Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Vegan Faux Chicken Penne With Tomatoes, Spinach and Avocado

I maybe should have called this "Soccer Mom" Vegan Faux Chicken Penne With Tomatoes, Spinach and Avocado. Yep, I'm a soccer mom...and a basketball mom...and a dance mom (without the "crazy" connotations that come with that one I hope). I wasn't active in any kind of sport at all as a teenager (unless you count reading and hanging around downtown) so I'm just thrilled that my kids are more sporty.

Anyway, back to this delicious pasta. I was at my son's soccer game one day and one of the other moms (hey Nadia!) brought along some chicken penne that she was kind enough to share with anybody who was hungry. Seeing as I don't eat chicken, I asked her to list the ingredients for me so I could try the recipe with faux chicken at home. What appeals to me about this pasta is that it is easy to make and also healthy. It's a simple weeknight meal that you and your kids will enjoy. I served this to my two kids and their friends and they all cleared their plates.

I used frozen faux chicken breasts from President's Choice. The package says they are made with Gardein and I'm a big fan of Gardein. The President's Choice version comes in a nice 2-pound package so there is plenty for a family. (The Gardein packages tend to be a bit small for us.) This recipe would also work with refrigerated vegan chicken strips. That would bring it all together more quickly too. I never remember to defrost the faux chicken, so I end up heating it in the pan and then taking it out to cut it. (I suppose you could also use the microwave - I don't use mine often because I find it kind of icky.)

This recipe calls for regular tomatoes (vine-ripened, roma - whatever you have handy), plus cherry (or grape) tomatoes. Probably my favourite ingredients are the spinach and also the avocado chunks that get tossed in at the end. If you are a pasta fan, I encourage you to give this recipe a try. I enjoyed this pasta in summer but I think it will transition nicely into the colder weather too, as you serve it warm. Pasta is great comfort food for those cold evenings, after all! Feel free to try other types of pasta. Spaghettini works nicely, for example.

What do you think? Will you give this Soccer Mom Vegan Faux Chicken Penne With Tomatoes, Spinach and Avocado a try?


Vegan Faux Chicken Penne With Tomatoes, Spinach and Avocado

by Joann MacDonald
Keywords: entree vegan vegetarian soy-free nut-free

Ingredients (serves 4-6)
  • 350 g penne
  • 2 faux chicken breasts
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • two tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 cup diced peppers
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half
  • handful or more baby spinach
  • 1 avocado, peeled and cubed
Cook penne following manufacturer's instructions.
In the meantime, sauté chicken breasts in oil for 5 minutes or so, flipping once. Carefully remove hot chicken breasts to cutting board and cut into small strips. Return to pan. (You could also defrost chicken breasts ahead, cut them up and cook that way or buy pre-cut vegan chicken strips.)
Stir in garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add 1 Tbsp more oil if needed.
Add paprika, turmeric, salt, pepper, tomatoes, peppers, cherry tomatoes and spinach. Cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until chicken is fully cooked and tomatoes have lost some of their juices.
Put penne in a large bowl and stir the hot mixture into penne. Stir in avocado. Add more salt and pepper if desired. Enjoy!
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  1. I find the Gardein packets small too, though their chicken products are the nicest faux chicken I have so far. This looks pretty good!