Orecchiette with Vegan Merguez & Kalettes

One of the things I love about eating vegan is that when you’re having a case of the hungrys, pasta is a quick and easy option, that also lets you kind of pig out…if you want. Since you’re not adding high fat/calorie meat and cheese to your lasagna or spaghetti, you can get really creative with different foods.

I was eager to give the kalettes another try before they vanished or worse, went out of season, just to make sure I truly liked them. When I went to the market and scooped up the last package I felt victorious. And smug because I’d just gotten a package of vegan merguez from Veganic.de and I knew just what I planned to do with it.

My own plant based take on pasta with spinach & sausage.

When I say this dish is quick, I mean it. From start to finish it took about 35 minutes and that’s only because I was too focused on a true crime podcast to move faster.

The ingredients are simple:

Orecchiette
Red onion
Kalettes
Red & green bell pepper
Vegan merguez
Fresh tomatoes (or canned diced/crushed tomatoes)
Garlic
Capers
Vegan parm
Lemon, juiced

Add the onions & peppers to the skillet first (with or without oil) and cook until they start to brown around the edges. I prefer a slightly caramelized taste on the edges because I think it gives a little more depth to the flavors but if time is your priority, give it 3 to 5 minutes and then add the kalettes and then the garlic.

You want to add the merguez about the same time as the garlic because they don’t need a long time to cook and if you add it with the garlic you’ll know it’s warmed through and slightly crispy before the garlic burns. I also like to add a bit of fresh lemon juice to reduce the bitter taste of the kalettes. Toss in a tablespoon or so of capers and you’re just about ready to grub.

Now you’re ready to add the tomatoes! Season with salt & pepper, oregano, basil and any other herbs and spices that strike your fancy, then cook until everything is warmed through. Toss with orecchiette and you’re good to go!

Because some vegans just can’t live without their cheese, here is a little vegan parm to whet your appetite. The hubs added it but I did not, though I did add a couple tablespoons of nutritional yeast to the pasta sauce for an earthy, kinda cheesy flavor.

He added vegan parm and I added smoky spicy Tabasco sauce because I love spice!

This dish was quick, easy and delicious, but it was also extremely satisfying. And in case you’re wondering, I didn’t pair it with anything to drink but I did enjoy a Jameson neat!

Whatcha think?

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