Vegan Pasta with peas and beets, which fancy themselves as bacon!

     

    Vegan Pasta with peas and beets

     

    Time:         prep. 10 mins
                       cook. 25-40 mins
    Difficulty:  easy
    Yields:       2 portions
    Cost :         low
     

    Vegan pasta with peas and beetroot bacon will surprise you with its bright colors and reassuring yumminess.
    A recipe suitable for the whole family, which will be appreciated even by picky eaters.
    It is also a perfect example of the dictates of CHE Food Revolution: very cheap, healthy and ethical.
    It can also be a great dinner saver: the beetroot bacon can be prepared in advance – two or three days in advance without any problems – and the peas can be frozen.
    However, there is another reason why I recommend this recipe: it is not always possible to bring to the table a dish that nicely simulates meat products, with such common and natural ingredients and processes. It is true that our aim is to reduce or eliminate the consumption of meat, but this is no justification for filling the fridge with heavily processed, not always healthy but pricey food, with lots of packaging.
    After all, motto of CHE are easy to remember:

    – less industrially produced foods and animal-based foods

    – more food products close to their natural form;

    – affordable prices and availability for all.

    So get ready for the following rewarding gastronomic experience, definitely cheap and absolutely beneficial; the only thing it lacks is a sense of guilt!
     

    Ingredients

    for beetroot bacon

    1 large beetroot
    water for cooking
    1 tablespoon of lemon juice (squeeze onto drained slices after cooking)
    spices (optional): a generous sprinkling of pepper, 2-3 juniper berries, 1-2 cloves
    a sprig of rosemary, 1-2 bay leaves
    salt to taste
    1 tablespoon of cornflour, for breading the beetroot slices
    1 tablespoon of evo oil, for grilling/stir-frying

    Extra tip

    For the vegan pasta with peas you will need about 5 – 6 slices of beetroot bacon per portion, but that does not mean you should prepare only 12 slices!
    Beetroot prepared in this way reaches a higher culinary level, so you can forego moderation this time: prepare more then you need and use the leftovers for enriching sandwiches, salads, sauces or even for decorating sandwich cakes like this one

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    for peas

    250 g fresh or frozen peas
    a not very large onion
    2-3 tablespoons of plant-based cream (optional: I didn’t use it)
    1 dried chilli pepper (optional)
    1 tablespoon of evo oil

    for pasta

    150 g wholemeal pasta
    salt to taste

    for garnish

    basil leaves (optional)
    a drizzle of olive oil
    a sprinkling of spicy paprika (optional)

    Directions

    As you will have noticed, we have three main groups of ingredients, so we will make this vegan pasta with peas and beetroot in several stages.
    First of all, after washing the beetroot very well, peel it and cut it into very thin slices using a potato peeler.

    Practical tip

    Remember that during the cutting operation, some reddish micro-drops may splash onto you, which are difficult to remove, so an apron is a must.
    Pink-dyed hands, on the other hand, can be easily cleaned by rubbing them dry with a handful of salt (or bicarbonate), or a little vinegar or even half a lemon… thus avoiding wasting liters of water unnecessarily, without achieving any results

    Cook the beetroot slices in the water with spices: in a pressure cooker it would take about 45 minutes after the hissing sound; if you still use a normal pot, just double the time (810 minutes after boiling).
    Then put the slices in a colander to drain, so they will also cool earlier.
    In the meantime, prepare the peas for the pasta, by browning the onion cut into very small cubes with 1 tablespoon of evo oil.
    You can add the peas directly on top of the now golden onions, if the peas are fresh and very small, without any per-procedure, except washing; if they are larger and/or frozen, cook them first in boiling water for 5-8 minutes after the hissing, otherwise 10-15 minutes from boiling.
    Peas have a lower amount of anti-nutrients than other legumes [1], but the best way to reduce them is to cook them at high temperatures, where only a pressure cooker will dare. If you opt for dried peas, first soak them for at least 6 hours.
    Once they are ready, transfer them to the pan with the onion and continue to cook on a low heat with a lid for about 5 minutes.
    Cook the pasta in boiling water, or use the passive cooking technique to save energy: for this purpose, as soon as the water comes to the boil, pour in the pasta, count 3-4 minutes and turn off the heat, waiting for the cooking time indicated on the packet (minus the 3-4 minutes mentioned above).
    For more information on this very useful budget-saving technique, also given the current period of high energy bills, read the specific article
    .
    At the same time as the pasta is cooking, take the cold beetroot slices, sprinkle them lightly with 1 tablespoon of cornflour and bake them in the oven with a little oil (grill function); or in a non-stick frying pan over a high heat for about 5 minutes, just to get a nice crust that will tickle your palate.

    pan frying of beetroot bacon

    In the final stage, transfer the drained pasta to the pan of peas and onion and toss to mix well with the sauce; at this stage, if you wish, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of cream for more creaminess and deliciousness, but this is only optional.
    Add the beetroot slices over vegan pasta with peas only after you have put it on the plate and do not stir further to avoid coloring the other ingredients; but believe me, nothing bad happens if you end up with pink pasta!
     

    Smart combos

    When the body struggles to adapt to the change of season, we need to help it by increasing the antioxidants provided by our diet.
    Quercetin, glutathione, vitamins C and K, omega 3, tocopherol and many other compounds that boost the immune system are found in abundance in avocados, and while they’re still in season, why not take advantage of them with some delicious guacamole?
    For more tips on how to boost your immune system, you can read this article.
    Of course, some vitamin C-rich salads will help you to absorb the non-heme iron in this dish [2]. And to find out how the miracle happens, click here.

    Enjoy your meal and good revolution to all

     

    Bibliography
    [1] Savage, Geoffrey. (1989). Antinutritional Factors in Peas.
    [2] Teucher B, Olivares M, Cori H. (2004). Enhancers of iron absorption: ascorbic acid and other organic acids. International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research 74(6):403-419

     

     

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