Penne Vodka. Photo Credit: Meredith Lee/HSUS

Kick off 2019 on a fresh Green note! More than just a trend, eating plant-based is an easy and delicious way to improve your health. Studies have shown that a plant-based diet can help prevent, treat and in some cases even reverse some of the world’s deadliest chronic diseases - including high blood pressure, cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes and cancer. A plant-based diet may also help athletic performance, reduce our carbon footprint, save water, and help improve the welfare of farm animals.

“There is no question that largely vegetarian diets are as healthy as you can get. The evidence is so strong and overwhelming and produced over such a long period of time that it’s no longer debatable,” said Marion Nestle, Ph.D., M.P.H., New York University’s nutrition department.

One way to introduce more plant-based meals into your lifestyle is by joining the Green Monday SA movement. This movement, supported and led by Humane Society International, encourages South Africans to swap the meat, eggs and dairy on their plates for Green meals. And by Green we mean Cheesy Mexican Enchiladas, Bobotie, Penne Vodka, and even Milktart. The options are endless and tasty too!

Sign up online and start making a positive difference to your health one meal at a time! If you need a little help, take a look at our articles on “Painting your pantry Green” and “How to eat plant-based when dining out”.

Green Monday SA recipe: Penne Vodka 

Ingredients

  • 225g penne pasta
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1 can (840g) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) vodka
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Few dashes of fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 cup (115g) sliced or slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup (1/4 of a bunch) finely chopped fresh basil, plus a little extra for garnish

Instructions

  • Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
  • Preheat a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the oil, garlic, and crushed red pepper to the saucepan and sauté for about one minute, until fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic.
  • Add the vodka, thyme, oregano, crushed red tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Cover the saucepan and turn the heat up enough to bring the mixture to a simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the sauce has simmered for 20 minutes, add the almonds. Use a hand blender to blend the almonds into the sauce until creamy and only slightly grainy.
  • Add the basil to the sauce, and mix the sauce and pasta together in the pot. Garnish with a little extra chopped basil and serve.

Recipe from "Veganomicon" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope.

Visit www.greenmonday.co.za for information about the movement and many more marvellous plant-based meals.