Oh, how delightful vegan summer food can be! Yesterday we hit the Trout Lake Farmer’s Market in Vancouver and, in addition to seeing adorable little families, queers, and puppies, also managed to pick up a bunch of local organic produce. It was a beautiful day for the market, though maybe a bit hot – still – we went early in the morning and then laid on the grass for a couple of hours daydreaming before taking a 1:30pm end-of-the-market walk back through. That’s always a good idea because sometimes the vendors give you free leftovers, like perfect organic basil.
As you can see from the above (click any image to load a bigger version) we picked up a bag full of yellow and orange bell peppers, six cucumbers, a little aubergine, a bag of portabellini (smaller portabello) mushrooms, a pint of beautiful Campari tomatoes, and a handful of basil. Did you know that portabello mushrooms are just fully-grown crimini mushrooms? I just learned this. I just love these succulently juicy mushrooms.
We also stopped at an Italian store to get some pasta and capers. Unfortunately, the pasta they make fresh there has eggs in it, so we bought a bag of dried conchiglie (shell) pasta. I wonder if there’s anywhere in town to purchase freshly-made vegan pasta?
In addition to all this delightful food, we were also able to pick some fresh, tender, flavourful kale from our garden.
This was a quick but delicious meal. Click through for the recipe.
This recipe was inspired by something I found in a Rachel Ray cookbook that Kaylie’s mom got her. The sauce was originally intended to serve with fish and gnocchi but it worked beautifully for this dish. It serves two.
1 pint Campari, grape, or cherry tomatoes
1 portabello, 2 small portabello/portabellini or 6 – 8 crimini mushrooms, chopped
1/2 small onion or a similar amount of shallots, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Handful fresh basil, shredded
2 tbsp pickled capers
Shell pasta or another type if you prefer – I have trouble preventing my shells from spooning
Large handful or more kale, torn (optional but awesome)
Preheat your oven to 425. Place your tomatoes (uncut) on a rimmed baking sheet, and add onion/shallot, garlic, olive oil, mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Add about half your basil. Toss it all around so the tomatoes are coated in olive oil. Note – don’t cut anything too small or it might burn! I made this mistake with some of my onions. Once your oven is hot enough, slide in the baking sheet and set your timer for 10 minutes.
Boil a pot of water for your pasta. The pasta I used had a 12 – 14 minute cooking time, but watch the cooking time of whatever pasta you’ve chosen to use. Your tomato sauce will be in the oven for about 20 minutes so you want your pasta to be done at about the same time. Once your pasta is cooked you’ll simply want to drain it and toss it in cold water to arrest the softening process.
After ten minutes in the oven, you’ll want to toss your tomato sauce around. You’ll probably have heard it – your tomatoes have burst! Now they’ll need another 10 minutes to get a really beautiful roasted flavour.
When you have about five minutes left, steam your kale. You don’t want to overcook it – you just want it to be bright green and tender.
Once your tomato sauce is out of the oven for the final time, take a fork and smash everything on the roasting pan and mix it together. This is your sauce. Give it a taste at this time and see if it needs any more salt or pepper.
Fill shallow bowls with pasta, capers, kale, and the remainer of the fresh basil. Top with the sauce and toss. Eat and enjoy.
This is a truly wonderful, fresh Italian-style summer dish. I’m definitely going to serve this again for fancy company.