Spaghetti with Broccoli and Bok Choy

Cooking vegetarian food is not simply about removing meat from recipes. Beef stroganoff becomes quite boring when the beef is removed. While the noodles and creamy mushroom sauce is delicious, it feels like something is missing. This is not vegetarian food even though it is meat-free.

Vegetarian food looks at dishes differently than traditional meat-based food. Instead of basing the dish around the protein, it bases the dish around the vegetables. When vegetables become the star of a dish, they sing in flavor, color, and nutrition. 

Vegetables are the powerhouse of our vitamins and minerals. They are generally low in fat, low in calories, and devoid of cholesterol. Yet, meat-based dishes hide these wonderful gems instead of celebrating them.

Today's recipe exemplifies this idea vegetarian cooking celebrating vegetables. It is so good, you'll be wanting to lick the plate when you're done.

The broccoli and bok choy sauce uses fake chicken in it. The main difference between this recipe and its non-vegetarian variation is the vegetable to meat proportion. This recipe serves four people but only uses one "chicken" patty. Instead of relying on meat to bring the flavor and texture, I used the broccoli and bok choy for that. The best part? It works. 

This recipe is simple, quick, and delicious. I can't wait for you to try it. Enjoy!

Spaghetti with Broccoli and Bok Choy
4 servings, 30 minutes

10 ounces dried spaghetti
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 fake chicken patty (I used Gardein Chik'n Scallopini)
1 small red onion
3-6 garlic cloves
1 medium head broccoli
1 medium bok choy
1 can diced tomatoes
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 heaping teaspoons pesto
2 teaspoons olive oil
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente, about 12 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of canola oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the frozen Gardein Chik'n patty. Cook each side for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from pan and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of canola oil to the skillet. Chop the onion and mince the garlic. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic to the pan. Stir to cover in oil and let cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes. 
  4. Chop the broccoli, both the florets and the stems, into bit size pieces. Chop the stems of the bok choy. Add the broccoli and bok choy stems to the skillet. Stir to combine with the remaining ingredients. Cook for about 3 minutes or until the broccoli and bok choy stems are not quite cooked. The broccoli should be bright green and still be a little stiff. 
  5. Add the diced tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Cook for another minute. 
  6. Coarsely chop the bok choy leaves and add them to the skillet. Stir to combine and let cook for just under a minute, or until vibrant green.
  7. Turn off the heat. Stir in the pesto and drizzle the olive oil over the sauce. Season with salt and pepper. 
  8. To serve, divide the pasta among 4 bowls. Top each serving with 1/4 of the sauce. Grate some parmesan cheese onto the top of each serving. Eat while warm.
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