Mac ‘n’ Veggies

Eating healthfully becomes ever so important when stress threatens to consume you. With Lucy’s surgery tomorrow, there is a confusion of questions running through our minds: are we doing the right thing? Will she learn to walk on three legs? What if she doesn’t?

And the biggest one of all: how long after this will she be healthy? How long will she live?

But every night, when I lie in bed and hear her breathing hard– something dogs do when in pain– or when I hear her tumor-afflicted leg drag on the floor as she makes her way to the water bowl, I remind myself that the surgery is going to make her feel better.

Tomorrow morning I will drive her to the hospital where she will stay a day or two before coming home. The doctor says she is in good health otherwise (however ironic that sounds, all things considered) and everything should go well. In two to three weeks all the pain from the surgery should be gone and she will be happy again.

Meanwhile work has been crazy busy, leaving little time to do all those other things we do to take care of ourselves. So eating right has become imperative.

I’ve been pretty good about warding off the takeout devil and fixing something healthy and tasty in half an hour’s time or less. Like this pasta dish I’m about to share.

Pasta is a favorite at our home because it takes so little time to put together, is such a frugal yet healthy choice, and is immensely versatile. The fact that you can now find wholegrain pasta in your supermarket makes this wonderful food all the more guilt-free.

I used macaroni which may seem like an unusual choice, but it actually worked very well. You can go with any small pasta. I tend not to buy macaroni because when it comes to this tiny, elbow-shaped pasta, my mind refuses to venture outside the mac ‘n’ cheese box. The cheesy dish is not something I particularly liked, even in my pre-vegan days. But I do like small pastas, so I decided to finally use up a box of wholegrain macaroni I’d bought ages ago.

Because I’ve not had a chance to go to the grocery store for days now, most of the ingredients in this dish came out of the pantry or the freezer. The spinach was boxed, the peas bagged, and the olives canned. The sunflower seeds were stolen from Desi’s breakfast stash and the mint came from my backyard.

The only fresh ingredients I used were tomatoes and parsley, but you could very easily add other seasonal fresh veggies like zucchini or bell peppers.

Because I was focusing on making all this very healthy, I used some miso to flavor the parsley-mint pesto sauce that I stirred into the pasta. Miso, if you’ve never tried it, is a superfood that’s filled with healthgiving digestive enzymes.

I also used some nutritional yeast to give the pasta a mildly cheesy flavor, although you could completely leave it out.

Bye for now. And do wish me luck for Lucy tomorrow. With all of you pitching for her, we know she’s going to make it through this!

Mac ‘n’ Veggies


3/4 box of macaroni or any other small pasta (preferably wholegrain), cooked al dente

1 box frozen spinach, thawed (you can do this in the microwave, as I usually do)

1 medium onion, chopped

1 tbsp olive oil

6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 cup frozen green peas

1 tsp ground black pepper

2 medium tomatoes, diced

1 cup olives, halved

Heat the oil.

Add the onion and garlic and saute over medium-low heat until translucent, about 7-8 minutes.

Add the spinach and peas and stir together. Cook until the spinach is really tender.

Add ground pepper. Turn off the heat.

Place in a bowl with the parsley-mint pesto (recipe follows).

Parsley-Mint Pesto

1 cup parsley leaves

1/2 cup mint

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds

1 tbsp white miso

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 tsp red pepper flakes

Process all the ingredients together, drizzling the oil in through the feed tube, until you have a coarse paste.

Add to the bowl with the spinach. Add the cooked pasta.


Tomatoes and olives along with 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds and 2 tbsp nutritional yeast. Add salt to taste.

Stir well together. Garnish with some parsley, if desired.



I’ll leave you with a picture of Lucy enjoying a snack. How perfect is she?!

(C) All recipes and photographs copyright of Holy Cow! Vegan Recipes.

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  1. says

    I can imagine how you feel, but take it one step at a time and don’t think so much! It will eventually be alright!

    take care and keep us posted about the surgery.

  2. says

    Lucy is very lucky to have you and your husband to care for her at this time. I’ve seen a lot of dogs on tv with no leg or legs and they are fit, happy and very mobile, sometimes with assistive devices. In that sense they are no different than humans who can benefit also from surgery and assistive devices. These days there are many options, especially if one has insurance or money to cover the costs. You (and Lucy) will be so happy when Lucy has recovered from the surgery.

  3. says

    Good luck to Lucy today. I hope everything goes well. Your pasta looks good. I wish I were closer. I would’ve happily made dinner for your family when you are so busy. Take care.

  4. says

    Vaishali, I will be thinking of you and Lucy all day today. All will be well.

    And watch out for the mailman, some treats are making their way to Lucy.

    I wish I lived closer so I could bring you dinners during this stressful time. But your vegetable pasta looks nourishing and wonderful.

  5. says

    I love making these kinds of mixtures with pasta and whatever else is on hand. Yours looks yummy and healthy! Hope Lucy and you all make it through. Keep taking care of yourself. Peace, Stephanie

  6. says

    My best wishes and prayers for the surgery… i have no doubt that you are making the right decision for her… considering how much you love her, it just cannot be otherwise. Stay strong.

  7. says

    Dear Lucy, get well soon. I know you will be alright. Love and lots of hugs to you.

    Vaishali, Lucy, Desi and you are in my prayers. Please keep us posted. She will bounce back within no time.

    I wish you wee closer so we could have helped you.

    Pasta looks great as usual.

  8. says

    Vaishali and Desi: how’s Lucy doing? How did the surgery go? I’ve been following a lot of animal shelters here in Portugal, and I’ve noticed that, cats and dogs, have an amazing inner strength and will power to recover! just loving them, caring for them, be with them helps to boost their instinctive life force to be well again. That’s the Power of Love! trust in that, don’t be afraid, everything turns out well at the end, I firmly believe in this.

    I will try this recipe for sure! I just LOVE miso in dressings because it’s packed with very healthy nutrients. I’m always finding an excuse to use it again. 😉

    Sending my best wishes to all and keeping my fingers crossed for Lucy,

  9. says

    Hi Vaishali,

    I think this is my first comment on your lovely blog.

    I hope Lucy is doing okay. She will do great, it’s not hard to see the strength of her spirit in her eyes. She will bounce back before you know it. Lots of prayers from this side of the planet…

  10. sheela says

    Hello Vaishali,

    How is Lucy doing?.
    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Take care and Best wishes to Lucy.


  11. Anonymous says

    Since Lucy is doing really well now, I have another comments. I love the way you mentioned the sunflower seeds were stolen from Desi’s Breakfast stash. Hahahaha

    Take care

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