Monday, April 23, 2012
Pasta for Parents: Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Greens and Tofu
I went to a potluck housewarming party this weekend with my friend Krishna, who convinced my tired, anti-social, suburban-living butt to go by reminding me that our hosts (Valerie and her husband Jason) are vegan and all the food at the party would also be vegan. That coupled with a very real desire to see their new house and meet their lovely dog, made me keen to attend the party. It ended up being a very fun party featuring a lot of great food, and as always I was excited to be in a room full of vegans. That just doesn't happen to me very often. Expect maybe when I'm hanging out with Krishna or Adam, but we don't exactly fill a room all on our own.
At one point in the evening the talk turned to raising kids vegan/vegetarian and pretty much every person involved in the conversation said that they would be scared to leave their vegetarian child in the care of their parents or in-laws because they were certain these loving grandparents would feel that it was their duty to secretly feed the child meat so he or she wouldn't die some horrible plant-based death. Which made me think, wow, I am lucky.
The Man of Science's parents are very, very cool about the whole vegetarian thing. Since the MoS and one of his close cousins have been vegetarian for years and years, meatless meals have always been a part of their family life. I doubt we'd ever find them giving their grandchild a piece of pork because they thought he or she might perish due to malnutrition.
My mom is a vegetarian and even if she wasn't would never think of subverting my parenting. "I do what I'm told," she said, when I told her about the other party guests' worries. Almost every night I make a vegan dinner for my parents and they eat it happily. With gusto, one might even say.
For example, the other night I made this pasta dish on the fly, having no idea what to make for dinner and no particularly inspired plans. It came together so nicely, everyone was happy to eat it. I recommend it as an easy, well-balanced meal that is very forgiving if you're out of a particular ingredient. You could change the pasta, or the greens, or even the protein, and still have most of the flavours work well together. Go ahead. Try it. Make it for your parents.
Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Greens and Tofu
approximately 400 grams of (dry) whole wheat spaghetti
1/2 pound of tofu, cubed
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 cups of mixed kale and spinach, chopped
juice of 1 lemon
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2 cup vegetable soup stock
salt and pepper to taste
homemade or store-bought vegan "parmesan" for extra flavour
(my favourite is Parma- Veg, pictured below. Raw, healthy, vegan, delicious.)
Cook spaghetti in lightly salted water until al dente.
While that's happening, toss your cubed tofu in the soy sauce and set it aside.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the tofu to the oil, cook until it begins to brown. Add garlic and saute for a minute or two, don't let garlic burn!
Add the greens, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast. Let the greens cook until they are wilted and tender, stirring every few minutes.
Add the pasta and the soup stock to the dish, stir to make sure everything is well combined.
Season with salt and pepper, glug a bit more olive oil over the top if you want to be all Jamie Oliver about it.