Some dishes become staples in the family and are prepared for years without a true “recipe” being written. Then something throws a monkey wrench into the situation, and your standard fare has to be rearranged ~ or something substituted.
That happened with this recipe last year. A friend came to visit and we went to the very large local health food store together. She was nearly vegan, but my family is totally vegan. I reached for a roll of Worthington’s Chickette Roll that I had used for years in this salad and other things. She informed me that the recipe had been changed a year or two before and it was no longer vegan!! *GASP!* Say it isn’t so!! *groan* Back to the drawing board to find a “chicken” replacement. (When will I remember to frequently re-read nutritional labels? And why do companies “fix” something that wasn’t broken?)
The newest challenge for my family is to find a pasta that is gluten-free that we like. I used a corn-quinoa type the time before last and it was good. I couldn’t leave well enough alone, so we had a brown rice one the last time…not so good. It was a little slimey feeling. I didn’t mind it, but the family gave it a thumbs-down. So, I went back to the corn-quinoa, this time in elbows. I read the package again and noticed it said not to overcook the pasta ~ in big bold letters. So I was scrupulously careful. I didn’t want mush. Oh…we didn’t get mush. No, no. We got just short of crispy!! Somehow, between testing it while it was cooking in the pot and rinsing it in cold water, the pasta went from al dente to ewwwww.
My husband, who loves this dish and would eat it several times a week, decided it was worth it to eat it. Some of the others decided to forego the “pleasure.” I ate some, but I had a terrible stomach ache several hours later. Moral of the story? Don’t believe everything you read…even on food packages. Cook your pasta well enough.
- 1 lb. pasta (elbows, shells, or rotini twists work well), may be gluten-free
- 3-4 medium tomatoes, diced*
- 1 large cucumber, quartered and sliced*
- 1 can black olives, sliced or quartered
- 1/4-1/2 c. minced onion
- “chicken” style veggie meat substitute (I use this.)
- Veganaise, to taste
- salt to taste
Please note – pasta doesn’t seem to come in 1 lb. boxes any more. If you buy 2 boxes and fill the 13+ oz. one to near the top, it approximates 1 lb.
Cook pasta according to package directions, or until softer than al dente. Rinse under cold water and drain.
Place the vegetables in a very large bowl. Salt them and toss together. Add the drained pasta and veggie meat. Mix in Veganaise to taste.
Chill and serve.
*Feel free to use more ~ I often do.