If you are anything like me, sometimes you just crave for one of those heart healthy salad recipes. You may want something easy, fun and yet nutritious. Still, you may wonder about cooking with fresh tomatoes in a way that retains it nutrients and juiciness. If this is the case, you want to try this pasta meal to have another plant based meat alternatives recipe idea. Ever thought of vegetarian BLT pasta salad without lettuce that actually taste good? At the same time, get to discover how to eat arugula and enjoy it.
Inspiration that spark this recipe
Toot that horn. Here comes another easy, tasty, and heart healthy salad recipes. Let’s talk about plant based meat alternatives or meat alternatives for protein. Again, we went out with friends and as they ate their animal protein foods, it occurred to me I could make it vegetarian or plant-based. I knock it out of the park by winging it and adding ingredients I love. The short version is, do not sleep on this wheat gluten protein recipe, it gives a tasty and smoky flavor. The arugula gives the dish a nice crunch with a hint of bitterness and the tomatoes kept it moist and juicy. Drooling yet? Chaley, go to dey market, shop, cook and eat. I made a small portion because I was skeptical about how it would turn out. Since then, I have never passed on a chance to deploy this plant based meat alternatives.
BLT pasta salad without lettuce
What is BLT pasta, you may wonder? Well, BLT simply stands for the main ingredients that go into the recipe itself: bacon (B), lettuce (L) and tomatoes (T). Since bacon from a pig is off limits, I used Wheat-gluten seasoned bacon. The same concept applies to this home-made spicy plant-based sandwich where I used crisp lettuce.
As you can see from the sandwich image, using lettuce wouldn’t work because the shape of the lettuce will not hold up when sautéed with hot pasta and fresh tomatoes like I did in this BLT pasta salad.
Now do you see why arugula was used instead of lettuce? Another reason I love my BLT pasta salad without lettuce is because arugula has a slightly bitter taste and a stronger texture. Arugula is a nutritious salad additive that gives any dish a deep flavor combo. Personally, I didn’t know how to eat arugula. Notice in the picture below how the arugula held up in shape; it was that way even after I reheated my salad. If you are not sure about cooking with fresh tomatoes at home, let this recipe guide you. Here is a fun silly fact you may have noticed from the picture, there are two kinds of pasta in the recipe because I had two types of leftover pasta.
Few Ideas about How to eat Arugula
Arugula is the go to choice when choosing best leafy salads that looks like lettuce. Cooks and chefs embrace this vegetable ingredient for pasta, pizzas, and salad mixes. It delivers the same nutritional benefits as other cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts. This plant ingredient delivers spicy pepper flavor which makes it popular among heart healthy salad recipes. Can you eat it raw or cooked? You can enjoy your arugula however you want, either cooked or uncooked. Indeed, cooked arugula is the best answer when you are looking for inspiration on cooking with fresh tomatoes. On the other hand, arugula is often served raw in salads. Health experts claim that arugula is rich in iron, calcium, Vitamins K, C, and A.
Pre-made plant bacon and fresh tomatoes
Those reading this article are either a foodie, explorer or health conscious. I’ll level with you all. Premade plant-based food is still processed fast food. As such, we must pay attention to the ingredients. Especially the salt content and make sure to look at the additives they used in the ingredients list on the package (image above). All bacon is salty and processed plant-based bacon is no different. To balance the saltiness, add fresh vegetables to balance things. Fresh tomatoes are a beloved vegetarian ingredient and it add juiciness to any meal like this Ivorian Attieke. Fresh tomatoes are tart, sweet, versatile and nutritious. In this regard, it is no secret why fresh tomatoes are often key ingredients in most heart healthy salad recipes in restaurants and our homes.
I hope at this point you have various ideas about how to utilize fresh tomatoes as the primary ingredient for your salads and other plant-based recipes. Indeed, fresh tomatoes are the perfect building blocks for the best plant-based bacon strip recipe. This fresh and creamy tofu pesto pasta recipe is another interesting way of enjoying your tomatoes.
Anyone with zeal can enjoy making heart healthy salad recipes from the comfort of your kitchen. Interestingly, you don’t have to DIY plant based meat alternatives from sctrach as demonstrated in this article. Clearly, you now know how to prepare your BLT pasta salad without lettuce. Was it not fun discovering how to eat arugula, or did you do something else? Let me know in the comments and if you get stuck be sure to check out the video tutorial. All recipes have video and written instructions.
- 3 cups Rotini OR Penne Pasta (cook prior as per package instructions)
- Half Cup Pasta Water
- 8 Slices Soy Bacon
- Quarter yellow Onion dice
- 1 Pint (551ml) Grape Tomatoes Halved
- 3 Garlic cloves
- 1/2tsp Salt
- 1/3Cup Oat-milk
- 4-5 Cups of Arugula
- 1 tsp Basil
- half tsp Crushed Peppers
- The desired amount of ground black pepper
- To begin, get your store-bought premade plant bacon. It doesn't matter the brand of plant-bacon. Proceed to open the package of plant-bacon and take note of the nutrition facts and the cooking instructions on the package.
- Next, add about one tablespoon of frying oil to your sauce pan. At this point distribute the oil evenly in the pan. Do this by slightly moving the pan in circular movements. Place your cooking pan on your heat source, keep the heat on medium-low.
- After the oil heats up, place lay out your plant bacon. Put as many plant strips in your pan as it can hold to maximize your cooking oil.
- Fry your strips until they are crunchy not burnt (the package cooking instructions will come in handy too). Turn the plant strips over and fry them on both sides so that they are all cooked properly.
- After they are well cooked, take them off the pan and let them cool down on a cotton cloth or paper towel.
- Next, cut the vegetable bacon into small pieces and keep them aside.
- In the same cooking pan while on medium heat add about three tablespoons of cooking oil.
- Chop up your quarter onion along with three garlic cloves and add them to the heated oil and sauté until fragrant and soft, 1-2mins.
- While your onions and garlic are still cooking, add in half a teaspoon of crushed pepper and keep stirring. Next, wash 1 pint of grape tomatoes and cut each one in half. Add in your 1 pint of washed well-cut grape tomatoes. Let the tomatoes cook on low heat to maintain its structure. You don't want it mushy. If needed, add a half teaspoon and stir.
- At this point, add a third a cup of oat milk and cook while you stir gently. Any plant milk is fine too.
- Now, add in your 3 cups of precooked pasta followed by half teaspoon of basil and keep stirring to combine all the flavors. At this point, add your plant bacon and combine with the mixture. Stir gently and do not crush or mash the tomatoes. The heat should be on low-medium. Next, add four to five cups of Arugula and cook.
- Add in a few teaspoons of pasta water and stir as you cook. The pasta will soak up the milk which makes the meal dry so the pasta water keeps it moist and light. Simmer for two minutes and your Juicy BLT Pasta Salad is be ready. Taste for salt but note the pre-made bacon is salty, tread lightly. Enjoy!
If are a huge arugula lover than you don't have to limit yourself on the amount to put.