Spaghetti Courgetti with Vegan Crab

Looking for some light entertainment to help me sleep, I came across Mary Berry‘s new show Love to Cook. It’s sometimes difficult to watch cooking shows in which the ingredients are animal products, because the dissonance between the lightheartedness and the food served is hard to stomach (excuse the pun). But in this case, I watched the series armed with the notion that we live in the future, and in a world where hard-boiled vegan eggs and mushroom root carne asada exist (and are terrific) I can easily veganize whatever she makes.

Lucky for me, Mary Berry made an incredible dish that marries spaghetti, spiralized zucchini, and tinned crab–and I already know how to make fantastic vegan crab meat. It’s the same recipe as Melissa Huggins’ recipe for vegan crab cakes, minus the breadcrumbs, and you can make the whole batch and keep it in the fridge to make crab cakes or more pasta the next day. With a few substitutions, here are the ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked garbanzo beans 
  • 1 cup hearts of palm, drained
  • 1 tbsp vegan mayo
  • 1 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup sliced leek
  • 1-2 nori sheets
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley
  • 1 tsp Old Bay seasoning 

Toss all of these in the food processor, process until combined and a bit chunky, and keep in fridge.

Then, proceed to follow Mary Berry’s recipe for the spaghetti, substituting several hefty spoonfuls of the vegan mix for the crab meat. I’m a protein hoarder these days (back to strength training!) so I used Banza linguine. You’ll need

  • 1 package Banza spaghetti or linguine
  • 6 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion or two small ones, thinly sliced
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded and diced (I used a tiny bell pepper, just for color, because I don’t like things that are too spicy these days)
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 3 large zucchini (about 500g/1lb 2oz), spiralized into spaghetti-like strands, or, if you’re lazy like me, the already-spiralized variety available from Whole Foods
  • about 1/2-2/3 cup of the vegan crab mix
  • juice of ½ lemon
  • Small bunch of dill, chopped

While the Banza cooks in boiling water with some salt, heat up olive oil in wok and add onion, chili, and garlic, and wilt some, for about 3-4 mins. Then, add the zucchini and toss a bit (2 mins or so). After a couple of minutes, add the vegan crab mix and toss (2 mins or so). At this point, the Banza should be ready; drain and toss in the wok with everything else. Drizzle lemon juice and sprinkle dill to finish. Good stuff.

Beyond Beef Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

When I became vegan, mind-bending meat substitutes like Beyond Meat did not exist. During my fellowship at Harvard’s Animal Law & Policy Program last fall I was amazed to attend talks by leaders in the plant-based meat substitute industry–we’re in for a world in which, should we choose wisely, we can minimize an enormous amount of suffering.

I did like meatballs quite a bit as a kid, so having the option to enjoy them cruelty-free has been a real boon. You can buy the formed burgers (they sell them in boxes of two) but a much more economic option is to get the ground beef package. With a little bit of kitchen magic, this transforms into something that transports you to childhood.


For the meatballs:

  • 1 package Beyond Beef
  • 1 slice of bread (whole wheat or sourdough, something sturdy, works best, but don’t sweat it if you have something else)
  • 1/3 large onion, minced
  • 1 large handful of fresh parsley
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp tomato paste (optional)
  • a little bit of salt and pepper
  • enough olive oil to coat the bottom of a large pan

For the sauce:

  • 6-7 tomatoes, thinly sliced (this calls for truly wonderful tomatoes, because it’s a very simple sauce without seasoning.)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • THAT’S IT!

First, make the sauce. Heat the olive oil in the pan and add all the tomatoes. When they start sweating, lower the heat and cook on low heat until the sauce reduces somewhat.

Toast the slice of bread until deeply browned, then soak in water for a few minutes. Wring water out of the bread and tear it into a few pieces. Place the toasted, wet bread pieces in a food processor with all the ingredients except the olive oil and pulse until mixed and sticky (it can stay a bit chunky.)

Heat up olive oil in a pan. With damp hands, form 1/5” diameter balls, flatten them a bit. Place them in the hot pan and fry until the bottom is golden (about 2-3 mins), then flip over to the other side (the newer ones will be done faster because of the pan temperature.)

As soon as you finish frying the meatballs, drop them into the tomato sauce in the other pan and cook for a few minutes.

You can eat this over mashed potatoes or pasta, or put this in a meatball sandwich. And you can substitute more complex tomato sauces if you desire.

Beet Burgers

If you’re anything like me, you probably have all kinds of vegetable leftovers. After yesterday’s iteration of the Buddha bowl, we were left with about a cup and a half of quinoa, a cup of cooked chickpeas, a few steamed beets, and a small plastic container of zucchini in tomato sauce.

I placed all these things in the food processor, added some salt, pepper, and liquid smoke, and added some dry polenta until the textures solidified enough to make little patties. I then baked the patties on a silpat mat at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, and we had delicious beet burgers to enjoy with vegetables, tahini, and a side sip of the New York Times’ legendary gazpacho.