Here’s a little story about how I fell in love with this vegan whole-wheat pasta with textured soy sauce.
My dad is a inveterate practical joker. With him, life was always an adventure. One day he showed up at home with what looked to be dog food. I wouldn’t have been surprised if he had been trying to trick us into eating dog food, but the label was clear: “soy meat” .
You’d think my dad is a vegetarian, that is far from the truth, he is an enthusiastic meat-eater. But he is always finding new things to try, and in those days “soy meat”, a cutesy name for textured soy, was just a novelty.
Nowadays you can’t swing a wooden spoon at a supermarket without hitting soy substitutes for everything.
Soy meat is, obviously, not meat at all. It doesn’t even taste like any kind of meat (at least no meat I ever tried), but it has a similar texture and appearance to diced beef once it’s cooked. I have been eating textured soy for decades now, from the time I was -briefly- a vegan, to my time as a vegetarian, to my current status as mostly-vegetarian with the occasional fish — and even less-frequent meat — thrown in the mix.
If you were curious to try this product, or wanted a new recipe to add to your repertoire, look no more. This dish is loaded with vegetables, natural ingredients and made with whole-wheat pasta. Now you can eat without guilt.
And you meat-eater, before you laugh at us vegans, vegetarians, tree-huggers and plant-lovers, give this a try, you may find out that this is not only an inexpensive source of protein, but it will also make your doctors happy. And the undertaker very sad.
- 3 cups of cherry tomatoes
- 2 teaspoon of salt , divided
- 1/2 teaspoon of pepper , divided
- 1/2 lb [0.23 kg] of textured soy
- 1 quart of boiling-hot water , plus more for boiling pasta
- 1 1/2 lb [0.67 kg] whole-wheat pasta
- 3 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 large white onion , cut into strips
- 1/2 white button mushrooms , clean and sliced
- 2 garlic cloves , crushed
- 1 teaspoon of dry , crushed chili peppers (optional)
- 1 teaspoon of dry oregano leaves
- 1 cup of soy milk
- 1 doz basil leaves , chopped
Heat oven to 200 ºC [400 ºF].
Place the tomatoes on a baking tray. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and a pinch of pepper.
Cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes (until the skin is wrinkled and broken).
Re-hydrate the textured soy by adding boiling-hot water to it. Let it rest for 15 minutes. Set aside
Boil the pasta al dente with a teaspoon of salt added to the water. Follow the instructions in the package.
In a saucepan heat the oil over low heat. Add the onion and cook and stir until the onions become translucent.
Increase the heat to medium and add mushrooms and garlic. Cook and stir for a minute.
Remove the textured soy from the water, squeezing to release as much water as possible.
Add the textured soy to the pan and cook and stir for a minute. Add tomatoes, chili peppers and oregano. Cook and stir for two more minutes.
Add the soy milk, cook and stir until the liquid has reduced to half
Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the basil.
Serve the pasta topped with the sauce.