Sunday, August 1, 2010

Okra & Greens Pasta - Vegan

This is a simple vegan recipe to use up the green veggies in your refrigerator.
Okra is the key ingredient that gives the thick saucy texture.

What goes into your body (vegan):
  • Okra (I used frozen okra since fresh ones are harder to come by around here)
  • Leafy greens with good texture (kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, etc.), chopped
  • Tomatoes, diced
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Garlic, minced
  • Sesame oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Dried red chili pepper flakes (optional)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Basil leaves (optional, Thai basil gives more oriental flavor, but regular basil works just fine)
  • Whole wheat pasta

You are going to... :
  1. Start cooking the pasta according to the package instructions.
  2. Heat a generous amount of sesame oil in a pan, add garlic.
  3. Once you start smelling the nice garlic flavor, add leafy greens of your choice. Stir fry them 1-2 minutes.
  4. Add okra to the pan and cook it till it is tender. (Takes a bit longer using frozen ones) While cooking, add some soy sauce and red chili pepper flakes (optional).
  5. Add tomatoes and green onions, stir fry for another 1-2 minutes.
  6. Drain cooked pasta and mix with some sesame oil to keep it from being sticky.
  7. Serve the veggie mix over the pasta with sprinkle of fresh basil leaves and sesame seeds.
Secrets from the chef:
  • This one has an Oriental flavor. If you want to make it more of an Italian flavor, substitute sesame oil with olive oil, soy sauce with Italian herbs, and sesame seeds with flax seeds.
  • I also add grated ginger if have ginger in my refrigerator. It adds so much flavor!
  • This is a throw-everything-in-a-pan kind of recipe, no measuring is required. Everything on the ingredients list is good for you, please feel free to be liberal on the items you like. (Maybe not too much soy sauce since it contains a lot of sodium.)
  • Please use a generous amount of oil for cooking, okra tend to stick to the pan. No need to feel guilty since it's the only source of fat (good fat) in this recipe. You get a tiny bit of good fat from the seeds as well.
  • "Organic whole wheat spaghetti" from Trader Joe's is a must have for my pantry. (Seen in the picture above.) It's only $1.29 for a bag. It's healthier and no more expensive than typical "white" spaghetti from other grocery stores. Can't beat that!
Bon appétit!

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