Vegan food and vegans often get a bad rap. Especially in Australia where the ritual of cooking steak and ‘mystery bags’ over fire is a sacred institution. Anyone who refuses to jump on board the great Aussie sausage in bread ride on a Saturday sojourn to Bunnings is a pariah. “It’s un-Australian!” they say. Because why in the name of a burnt snag on white death bread with sauce would any sane person actually enjoy a vegan diet? How dull their food (and they) must be. Right?
Australia is the third fastest growing vegan market in the world. * The UAE and China are the only two countries ahead of us – go figure! Folks are flocking to veganism in numbers. There are a variety of reasons that are motivating whole-of-life meat eaters to make the switch to plant based diets – the treatment of animals, health issues and concerns for the environment are high on the list. And the shift has arrived in Byron Bay with 100% vegan restaurant The Beet opening its doors where no vegan restaurant had gone before.
When The Beet Byron Bay arrived, the converted were there in a heartbeat – finally a restaurant where the tables were turned and vegan diners could eat everything on the menu rather than just the side dishes. The rest of us were curious.
The menu at The Beet might surprise those unfamiliar with vegan eating. There’s not a “I can’t believe it’s not chicken dish” in sight. Instead, it’s wholesome, delicious plant based dishes like mushroom tortellini, burritos, polenta chips, vegie burgers and risotto. Hearty, healthy and handmade.
If you haven’t dined at The Beet yet, the folks in the kitchen have kindly offered their recipe for Vegan Pesto Pasta to whet your appetite. The Vegan Pesto Pasta recipe is zesty and green with some crunchy capers and chili for warming heat. If you’re in Byron Bay, I can recommend you purchase your basil, rocket, parsley and baby spinach from The Gourmet Salad Hut at the Byron Bay Farmers Market every Thursday morning. They have the freshest and best you will find. You can use your favourite store-bought pasta in the dish but, if you’re going to the trouble of making your own pesto, then you may as well make your own pasta too!
Thanks to The Beet Byron Bay for sharing this recipe with Get Forked and Fly. It’s a “winner-winner-chicken-dinner” even if you are vegan.
- 1 handful of Wild Rocket leaves
- 1 bunch of Basil
- 1/3 bunch of Parsley
- 1 handful of Baby Spinach
- 250ml of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Juice of 1 Lemon
- 30g Nutritional Yeast
- 1 clove Garlic
- Coconut Sugar, Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
- Sliced Shallots
- Sliced Chilli
- Extra Wild Rocket leaves
- Olive oil
- Fried Capers
- Toasted Pine nuts
- Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- Blend all the ingredients together in a food processor as quickly as possible without heating the mix up too much as this will kill the nice green colour.
- Cook your pasta and drain.
- Add the pasta to a large bowl along with some pesto, sliced shallots, sliced chili, extra wild rocket leaves, olive oil fried capers and toasted Pine Nuts to taste. Toss it all together and serve on a plate.
- Garnish with fresh sprouts and some vegan Parmesan Cheese.
- The pesto will last a few days in the fridge if there is any leftover!