Friday, June 11, 2010

Catering to a meat-less diet

This weekend I'm hosting friends from out of town. They are vegetarian. I am not. But I have a lot of people in my life who are. Thus, I have my fair share of recipes that cater to those with no need for meat.

It's somewhat intimidating to try to go meat-free, especially if your having to serve vegetarians who are somewhat intolerant. You know, the people who make a lifestyle choice and then make you feel bad for not making that choice too? It doesn't have anything to do with choosing to be a vegetarian; you can be intolerant without ever having to think about food. We've all come across all kinds, and I've always been grateful for the people who are kind and thoughtful, making choices for their lives without shaming those around them for not making the same choice.

For what it's worth, my friends who are visiting now are motivated to practicing a completely meat-free diet due to sustainability concerns. How many acres of land does it take to feed the cow that eventually becomes the burgers we scarf down every week? What about chickens and chicken feed? And I just heard on the BBC World Service last (via Michigan Radio) Wednesday night that blue fin tuna are likely to be extinct outside of farms in the next 3-4 years. That's something for me to contemplate.

My sister went meat-free decades ago. She's raised three kids on the diet. So it stands to reason that when I was faced with entertaining on vegetarian cuisine, she would be a great person to advise me. She emailed me her trusted and true recipe for peanut butter pasta. Tasty, hearty, filling, nutritious. It goes great with fresh steamed broccoli and iced tea in the summer time. Enjoy!


Peanut Butter Pasta

1 lb. uncooked spaghetti
1 cup peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup lime juice (or lemon)
1/2 cup water (depending on consistency desired)
3 tbsp. chopped peanuts, salted
1 tbsp. red chili flakes or dash hot sauce
1 clove garlic, crushed

Cook spaghetti according to the instructions given on its packaging. Drain, rinse, set aside. Mix together in a large bowl peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, lime juice, and water. If using optional chili flakes, hot sauce, or garlic, add to the peanut butter mixture at this time. Once the mixture is well blended, add spaghetti and toss until all the noodles are coated. Serve immediately. Serves 6-8.


Though this is a great dish, tonight the kitchen is closed at my house and we are going out to our favorite local vegetarian kitchen, Seva. 'Cause they do vegetarian and vegan better than I could ever dream of!

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