Since the pandemic began, I appreciate a well-stocked pantry more than I ever did. A full pantry allows flexibility and variety in what to make for dinner. Maybe one night it’s rice and beans. Maybe one night, pasta and sauce. Leftover vegetables from the refrigerator with canned or boxed broth plus rice and beans or pasta and sauce means soup is always an option.
There’s nothing worse than looking in the cupboard for dinner ingredients only to discover a quarter-filled box of Cheez-its (stale) and two forgotten squares of dark chocolate wrapped in foil.
Ha ha! I’m just kidding. (There’s no such thing as forgotten dark chocolate in my house.)
One recipe I make a lot during the pandemic is this vegan Creamy Artichoke and Tomato Sauce, which I serve over whole wheat spaghetti noodles, although any pasta will do.
All the ingredients except for the onion can be found in my pantry in cans or jars or boxes. During the summer, with tomato and pepper season in full swing, I enhance my recipe with fresh chopped tomatoes, jalapeno peppers and basil from my garden. As the weather cools, though, this recipe still stands up without the fresh ingredients.
If you are like me this time of year, you have enormous heads of cabbage around just waiting for a plan. Replacing pasta noodles with zucchini noodles is popular. I am known to replace pasta noodles with shredded cabbage, which works well in this recipe with the creamy coconut sauce. Simply place handfuls of shredded cabbage into a pan or pot with ¼ cup of water and allow it to steam and cook until softened about 5 or 10 minutes, depending how thick the shreds are.
- ¼ cup vegetable stock or water
- 1 small to medium-sized white or sweet onion
- 3 teaspoons minced garlic from a jar
- 1 14 oz. can quartered artichokes
- 1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies (ROTEL brand is easy to find)
- 1 cup coconut milk
- Grated, fresh nutmeg to taste (or a generous pinch ground nutmeg)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 de-seeded and chopped jalapeno pepper
- 1 chopped, medium-sized fresh tomato
- Fresh snipped basil (or any fresh herbs such as chives or oregano)
- In a large cookpot or frying pan, place onions in the stock or water. Cook over medium heat just until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the fresh jalapeno and tomato (if using) and cook for 3-5 minutes more. Finally, add the minced garlic and simmer for an additional 2 minutes.
- Continue cooking everything over low heat, adding the canned tomatoes and chilies, drained artichokes and coconut milk. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
- Season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.
- Serve over pasta or cabbage with fresh herbs such as basil, or chives or oregano.