I’ve been vegetarian for a long time – six or seven years, but I don’t think I could ever go completely vegan. I don’t love milk and eggs, so what’s the problem? Well, if you tried to take away my brie, manchego, or sharp cheddar, I’d have to slap you.
That said, there are plenty of vegan foods and recipes that I absolutely love. There are all sorts of dishes you could make for your family or for a dinner party, and nobody would even realize they were ‘missing’ the animal sourced elements. It’s a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, cut a bit of cholesterol, and branch out a little. Vegan Secret Supper: Bold & Elegant Menus from a Rogue Kitchen by Mérida Anderson has lots of recipes that fit the bill, including the pesto tortellini in the image above.
I’ve included the recipe after the jump to give you a little taste (pun fully intended) of what Anderson has to offer. Would you consider going vegan for one meal a month? One a week?
- 1 t. grapeseed oil
- 1 shallot, diced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- ⅓ c. pumpkin seed butter
- 1 T lemon juice
- ¼–½ t salt, to taste
- 1 c. lightly packed fresh cilantro
- 1 c. lightly packed fresh parsley
- ¼ c. olive oil
- 1 13-oz pkg round vegan wonton wrappers (approximately 64 wrappers)
- In a small frying pan on medium, heat grapeseed oil. Add shallots and garlic and sauté until shallots are translucent. In a food processor or blender, blend shallots and garlic, pumpkin seed butter, lemon juice, salt, cilantro, and parsley. Slowly add olive oil to facilitate blending. On a clean work surface, lay out a few wonton wrappers.
- Keep a small bowl of water nearby. Place 1 tsp filling in middle of each wrapper. With your finger or a small brush, dampen edges of each wrapper. Fold in half, pressing edges closed to seal. Dampen 1 corner of semi-circle and bring to center of tortellini; fold other corner over top. Squeeze gently to make sure corners stick together.
- Place on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and cover with damp tea towel or paper towel. Repeat with remaining filling and wrappers. (At this point, you can freeze the tray of tortellini, transferring to a freezer bag or container once frozen.) Makes 28 tortellini.
- Fill a large pot with well-salted water. Bring to a boil on high heat. Drop fresh or frozen tortellini into water and bring back to a boil. Cook for 2 minutes if fresh, 4 minutes if frozen. Tortellini will rise to top of water when done. Drain and set aside.
Roasted Tomatillo Sauce
- ¾ lb. or 5 medium tomatillos, husks removed
- 4 unpeeled garlic cloves
- 2 t. olive oil
- ¼ t. salt
- 1 T olive oil
- ¼ t. fresh thyme
- ½ jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
- ¼ t. salt
- ¼ t. pepper
- ½ t. agave nectar
Preheat oven to 325˚F (160˚C). Rub tomatillos and garlic with 2 tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with ¼ tsp salt. Bake on an unoiled baking sheet for 20 minutes, until soft. Peel garlic. In a food processor or blender, process tomatillos and garlic with remainder of ingredients until smooth.
- 2 t. grapeseed oil
- 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed and sliced in half lengthwise
- salt, to taste
In a saucepan over medium-high, heat oil. Add asparagus and season with salt. Sauté for 2–4 minutes, until slightly browned and soft. Set aside
- chopped fresh cilantro
- olive oil
Toss tortellini with sauce. Portion into 4 shallow bowls (or 6, if serving as an appetizer). Place a few asparagus spears over top of pasta and garnish with chopped cilantro and olive oil.