Waaaaaay back in the day, when I spent about two weeks in high school as a vegetarian I toyed with the idea of going vegan. And by toyed, I mean that I wrote endlessly for those two months in my journal with the Bush sticker on the front about the terrible living conditions of cows and chickens. I wrote about how awesome it would be to know that I was so smart, so ‘above it all’ that I could subsist on salad and pasta all day, everyday for the rest of eternity.
Blah, frickin’ blah. Right?
I was a teenager so sue me. Now did you notice what my teenage, probably sixteen-ish, self thought vegans ate? Salad and pasta. I’m from Chicago so even back then that didn’t sound so bad to me. There was plenty of pasta to be had everywhere from Lou Malnati’s to Giordano’s to my hometown favorite, Rosati’s, so it sounded like a pretty good deal to me.
Of course then Game Day rolled around and things like cheeseburgers or the thought of eating at Denny’s after the game, appealed more to me than those animals’ crap living conditions. Yeah, high schoolers are easily thwarted and as much as it pains me to say it, I was no exception in that regard.
But years later when I made the decision to go vegan and then to continue living that way, it never occurred me to eat nothing but pasta and salad all the time. And only that. Because by then my palate had improved, some of which you already know, when I started experimenting with and the cooking cuisines from around the world. Even before changing my life the way I did, vegetables and grains were a huge part of our lives. So it only took some careful rearranging until it became second nature, to replace the animal protein–mostly meat–with other types of protein.
Funnily enough we started with beans. Everyday beans. All day beans. Stir-fry, burritos, gumbo. Beans, beans, beans.
But lately, for some reason, we have been eating a fair amount of pasta. I think part of it is because the hubs and I are trying to make healthy vegan meals we think will appeal to his parents, a pair of sixty-something Romanians. It’s an uphill battle and everyone loves pasta, right? Plus there are easy hacks to flesh out a pasta dish for “carnivores” like adding crimini or portobella mushrooms. Even white buttons will do but they’re not my favorite. And if you’re feeling lazy (like he was) or dealing with a particularly insistent “carnivore” (which, again, he was) there is always vegan hackfleisch, or ground tofu for you who didn’t go vegan in Germany.
So long story short, another pasta dish. This one the hubs calls, Olive Spaghetti. He says I’m the creative one so I should name it, but we both know if I name it he will never remember what the dish is called and then I’ll have to cook it the next time I want it. No way, man. I’m hip to your game!
To be fancy and because there’s a farmer’s market less than a block away from our apartment, he used fresh tomatoes for the sauce. Chopped onion and pressed garlic went into the sauce along with capers and herbs. All but oregano because we were out of oregano last week. 😀 Then during the last few minutes of cooking he added black and green olives. The green ones we had were Manzanita olives and the black ones were plain Spanish olives. Add whole wheat spaghetti and you’ve got yourself a meal, and since I ate a salad for lunch (I realize I’m doing myself no favors with this meal) I had an extra half portion with a bit of sriracha because, well because Sriracha is delicious.
Excuse me while I go Google, ‘is Sriracha vegan’…
PETA says yes so we’re good to keep loving and using too much Sriracha.