Vegetarian Flavor

When I first thought about taking the plunge into a vegetarian lifestyle, I reasoned with myself that I couldn’t do it because of all the things I’d be missing. Of course if you approach anything with the mindset of what you’re losing and not what you’re gaining, struggles are bound to happen. Thankfully when I finally decided to officially make the vegetarian plunge (almost 3 months strong now!), I approached it much differently. While I still have a pang for a cheeseburger once in a blue moon, I’ve discovered so much more in the food world, and have been able to make some pretty simple substitutions.

I abide by the rule that almost anything can be turned vegetarian. Obviously a steak can’t, but there are ways to approach meals and make them just as flavorful, if not more. So, when this week’s Fresh Box included radicchio, I went on the hunt for recipe inspiration  and like most recipes I find, there was a meat component. I found a recipe from Saveur that included pancetta, and immediately decided I could easily swap that out.

For the recipe, I went with Morningstar Farm’s vegetarian styled bacon. This could easily work well with smoked tempeh, and of course, bacon or pancetta. I went with the suggested pappardelle, but if you don’t have any on hand, a fettuccine or other egg styled pasta would work well.

Smoky Pappardelle with Radicchio inspired by Sauver 
– Serves 4 –  

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, sliced
1 tsp sage
4 slices veggie styled bacon or tempeh*
1 lb. pappardelle or other egg styled flat pasta
1 head radicchio, sliced
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste 

1. Heat oil in a skillet and add onion, sage, salt and pepper over medium heat. Constantly stir for about 20-30 minutes until golden brown (it’s a pain, but I promise worth it!). Add in the veggie bacon and sauté for an additional 5 minutes. Add the radicchio to the pan and cook until wilted, about 5 more minutes. 
2. Meanwhile, boil 3-4 quarts of salted water, add the pasta and cook for about 8 minutes, drain (save about 1/4 cup of water).
3. Combine the pasta with the veggie bacon, onion, and radicchio with the 1/4 cup of pasta water; mix well.  
4. Finish off with the balsamic vinegar and top with grated or shredded parmesan cheese.  

*Note: You can buy “fakin’ bacon” that is already flavored tempeh, or you can buy regular tempeh and mix it with some liquid smoke for the same effect.

8 thoughts on “Vegetarian Flavor

    1. It can definitely be a long process – I think it makes sense to do it slowly rather than go cold turkey and then wind up not being successful!


    1. It’s definitely a bitter flavor when not cooked; cooking it keeps a little bit of the bitterness but makes it much more manageable. Consistency-wise, it reminds me of cabbage. I’m really glad it came in my CSA box, because I probably wouldn’t ever grab it otherwise!


  1. Congrats on making the switch. I do regular “veg pledge” type deals, but I haven’t been able to fully commit to a lifestyle change. I never realized that I too think about what I’m losing instead of gaining. That’s a great perspective. Thanks so much for sharing!


    1. Thanks! It’s definitely something I only thought of recently… and I thought, “hey, maybe there are other people that want to be vegetarian (or whatever else in life!) and have struggled because they’re looking at it the wrong way”!


  2. this looks incredible! recipes like this are great for showing people who could never dream of going vegetarian that it’s not as hard as they think. i am not a vegetarian but ever since i started sampling more vegetarian dishes, my food horizons have broadened so much. now some days i go meatless without even realizing it!


    1. Thanks!! And that was the idea – being a vegetarian (or at least eating like one sometimes) doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice flavor – you just have to get creative!


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