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
- ½ teaspoon of pepper, divided
- ½ lb [0.23 kg] of textured soy
- 1 quart of boiling-hot water, plus more for boiling pasta
- 1½ lb [0.67 kg] whole-wheat pasta
- 3 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 large white onion, cut into strips
- ½ 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.