It's hot. Like heat index of 105 degrees kinda hot. And just as jeans, socks, and anything with sleeves is out of the question, so is turning on the oven. I've been eating lots of cold stuff this week — cold noodles, salads, and the like.
I created this Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Salad for my new cookbook project (for which I'm veganizing retro foods of the past century).
I'll be using this recipe in my 1980s chapter. I'm sure pasta salad dates back to pre-1980s. But the 80s were the days of tri-color rotini noodle salads at family reunions and potlucks. Maybe that was just my memories of the 80s. But hey, it works. I'm pretty sure the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles would think this pizza-flavored pasta salad was totally radical. And that's pretty damn 80s. Gnarly dude.
Rotini pasta is tossed with a homemade garlicky oil & vinegar & marinara dressing. There's lots of olives, minced onions, and yellow bell pepper. And of course, vegan pepperoni. I try to avoid using too many plant meats in my recipes and instead opt for tofu, tempeh, and seitan. That's simply to make the recipes more accessible to people in small towns who may not have access to a variety of faux meats. It's definitely not out of some health concern thing. If you like fake meat, that's okay. It's way better for you (and the animals) than meat-meat. Sure, it's processed food. But it's processed food with lower saturated fat and no cholesterol. And many vegan plant meats are made with fairly wholesome ingredients. Don't eat it at every meal. But eat it as a treat. Plant meat is tasty. It's all about balance.
Alright, I'm off the soapbox. But all that is to say, I just had to include plant pepperoni in this! You could leave it out and it would still be pizza-ish (thanks to marinara in the dressing). But pepperoni makes it pretty darn awesome.
On the side, I had this vegan version of the Caprese Salad in a Jar from my friends Justin and Amy's The Southern Vegetarian Cookbook.
That's mesclun mix, halved heirloom cherry tomatoes, diced Teese mozzarella, fresh basil, and an olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette.
Justin' version was actually already vegan since it didn't call for any mozzarella at all. But I added the Teese mozzarella cause it seemed like a good idea for a caprese salad. Also, I left out the broccolini called for in the recipe because I forgot to buy it.
But I have a confession: I HATE ARUGALA. Hate it. And this mesclun mix from the farmer's market was loaded with it. I ate this salad for three days, really trying to learn to love the peppery, bitter green. But I couldn't. Next time, I will make this with romaine. I'm romaine and iceberg girl. Don't care much for all those fancy microgreens.
Anyway, I'll keep staying cool with salads. But tomorrow morning, I'm flying to Miami for the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies convention. I won't be blogging tomorrow, but I'll be back with a Miami vegan food recap on Sunday or Monday night.