Let me just start off by saying I am not a Vegan and I also don’t have an aversion to anything containing gluten.
However- I have recently been on a health kick and want to avoid these types of foods for a few weeks. I don’t want to survive on veggies and fruits alone, so I came up with this recipe as a way to imitate a rich, hearty meal with out all of the meat, cheese and bread.
Two things about this recipe:
1. It was affordable and really easy to make. I didn’t follow a recipe, I just kind of made it up as I went along and it turned out wonderfully!
2. My husband grew up on a cattle ranch and definitely enjoys meat, cheese and the like. He loved this meal and took the leftovers to work this morning, so I consider that a huge victory!
On with the food!
I purchased all of these ingredients at Whole Foods and it ran me about $25.00. Like I said, it fed two people and provided leftovers for the next day.
Brown Rice Pasta (half of the bag)
4 oz. Almond Cheese
14 oz. Extra Firm Tofu
4 oz. Spicy Vegan Pesto
Chopped red onion
1 bunch of Kale
Boil a large pot of water and add pasta with a few tablespoons of salt. Boil for about 15 minutes.
While the pasta is boiling, cut the tofu into cubes.
A note about tofu- I think it looks really weird and spongey and basically, I would never think to eat it. However, the good thing about tofu is it really takes on the flavor of whatever you cook it with/in. It ends up tasting very similar to meat, but with less fat, calories and cholesterol.
Heat a large pan with 3 tablespoons of olive oil and add Tofu cubes.
I used lemon pepper, garlic powder and salt to season.
Cook on medium-high heat for about 10 minutes on each side, until brown.
Don’t forget about the pasta! Drain and set off to the side for now.
Once the tofu looks nice and golden, reduce the heat and add chopped onions.
Add a little bit of olive oil and let this cook for a few minutes.
In another large skillet, add the kale and a bit of olive oil over low heat.
Season with salt, pepper and sesame seeds.
While the kale is cooking, reduce heat on the tofu/onion mix.
Add cooked pasta to the pan. Mix in pesto sauce and stir frequently so it does not burn.
At the last minute, I threw in some seasoned artichokes. DELICIOUS.
Now for the non-dairy cheese. Again, I love cheese SO much and so I was very skeptical of this Almond Cheese substitute.
It was really easy to shred and tasted pretty fantastic. I wouldn’t want to eat a large chunk by itself (like I would any other normal cheese…), but with the pasta it was a perfect combo.
Mix in the shredded cheese until it is slightly melted.
Continue to cook the kale, stirring occasionally. Too much liquid or heat on the kale will make it wilted and kind of gross, so be sure to keep an eye on it.
Now for the finished product!
DELICIOUS! It really tasted like a chicken pesto pasta dish, and was very filling.
The aforementioned husband cleaned his plate. Here is the proof:
There you have it! My first attempt at a true vegan/gluten free meal was a success.
If you have any ideas on what to add that could make this even more delicious, feel free to comment!