The vegetarian takes a bite out of me.

“Meat, meat, meat! Is that all you can blog about. What about the vegetarians out there in Internet land? Surely there is more to life than meat? Why can’t you do something for them too?”


So went the tirade from ‘The Vegetarian’, a friend, or perhaps former friend. Still it got me thinking. I don’t often eat an evening meal that doesn’t have part of a dead animal or an entire sea creature languishing on the plate. In the interests of balance, there are usually some vegetables there too. But, I digress.

This criticism cut me to the bone or scratched me gently, more like. But I resolved to, for once, do something that did not involve killing a living breathing creature to feed to my brood. After lots of fussing around (due to lack of any real interest), I prepared Pasta with Spinach, Oven Roasted Tomatoes and Basil & Garlic Pesto. The dish is finished off with Parmesan shavings, to add some bite.

Now if there had been a fat tuna steak involved, I might have made the pesto myself. There wasn’t so I didn’t.

If I’d made fresh pasta it would have made it better but I didn’t so it wasn’t.

The tomatoes would have been tastier if it was the summer here in Ireland and they were local and fresh. It wasn’t so they weren’t.

The writing would have been more inventive if I really was enthused. I wasn’t so it isn’t.

The very short list of ingredients. Perhaps it reflected my lack of enthusiasm?

The ingredients, bar the seasoning and some olive oil are all in the photo.

Here’s what I did.

  • Roasted the baby tomatoes in the oven for 20 minutes.
  • Followed the pack directions on the pasta. Drained it and poured a kettle of boiling water over. Added some good olive oil and tossed in the colander.
  • Shaved the Parmesan cheese.
  • Wilted the spinach in a big pot, stopping before it turns to mush.
  • Put it all in bowls.
  • Opened the jar of pesto and spooned some over each.
  • Served the hoard while photographing my own meal.
I tossed these little tomatoes in olive oil and roasted them for 20 minutes.

I tossed these little tomatoes in olive oil and roasted them for 20 minutes.

I over compensated for my impending dining deflation by opening a bottle of Mirage du

Helping to dull the impending pain….

Joncal 2005. The wine is produced by a crazy ex French air force pilot who now names his wines after the various planes he used to fly.

My daughters were discussing next week’s dinner in terms of “We can have meat with some more meat on the side, followed by meat, bloody meat….” I prepared myself for the meal to be awful and for me to be disappointed. Shockingly, it wasn’t and I wasn’t.

I was really impressed with the clarity of flavour and with how well everything matched up. The Parmesan and the pesto added real flavour.

The spinach and pasta worked great as a counterbalance. The wine helped a bit too.

It tasted a lot better than I thought it might. Very toothsome (love that word) indeed.

I can look ‘The Vegetarian‘ in the face and say; “Yes, I went there. I just choose not to stay.” (For the moment anyway, it really was very tasty).

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Latest comments
  • Sounds like you did your part and now you can move on 🙂

  • Looks very delicious. Wouldn’t mind a piece of tuna with this though 🙂

  • I am in your same boat when I cook dinner. There is some type of feeling like the meal isn’t complete without a little meat mixed in. Not sure if this is my need for the protein or the fact that that’s how I was raised, a hunter’s daughter. Great recipe and it looked beautiful!

  • Wine makes everything better.

  • Love the last line of this post! 🙂

  • Reading your post, you get a real sense of the raw dedication and excitement you put into that meal, it hits you in the gut. :-p

    For those who feel deflated by your performance, there’s plenty of vegetarian sites elsewhere on the net for people to look at but you did bravely in the face of so much pressure from your friend.

    Unfortunately for me, in an effort to save money I’m going to have to be inventive and plan one vegetarian day a week for the family; even if it’s an easy pasta dish, my husband always goes ‘there’s something missing, where’s the bacon?’ so it’s going to be a long battle.

    • Tease him with promises of ‘Bacon tomorrow, only if you eat all your pasta….’

  • Haha, hopefully you don’t get a similar message from a vegan tomorrow! 😉

  • Just came across your blog…fabulous writing and photography! I can support you on your meat requirement in every meal – My dinner last night comprised of a bacon infused bourbon cocktail, a burger topped with beer cheddar and pork lardons as well as a doughnut with foie gras and jelly. Needless to say, I may have overdone it, but boy was it worth it. 🙂 I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  • Bring back the bone!

  • You nearly make me want to try that meal, as I sit here stuffed with roast lamb from West Cork, nearly, but not quite. Great writing Conor; keep it coming…

  • This looks delicious Conor!

  • Loved the post! You did what you needed to do to make a friend happy but I look forward to your usually repertoire. And I agree…wine definitely makes things better.

    • Thanks Karen. I actually enjoyed it a lot! Life is full of learnings.

  • I’d have to make two versions of this – one for the Mrs and for me…I’d stick some bacon in for a bit of extra zing.

  • A vege dish every now and then is good, and this one looks yummy! We have a neighbor friend who is a vegetarian so it is always a challenge to come up with something we can all eat. Last time if was the manicotti with spinach and ricotta. Next time artichoke green chili lasagne!

  • 1st I love your posts … 2nd I don’t know why the person complained, the site is clearly about “MEAT”. 3rd we did this recipe last night and it was amazing, but I added a nice 18oz dry aged ribeye (I do my own dry-aging) to it just for a little balance. If I were a dinosaur I would have been a T Rex

    • I like your style. I suspect that it would go very well with a nice piece of dripping meat.

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