Monday, 18 January 2010

Meatless Monday - The 21st Century Housewife's© One Pot Vegetarian Spaghetti Special

Although I am only an “occasional vegetarian”, I am a huge fan of the Meatless Monday movement, who in an effort to get us to cut our meat consumption by fifteen percent urge us to "cut out meat one day a week". Of course, it doesn't have to be Monday, but giving up meat one day a week makes sense both personally and corporately. Reducing meat consumption can improve your health, and with the United Nations estimating that one-fifth of manmade greenhouse gases come from meat production, it can improve the health of the planet as well.

Inventing new vegetarian recipes is something I really enjoy, and the weekly delivery of my organic vegetable and fruit boxes inspires me. I don't choose what comes in the boxes; I just have to work with what is in them. Of course, the company I use does allow you to have a list of things you dislike which they will remove from your boxes so you don't get anything you genuinely loathe, but on the whole I do find that having someone else choose the main content of the boxes in harmony with the seasons can be very inspirational as a cook.

This recipe was born out of a desire for an easy, one pot meal that was filling and delicious. I was very pleased with the results. Don’t worry if you have leftovers, they keep really well in the fridge and are very tasty re-heated the next day.

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion
1 teaspoon Very Lazy Garlic or one garlic clove, chopped
2 peppers (I used red and yellow), de-seeded and sliced
1 cup (or about a handful) mushrooms, sliced
1 cup broccoli, finely sliced
2 small tins (about 400 grams each) chopped tomatoes
2 tins of boiling water
1 vegetable stock cube, crumbled
1 teaspoon of dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3 generous tablespoons basil pesto (I use Sacla brand)
1 handful of spaghetti, broken into short pieces
(If you have it on hand, whole wheat pasta is wonderful in this)
1/2 cup vegetarian cheese (use your favourite or what you have on hand - I like cheddar or parmesan)

Heat the oil in a large frying pan or saute pan. Saute the onion over medium heat until it begins to soften. Add the garlic, peppers and mushrooms and cook gently for a few minutes. Now add the broccoli, tomatoes, stock cube, oregano, pepper, and boiling water. Bring the mixture just to the boil, stirring gently.

Add the spaghetti, stir in and turn down the heat. Cook until the spaghetti is al dente, about fifteen minutes. Stir in the cheese and pesto until the cheese has melted. Serve with hot crusty rolls.

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