Today’s Vegan MoFo theme is to veganize an “old family recipe”. Last night I cooked, and today we went for brunch, and so I have two amazing items to talk about.
Growing up I can never remember anyone in my family preparing their own pasta. So sorry, Mom, I didn’t end up veganizing one of your recipes. Last night I made my own ravioli, instead. While ravioli is not my family’s tradition to make, it IS really old school. How old, you might ask? I read a few different sources tracing it to the 14th century in Italy, or the 11th century in the Arabic world. If that isn’t traditional, I don’t know what is! For dinner last night I put in some serious labor. Thug Kitchen‘s cookbook has a great recipe for ravioli. A few months ago when I got the book, it was the first time I had made pasta EVER. There is something so satisfying though about making your own tofu ricotta, house marinara, and preparing the pasta dough and each individual pouch. The effort poured into a dish like this gives that same special home-made feel that you would receive from a meal your grandparents made.
Today after morning mass we finally made it to Mesa Verde in Santa Barbara. They are a mostly-vegan restaurant (they offer eggs for some reason, but there is nothing else animal-based on their menu). For an appetizer we had the hummus with zatar flat bread. I am a huge fan of zatar, and definitely a hummus snob ever since spending a few months in the Middle East. Even so, I loved the seasoning on the flat bread and the harissa sprinkled into the hummus. For our meals I had the empanadas (a vegan version of a traditional Spanish food) while
my husband had the ‘ABLT’ (avocado, tempeh bacon, lettuce, tomato). I asked my spouse for a comparison between his tempeh bacon and real bacon, and to my surprise he said that although it tasted different, he enjoyed it a lot.
Another reason I like the idea of “veganizing” familiar items is that it helps to introduce new vegans to the lifestyle. Last night we watched the documentary “Cowspiracy” which has finally been released on Netflix. I could talk about it at length, but what I really wanted to mention (for the sake of this post) are the companies interviewed in the documentary, including Beyond Meat and Plant-based Eggs. While I am not a fan of egg-like and meat-like substitutes, products like these are important in revolutionizing the way people think about their diets. With companies like this, there is literally no excuse to not go vegan. You’ll miss the taste? There is a replacement. You’ll miss the dishes you enjoy? There is a replacement. When Chipotle, who champions using animal products in their meals, offered a FREE sofritas burrito to anyone who would try it, I was shocked. A meaty company was encouraging meat-eaters to try a meat substitute, FOR FREE, and I hope in the future there are more companies open to this idea. Veganizing recipes you are familiar with like ravioli, like the ‘BLT’, shows people that vegan lifestyle isn’t about depriving, it is about surviving.