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Vegan Recipe – Spaghetti Squash “Pasta”

In the new year, I have been trying to increase the amount of whole foods that we consume.  To me, this means coming up with creative ways to eat less processed food and re-think traditional meals.  I have already experimented with (and found that I love) cauliflower rice, so I decided to try spaghetti squash pasta next.

I followed these instructions from Colorful Eats for preparing the squash.  First you bake it a bit, then you cut it open and clean it out a lot like preparing a pumpkin on Halloween.  Then you use a fork to scrape out little shavings from the inside of the squash.  This took a whole lot of wrist strength, to the point where I felt that I maybe undercooked the squash.

Preparing Spaghetti Squash | A Vegan in Progress

Cleaned squash on the left, Squash shavings on the right

Once I was done preparing the spaghetti squash shavings, I mixed them with everything I would put in a typical Italian pasta bowl.  I added kalamata olives, tomatoes, basil, garlic, and just a little bit of a red pepper spread.

Spaghetti Squash Bowl | A Vegan in Progress

It has a little bit of a crunch in comparison to spaghetti, and the pieces are obviously shorter, but it’s got the feel of a bowl of pasta without the guilt.  Eric happily ate the leftovers on another night.  He said that he would eat it again, and so would I, but I’m not sure it was worth the effort.  It was kind of a pain to prepare, especially in comparison to the incredibly easy cauliflower rice.

Vegan at Hugo’s Restaurant, Post 2

I have already talked about Hugo’s Restaurant, but I thought that I could do multiple reviews of restaurants as I make subsequent visits.  Click here to see previous posts about Hugo’s Restaurant.

After my previous visit to Hugo’s Restaurant with my mom and my sister, I was really looking forward to taking Eric there.  It’s a place where we both have a bunch of options to choose from, which is a real pleasure.

After absolutely loving my mom’s order of Pasta Victor last time, I thought I would try a different pasta order.  I got the Penne Con Verdure, which is described as “Red lentil penne is organic, protein-rich, gluten-free and GMO-free. Served here with a marinara-pesto sauce, chopped tomatoes, Kalamata olives and blend of seasonal vegetables. Topped with fresh basil.”  It was very tasty and well-cooked, but was sort of disappointing because I felt I could have made it myself.  I guess it’s my bad for ordering it, but I guess I just thought I would be blown away like I was with the Pasta Victor sauce.  It was perfectly fine, but I won’t likely order it again.  Sorry for the terribly blurry photo.

Penne con Verdure, Hugo's Restaurant | A Vegan in Progress

Eric ordered their seasonal holiday meal.  It came with stuffing, hash brown cakes, mashed sweet potatoes, and chicken.  Everything but the chicken was vegan, so I tried a bite of each to report back.  The mashed potatoes and stuffing were fine, but they didn’t blow us away.  The little hash brown cakes, however, were somewhat burned as you can see in the photo.

Holiday meal, Hugo's Restaurant | A Vegan in Progress

Overall, this was a bit of a disappointing meal.  I’m sure to be back at Hugo’s again, but I’m not as impressed as I was on my previous visit.

Victoria Vegan Artichoke Alfredo Sauce

I really liked the Victoria Vegan Roasted Pepper Alfredo Sauce, so I picked up a jar of the Victoria Vegan Artichoke Alfredo Sauce while at Viva La Vegan Grocery in Santa Monica.

Victoria Vegan Artichoke Alfredo Sauce | A Vegan in Progress

I thought it was pretty plain when I first tried it (seen in the photo below), but I think that’s because all of the artichoke had settled at the bottom.  It surprised the heck out of me when I poured some more out onto leftover pasta for lunch and saw artichoke chunks fall into the bowl.  I thought it had gone bad at first!  It’s a pretty tasty alfredo sauce, although I prefer the Roasted Red Pepper version.  Just make sure you shake the jar first!

Victoria Vegan Artichoke Alfredo Sauce | A Vegan in Progress

Beyond Meat Retail Packages and Victoria Vegan Roasted Pepper Alfredo Sauce

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If you haven’t heard of Beyond Meat, they first introduced their plant based meat-free product in the prepared food section of Whole Foods.  This meant that they often ran out, the quality was uneven, and you could only get certain recipes.  I was only ever able to try the sesame recipe from our local Whole foods and lucky for me, the quality was great.

Needless to say, I was really looking forward to their retail packages so that I could add their Chicken-Free Strips to any recipe.  A few months ago I decided to try it with bow tie pasta, sun-dried tomatoes, and Victoria Vegan Roasted Pepper Alfredo Sauce.

Beyond Meat Retail Packages and Victoria Vegan Red Pepper Alfredo Sauce | A Vegan in Progress

That sauce is awesome!  It’s super flavorful and very creamy… Eric even loved it.  However, the Beyond Meat left a lot to be desired.  First of all, it was in way bigger strips than when it was sold in prepared foods.  Even when I ate meat I wasn’t interested in strips that thick.  I felt like I had to choke them down and even with a lot of tasty sauce, they seemed dry.

Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips | A Vegan in Progress

Here’s the final result.  It wasn’t a horrible flop of a meal, but I haven’t purchased Beyond Meat since and don’t think I am likely to again.  The Victoria Vegan Roasted Pepper Alfredo Sauce, however, will see the inside of my fridge again and again.

Red Pepper Alfredo Beyond Meat Dish | A Vegan in Progress

Vegan at Fritto Misto, Santa Monica

In the past, I have enjoyed a couple of delicious meals at Fritto Misto with friends, but not as a vegan.  Eric and I had plans for an evening out for a close up magic show and agreed to get dinner beforehand.  Eric very kindly did some research on vegan friendly restaurants in Santa Monica and stumbled across the Santa Monica Vegan review of vegan options at Fritto Misto.  It’s so great to find another LA Vegan posting reviews… I bookmarked it immediately.

Fritto Misto, Santa Monica | A Vegan in Progress

I followed the Santa Monica Vegan’s suggestion and ordered off of the “Create Your Own” pasta page in the menu.  I ordered the wheatless/eggless pasta with marinara sauce, artichoke hearts, broccoli, and sundried tomatoes.  That was one delicious (and HUGE) bowl of pasta.  It was enough for 2 or more meals.

Fritto Misto - Create Your Own Pasta | A Vegan in Progress

This was a great place to go with omnivore friends.  Everyone walked away full and pleased.  Additionally, they have a tiny corkage fee ($2), which makes for a fun, lively dinner.