Meatless Monday is a trend growing in popularity, and I love the idea of people incorporating more healthy, meat-free meals into their diet. While I’m someone who can, and has, gone strict vegetarian in the past, I decided to take the opportunity to experiment more with vegan options for dinners on Mondays. Vegan can be a scary word to some, and even I never thought it was something I would be able to do, mainly because of my love for cheese. But since cutting dairy from my diet, I’ve found it’s really not that far from how I usually cook anyways.
The sauce is a mock meat sauce made with organic tempeh with flax, organic fire roasted tomatoes and artichoke hearts. Tempeh is a great source of protein and alternative for vegans and vegetarians. It’s made up of fermented soy and brown rice and this particular kind I purchased also had flax in it. It has a distinct nutty flavor and can be used in a variety of dishes.
Instead of using pasta, I made my favorite alternative, zucchini noodles. Its a staple in my summer meals when I literally have friends giving me tons of zucchini from their gardens because they can’t eat it all. It’s light, crisp, and refreshing all while upping your veggie intake and providing you with tons vitamin C and fiber to fill you up.
The sauce: Crumble 1 package of organic tempeh into small pieces, sauteing in 1 TBS of organic coconut oil until lightly browned. Add 1 can of organic fire roasted tomatoes, and dice and add 1/2 can of quartered artichoke hearts. Season with garlic and onion powder, oregano, salt and pepper to taste. I also kept about 1/4 cup of water on the side which I added occasionally to make the sauce slightly thinner because I prefer my sauces that way, but it’s optional. Simmer for about 20 minutes to let all the flavors come together.
The “noodles”: I used 2 medium sized organic zucchini, and it made about 3 servings worth of noodles. Trim the ends off the zucchini and use a vegetable peeler to peel the length of the zucchini into linguine-like strips. Work you way around the zucchini peeling until you get to the center of the vegetable where the seeds are . You can either eat the noodles raw or throw them in a steamer basket for a few minutes to soften them up some. Be careful to not over cook them because they will get mushy. You want them “al dente” like a pasta would be 😉
Because I miss my cheese so much, I also sprinkled some nutritional yeast on top, which has a nutty cheese-like flavor. And there you have it! Light, vegan friendly and delicious!