It is absolutely impossible not to fall head over heels in love with this pasta. I did. As I licked up the last bit of it from my lunchbox at work today, I was already craving all those layers of flavor-- the hint of spice from the sausage (vegan sausage, please), sweetness from the almond cream, tartness from the tomatoes, and umami from the mushrooms.
I used a meat substitute and I recommend that you do too, because it adds great texture and, of course, protein. But if you don't want to for any reason, it is not a make-or-break deal. You can make a really delicious pasta even without it. You might want to sub with a nice bean, like a navy bean or a lima.
The weekend is almost here-- can you smell it? Amidst all of the running around and chores and whatnot, Desi and I have been trying to give Jay a few outings around the DC area. Last weekend we took him to one of our favorite spots: Great Falls, a landmark right at the border of Maryland and Virginia, where the Potomac river drops spectacularly over jagged rocks and into a gorge. We had a great picnic lunch of veggie dogs and quesadillas and afterwards we walked around admiring all the dogs who had accompanied their families for the outing. We brought Opie here several years ago, but all he wanted to do was sit, so this time -- with walking an even harder deal now for his poor legs -- we left him in the cool comfort of home. He did get lots of hugs and kisses afterward from mom who missed him like crazy.
This weekend we'll probably just run some errands and tend to our extremely neglected garden. And next weekend's the Capital Pride parade, one of my favorite events among the thousands that take place each year in Washington. Desi and I can't wait to take Jay down to Dupont Circle this year to join in the fun.
Wish you were here.
Now for the pasta.
Vegan Pasta With Sausage and Greens
- 1 pound penne pasta (cook until al dente)
- 13 ounces vegan sausage (I used a package of Field Roast Mexican Chipotle, but you could use any vegan Italian sausage, crumbled or chopped fine)
- 12 ounces cremini mushrooms (sliced)
- 4 cups mixed greens (chopped)
- 2 medium tomatoes (diced)
- ½ cup almonds (soaked in 1 cup of water for at least 30 minutes then blended into a smooth paste. Use pumpkin seeds if nut-free)
- Salt and ground pepper to taste
- Juice and zest of a lemon
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the vegan sausage and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for about five minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and some salt. Cook until the mushrooms soften. Add the tomatoes and mixed greens and stir until the greens wilt.
- Add the mustard, lemon juice, and zest and mix well. Add the pasta. Stir to mix everything well. Add salt and ground black pepper to taste.
- Add the almond paste and mix. Turn off the heat. Serve the pasta hot or at room temperature.