We’re experiencing an abundance of tomatoes – my favorite food. When I was a little girl, I would pick tomatoes from our garden, and I always thought that this experience could get me a segment on Sesame Street where they featured the lives of real kids. I guess it was the smell of the tomatoes in the sun that made it seem such a noteworthy moment to me. I can’t describe that smell, but whenever I inhale it, I’m five in Wisconsin again.
I’ve been making a batch of fresh pasta sauce each week. A favorite of mine was a recipe for Pasta Puttanesca from Vegan Cooking for Carnivores by Ellen DeGeneres’ personal chef (how do you get that job?!) Roberto Martin.
The recipe was delicious, but I don’t believe it’s been published online. I would really recommend checking out of the cookbook, and if you are interested in seeing more of his recipes, there are several great ones posted on Ellen’s website.
While pasta sauce with noodles is my ultimate comfort food, I know not everyone might be satisfied with making a meal out of it. From Martin’s cookbook, I got the idea to serve the sauce over Gardein “chick’n” patties. I also served a side of pasta on the side (try whole wheat pasta – it’s better than it sounds ).
The Gardein patties are pretty amazing, but they’re not the only way of adding more protein to a pasta meal. I also love using Boca Crumble or Field Roast Sausages in a pasta sauce. Add them to your recipe while you are cooking the onions.
You may also like to top your pasta with nutritional yeast (I have some in a jar in this picture’s background). It has a surprisingly cheese-like flavor and is full of B Vitamins.
Here’s a recipe of my own for you to experiment with:
Summer Pasta with Fresh Herbs and Kale:
4 large tomatoes, chopped (I used Purple Cherokee – an heirloom variety I grew this year)
4 – 5 cloves of garlic, minced
½ cup of fresh basil, chopped
½ cup black olives, sliced in half
2 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
4 ounces (1 can) tomato paste
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
8 ounces of pasta of your choice
1 bunch kale, tough stems removed, chopped (hold a leaf in one hand and the stem in the other and have fun yanking the stems off!)
1. Saute the onion in about 1 Tbsp olive oil, or an oil of your choice for about 5 minutes. To cut the fat, you could also saute in vegetable broth. Add the garlic, and saute one to two minutes more.
2. Add the chopped tomatoes, fresh herbs, and tomato paste. If you aren’t worried about salt, you could add a cube of vegetable bullion for even extra flavor here.
3. Bring the sauce to a boil, and then turn the heat to low and let it simmer for at least 25 minutes. More would be even better, but when I cook on weeknights I take short cuts! Add salt and ground pepper to taste.
4. While the sauce is simmer, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water, and cook according to the package directions. During the last three minutes of cooking time, add the chopped kale. Drain the pasta and kale, and then spoon into bowls, with the sauce on top.
You can see that I made use of the fresh herbs I’m growing, but you could alter this according to what you have available. I always make pasta with added kale, or you can also add broccoli for the last three minutes of the cooking time.
Please comment with your favorite vegan pasta sauce ideas!