Vegan ravioli, homemade tomato sauce and vegan “Parmesan” cheese

Once in a while my husband likes to splurge on a ready-to-cook vegan ravioli, which is available at Whole Foods Market in San Francisco California USA.

I believe it’s just regular ravioli pasta noodles filled with vegetables, so the only difference between this and the typical ravioli is that there is no meat or cheese inside.

I’m not sure why, but some people flat-out assume that all Italian pasta noodles are not vegan. Folks, get a clue! Check the ingredient labels sometime, and you’ll see.

Yes, plain pasta noodles ARE SOMETIMES made with egg as an ingredient, but lots of pasta noodles don’t have any animal products in them at all. This is true, whether one is talking about Italian pasta noodles or noodles from various cuisines in Asia. Some types of noodles have egg and others don’t.

The pasta sauce was leftover lasagna sauce. My husband makes it with tomato sauce, mushrooms, vegetables, spices, and a vegan version of ground beef or mince, could be one of various brands. Usually it’s basically textured vegetable protein (TVP), which is soy protein made to resemble ground beef.

Oh! “Processed” to resemble ground beef!!!! Is that a crime?

When it comes to nutrition, no, I don’t think so. Guess what, lots of times TVP is low sodium, high in protein, low in saturated fat. Depending on how it’s prepared, TVP could be more nutritious for you than a so-called whole food. If somebody is telling you that processed foods are automatically “all bad” for you, please tell them to take a hike.

I’m sure that some of those people would recoil and say, “well, I didn’t say you should NEVER eat processed foods, I only said that you should eat then in moderation.” Ummm … Why would you need to limit foods which are more nutritious for you, and which have no negative effects if eaten every day?

Meanwhile, there are plenty of whole foods that most people do need to worry about limiting or only eating in moderation. Think about nuts, those are very nutritious whole foods, but they typically have saturated fat and lots of calories. Some people need to gain weight, and if so, then eating nuts can help them do that. Otherwise, eating unlimited amounts of a “whole food” like nuts might not be a good idea.

Some folks have this idea that people can eat whatever they want in unlimited amounts, as long as it’s “whole foods, plant-based,” but anytime it’s a processed food, “be very careful about it and only have it in moderation or as a special treat once in a while.”

The reality is, it doesn’t matter if the food is processed or “whole foods” or whatever, from a nutrition perspective. What matters is, what kind of nutrition does the food provide, and how much of whatever that you perhaps might need to avoid due to your medical conditions / food allergies /,other restrictions, does it provide?

Anyway, back to the food again! (I just can’t stay off my soapbox, can I? LOL.).

The leftover lasagna sauce was absolutely delicious with the vegan ravioli. I topped it with some vegan Parmesan that my husband had bought at Whole Foods.

I don’t remember what the nutrition information was like on the vegan Parmesan. I only used a few sprinkles of it so I doubt it added much of anything, negative or positive.

Most vegan cheeses that one can buy in the store here in the USA provide a lot of saturated fat and not much else in the way of “positive” nutrition (protein, fiber, omegas, vitamins and minerals, etc) to the meal. However, I don’t remember if that was the case with this particular vegan Parmesan cheese (Everyday 365, Whole Foods brand).

Super easy, very delicious and nutritious vegan meal here.

I eat meals like this 365 days out of the year. And yet, I am willing to eat meat or cheese or eggs or any of the things that vegans and/or vegetarians won’t eat.

If it will make things easier for somebody who is hosting me at their house or if it will help me fit in with a group or save some money*** because the price of the vegan option is outrageous or whatever. Lots of different reasons why I will actually eat non-vegan food.

*** Example, one time I bought regular chocolate chips at the grocery store, which included a trivial amount of milk fat (as one of the last ingredients), because I was baking for some people who were not vegetarian or vegan in the least, and because the vegan chocolate chips were six dollars a bag, whereas the regular chocolate chips were only $1.50 per bag.

*** Doesn’t that make a lot of sense? If all the vegans in the world would donate $4.50 to helping animals, instead of paying six dollars versus $1.50 for a bag of chocolate chips, they would be doing a lot more good of the world, versus the good to dairy cows that they would come (spoiler: it’s zero) from avoiding that tiny amount of milk fat.

(There is good that comes from making a totally vegan thing, and that good is simply the pride and self-satisfaction that we feel from having made something delicious and/or nutritious that contains zero animal products, That sense of self satisfaction doesn’t do anything to help dairy cows but it certainly is a pleasant feeling and a good thing.)

*** Choosing non-vegan items to save money! Can you imagine how many vegans would get pissed off by that? “However much extra it costs, it’s worth it because the animals are suffering!” I get it, but here’s what I think; if you’re smarter about how you spend your money, you can actually help even more animals.

After all this, some people would say, “oh you’re just looking for an excuse to eat non-vegan stuff!!!!” Nope. I actually would prefer to have all vegan food.

