Pasta in and out

By Glauce Fleury

I loved pasta.

But, then, I spent two months in an Italian homestay. They cooked pasta for 30 days non-stop (same sauce and salad made with tomatoes and lettuce from the garden). I told them I’d love to try something new. They cooked rice that evening and went back to pasta for the next 29 days.

I started hating pasta.

Even though I was having some of the happiest months of my life — living abroad for the first time, meeting people who’d become my best friends and loving a wonderful guy — my meals certainly were not part of my happiness.

After that period, I had a hard time reorganizing my diet and my health. Do you think I put on weight after eating pasta for 60 days? No, I lost it. The reason is probably obvious: I was constantly leaving food on my plate.

No surprise I generally woke up starving. Breakfasts have always been my favourite meal. During those months, they also became my main source of nutrients, so I tried to consume a lot of cereal, fruits and fresh juices.

Years later, I added pasta to my diet again, and was enjoying it. But, then, I went vegan. Pasta has to have eggs, right? Not actually.

Once, Verifood, a pasta cafe in Vancouver, made, upon request, lasagna without eggs and eggplant parmigiana with vegan cheese. They’re not a vegan place, but made a special dinner and it was like heaven.

That only proves that non-vegan restaurants with good will can try a different approach in the kitchen to please their customers. If we’re at home, we even have easier choices. Want an Italian dinner? Go for potato gnocchi.

IMG_2881Last week, a friend came over. Knowing I’ve been in love with food, she brought me a beautiful bag with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, oregano, Himalayan salt and vegetarian seasoning (photo on the left).

Yes, I have good friends.

Excited to try some of the presents, I bought potato gnocchi and a lot of fresh tomatoes for my homemade sauce — I’m committed to removing canned products from my diet.

This weekend I practised my culinary skills, and prepared an Italian dinner. Are you willing to try it?


  • 1 package of potato gnocchi (fiber)
  • 4 medium tomatoes (vitamins C and A)
  • 10-15 stalks of asparagus (vitamin A | iron)
  • Half medium onion (vitamin C)
  • 3 cloves of garlic (vitamins B6 and C | calcium)
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • Vegetarian seasoning
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper (iron | magnesium | calcium)

Directions 1

  • Chop the tomatoes, garlic and onion.
  • Put them and the vegetarian seasoning in a blender.
    NOTE: I used the seasoning that my friend gave me, but you can use any seasoning you like.
  • Add the mixture to a pan on medium temperature.
  • Add olive oil.
  • When it comes to a boil, keep it on low temperature while it’s getting thick and you’re taking care of the other steps.

Directions 2

  1. Fill 3/4 of a big pan with water.
  2. When the water comes to a boil, add all the gnocchi and some salt.
  3. Remove it from the stove when the gnocchi rise to the surface.

Directions 3

  • When the water for the gnocchi is almost boiling, put another pan on medium temperature and add the margarine.
  • When it’s melted, add the asparagus.
  • Stir them often to make sure they’re all touching the bottom of the pan.
  • Sauté the asparagus for about 10 minutes.

When everything is ready, add the gnocchi to your plate, cover it with as much sauce as you wish and sprinkle sesame seeds on top of your asparagus.

Serves: 2 people if you want to impress your significant other — or 1 person if you want to guarantee your leftover 🙂

Photos credit: Glauce Fleury


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