I am not a vegan or even a vegetarian, but I’ve spent the past week following a vegan diet in order to give my body a break from dealing with meat and dairy, foods which take more effort to process than fruits and vegetables. I’ve also been avoiding sugar like the proverbial plague, and it’s been absolutely wonderful.
This isn’t the first time I’ve gone temporarily vegan, and my experiences with meat-free and other health-oriented foods have taught me a valuable lesson, which I, in my infinite benevolence, will share with you now:
If it tastes like crap, you won’t eat it.
No matter how healthy or nutritious or environmentally friendly it is, if you can’t stand eating it, you won’t eat it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it is something you need to deal with. Fortunately, the best way to get around eating healthy foods you don’t like is to find healthy foods you do like.
For instance, the other night, I wanted to stick to my healthy diet but I wanted to have a meal that didn’t try to “fake” anything. I’m actually very fond of certain “faux” meats, but I was in the mood for something a little more natural.
So I performed a bit of Google-fu and found this beautifully simple recipe. It uses all natural ingredients and provides an unexpected combination of flavors that I would be happy to eat at any time, not just on a diet.
Pasta with Tomato-Cashew Sauce
1 large tomato or two smaller ones
½ cup raw cashews
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2-4 garlic cloves
6 ounces whole wheat spaghetti
1 teaspoon salt
2-3 tablespoons water or white wine (optional)
1 or 2 teaspoons black pepper
1 large handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped
Cook the pasta according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking, chop the tomato and place it in a blender with cashews, tomato paste and water. Blend it until it is very smooth.
Put the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sauté until golden, being careful not to burn it. Pour the tomato mixture into the pan and bring to a simmer. Add salt and let cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
If you like, add water or wine until sauce reach the desired consistency.
Once sauce is cooked, add the pasta and the chopped basil leaves. Stir to coat, and serve immediately.