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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!

Bruschetta

Ingredients

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

fresh basil

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!

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