Hello!

Welcome to Praise Seitan! Food, Beer & Travel From the Heart of Seattle. It's a food, beverage and travel blog that combines recipes and globetrotting tales with personal stories about my journey of healing and self-discovery.

I hope you enjoy my fun, flavorful and healthy vegetarian recipes. Enjoy, and all hail our vegetable overlords!

To learn about my freelance writing and editing services, visit my business website.

Spiced 'Suitcase' Pasta With Labneh

Spiced 'Suitcase' Pasta With Labneh

I am not a person who enjoys living out of a suitcase. And yet I seem to have spent an awful lot of my life doing it. 

As a child of divorced parents, every other weekend was live-out-of-a-suitcase time. I developed a real aversion to packing, and learned to never bother settling in too much anywhere. To this day, I struggle to truly get comfortable and organized in a place I know I'm just going to have to leave again—such as an apartment in a bustling downtown neighborhood with rapidly rising rent.

However, I expected to be able to settle in longer than this. 

That difficult time in my life got even more difficult recently. Circumstances forced me, with a heavy heart, to pack some bags for a while... and when I did, the first place I went was the kitchen.

Before getting clothes, shoes or toiletries, I filled a suitcase with spices, grains, noodles and canned goods. That's because the kitchen has become not only a place of enjoyment and creative expression, it's also become a source of therapeutic comfort in challenging times. Cooking is a form of meditation to me, and some days, it's one of the only things that keeps me grounded. Nothing cures what ails you like measuring out teaspoons of brightly colored spices, sauteing something on the stovetop or taking an aromatic loaf out of a steaming oven. I wasn't about to leave without my supplies. 

Since then, I haven't had much emotional bandwidth to create, opting instead for others' greatest hits. Some of these include:

Spice-Roasted Vegetables With Chermoula  from the Sprouted Kitchen; I didn't have chickpeas, but it was still lovely, and I served it over buttered couscous

Spice-Roasted Vegetables With Chermoula from the Sprouted Kitchen; I didn't have chickpeas, but it was still lovely, and I served it over buttered couscous

Curry Stand Tikka Masala , made vegetarian by subbing paneer for the chicken in the recipe

Curry Stand Tikka Masala, made vegetarian by subbing paneer for the chicken in the recipe

A vegetarian variation on Epicurious'  Coriander-Roasted Chicken Thighs With Miso-Glazed Root Vegetables , using tofu pan-fried with coriander in place of the chicken

A vegetarian variation on Epicurious' Coriander-Roasted Chicken Thighs With Miso-Glazed Root Vegetables, using tofu pan-fried with coriander in place of the chicken

Remix of Heidi Swanson's  Roasted Delicata Squash Salad , with leeks and tofu added

Remix of Heidi Swanson's Roasted Delicata Squash Salad, with leeks and tofu added

However, last weekend I finally decided to roll up my sleeves and channel my pain into creativity. I went to Pike Place Market looking for things to ease my wounded soul: bright zucchini and squash, lustrous purple eggplant and flat-leaf parsley with big, happy green leaves. I had rescued some sweet potato pappardelle noodles, labneh and my case of good spices in my flight, so I decided to make a Middle Eastern-inspired spiced pasta tossed with a yogurty dressing.

I tried another variation a few days later with roasted zucchini and sweet potato, throwing a handful of kalamata olives in the pan for the last 5-7 minutes. It was equally good, if not better, so I decided to post both versions.

They were bold and weird and different—but so, so good. Hopefully that's a sign of things to come.

Spiced 'Suitcase' Pasta With Labneh

Variation 1: 
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and then cut into ½” half-moons
1 medium eggplant, cut into large dice
1 medium yellow squash, halved lengthwise and then cut into ½” half-moons

Variation 2:
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and then cut into ½” half-moons
1 large sweet potato, cut into large dice
¾ cup kalamata olives

2 tbsp olive oil
Sprinkle of sumac
1/2-3/4 lb. sweet potato pappardelle (or other wide, flat noodles of choice)
2-3 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 tbsp za’atar
2-6 tbsp labneh
Sprinkle of harissa sauce/paste (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400F. Chop your veggies of choice, toss with the olive oil and sumac, add a little salt and pepper and turn out onto a baking sheet. Bake for 25-25 minutes, until tender and starting to brown and crisp at the edges, stirring once or twice along the way. If following Variation 2, toss the olives onto the baking sheet for the last 5-7 minutes of cook time. 

Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions and drain. 

When your noodles and veggies are done, divide the noodles among the plates, top with the veggie (and olive, if using) mixture and sprinkle with za’atar. Top each plate with 2 tbsp labneh, sprinkle with harissa (if using) and add salt and pepper to taste (if necessary).

Serves 2 very heartily or 3 more normally. Enjoy!

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Re-Emergence (+ Roasted Vegetables)

Re-Emergence (+ Roasted Vegetables)

Three-Curry Noodles With Coconut Broth

Three-Curry Noodles With Coconut Broth