Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Betty Crocker Project : Vegan Chicken & Pasta with Fresh Herbs

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So I've had a little bout of writer's block today. I think part of it is because my last post was kinda frazzled. That's what happens when I'm even discussing changing "the plans". I kinda freak out. I want to be flexible and just roll with things, but deep down the real me can't help but ask the question: "What's so hard about sticking to the plan?" Now having said that - I think I should warn you that today's post is a really delicious dish that is super easy and has been changed quite a bit from Betty's already vegan recipe. I couldn't help myself I started making it and saw a few opportunities here and there to take this dish to another level so I took them. I think that's where the real beauty of Betty lies. She inspires all us amateur chefs* to not just make dinner but to make meals for our loved ones that say "I love you"**. And nothing really says "I love you" like vegan chicken in a fresh herb sauce but it does lead one to wonder why if changing "the plans" freak me out so much - do I veganize and meddle with Betty's recipes left and right? I don't think I can answer that. Perhaps I'm a complex woman who can't be explained merely by science and logic - like irony and humor. (insert shrug here)

Instead of getting too deep into my character flaws, I decided to take a stroll down memory lane and flip around in my neglected MySpace page for inspirational material. That's when I found an exchange I had in 2008 with my good friend and the very talented film maker Adam Durand. While discussing plans to get rich quick, he sent his plans...

1. Go to drawer
2. Take spoons become a spoon baron
3. ?????
4. Profit

I know it's missing a step in there but I have no doubt someday he'll work it out and we'll all find ourselves coming to him if we want to enjoy soup. I am curious though if any of you guys out there have any get rich plans you think are your golden ticket to financial independence that you think are better than Adam's spoon scheme... Please share if you do!

I'll let you think about it while we enjoy this recipe which is totally "money"*** and not just because it's green.

Vegan Chicken & Pasta with Fresh Herbs
  • 1 Package of Your Favorite Vegan Chicken ( we used Gardein but you can always use Morningstar Chik'n Strips - yes they are still vegan, LightLife, May Wah, Match Vegan Chicken - made into strips and you can even use pieces of Tofurky if you want)
  • 1/2 Cup White Mushrooms (sliced)
  • 1 Can Artichoke Hearts (drained)
  • 1 Package Medium Sized Pasta Shells (cooked and drained)
  • Olive Oil Cooking Spray
  • 2 Tablespoons Pine Nuts
  • 2 Teaspoons Onion Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Capers
  • 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
  • 3 Cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1/4 Cup Fresh Parsley
  • 1 Teaspoon Fresh Rosemary
  • 2 Teaspoons Fresh Sage
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Basil
  • 1/2 Teaspoons Red Pepper Flakes
  • 2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1 Roma Tomato (sliced)
  • Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Heat oven to 350.

In a glass baking dish, lightly spray your Vegan Chicken with the Olive Oil Cooking Spray. Flip your Vegan Chicken a few times to make sure they are lightly coated. Then toss Mushrooms and Pine Nuts over the top. Put in the oven and bake for 5 minutes. Then take the dish out and with a spatula toss the Vegan Chicken, Pine Nuts and Mushrooms and sprinkle 1 teaspoon of Onion Powder over the top. Then put back in the oven. Let bake for another 5-8 minutes. Take out when everything is browned. See below!

Baked Pine Nuts = JOY!
In your favorite food processor or blender, chop the Parsley, Rosemary, Sage and Basil. In a large mixing bowl, toss warm Pasta, Olive Oil, Red Pepper Flakes, Garlic, 1 Teaspoon of Onion Powder, Capers, Lemon Juice and Artichoke Hearts. Then gently mix in the Fresh Herbs, Pine Nuts, Mushrooms and Vegan Chicken - while they are still warm.

Serve with slices of Roma Tomatoes and Black Pepper sprinkled over the top.

*These guys are awesome. I hope they're eating tofu dogs.
** It's possible you all passed out from a rather intense eye-roll just now. It's OK. We'll wait for you.
*** You thought I was going to link to Vince Vaughn there but you see what I did there? Just because I might be a little crazy when it comes to sticking to the plans, I just proved I can also be spontaneous. I know - Poor Dan right? How has he ever figured out this kinda bizarre plan system? Some how he has. (insert 2nd shrug here)


  1. This looks amazing. I recently tried a chicken-style seitan recipe from the Happy Herbivore cookbook that I think would work well here too.

  2. Haha, I love that episode of South Park.

  3. The chicken from gardein is really delious!!