes about 6-8 servings of delicious red velvet style ice cream -- perfect for a birthday party!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Mock Tuna-Noodle Casserole

I think it's really interesting to try to recreate traditional dishes in a vegetarian way. I don't know if I've ever had tuna noodle casserole, it I have, it's been too long for me to remember. Dave was the chief taste tester on this recipe, in order to decide if he thought this tasted similar. The salty, chickpea cake takes the place of tuna in this make-over recipe.

Adapted from Vegetarian Times.

Mock Tuna
-½ cup flour
-1 tablespoon parmesan 
-¾ teaspoon sea salt
-¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-2 tablespoon olive oil
-2 teaspoon lemon juice
-½ cup chickpeas
-½ cup water
-2 tablespoon olive oil
-2 tablespoon butter
-2 cups coarsely chopped button mushrooms
-1 red onion, chopped
-2 cloves garlic, minced
-¼ cup all-purpose flour
-1¼ cups vegetable broth
-¾ cup low-fat milk
-4 oz. uncooked egg noodles, cooked according to package directions
-1 cup frozen peas
-½ cup grated Cheddar cheese, plus more for top of casserole, optional

To make the mock tuna, whisk together the flour, parmesan, salt, and pepper in medium bowl. Stir in oil and lemon juice, then stir in 1/2 cup water until smooth. Add chickpeas, and coarsely mash.

Coat large non-stick skillet with cooking spray, and heat over medium-high heat. Pour chickpea mixture into skillet, and spread to create a wide cake. Cover pan, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 5 to 7 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on it, I burnt one side! Flip chickpea cake, cover pan, and cook 5 to 7 minutes more, or until lightly browned on both sides. Set aside.

Heat oil and butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add mushrooms, onion, and garlic, and cook 5 to 7 minutes, or until mushrooms are softened. Stir in flour, and cook 30 seconds. Pour in vegetable broth and milk, and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until sauce thickens, stirring constantly. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Put the cooked egg noodles into a large bowl. Break the mock tuna into small pieces, and add to bowl. Stir in mushroom mixture, peas, and 1/2 cup cheese.

Transfer to 2-quart baking dish, and top with more cheese.

Bake at 400 for 20 minutes, or until hot, bubbly, and starting to brown on top.

As someone who can't recall what tuna noodle casserole tastes like, I really enjoyed this recipe. The chickpea cake helped to mimic the tuna and added a nice salty element. The mushroom pieces also helped to add a nice meaty texture to the dish. The sauce was well seasoned and tasted great. The cheese added nice flavor as well. Dave thought that this had the creamy texture of tuna noodle casserole and he thought the pieces of chickpea cake were reminiscent of cooked tuna.