Mormon Moms for Vegetarian, Vegan and Raw Cooking!

This blog is intended to be a support for anyone who desires to make the vegetarian, vegan {and or} raw food diet change. Whether you want to drastically change to a completely raw diet or just add a few more vegetarian meals to your weekly menu, we are here for you! It doesn't matter who you are or why you want to make the change. We want to share our love, support, tips, testimonies and - recipes - to make your life easier, happier and healthier!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Guest Post: Springer Stevens

Funny story. When we decided to move to Utah I was sad. I knew I was moving to a less vegetarian friendly area of the country and I worried we'd be that "weird" family in our neighborhood that didn't get invited to things because people were afraid not knowing what to feed us.

We moved in and what do you know? There is a lifelong vegetarian right in our building! It didn't take long for us to develop a friendship and organize a vegetarian dinner party. I have been wanting Springer to post ever since I tasted her food and looked at the pictures of her food on facebook.

She brought this dinner over to our family the other night to sustain us as I continue to recover from the birth of our baby. I can promise that you will not be disappointed with this dish. It is delicious!

Hello! My name is Springer and I’m very excited to be able to offer a guest blog for my new and amazing friend and neighbor, Amy.

By way of introduction, when I was just a wee one, my parents became best friends with this phenomenal hippie couple. They turned my parents on to vegetarianism (which wasn’t hard, considering my dad cried as a child when he realized the fish he caught was going to die), and both my parents became vegetarian when I was two years old. So I and my two brothers, and my best friend and her younger brother (the hippie couple’s kids) were all raised vegetarian.

As a Latter-day Saint, choosing vegetarianism when possible seems a logical part of the Word of Wisdom. Meat is more expensive, generally speaking, than most other foods, which is a huge consideration in our home right now. Also, raising crops uses less land, water, and human-consumable food than meat production. And finally, I abhor the way animals are treated in industrial meat “farms.” And so I stay a vegetarian. And my meat-eating husband is very patient with me.

So, here is one of my favorite cold-weather dishes: Rigatoni with Tomato and Eggplant Pesto. It’s a hearty, spicy pasta that will warm you right up. It also uses very little cheese, and so it can easily be made vegan.

Okay, so I have to confess that its real name is Rigatoni with Eggplant Purée, but how yummy does eggplant puree sound? Bleh! It’s so flavorful, and a great way to use (and even disguise) a lovely purple eggplant. (We found a pretty one at our local Sunflower Market this week for only 88 cents!)

Begin by chopping (I love when I don’t need to peel!) your eggplant into 1-inch pieces. Toss it in a bowl with a pint(ish) of cherry or grape tomatoes, 2 to 3 cloves of garlic, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and some olive oil. Reach in with your hands and mix it all up! Then pour it onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, and stick it in the oven for about 35 minutes, or until the eggplant pieces are golden brown.

While that is baking cook the rigatoni according to package directions.

If I have pine nuts that need toasting, this is when I pour some into a pan on the stove top, and stir them around over medium heat until lightly browned.

Once the veggies are done roasting, pour them into your food processor with some mint and a little more oil. I like to take out the tube cover in the lid of my processor so that the whole thing doesn’t explode from the heat. (An exploding food processor would be bad.) Then whirl it all around until smooth.

Pour puree onto cooked pasta, toss on Parmesan and pine nuts and gently stir together. Then enjoy!

Rigatoni with Tomato and Eggplant Pesto
from Rigatoni with Eggplant Purée by Giana De Laurentiis


1 medium eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
2-3 cloves garlic, whole
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes (I prefer ½ tsp, but my husband prefers a full one.)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 pound rigatoni pasta
1 tsp dry mint leaves
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine the eggplant, cherry tomatoes, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Spread the vegetables out in an even layer on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven until the vegetables are tender and the eggplant is golden, about 35 minutes.

While the vegetables are roasting, place the pine nuts in a small pan. Stir over medium heat until golden.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain pasta into a large bowl and reserve 1 1/2 cups of the cooking liquid.

Transfer the roasted vegetables to a food processor. Add the mint and olive oil. Puree the vegetables.

Transfer the pureed vegetables to the bowl with the pasta and add the Parmesan. Stir to combine, adding the pasta cooking liquid 1/2 cup at a time until the pasta is saucy. Sprinkle the pine nuts over the top and serve.


Ronda said...

This looks and sounds amazing. Thanks for sharing and come back soon! I can't wait to try this one out.

Ronda said...

I made this last night and it was declared divine by all voters at my table. It was so easy too. This is one for the weekly rotation, friends. My only suggestion is to go easy on the red pepper flakes. I went for the whole tsp and it was a little to strong even for me. The kids soldiered through and ate it, but probably not as much of it as they would have.

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