After weeks of neglecting my duties as a contributor to this blog, I’m back with a new mission! It seems that Rachel has a few young, male vegan friends who are at a loss for simple, tasty recipes that don’t require lots of prep time. Being the young male, quasi-vegan of our duo, I was a natural choice for tackling this particular request.
In a later post I’ll try to outline what I think are some of the basics of simple, vegan cooking for bachelors, but I’ll stick now to providing what I think is a simple, reasonably tasty dish.
One of the simplest and most obvious meals is pasta with seasonal/local vegetables. If it’s summertime, slice up a zucchini, degorge it (salt both sides of your zucchini coins, leave them to drain in a colander for a few minutes, then pat dry with a clean cloth), pan fry with some garlic and/or onions, toss with cooked pasta of choice, maybe a glug of olive oil, and BAM! Dinner’s ready.
A variant of this recipe that I liked to prepare in Quito was with winter squash (acorn, butternut, pumpkin, etc.). I could buy two-pound bag of cubed squash at the store for something like 90 cents. This, combined with pasta, made it not only one of the easiest, but also the cheapest meals ever. Here’s the recipe. Hopefully Rachel will make it and photograph the results for your viewing pleasure.
Dry pasta for one (2-4 oz, depending on how hungry you are)
~1 cup cubed squash (if your grocery store doesn’t carry cubed squash, just buy your preferred variety and cut into 1/2 inch cubes)
~1/2 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)
Let’s get started by following the cooking directions on the box of pasta. While waiting for the well-salted water to come to a boil, cube your squash and mince your garlic (if using). Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. When the oil is warmed, add the squash, with a sprinkle of salt, and cover for a couple of minutes until cooked through (a fork should pierce it with no resistance).
At this point, your water should be boiling, so don’t forget to add the pasta!
Once the squash is cooked through, turn up the heat and pan-fry the squash until crispy and golden-brown. I often liked to throw in a handful of sliced mushrooms during this process, but you can leave them out. If you’re using garlic, stir it in towards the end of the frying. Otherwise, if you’re really lazy, stir some garlic powder in at the very end.
Drain your cooked pasta, toss it with the squash, and serve (or eat directly from the pot/pan).