I was really tempted to make it fully vegan just because it has tempeh. And I associate tempeh with veganism. As IF non-vegans - and even meat eaters - couldn't eat it. Silly, right? Well it's vegan minus the beautiful parmesan cheese grated on top.
When I made this recipe I had been doing a refresher on Gentle Nutrition, which is the last principle in intuitive eating. Side note, intuitive eating has 10 principles and gentle nutrition is last, otherwise, people would use it as a diet, or set of rules, before getting through the rest of the principles (like making peace with, and challenging the food police, etc). So it's last. Last but not least. Anyway, an important component of gentle nutrition is eating a VARIETY of foods. The more the merrier. And I had this in my head while grocery shopping. Because, let's face it, we're creatures of habit and often we kinda just stick to the same foods over and over. Bread is one of those for me. It's delicious. It's satisfying. It's easy. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, dessert. Ok I'm exaggerating, but will have it at least in half my meals daily.
So I saw the tempeh and decided to buy it. And I used it in this pesto pasta salad. Tempeh is a great source of protein and calcium. Gotta throw a little nutrition in there - hard not to!
This is how I made it. Quick version:
Box of pasta. I used a veggie kind, added veggies or something, whole wheat base. There are thousands of pastas out there. Use your favourite or close your eyes and choose one randomly. 400gish. Maybe less.
Sunflower Kitchen Pesto, about 4-5 tablespoons, or whatever I had left
Olive oil, couldn't tell you how much, but probably a couple of tablespoons. Maybe 2, maybe 5.
Small handful slivered almonds
Sprinkle hemp hearts
1/2 cucumber, sliced
I made this over a month ago and I see some leafy green in the photo which I think is spinach, so let's say 'handful spinach'. I also may have thrown it into the hot pasta so it cooked.
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated parmesan to your own dish (not vegan!)
Sautee the tempeh cubes in garlic and olive oil for 5-10 minutes.
Boil the pasta. Cook al dente- that's how I cook it anyway. Breaks apart less easily.
Place drained pasta in a bowl, add all the ingredients. That's it!
Serve warm or let it cool and have it as a salad! I did both. :-)