I have always loved oatmeal. It’s delicious, filling, and a very nice start the day. Recently though I discovered exactly how much sugar most instant oatmeal contains. For instance, my previous favorite, Quaker Oat’s Apple & Cinnamon contains 12 grams of sugar per serving. It may not seem like a lot, but for contrast a single Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut contains only 10 grams of sugar. I never thought of my oatmeal as having more sugar than a doughnut, but that is the case.
After realizing this, I decided to search for a less sugar filled alternative to my favorite breakfast. That is when I discovered steel cut oats. Steel cut oats are groats (the hulled portion of the oat) that are loosely chopped into several pieces instead of rolled with a rolling pin device, which is how instant oats are processed. As a result, the oats are randomly shaped, but could best be described as rice cut in half. Steel cut oats, in addition to being less processed than instant oats, have less ingredients added to them. As a result, the steel cut oats I purchased have less than a gram of sugar per serving.
The downside to the steel cut oats size is the length of time it takes to cook these oats. The long cook time resulted in me looking for a simple alternative. This is exactly what I found, and can be seen below.
So today is Meatless Monday, and I have every intention of having a delicious vegetarian meal today. I have leftover kale from a dish I made yesterday, and I wanted to eat what was left before it was wasted. That is why I chose to make a kale based pesto.
Pesto has always been one of my favorites because it is so versatile. Once the pesto I made today was completed, I started by simply putting a light spread on a slice of whole wheat bread. It was great, and I was already hungry so it helped tide me over while the noodles were still cooking. The recipe you see below will make a relatively large amount of pesto, more than I can eat in one sitting as an individual, but you need not worry! The pesto is easy to store and can be eaten in the future.
So now, without further ado, Kale Pesto with Linguine.
3 oz pine nuts, toasted
3 oz Parmesan, coarsely grated (plus extra to serve)
3 garlic cloves
3 oz kale
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/3 cup olive oil
Juice 1 lemon
Linguine, to serve
Combine: pine nuts, Parmesan, garlic, oils, kale, and lemon juice in a food processor and blend to a paste. Season to taste
Cook desired amount of linguine following the instructions supplied by the box.
Stir the pesto through the hot pasta to serve, topping with extra Parmesan and oil, if you like
Place the pesto in a container or jar, cover the surface with a little more olive oil and keep in the fridge for a week, or freeze for up to a month.
Parmigiano-Reggiano (or for the average American like myself, Parmesan) is not vegetarian. If you’ve been a vegetarian for a long time, this may not come as news to you, but if you are new to the vegetable diet like myself, this may be a shock to you. You see, Parmesan cheese is made up of a differing amount of ingredients which can be combined in a whole host of different ways depending upon who is making it. The only exceptions to this are three main ingredients which are required in order to actually call Parmesan cheese…well…Parmesan.
These three ingredients are cow milk, salt, and calf rennet.
The first two of these ingredients are very clear and so I won’t go into detail with them, but rennet, for those who do not know is, “an enzyme derived from the stomachs of calves, lambs or goats before they consume anything but milk” (Cheesemaking.com). It is used to curdle the milk to turn it into cheese, and as I have mentioned, is a required ingredient for Parmesan cheese. I won’t fully describe how rennet is obtained (if you wish, it is easily found online) but the animal does in fact have to die for the rennet to be acquired. This fact alone is enough for me to know I no longer wish to consume products which utilize rennet.
For those of you who still wish to be vegetarian AND eat Parmesan cheese, fear not! There is an alternative that exists for people just like you…and me. It turns out rennet can be created using fungi, or other genetically modified micro organisms instead of using the enzymes found in a calf’s stomach. The three main rennet producers are Rhizomucor miehei, Endothia parasitica and Rhizomucor pusillis, and it is now relatively easy (although slightly more expensive) to purchase a Parmesan cheese which is made from one of these three organisms instead of calf rennet.
In fact, I have done this now, and to be entirely honest I cannot even tell the difference. You can now continue eating your spaghetti and other Parmesan covered plates knowing full well that no animals were harmed in the making of your fine dish…As long as you quickly replace your Parmesan with the vegetarian alternative…