Thursday, November 15, 2012

First Ever Vegetarian Thursday: summer tomato pasta!

I find vegetarian meals sexy. 

You may be thinking, is sexy too strong a word in this scenario? What could possibly be so sexy about meat-less food? (Anyone else laugh like a 12-year-old boy at that sentence?)

Darlings, sexy is completely appropriate in this context! (Now I'm beginning to wonder how many sitophiliacs will find this post...) Something that's sexy is attractive, physically appealing, exciting, interesting, svelte, and maybe a bit out of the ordinary. 

Vegetarian meals are definitely all of the above for me. I was raised in a meat-and-potatoes household within a sheltered, tiny town. The only night of the week we didn't have some sort of animal-based protein was "fend for yourself" night when my parents didn't want to cook so my sister and I ate 2 bowls of cereal--you know what night I'm talking about. 

I was almost 18 years old the first time I encountered tofu, sprouts, and soy milk. After I experimented with vegetarianism for over a year in college, I love the freshness and lightness of many vegetarian meals. Now that I'm the one in charge of meal-planning, Mr. J and I eat at least 2 vegetarian meals a week (ideally, it'd be more like 3 or 4). Mr. J, while an adventurous eater, is definitely a hamburger guy; conversely, I would be happy eating mostly vegetarian with the occasional lean protein. 

Luckily, summer tomato pasta is a meal we both love. We tend to ignore the fact that the word summer is in the title and eat this dish well into fall or even winter if we can find good, fresh ingredients to use. This is my adaptation of a recipe from the cookbook Vegetarian, edited by Nicola Graimes.

Summer Tomato Pasta 

Cook 1 pound of whole wheat pasta. 

While the pasta cooks, cut 2 large tomatoes and 10 oz. of mozzarella cheese into roughly 1 inch cubes (really, whatever size you want). 

 Place the tomato and mozzarella cubes into a large serving bowl. Add the juice of 1 lemon, 1/4 cup of olive oil, fresh or dried basil leaves, salt, and pepper. Throw in an additional Tbs. of white vinegar if you want a little more bite. Let the cubes marinate.

 Drain the cooked pasta and dump it directly into the serving bowl. Toss to coat the pasta.

                      Serve your delicious vegetarian meal to an adoring crowd.