Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Veganism is for Lovers

Two-Hearts Salad
There are many reasons to be vegan. For the love of animals. For the love of the earth and protecting its environment. For the love of your own body and health. For me, I can add for the love of my amazing husband, who has been vegan for over 20 years, and is the biggest inspiration to me.

With this in mind, I was very excited to put together a Valentine's Day menu this year, because to me, cooking vegan food is an expression of love for everything I named above. And then I was even more excited when the fabulous blog Meet the Shannons wanted to include my menu in their special edition about vegans on V-Day.

The salad above is a Two-Hearts salad, featuring both artichoke hearts and hearts of palm, the recipe for which I found in the archives of Epicurious. You don't really need a recipe though - simply quarter some artichoke hearts, slice the hearts of palm, and serve them over salad greens with some halved cherry or grape tomatoes and a dijon vinaigrette. Simple, healthy, light, and a perfect first course for your romantic dinner à deux.

For the main course, I came across this recipe for Pasta with Asparagus in Lemon Cream Sauce from one of my favorite vegans, Melisser Elliott, which is also included in her book The Vegan Girl's Guide to Life. Asparagus is usually considered one of the "aphrodisiac" foods, so you can't really go wrong with that, can you? I only changed Melisser's recipe by adding some sliced portobello mushrooms, because I had them on hand and also because I love mushrooms almost as much as I love my husband. Well, maybe not quite that much, but you know, I love them a lot. Again this was a fairly quick and easy recipe to make, the cream sauce is cashew-based but does not require overnight soaking, which is great for someone like me, who usually doesn't read that part of the recipe until I'm halfway through making it. The sauce is thick but not too heavy, garlicky, and scented with lemon zest and juice. The flavors were very similar actually to my recipe for Lemon Gnocchi with Spinach & Peas, but I like that Melisser's cream sauce was soy-free, as I've been trying to temporarily cut back on that.

We enjoyed this pasta very much, and we all know that eating pasta together is romantic, right?

Pasta with Asparagus & Mushrooms in Lemon Cream Sauce
Stay tuned for a super sexy Valentine's Day dessert post in the next day or two!


  1. Romantic indeed! I also like that salad idea! I am hoping my hubs and Iare just healthy for Valentine's. :(

  2. You are doing V-Day so right, need to check out Melisser's pasta asap- bet that dessert is going to be over the top.

  3. How love-ly! Food is such an expression of love. For me it's how I show other people that I care. That same sentiment really comes through in your photos!

    So. What's for dessert?

  4. Beautiful menu!

    I am so with you on the over use of soy in vegan cooking. I have really been cutting back lately myself. I don't think it is good to eat too much of any one thing. Except maybe mushrooms....

  5. Wow, I didn't know that about your husband! How amazing!

    That pasta is so good, isn't it?! I was a tester for the recipes in that book & they're all so great!

    Happy (early) Valentine's Day! :)