Earlier this week I met up with Eddie Garza and his colleague Josephine Morris from The Humane Society. I had “virtually met” Eddie a few years ago when he worked for Mercy For Animals on their Choose Veg project. He featured my story on their pamphlets and on their Health page here. I picked up Eddie and Josephine at their hotel and we went out to eat at Vertical Diner, a local all vegan restaurant. The food of course was amazing, but as many of you know meeting up with other vegans is almost like a transcendent experience (cue spazzing out).
I seriously could not contain my glee when I found out the two of them were in town working with rest of The Humane Society Food Policy Team to get Meatless Monday and more vegetarian options into local schools. These guys are seriously vegan superheroes. As a mother of school-aged children I can’t imagine anything better for schools. Better nutrition for children, many of whom get the majority of their daily calories from school lunch is an endeavor that everyone should be concerned about. With childhood obesity and diabetes growing at alarming rates, we all need to do more.
I found out during this dinner that Beyond Meat is partnering with schools to provide a vegan alternative to beef for school lunches. Beyond Meat is a minimally processed vegan protein, most of their products are free of the top 8 allergens and the products are being offered at competitive pricing to government beef. Pretty much I fell in love with the company just like that.
So naturally, straight after dinner I went to Whole Foods to pick up a few Beyond Meat products.
Easy Individual Rigatoni Pies
- 1 lb of rigatoni (or ziti), regular, whole-grain or gluten-free
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium red onion, finely diced
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 package Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles
- 1 (24 ounce) jar of vegan tomato basil pasta sauce
- salt and pepper to taste
- 8 ounces shredded vegan mozzarella (I made this one)
Method: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cook the rigatoni al dente according to the package directions. While the pasta is cooking, add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and sauté until tender and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic cloves and cook for a minute more. Add the Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles and cook until warmed through. Add the pasta sauce to the skillet and season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste.
Assembly: lightly oil four individual (or one large) springform pans. Arrange the rigatoni in the springform pans (you may have extra). Top with the sauce and push down lightly with the back of a spoon to get it into all the crevices. Top with cheese, then bake for 20-25 minutes until the cheese is golden, bubbly and melted and the pasta is heated through. Let cool for several minutes before releasing from the springform(s) for serving.