I know it’s so cliché, but pasta salad is honestly the easiest thing to bring to a potluck. When I worked in an office, half the potluck dishes were pasta salads. With my food sensitivities, I usually only get to feast on these dishes with my eyes.
In theory, going vegan sounds really great to me. I don’t like the thought of eating all sorts of antibiotics and hormones. I can’t afford organic meat. Also, it helps to take into consideration the ethical and environmental aspects of going vegan. However, every time I go vegan, I find myself losing too much weight. Because my metabolism works extra hard, I need to eat a lot of protein to keep weight on.
…Oh, the joys of my belly monsters. I would love to eat tons of legumes. However, those little buggers seem to run my life, and I find myself having to avoid lots of decent sources of protein. I manage to sneak all kinds of inoffensive protein into my morning smoothies, but what about the other meals? That’s something for me to ponder for a while.
While brainstorming for weight-gaining ideas with friends and family, the idea of pasta salad came up. I know it’s not as high protein as some other items, but it’s a start. I find that most vegan pasta salad recipes online are rather disappointing. They mostly just use pasta as a replacement for lettuce. I decided to give my pasta salad a different burst of flavour. The fennel seed really complements the mushroom flavour.
Mushroom and Fennel Seed Pasta Salad
150g/5oz pasta of your choice (I used brown rice fusilli)
1/2 bell pepper, chopped
2 green onions, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 tsp fennel seed
Olive oil to coat pasta (the amount will depend on the type of pasta you use)
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt to taste
Oil for frying
Cook pasta according to package directions. When finished, drain and rinse in cold water. Drain well and add just enough olive oil to coat completely without having it swimming in oil. Set aside to cool.
In the meantime, heat a bit of oil in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add the mushrooms and the fennel seed and keep tossing them around. The idea is not the make the mushroom toasty. You just want to cook it a bit and have it pick up the fennel seed’s flavour.
When everything has cooled down, combine all the ingredients in a large bowl.
Makes 2 servings, so multiply as needed.