Ever since Bobby and I decided to go vegetarian for a few weeks (I first talked about that here), I’ve had to get a little more inventive with our meals. For me, not really being familiar with the ins and outs of a vegetarian diet, it’s a lot harder to build a meal around a vegetable than around a meat.
I’m sure that’s not the case for people who are full-time vegetarians, but it’s definitely a challenge for us to get into that mindset. So far the default seems to be black beans with either rice or pasta.
So this is a recipe that combines both of those. It happened that we already had a bag of dried black beans, so that played into the decision to use them, too. I should clarify that by vegetarian I mean no meat. We have been eating animal byproducts, like eggs or milk.
I’d been daydreaming about using this recipe for Olive Garden’s alfredo sauce that I found on Pinterest a while back. I had macaroni on-hand, so that’s what I used for the pasta. I put the beans on to soak yesterday morning before I went to work, so they were ready to be cooked when I got home. I added salt and boiled them for probably about 30 minutes, then sauteed them in olive oil with a can of sweet corn kernel corn. I stirred in about 1/4 cup of cilantro at the end.
The beans were a bit al dente, which is how I like them, but Bobby opted for just the pasta and sauce and said he loved it.
I was a little hesitant about this combination of items, since the beans and corn are more Mexican or southwestern, and the sauce and pasta are Italian. But I ended up really liking how everything came together, enough that I will probably make this again. I think, for a non-vegetarian version, that I would add ham of some sort, or maybe prosciutto.
I’m obviously not a chef, but I definitely enjoyed the combo of flavors, and I think the dish was really successful overall!