Basil Cream Pasta + Spring Vegetables & Tofu

Okay, first...a question. What do you feed your vegan dog? Bailey has been on Taste of The Wild - Salmon for a long time now, but I harbour yucky feelings about it. Yes, yucky feelings regarding the ethics of said dog food of course, but more so about Bob's optimum health. First and foremost let it be noted that I've done a lot of research on the subject of vegan dog food and I know that dogs can thrive exceptionally on a vegan diet. Cats, however, absolutely cannot. Also, interesting factoid, the longest dog to ever live was vegan. So there's that.  Bailey is basically Todd's and my furry, giant toddler (he can open doors, cabinets and microwaves, people). We want him to be the healthiest he can be. This is why he gets walks twice a day (you think I enjoy going out in 60 mph winds) and eats his fair share of vegetable trimmings #nocompostncessary. He'll eat any vegetable, really. Except raw onion and celery. He politely passes on those. 

If you follow Produce On Parade using Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter you'll know I'm thinking of transitioning him to Natural Balance Vegan Formula dog food. Do you have experience with this dog food or any other vegan dog food? Bailey is a seven year old Husky/German Shepherd rescue who weighs 92 lbs., and is moderately active...when feels like it. I would very much appreciate any input into this matter. Thank you in advance!

Okay, back to people food. And boy this is a good one.

Produce On Parade - Basil Cream Pasta + Spring Vegetables & Tofu

Sometimes I just want need a rich and creamy pasta dish. You know, where plant-based milk and cashews can do their beautiful dance together in a Vitamix? Throw in a handful of fresh basil to this cream sauce and it's on an entirely different level of ecstasy. Combine with steamed broccoli, asparagus, and a little baked tofu...that there is a one amazeballs meal. Quick note, I'm somewhat intrigued by the fact that I did not get auto corrected for amazeballs. Interesting

Produce On Parade - Basil Cream Pasta + Spring Vegetables & Tofu

Nom, nom, nom...basil. Best herb ever, no? Is there anyone just going through life not liking basil? I'm curious. 

Basil Cream Pasta + Spring Vegetables & Tofu

Serves 6

Notes: For the pasta in this dish, I tried to pick a shape that was similar to cut asparagus. Penne would work well, too! The vegetables can be steamed, roasted, or sauteed and any vegetables you like can be substituted. I used coconut milk for this recipe. Almond milk isn't recommended as I think it has too strong of a flavor and may overpower the basil. 

  • Sustenance: 
  • 1 head of broccoli florets, chopped
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, sliced on the diagonal 
  • 1 lb. pasta, dry (your choice)
  • 9 oz. baked tofu (I like Wildwood brand), cubed small
  • Onion & Basil Mixture:
  • 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, chiffonaded 
  • Roux:
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups soy or coconut milk
  • Blender:
  • 1/2 cup raw cashews
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

Begin by steaming the chopped vegetables. I did this in my electric steamer. You want them tender and bright, but not mushy. Alternatively, they can be roasted or sauteed. 

Produce On Parade - Basil Cream Pasta + Spring Vegetables & TofuBring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. 

Meanwhile, heat 1/2 Tbsp. oil in a small saucepan on medium-low. Add the onion and garlic. Sautee for about 5 minutes, until the onions have browned. 

Next, add the basil to the onions and saute for about 1 minute, until just wilted but still bright green. Remove from heat and transfer to a small plate until ready for use. 

Produce On Parade - Basil Cream Pasta + Spring Vegetables & TofuIf the water is boiling for the pasta, add it and cook until al dente. Strain and set aside. The pasta should be done right after the rest of the recipe is finished.

Produce On Parade - Basil Cream Pasta + Spring Vegetables & TofuIn the same saucepan, heat 1 Tbsp. oil over low. Then add the flour, stirring for a few minutes until the flour becomes fragrant. Now, slowly whisk in the soymilk and turn to medium heat. Whisk occasionally until the milk has thickened slightly. Transfer carefully to a blender. 

Add the blender ingredients as well as the basil and onion mixture to the blender. Blend on high until smooth and creamy. A tip for blending very hot ingredients is to allow a little steam to vent through the lid so there's no explosion. 

Produce On Parade - Basil Cream Pasta + Spring Vegetables & TofuChop the tofu into small cubes. 

Drain the cooked pasta if it hasn't been already and add it back to the pot. Mix in half the sauce. Stir well to coat, then incorporate the vegetables and the tofu. Add the remaining sauce and mix very well. 

Produce On Parade - Basil Cream Pasta + Spring Vegetables & Tofu

Serve hot and topped with additional fresh basil. 

Produce On Parade - Basil Cream Pasta + Spring Vegetables & Tofu

Whew, thanks for hanging in there with me through this very hodgepodge post. There's a lot of my mind, okay.

Love the violin in this song.

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German Word of The Day: Basil --> Basilikum (pronounced: bah-zill-E-come) Love it. I hope they don't actually just use "basil" though, that would be unfortunate. 

Good Deed of The Day: Today I am asking for your help to end the Canadian commercial seal slaughter by implementing a federal buyout of sealing licenses. Sign this petition! Baby seals being slaughtered people. For their pelts. Legally! And if that doesn't piss you should. Let's try and do something about it, eh? I'm Alaskan (Canada's little sister), so I can use "eh" here. 

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