Showing posts with label Olive Garden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Olive Garden. Show all posts

Feb 15, 2011

baked eggplant over scampi pasta

Italian Night

Over the MoFo I made a Chick'n Scampi pasta dish from Olive Garden. This dish impressed Mikel so much he requested it again. I wanted to change it up somewhat, so I married Eggplant Parm and the Scampi dish and came up with this course: Baked Eggplant over Scampi Pasta.

As the name implies, Scampi includes lemon and garlic.

I baked the eggplant which turned out just as crunchy as frying it, but without the obvious oily texture. You can add some Daiya to it at the end to get the Parmesan effect.

The pasta sauce is soy free, using cashews as the base of the creamy sauce. Mikel's only complaint was the size of the peppers. Therefore, I have adjusted the recipe since the picture to reflect his concern; dice the peppers and not slice them.

I served these over rice pasta so if you are using gluten free pasta, make sure not to over cook it; it'll turn to mush.

Cost Breakdown:

eggplant, bread crumbs, spices: $4
cashew, nutritional yeast: $2.50
pasta, lemon: $3.50
garlic, pepper, onion: $3
Total to make 4 servings:

Nov 10, 2010

olive garden (MoFo 6)

Olive Garden - When you're here you're family!
Unless you are vegan, then you should consider yourself in-laws.

Olive Garden is an Americanized Italian, family, commercial restaurant that is not so much Italian as American fast food that overcharges and is not vegan-friendly. True to that credo, veganizing Olive Garden has been a frustrating quest. Not so much because their food is so unique that transforming them to vegan is difficult, but because my pictures of the food weren't turning out quite right. Then, I needed to streamline the recipes and hone the flavors. All in all I spent waayyy too much time on Olive Garden, making the following dishes more often than my family cared to partake of, over and over again for the past few days.

Enough whining! 

I chose Fettuccine Alfredo because once you can make the Alfredo sauce you can make practically half the menu and I love Primavera Alfredo - an Alfredo based pasta with spring vegetables. The vegan-Alfredo sauce is easy, tasty and soy-free. It thickens as it sits for a few minutes so don't stress if you don't see it thickening in the pot. Pour it over the Fettuccine like Olive Garden does and then mix it in at the table.

My second choice was Chicken Scampi
Shrimp Scampi was absolutely one of my faves when I worked at seafood places, but now I can't imagine for the life of me why I ate bugs. Yes, folks, shrimp, lobster and crab are arthropods, sharing the same kin as the roach. I'm now good with seitan, thank you very much. Looking back I am sure I loved it for the garlic and lemon. Yeah, that's it. This dish has lemon and garlic, too, making it an authentic scampi.

Lastly, my kids have been bugging me for Tiramisu. Olive Garden's tiramisu is not quite as complicated as one from  a true Italian kitchen, so it makes it easier for us home-cooks to veganize.

Of course, the bread sticks, salad and soup are what vegans go for at Olive Garden. Naturally we have to get the bread naked, the salad undressed and the soup without the cheese. While I ran out of time adapting the bread sticks and dressing (which I am working on!), the Minestrone Soup I have already blogged about and the Spinach-Artichoke Dip is another one already in the arsenal. Check those out for more Olive Garden clones.


As for the cookbook, Vegan Vittles, winner, has chosen comment #1 as the winner. I will try to find your address, but if you'd like to make sure the book gets to you asap, email me at with your address! Thanks everyone for participating! Another book contest on Friday.

Cost Breakdown:

cashew, nutritional yeast: $2.50
pasta, garlic: $3
Total to make 2 large servings:

cashew, nutritional yeast: $2.50
pasta, lemon: $3.50
seitan, flour: $3
garlic, pepper, onion, spices: $1
Total to make 2 large servings:

flour, Earth balance: $1
cashew, almond: $2
starch, flour, extract: $1
maple syrup, sugar: $2
cocoa: $1
TotL to make 6 servings:

Chick'n Scampi

Fettuccine Alfredo