February 15, 2011

a vegan valentine's

So this might sound crazy, but J and I are trying something new: no meat or dairy or anything that comes from the animal kingdom! This is a huge departure for us, especially Jason. While he's very good about trying all the weird things I make for him, one of his favorite meals is hot dogs and macaroni and cheese. And yet somehow, I've convinced him to go vegan for a temporary period? Now that's a real man, ladies and gents. He's a real trouper.

Our friends Ian & Rachel inspired us to try a cholesterol-lowering diet called Engine 2 which is essentially a vegan diet. Someone in our relationship has high cholesterol (hint: it isn't me). Who knew that even chicken and fish have cholesterol?? And that dairy actually leaches calcium from your bones instead of adding to them?? We are now enlightened. Now don't worry - we're not planning to become total, dedicated vegans for the rest of our lives. But we are trying to re-train our bodies to enjoy more whole grains and veggies instead of meat and white bread. 

We've made it through almost 4 days now, and I really don't feel like I'm missing out on anything! (Besides Valentine sugar cookies slathered in frosting, but sometimes you gotta make sacrifices.)

Last night, for our little Valentine dinner, I made us a meal with brown rice pasta - something I had never ever cooked with until last night. And the surprising thing: I don't think I would have known the difference if I hadn't opened the package myself. I also loved the fact that after dinner, I didn't have that heaviness that usually comes from eating pasta. Go brown rice! I also made a quick little appetizer from all kinds of yummy things from Trader Joe's. Go Trader Joe's! I do love Trader Joe's. Sigh.

Good-for-You-and-the-Planet Vegetable Pasta
Serves 4-6, depending on how hungry your husband is after having been deprived of meat for 3 whole days.
1 1lb brown rice spaghetti pasta
1 jar of Arrabiata pasta sauce (or any sauce without cream or Parmesan) or make your own!
1 red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 cup of dry white wine
4 stalks of asparagus, chopped in 2 inch pieces
1 cup of cauliflower, cut in to bite-size pieces
1 cup of baby portabella mushrooms, chopped
1 cup of kale, chopped
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped
1/2 cup kalamata olives, diced
salt + pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Add the entire package of pasta and cook for about 15 minutes, or until al dente.

In a large saute pan, cook red onions in the white wine until soft. Add the rest of the vegetables and the lemon juice. Cover and cook until veggies are done to your liking. Add more white wine as necessary.

Add the cooked pasta to the veggies and cover with the pasta sauce. Toss until combined and heated through, about 5 minutes. Top with fresh basil and kalamata olives. Congratulate yourself for being so healthy.


  1. No idea you were going Vegan! Jen's Mexican themed dinner club probably didn't help that last night. . . ;) I'm impressed! You two are stronger than me.

  2. Oh trust me, that chicken taco and ice cream sundae were like a party in my mouth!

  3. you're nuts. wait...are nuts vegan? i think yes. GO NUTS.