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.