Vegan Italian Sausage Almond Pasta with fresh spinach, tomatoes, lemon, and crushed almonds is a great weekday meal that is ready in 35 minutes.
Vegan Italian Sausage Almond Pasta with fresh spinach, tomatoes, lemon, and crushed almonds is a great weekday meal that is ready in 35 minutes. Each bite is full of zesty spices that bring back some fond memories.
I remember going to Italian restaurants as a kid. I was impressed by the atmosphere. A dimly lit room with widely spaced candle-lit tables made it seem as if clandestine meetings were being held by the patrons. The soft murmur of their voices blending with the croons of Frank Sinatra.
8 by 10 framed photos of famous Italian movie and music stars in the background giving the place an old-timey feel. or like I was on a movie set. These and the heady aroma of baked bread, roasted garlic, and sausage-laden pasta always made my mouth water.
This nostalgia prompted me to try and create a vegetarian version for my friends and family to enjoy. I bet the carnivores among them won’t even be able to tell the difference. When all the flavors come together so well it is sometimes hard to remember I’m not eating meat.
The addition of Tofurkey Italian Sausages with sun dried tomatoes and basil kick it up another notch. You can use the sausage in so many recipes too. What recipes do you use it in?
- Crumble and use as a topping for pizza
- Slice and sear with a bit of olive oil, add to any pasta dish
- Cook to package directions and serve with sauteed greens and some garlic
- Slice thinly and use as a layer in lasagna
- Crumbled they would make a great filling for a taco or burrito
- Crumble and use in a stuffed bell pepper or tomato
- Cut into bite size pieces and put it in a stew or gumbo with your favorite veggies
After taste testing several store bought brands, I settled on Tofurkey as the best in its approximation and consistency to the meat sausage I remember.
I sometimes make my own sausage substitute with white beans (great northern or navy). Pretty easy to whip up and use in a bunch of ways. Roll them up, wrap them in foil and steam them for about 45 minutes. I add lots of spices along with vegetable broth, Bragg Liquid Aminos, vital wheat gluten, and nutritional yeast:
- granulated garlic
- ground fennel seed
- red pepper flakes
- sweet paprika
I rarely go for seconds, but I did with the Vegan Italian Sausage Almond Pasta. So many layers of flavor here. The hint of spice from the sausage and herbs, sweetness from the almond, and the tartness from the tomatoes made this too good not to have twice. My taste tester, my brother the omnivore, gave this recipe a thumbs up.
While I write this blog post, I’m listening to some obscure Italian punk: Guglielmo – Un’avventura (1982). Music sets the mood and pace when I cook and when I write. You can check it out on Youtube. Do you guys listen to music while you cook too? I try to find upbeat, poppy sort of punk for cooking like Social Distortion, Agent Orange, or the Vandals.
- 1 lb penne pasta
- 1 package (13 oz) Tofurkey Italian Sausages - crumbled or cubed
- ½ cup almonds - soak in water for 30 minutes then blend to paste.
- 1 cup diced tomatoes - canned or fresh
- 1½ cups spinach
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- 1 lemon - juice & zest.
- 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- Cook penne to package directions
- Heat olive oil in large saucepan
- Add sausage at medium heat, stir frequently for 5 mins.
- Add salt, tomatoes, and spinach
- Stir until greens are tender, about 4 mins
- Add mustard, lemon juice & zest, stir
- Add the cooked pasta, stir
- Add salt (if needed), black pepper, and red pepper flakes.