My first-ever recipe post!

Yesterday marks two weeks since Paul and I went vegetarian.  Don't worry, I'm not about to try and convert anyone.  It's just what we're doing right now, for a host of reasons I won't go into here.  Anyway, the last thing I expected when making this switch was how exciting it would turn out to be. Really. It's forced me to entirely re-think the way I cook, which has gotten my latent creativity juices flowing again.  I'm a pretty good cook, by all accounts, but before all this I was really getting bored.  I felt like I was sick of everything.  Now I'm inspired.  In the last two weeks I've prepared some of the best meals I've ever had.  I have the internet and some wonderful friends to thank for a lot of great ideas.  I've only begun to scratch the surface.

One of the great things I've noticed about veggie cooking is the ease with which you can make substitutions. Of course I've had a lot of practice with subbing anyway, since Paul is allergic to tomatoes, but, I haven't followed a single veggie recipe to the "T", and haven't had a flop yet.

And all this is the preamble to my post - my first ever recipe post - inspired by my unbridled enthusiasm over tonight's dinner.  If I'd have known in advance I was going to do this, I'd have snapped a photo of the dish before we chowed down.  I had no idea how great it was going to be.  

It all started with my friend Deb Wolf. She heard my Facebook plea for help and responded with an e-mail list of recipe links.  This is the one that inspired me tonight: The Easiest Pasta Dish Ever. I looked it over and thought it sounded wonderful (especially since it called for a lot of spinach, and we have a giant bag I'm trying to use up), but, as usual, I didn't have all the ingredients. So, I changed it up to match what we did have around.  The result was so unusual, and so great that I just had to share it with someone.  Be warned, however, that the measurements listed are not exact.

1 package tortellini
1/2 sliced onion
1 carrot shredded with potato peeler
1 small package fresh baby spinach
1 heaping tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese (not the powdered kind)
red wine vinegar or white wine (enough for a splash or two)
salt & pepper

  • Bring a 2 quart pan about half full with water to a boil on the stove.
  • Toss in sliced onions and carrots and allow them to cook as the water is heating. 
  • Once water, onions, and carrots are boiling – add tortellini and cook according to package instructions. 
  • While the pasta cooks, in a small sauce pan over medium heat saute the minced garlic and walnuts in the olive oil, stirring occasionally. 
  • Add a splash or two of the red wine vinegar or white wine
  • Add salt and pepper to taste. (I probably added about a 1/4 tsp. of pepper and several shakes of salt.)
  • Place fresh spinach in the bottom of your colander. 
  • Once pasta is cooked pour the contents of the pan over the spinach and drain off the water through the colander. 
  • After the water is drained place all of the ingredients back in the original cooking pan.
Add the garlic, olive oil, walnut mix, and parmesan cheese. Toss gently to mix ingredients. Place in serving dishes. Tasted great with cheesy sourdough bread!


WhiteStone said…
Looks yummy, Laurie! Click here for my easy way to cook brown rice. We like to have it with beans. Or cook it with tomatoes, etc., instead of water. Or broth. Or use leftovers to make fried rice...just saute some onions, etc., and toss in the rice and an egg or two and stir till eggs are done. I like cold brown rice with milk and cinnamon and sugar.
Karin said…
Sounds wonderful! Now if I could only convince hubby to go without MEAT!
Laurie M. said…
Thanks Judy!

Karin, If you make it yummy enough, and pile enough on his plate, and don't say anything, he might not notice he's not getting any meat.
Looks delicious! I am smiling wryly because after being veg for nearly 10 years, (my husband for 16) we are considering going back to selective meat consumption due to health issues. Just be very sure you combine your proteins and get adequate nutrients, and you will be fine! By the way, the BEST "chicken" is by Quorn. You can buy patties and tenders that are so tasty and can be grilled or cooked however you like.
Laurie M. said…
Dear QD,
Thanks for the tips. My hubby says I'm doing an adequate job of "combining proteins" - he knew what you meant by that, having been a vegetarian before. I just intuit these things, somehow sensing we need more of this and that. I am open in the future - once I feel like I've mastered the vegetarian life - of reintroducing naturally raised meat in more measured proportions. The challenge of cooking without meat has had some unexpected positive effects which I would like to cement in place as new habits before re-introducing meat. I'm enjoying food more than I have in years for some reason, likely because I've been forced to wake up my creative cooking skills. For so long it's been meat, veggie, starch....meat, veggie, starch....

My husband REALLY wants to remain vegetarian. We will take it as it comes. You aren't the first friend whose given up vegetarianism for health reasons, so I mean to keep my options open.

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