But here’s the realty: Suitable vegan food options may be AWOL! Yes, they do exist, but not at this particular location and not at this particular moment in time.

When the vegan food fails us ***** , then I’m happy to go with something else which is more appropriate.

***** by being absent or by being expensive or inconvenient or not nutritious or just plain unappetizing or not accessible due to food allergies or medical conditions for the person receiving the food, and in many other possible ways!

In my mind, no one should be faulted for the fact that vegan options often fail us. People can’t be blamed for the lack of appropriate vegan options. Sorry for the pun, but it really is a chicken and egg problem!

— Raquelita Dee

Meanwhile, in my particular case, I was strictly vegan for some years, so I’ve already manipulated my life in such a way that I typically have big picture vegan options available to me. Even so, I don’t live in a bubble, I actually live in the real world amongst the 90% of people here in the USA who are not vegan or vegetarian. And that’s how it is that I frequently see instances where it doesn’t make sense to push for 100% vegan everything, with the food I eat or with other purchases I make.

Interestingly, even though I am willing to eat meat or cheese or eggs or any other animal product, I am confident that no,animals are killed on my behalf. Why not? Because I rarely ever eat any big-picture animal products. If everyone in the world were to eat the amount of animal products I eat, which is very little, all of the animal food industrias would have gone out of business more than 15 years ago. Every single one.

That’s why I’ve got no problem eating whatever random animal products that may come my way. It seems to me, my current eating patterns are already plenty animal-friendly enough.


4 thoughts on “Vegan ravioli, homemade tomato sauce and vegan “Parmesan” cheese

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  1. Homemade ravioli pasta is usually made with eggs. I don’t know about the kinds you can get at the store. Probably the refrigerated kinds do use eggs. I imagine it’s probably easier to get two sheets of pasta to stick together with an egg-based recipe. I think people think that because for homemade pasta, you do use eggs.

    1. Interesting! Thank you, I had no idea about the homemade pasta. A few years ago, I had a friend who took a homemade pasta making class. The friend has celiac and wanted a cheaper way to acquire gluten-free pasta. Before that, I didn’t even know that making your own homemade pasta was a thing. Come to think of it, I’ve never had much contact with any Italian families so I guess that makes sense.

      That being said, I’m pretty sure that most of the people who have assumed that all pasta has egg in it, have also had next-to-zero contact with traditional Italian families. Like me, they also probably had no clue that homemade pasta usually has egg in it whereas store-bought often does not.

      I see that with bread also, some people think that nearly all bread recipes by default have eggs and milk in them. I’m just like, what? It is true that cakes and cookies almost always have at least some animal products, like milk, butter, eggs, etc. But for me, bread is something different. As a kid, I learned to make bread and country biscuits (Remember, that’s the term I’ve come up with for the biscuits that we eat with sausage and gravy, not the crispy sweet wafers / cookies that they call biscuits in India, UK, Australia, etc) as and the basic recipes we used (for bread items, not cakes cookies etc) didn’t have any animal products in them at all.

      So when people come up with us, that they assume that bread automatically has animal products in it, as the default thing, that is mind-boggling to me.

      On the other hand, one time I was at a grocery store in Columbia Missouri, looking for a fully vegan bread, and I had a really hard time finding one In the packaged, sandwich sliced bread section. It seems that all of the sandwich sliced bread there had milk or honey or whey or something as at least a minor additive at the end.

      1. I’ve always added milk to biscuits for the liquid. These days I used unsweetened Westsoy.

        You’d have to ask people why they automatically assume all pasta and bread has egg in it, but my hypothesis is a lot of Americans derive from western Europe, places like Germany and Northern Italy, where pastas do have eggs in them because the wheat grown in those regions needs the egg, and same with bread. It was hard to find bread flour when I was a kid in the grocery store. Traditionally, the flour here is soft with a lower gluten content, which is great for a tender biscuit but trying to make a basic bread, not so much. But you can add egg and milk to boost the protein and act as a binder to compensate. Now we could find semolina pasta, like spaghetti and macaroni, easily at the stores, no problem, but I remember eating quite a few dishes with egg noodles, prepackaged and all, but still egg-having. Things like stroganoff, noodles with cabbage, chicken noodle soup. The Amish and Mennonite pastas you find usually have egg. I think people will gradually stop assuming breads and pastas inherently have milk and eggs in them since we have access to all kinds of flour, we make all kinds of foods these days, etc., but my guess is people have recollections of how others made bread or what kind of pasta was eaten and it’s a kind-of but not exactly a myth that has persisted.

      2. That makes sense. Growing up in northwest Missouri / Kansas City and San Antonio Texas, we did sometimes have stroganoff type of noodles, which would have eggs in them, but we usually had either just plain spaghetti or macaroni from a box when I was a kid … stuff that didn’t have egg in the pasta, usually.

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