Thursday, August 04, 2011

"Real-Life" Pasta with Veggies

We've all been there.  At a restaurant with no vegan options, eyes scanning the menu.  Realizing that there is *nothing* that is specifically vegan or even vegetarian on the menu.  We end up asking for a pasta with some sort of tomato-based sauce with veggies - the stereotypical meal for a vegan (other than salad). Fine then, just please make the sauce and veggies tasty - and not overcooked and bland-mushy-to-a-pulp.

As much as this is all too familiar for vegans that have dined at standard omnivorous restaurants, truth is at home, sometimes this is a go-to meal.  I think in the blogging world, we like to show the impressive dishes, the highly crafted and creative entrees and desserts.  Of course we should!  Why not show off the impressive highlights of eating vegan?

However, there is also real-life.  Real days of mothering, making breakfast, taking kids to swim lessons, back home to squeeze in a nap (for babe! wish it was me!) and make lunch, refereeing squabbles, cleaning up, doing dishes and vacuuming, and changing diapers and laundry and more dishes, and out to the park or library in the afternoon, getting groceries, and back home to practice piano, empty the dishwasher, clean up some more, make supper and clean up again (argh, the cleaning).  Not really the most practical landscape for "inventive cuisine".

In honor of everyday folks living regular days, here I show you that even cookbook authors don't always eat the most glamorous food.  We take a page from the restaurant offerings and make our pasta with tomato sauce and veggies.  Just fresher - and better.


(How to make this no-fuss meal?  Start with a large onion - I like red onions.  Cut in wedges and get sauteeing in just a smidgen of oil on high heat.  Season with s&p.  Get some caramelization and searing going on that onion (gives so much flavor), then add the other veg.  (Note:  If you want to add garlic, don't add it on the high heat with the onion, or it will burn.  Add with the sauce and let simmer and soften.)  Start with veg you need to cook a little longer, like carrot, and also those that you'd like to get seared for flavor, like zukes and bell peppers.  Toss them through with the onions, and then turn down the heat and add your pasta sauce and other veggies (ones that you want to cook just briefly so they stay vibrant green and don't get overcooked and mushy, like broccoli, asparagus, snow peas).  Add some fresh herbs if you like, such as oregano or thyme, and let simmer - just briefly - on a low/medium heat, until the veggies are fork tender but still with a vibrant color and some 'bite'.  Serve over pasta of choice.  Done, supper ready!)

p.s.  The VegNews award nominations are out.  I'm not in any of the categories again this year.  I won't pretend I'm not disappointed, as I do have three cookbooks published (and a fourth on the way), as well as an active blog.  I don't have any explanations why I've been excluded.  But, I do know that there are some good people nominated in the cookbook author and other categories.  So, vote for some of the good peeps out there.  I will be.

14 comments:

Luciana said...

I don't think I've ever commented on your blog! I just wanted you to know that your cookbooks were some of the first I bought when I went vegan. They continue to be my favorite, most used, and most splattered with food. The ingredients are easy to find, and I don't think I've made a single thing I didn't absolutely love.

While it stinks that you continue to be overlooked, I can say that you are most definitely appreciated, at least to this vegan and her family!

tweal said...

I make a version of this all the time! I have been using kamut pasta which has a great texture, and sometimes I use grated tempeh in the sauce too. And I always keep wine on hand just to add to my sauce and truffle oil is nice too.

I already voted for you in the 'other' category for cookbook author on vegnews! Bummer that you weren't listed, you totally deserve to be. You know I love all your recipes and so does my non-veg family, so that is saying a lot!

Junia said...

dreena, i was looking for your name too! i was sad that it wasn't there :( you are my favorite vegan cookbook!

Amy Bilhorn Thomas said...

I admit I had this image of you putting fabulous gourmet meals on the table every evening. Which is so silly with the busy life you lead and the three active girls you have! Thank you for sharing a 'real life' recipe with us. Real life is demanding a lot of attention from me right now, so the timing is perfect.

BTW, I wrote you in on my VegNews ballot, too. Ridiculous that you haven't been included. Your books remain my everyday, go-to standards and I recommend or give them to everyone, vegan or not.

veganspoonful.com said...

I was so surprised not to see your name out there either! Such a bummer, would have voted for you if you were. Your cookbooks are definitely my go-to cookbooks, particularly when I feel that I've been overindulging and want to get back to healthier, lighter fare.

I can so relate to the pasta with veggies meal. I do this one a lot, too. If I have some Field Roast or Tofurky sausages in the house, I like to add some slices of those for an extra stick-to-your-ribs effect.

Anna-Lynn said...

YOU are my absolute favorite cookbook author (and I cook for all eaters). Everyone loves your food (regardless of their food lifestyle) and as said previously, there hasn't been a single recipe that I haven't LOVED and information you provide I haven't learned from!! Thank you! You make it easy to be Vegan.

Nikki said...

I love this post. This is a go-to meal for me all the time! And I do have to say, I was surprised to see that you're not up for any awards. I read your blog religiously and I'm always making your recipes. My fingers are crossed for you for next year, and in the meantime, I'll be here every day, reading and cooking everything you publish!

Darin said...

First of all, thank you so much for this post. While I also like the more "glamorous" posts, I really love this one. We all need help with getting dinner on the table quickly on a day to day basis; this is a great example of how to do that.

As for the VegNews Awards, I don't understand why you weren't nominated either; however, I will tell you this. Your cookbooks are on the top of my list when people ask me about cookbooks for those transitioning to veganism, or for those who want just want a great vegan cookbook. I am well on my way to 100 vegan cookbooks, but yours is one of the few that I go to over and over again! :)

Mardou said...

I agree with the other commenters here, Your recipes are delicious and made from healthy affordable ingredients. When I'm making my meal plans for the week I always make something from Vive and EDBV and make an effort to try something I've not yet made from them when the ingredients are in season. This week I made your chickpea ratatouille for the first time and it was incredible!
Your the best Dreena!

Dreena said...

Popping in to thank you for your words of support. Please know that it is meaningful to me that you have high regard for my recipes and books. If I keep bringing recipes that are used and loved and strike a happy balance between nutritious and delicious, well then my job here is done! xx's

Anne Calista said...

I just bought ED & BV and I have to say, it's everything I hoped it would be, a fabulous, easy to follow vegan cookbook. You are truly talented and inspiring!
I did want to mention, however, that I'm disappointed at the inclusion of some "fat talk"-related language in the book. "good-but-bad", "sin-namon"- anything that is associating food with guilt is not healthy, and I wish you wouldn't promote that through your beautiful cookbook. Any woman who is recovering from an eating disorder (in any capacity) needs to know that food is a vehicle for health and energy to their body, not a source of guilt or shame.

Sarah said...

I've just discovered your blog today! Sorry you've not been nominated - I shall spread the word about what great info you have here. Perhaps if we all do it, you never know for next year...!

Becca said...

I own and love all of your cookbooks! Plus, I pre-ordered the fourth. Had you been listed, I would have voted for you. I think many would say the same, so keep your chin up

Dreena said...

Becca, thank you so much, and now I must ask, where did you preorder it? I didn't know you could yet! I'll be posting about the title and more in the next week or so! :D Thanks for your support.