Pesto Beans & Beyond Sausage

Recently I found myself binge watching this strange British reality show called ‘Can’t Pay We’ll Take It Away’ and it’s pretty fantastic in an awful train wreck kind of a way. Anyway, long story short one of the people who owed money was eating beans & sausage, which I immediately thought to myself was kind of protein redundant. Then I remembered we still had a couple Beyond sausages in the freezer and I decided why not vegan-ize it?

But of course I couldn’t just stop with a fancy vegan tomato sauce for the beans. Nope, I wanted something with a bit more flavor since we’re rounding the corner into winter and there aren’t many chances to enjoy fresh basil and I figured, why not pesto beans with the sausage?

Why not, indeed?

This is another recipe you can file under easy weeknight vegan meals because it took about half an hour and that includes all the time it took to get the pesto the right consistency.

As far as ingredients go, I used canned canellini beans (known as navy beans in some parts of the world), pesto, grilled shallots and two Beyond Sausage links. The pesto contains: basil, lemon zest, capers, scallions, parsley, roasted red pepper (about a quarter), hot sauce, lemon juice, and vegan parm (ParVeggio).

Grill the shallots and when they’re almost how you want them, toss the links into the skillet and cook using the instructions on the package. They are fairly greasy so if you use oil to cook the shallots, take it easy because there will be grease. Drain and rinse the beans, then warm through and toss with pesto.

I even put a little smear of pesto under the vegan sausage to bring it all together and I topped it with a sprinkling of smoky paprika because it smells as good as it tastes and it adds such depth to just about everything.

Just in case you’re wondering, yes I did wash it down with something ice cold, but it was Harmin which I’ve showed you a million times so I decided not to today. Well…that and the fact that I’m still getting acquainted with my new phone, hence the limited photos for today’s recipe.

Vegan Pesto Pasta with Veggies

You ever have those nights where you just don’t feel like cooking? You’ve bought all the ingredients for a few awesome meals you want to try out but when the time comes to start cooking you just want something else. Something simple.

Well that’s how this dish came about. That and the fact that the fridge had a bunch of leftover ingredients from the week since it was a day or two before shopping day. When I’m working, I get in the zone and forget all about important things like time and meals and on this particular day I’d finally made some headway on a particularly difficult scene and the next thing I know it’s eight-thirty, which meant if I wanted to make the meal on the menu dinner would have been at eleven.

Instead, like any good vegan I have a pantry with more than a sufficient amount of grains. Everything from whole wheat pasta to bulgur and half a dozen different types of Asian noodles. I reached in and pulled out the whole wheat penne and the idea slowly came together. Well it was mostly because of the penne but also because there were three packages of fresh basil in my veggie crisper just waiting to become pesto and I REALLY wanted pesto and thus…pesto pasta was born.

Before we get into the details of this recipe, I have to gush a little about my newest vegan find, Parveggio. I happened upon this ingredient by accident and if you’ve read this blog before you know all about my love-hate relationship with vegan cheese. But Parm is a different beast altogether and when I lived in Germany I also found a really great vegan parm.

I don’t know if it was the lack of palm oil or just the simple fact that there have been incredible advances with vegan food over the past few years, but this was incredible. It had the slightly salty, tangy flavor of Parm without the need for dairy products and all the drama that goes along with animal-based cheese products. I bought it mostly for the pesto so pesto pasta was a natural solution.

For the pesto, I roasted the garlic because I wanted a more intense and less raw garlic flavor and I didn’t use any oil other than what dripped from the 3 sun-dried tomatoes I added. I used: basil, mint (just a handful) garlic, lemon zest & juice, pistachios, sun-dried tomatoes, parm, a few drops of chipotle flavored Tabasco sauce and a teaspoon of capers. Toss it in the food processor and let it run until smooth.

Because I didn’t use oil, I added the lemon juice in batches to make sure everything got chopped up with the proper consistency. If you add oil, do so in a slow but steady stream until the consistency is just right.

The rest of the dish was super easy. I used a couple teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil to saute the onions and crimini mushrooms for about 5 to 7 minutes. Then I added a 1/4 cup of peas and tofu crumbles, seasoning with salt, pepper, oregano, thyme and a pinch of smoky paprika. When everything was done, I drained the pasta and tossed it with the onion & mushroom mixture before tossing with pesto in batches until every bite was coated.

Then I added a dollop on top with a sprinkling of parm and we LOVED it. It took about twenty minutes, most of which was prep time and I was able to serve a delicious and mostly healthy meal well before eleven at night!

 

If you’re curious about Parveggio, check out the page for GreenVie Foods.