"Is there cheese in this?" my husband asks as he forks a heaping spoonful of gnocchi in his mouth. "Uh, no, uh huh, definitely not" I reply. Of course, he knows that there is zero dairy in this dish. I don't even have any dairy cheese in the house. He just can't convince his taste buds what his mind definitely knows. See, it tastes like Italian sausage or sauce with parmesan cheese, but there isn't any dairy or meat! This, my friends, is what you call a mind-blowing vegan dish. You cannot reconcile what you taste with what you know to be true.
These are the dishes we call "keepers" or "winners" in my house. The dishes that you make absolutely certain you keep in the repertoire because they are filling, so delicious, and (let's be honest) don't take up an inordinate amount of time. An "every day" dish, if you will. It becomes a part of the meal planning, and is memorable enough to recall that you want to make it again and again.
Sustainability Spotlight: Because I was born, raised and live in the U.S., I feel I have merit to generalize here a bit so stay with me: Americans are stubborn creatures. Our culture is built on the back of revolution aimed to support our personal rights, and so we rally for freedom easily and pride ourselves on "never backing down" or "never giving up." We are a group of people that believes (truly) that we have the very best country in the world. The U.S. has been a very proud nation from our beginnings, which can (and has) lead to wonderful inventiveness, business advances, and societal empathy through evolution.
But...our country has darkness in our past (and in some cases, our present) though; as any other country has in their histories. America is far from perfect, and Americans (as people) are also far from perfection as well. We are a land that has polluted the majesty of our very own bounty and poisoned our people with chemical releases to our air and waterways. While we want to make efforts to be better, our boldness for economic solutions and capitalistic trappings have stagnated our greatness.
What if I told you, we could be leaders in the great sustainability challenge plaguing the planet? That if we turned our minds towards, and set our sights upon, meeting sustainability goals, that we could (and will) succeed in changing the world! More importantly, would it surprise you that it would take a revolution (a green revolution) that encompasses the very heart of our every day activities? Probably not. Would it surprise you that Americans are uniquely capable of rallying to a cause such as a green revolution and fight for it with all their might if we put our minds to it? I HOPE not.
I love America and with it, I love Americans. We have our problems, but we also have big solutions. We have the industry, the might, the fortitude and the sheer force of will to make.things.happen. Where do revolutions start though in America? In the individuals; in the hearth and home of the city, the suburbs, and our rural countryside. It will literally take a village to make changes happen, but our villages are connected like never before with phones, the internet, and social media.
I'm proud to be in an environment where I believe the best can (and will) happen for our future generations. We need supporters of the idea that sustainability doesn't have to mean "giving up" but rather, it means to revolutionize our lives - all for the better. Start with dinner; make it vegan (even if for just today) and begin the steps on our journey to greatness!
Who's with me?!
1 package whole wheat sweet potato gnocchi (I used GIA Russa brand)
1 tbsp avocado oil
5 garlic cloves (diced)
1/2 Spanish onion (chopped)
8 oz mushrooms (chopped) - I used a mix of white & baby bella
1 package vegan sausage roll (I used Impossible Foods brand)
1 zucchini (chopped)
1 summer squash (chopped)
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1/2 cup vegetable stock (or broth - whatever you have open)
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
salt & pepper (to taste)
1 jar red tomato sauce (I used Classico Tomato-Basil brand)
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (I used Frontier Co-op Brand)
Garnishes (optional): hemp seeds and more nutritional yeast.
Heat a large pot of water over medium-high heat to bring to a boil.
While you are waiting for your water to boil, heat a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add avocado oil, swirl to coat, and once it shimmers, add garlic and onion with a pinch of salt. Sautee for ~5 minutes until the onions starts to become golden.
Next, add sausage (crumble with your hands as you add) and brown (~4-5 minutes).
Now, add mushrooms, zucchini and squash with another pinch of salt. Sautee 4-5 minutes.
While vegetables are cooking above, your water should be boiling now. Add your gnocchi and cook for ~5 minutes or until the gnocchi "floats."
Once your gnocchi floats, turn off water to your pot and skim the gnocchi from the top; adding to your skillet. Cool & save gnocchi water to give your indoor plants a drink and nutrient boost.
Now, add oregano and the 1/2 cup vegetable stock or broth. Stir and cover your pan with a lid. Simmer mixture for ~4-5 minutes (or until most liquid is absorbed).
Remove lid and stir in jar of tomato sauce plus nutritional yeast. Once the mixture comes back up to a simmer, cook ~2 minutes to meld flavors. Remove skillet from heat.
Serve gnocchi in bowls topped with hemp seeds and more nutritional yeast (as desired).
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie