The Italian Big Bowl will bowl you over!

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

(What I did there, did you see it? Ugh I know. SO CHEESY.)

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Allow me to introduce you to the Italian Big Bowl from Tami Noyes’s American Vegan Kitchen. Loaded with white wine, kalamata olives*, sundried tomatoes, red peppers, fennel seeds, and other scrumptious goodies, you will want to scarf this pasta by the bowl, Italian or not. Plus it only took me a half hour to make, start to finish. I rule!

There are also some homemade vegan sausage links hiding amongst the pasta and veggies. You guys, I made my very own sausage links! From scratch! There’s no stopping me now.

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Vegan sausage is shockingly easy to make – all you need is a steamer and a few hours to spare. This recipe’s from AVK and mostly contains ingredients you can find around the house – flour, tofu, liquid smoke, copious amounts of wheat gluten, assorted seasonings and such. Mix dry ingredients, blend wet ingredients, then combine and shape into link-like masses.

It’s the last step that’s the most difficult. Noyes suggests using aluminum foil to shape the dough into links – but I rolled it between my hands, letting the excess fall down vertically, and gravity did most of the work from there. In the likely event that a link breaks at the midpoint, just roll into a ball and start over. Your dogs will be captivated.

Noyes includes instructions for a variety of homemade vegan meats, so there’s no need to use the processed, store-bought versions in her recipes. Cool, yeah?

After we polish this batch off, I’m going to (finally!) crack open Vegan Brunch and try some of the fancier sausage recipes contained therein: Cherry Sage. Chorizo. Italian Feast. And, oh yeah, Tempeh Bacon. After that, homemade bagels. THE FINAL FRONTIER. Actually, no, that’s pierogies, but drama.

* Speaking of kalamata olives, can you believe that Amazon sells them by the jug! I KNOW! No more paying $9 a pound at the local grocery chain’s salad bar. Most important discovery of 2013 so far.