|My mom's ground-beef skillet, all veganized and stuff. This version's gluten-free, since I used leftover brown rice pasta –but you can use any small pasta.|
Following my Vegan Mofo theme of going Back to Basics, I'm sharing a very forgiving, slightly retro recipe that my mom used to make with –ew! – ground beef. When my new gas stove was first installed, you'd think that I would have cooked something gourmet and complex. Nope. After weeks of construction, dust and take out meals, I desperately needed a steaming dish of home-cooked comfort. So I opted for this down-home wonder, which I call The Easy, Weeknight Skillet. It's one of my busy-evening go-tos.
I've modified my mom's recipe and have been making it with tempeh, soy curls, TVP, lentils, etc for years. Really, I hate to call it a recipe, because mom never followed one; she just threw everything in the skillet and knew it would work. I take the same confident approach to this humble dish. It's pretty hard to screw up.
Just like the previous food porn I've featured so far this month, this dish calls upon pantry staples. So pull a box of the on-sale elbow macaroni or rigatoni from your stashed away, and a can of tomatoes [2 or 3 fresh tomatoes will also work quite nicely!]. Enjoy!
[Pathetically] Easy, Weeknight Skillet
- 1 cup small pasta [eg, elbows, rigatoni]
- 1 T olive oil
- 3-5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1 red or green pepper, seeded and diced
- 1 15-16 ounce can tomatoes, including juice [Or 2-3 fresh tomatoes, chopped]
- Your favorite protein [1 package tempeh, crumbled; 1 cup soy curls, 1 cup TVP,1 cup dry lentils]
- Up to 1 T of your favorite dried herbs, mixing and matching works! [eg, basil, oregano, fennel seeds, herbes de Provençe, thyme, parsley]
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Nutritional yeast, for sprinkling
|You don't need advanced cooking skills to make this skillet|
Heat oil in a large skillet. Add garlic and onion and saute until soft, about 5 minutes. Add peppers and saute until they are softish, about 10 more minutes.
Stir in remaning ingredients. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until almost all of the liquid is absorbed [Add broth or water if needed]; it should be moist, and not dry. This will take anywhere from 20-40 minutes, depending on the protein you use.
Toss pasta into skillet and serve warm, with nutritional yeast for sprinkling.