Tonight my husband and I had company over for dinner. It was the first time, since becoming a plant-based eater, that we have entertained. I have to admit – I copped out. I cooked meat for my guest and plant-based for myself and husband. I should have had more confidence in my ability to make something delicious – I should have proven just how fantastic plant-based eating can be. But with the excuse of my busy schedule, and the lack of belief in my abilities, I knuckled under. The worst part? My gracious guest told me he would have gladly eaten my plant-based creations!
So lesson learned. In the future I will stand my ground and proceed with confidence. I guess, as my husband said: “you’re still learning…we are still learning.” It certainly made me thankful for a partner who is willingly taking this plant-based journey with me, because I know there are a lot of plant-based eaters out there who live with and cook for omnivores or meat eaters every day. I have a newfound respect for these folks.
Okay. On to dinner.
I started off the evening with bruschetta. My husband and our guest devoured it – yum!
whole grain baguette
2 tbsp olive oil
2 ripe tomatoes
2 tbsp chopped onion
8 -10 Kalamata olives
1/2 can cannellini beans (northern beans)
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
salt & pepper
Slice baguette into 3/4 inch slices and bake on 350 for about 20 minutes or until they turn a light golden color.
While the bread toasts, mix together the tomatoes, Kalamata olives, cannellini beans, yellow onion, minced garlic, fresh basil, lemon juice and salt & pepper. Toss with a bit of olive oil (I used about a tablespoon – you can use more or less if you’re watching calories or fat intake)
When the bread comes out of the onion, brush a little olive oil on each slice with a pastry brush. Let the bread cool for about 5 minutes, then top with the tomato mix.
I followed that with penne with sauce, Italian sausage (Field Roast for plant-eaters, Whole Foods Italian sausage for our guest) and a side of oven-roasted vegetables. I cooked the sausages in separate pans. Not sure if I’m completely sold on the Field Roast Italian sausage…I liked it, but didn’t love it.
What I do love, however, is Garofalo organic pasta. They used to sell it at Henry’s (now Sprouts) Market but discontinued it. Recently on a trip to Costco to buy an enormous bag of spinach (I was juicing at the time) I spotted it and quickly bought a 6-pack. With the small amount of pasta we eat, that ought to last us a while. It cooks up great and has terrific flavor.
The roasted vegetables I served was a combination of asparagus, leeks, baby bella mushrooms and eggplant slices. Just heat your oven to 400 degrees, toss the veggies with a little olive oil, salt and pepper and roast on a cookie sheet until brown – turning once – for 45-60. The great thing about roasted vegetables is that you can use anything you have on hand. potatoes, bell peppers, butternut squash – it all works. I almost always roast an onion of some kind for additional flavor. I didn’t want to eat a lot of meat (or fake meat) at dinner, so I tossed some roasted vegetables on top of my pasta. Delicious!