Friday, October 05, 2012

vegan mofo :: [pathetically] easy weeknight skillet

My mom's ground-beef skillet, all  veganized and stuff. This version's gluten-free, since I used leftover brown rice pasta –but you can use any small pasta.

Following my Vegan Mofo theme of going Back to Basics, I'm sharing a very forgiving, slightly retro recipe that my mom used to make with –ew! – ground beef. When my new gas stove was first installed, you'd think that I would have cooked something gourmet and complex. Nope. After weeks of construction, dust and take out meals, I desperately needed a steaming dish of home-cooked comfort. So I opted for this down-home wonder, which I call The Easy, Weeknight Skillet. It's one of my busy-evening go-tos.

I've modified my mom's recipe and have been making it with tempeh, soy curls, TVP, lentils, etc for years. Really, I hate to call it a recipe, because mom never followed one; she just threw everything in the skillet and knew it would work. I take the same confident approach to this humble dish. It's pretty hard to screw up.

Just like the previous food porn I've featured so far this month, this dish calls upon pantry staples. So pull a box of the on-sale elbow macaroni or rigatoni from your stashed away, and a can of tomatoes [2 or 3 fresh tomatoes will also work quite nicely!]. Enjoy!

[Pathetically] Easy, Weeknight Skillet

  • 1 cup small pasta [eg, elbows, rigatoni]
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 3-5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 red or green pepper, seeded and diced
  • 1 15-16 ounce can tomatoes, including juice [Or 2-3 fresh tomatoes, chopped]
  • Your favorite protein [1 package tempeh, crumbled; 1 cup soy curls, 1 cup TVP,1 cup dry lentils]
  • Up to 1 T of your favorite dried herbs, mixing and matching works! [eg, basil, oregano, fennel seeds, herbes de Proven├že, thyme, parsley]
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Nutritional yeast, for sprinkling

Serves 6
You don't need advanced cooking skills to make this skillet
Cook pasta according to package directions, al dente.

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add peppers and saute until they are softish, about 10 more minutes.

Stir in remaning ingredients. Bring to a boil,  then cover and simmer until almost all of the liquid is absorbed [Add broth or water if needed]; it should be moist, and not dry. This will take anywhere from 20-40 minutes, depending on the protein you use.

Toss pasta into skillet and serve warm, with nutritional yeast for sprinkling.

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Anonymous said...

super comforting and delicious!

Kittee Bee Berns said...

congrats on your new gas stove! we just had one put in too, so much better. I'd missed cooking with fas so much!!!!

your pasta skillet looks like something we would love to snuggle on the couch with a movie and eat.


Theresa said...

That looks fantastic. The best things are often the most comfortable and familiar ones!

Get Skinny, Go Vegan. said...

NOTHING pathetic about easy! THIS is what it is all about. Being able to throw something together in minutes. People need to keep hearing that it truly is NOT more work to be vegan. And a whole lot less guilt!

Suburban Snow White said...

I LOVE your new webpage setup! Very sassy!

urban vegan said...

Thanks, SSW :)

urban vegan said...

Thanks, T!

Stephanie said...

Mmm...this looks yummy!

Carrie™ said...

My mom used to make something similar. She'd also throw in whatever was leftover in the fridge and voila! dinner is served.
Groovin' on the new layout. LOOOOVE IT!! said...

That looks delish' and super easy. Yum!

Anonymous said...

Delicious! I made this dish for my family tonight, and it was a hit. I'm new to being vegan, and I've been struggling a bit with feeding my kids. This recipe was a hit with everyone.

urban vegan said...

This made my day! So happy everyone liked it. Keep me posted on other recipes, ok?