While in most parts of the world pasta is closely associated with butter and cheese, in Greece we have lots of traditional plant-based pasta dishes, without a trace of animal components. They were the staple of the numerous Lenten days, almost half the year –according to the old Orthodox calendar.
A humble leftover lentil soup becomes a delicious vegan pasta with complex flavor, while in my Mediterranean Vegetarian Feasts I created the Lebanese-inspired Linguine with Spicy Lentils and Caramelized Onions.
Our plant-based, vegan dishes are not contrived, but created by the women who had to bring a delicious, filling dish to their family’s table.
More than twenty years ago, in my Foods of the Greek Islands I included the delicious Pasta with Olive Oil, Onions and Spices from the island of Karpathos, which is very similar to my later, Lebanese-inspired one.
I often make pasta with greens and lemon. Recently I found a recipe for pasta with green olives and feta in the NYT which was very close to what I often whip up.
But I wanted to try and make a completely plant based dish, with no cheese at all.
I was intrigued by a vegan pasta with greens and lemon in Food and Wine: It had white miso to add umami, but this ubiquitous Asian component is not part of our everyday ingredients, so I decided to use sliced Kalamata olives, the Mediterranean umami equivalent…
The resulting Olive and Greens Pasta with Garlic and Lemon is truly delicious, even for non-vegans like us!