One of my favorite meals to date since I have been attending the Natural Kitchen Cooking School has been this one. I do not eat nearly as much pasta as I used to back in my college days. Many weeks can go by when I don’t touch the stuff at all since my palate has become more sophisticated and I have learned to do more than just boil water. So the fact that this dish has tickled my fancy says quite a lot.
For our weekend of “Dressings, Sauces, and Condiments,” we were in for a real treat. Some of my earlier experiences with gluten-free pasta were not very positive. Getting the chance to try Ancient Harvest Quinoa pasta really changed my opinion of GF noodles. If I didn’t know they were GF, I would have never guessed they were.
I have made many pesto recipes since going vegan, but I have never considered using peas. I do not usually even like peas, so it was a surprise to find myself liking this dish as much as I did. The pesto consisted of pine nuts, olive oil, peas, miso, basil, and a couple of other ingredients. For this recipe, I was too cheap to buy the pine nuts, so I replaced them with slivered almonds. No harm, no foul. Still delicious, creamy, and packed with vitamins A and C. When we made this dish in class, I liked the pesto so much that I literally licked my plate clean. Too good for words!
One of the best (and simplest) recipes to come out of this weekend’s class was for shiitake bacon (from a recipe adapted from Alexandra Jamieson’s Delicious Vitality blog). Neither myself, nor Mr. Tuxedo Cat have any love for mushrooms. We avoid them at all costs usually. This fakin’ bacon is no joke. It’s salty, crispy, very bacon-like, and multifaceted. We have used it on many different dishes since I started making it and Mr. TC even commented that this was his favorite food I’ve made to date and made my tuition all worth it. This is a huge compliment coming from him!
The last recipe we made to complement the meal was cashew parmesan. This “cheese” consisted of only raw cashews, nutritional yeast, and salt. It was a great topping on the pasta and one I plan to use on pizza in the near future. It provided another complexity, depth, and crunch to the finished dish.
This is a meal to make for guests, gluten-free folks, or anyone that loves a great pasta dish. Superb!