I probably have about 20 vegetarian cookbooks, but I honestly can’t remember ever using a recipe out of any of them. I love to cook, but I don’t like to invest too much time, nor go too far out of my way to buy a zillion ingredients. When the holidays roll around, I spend a bit more time in the kitchen, but usually, I just whip up things fast from ingredients I already have at home, like this yummy pasta salad that I just made a few minutes ago! Without a recipe!
I’m going to list the cost of the ingredients too, so you can see how cheap it is to eat healthy!
JACKIE’S VEGAN PASTA SALAD:
1) First I boiled half a bag of bow tie noodles. Cost of 1/2 bag at Ralph’s? 50 cents!
2) Just before I drained the noodles, I threw in 1/2 of a chopped head of Kale and let it cook with the noodles for just a few minutes. Don’t over cook it or you’ll lose a lot of vitamins. Cost of 1/2 head of Kale at Ralph’s? 50 cents! (Health benefits of kale? PRICELESS!)
3) Strain Kale and Noodles and let sit in a bowl while you prepare the other ingredients.
4) Add 1 chopped tomato. I used an organic heirloom tomato and I’m not exactly sure how much I paid for it, but I’ll be generous and say 1 buck!
5) Chop and add one yummy avocado! I found avocados on sale today at Ralph’s for only 88 cents!
6) Strain and add one can of beans. I used kidney beans but you can add whatever suits your fancy! Black beans would be yummy too Cost of 1/2 can of beans? 50 cents!
7) Mix all of your ingredients and then get ready to make your dressing!
JACKIE’S VEGAN DRESSING:
Mix in a bowl:
1 heaping tablespoon of grain mustard (I like the mustard with seeds in it, but you can use any you like)
1 heaping tablespoon of brown sugar (agave works well too, if you prefer)
3 tablespoons of olive oil (any oil will do)
3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar (rice vinegar would also taste good!)
3 pinches of dried basil (squish it up between your fingers as you add it to let the flavor out!)
Ground Pepper to taste
(estimated cost of dressing: 50 cents!)
MIX then Add to your Pasta and Chill! (or eat warm if you prefer!)
Here’s the key!
Ask yourself the following questions:
1) Is my meal colorful?? Because colorful usually means healthy! YES, this pasta salad is super colorful!
2) Does it have protein, fat and carbohydrates? All of which we need every day! YES, Beans = Protein! Pasta = Carbs and Avocados and Olive Oil = Fat! The funny thing is that SO many people are scared of carbs and fats these days, but you really DO need them!
3) Was my meal cheap enough, easy enough and delicious enough so I’ll be inclined to stay vegan forever and ever? YES! (although honestly, I don’t eat animals because I’m compassionate. Tasty, healthy food is just a fantastic bonus!)
Cheers to all of the chefs out there that make such beautiful meals for us to ogle…. I love looking at all the pictures! But here’s to all of YOU who are just starting off on your vegan adventure, and just need something quick, cheap and yummy. You can DO this! And the animals love you for it!
Bon Vegan Appétit!