I know I make fun of Rachael Ray pretty often, but the honest truth is, I kind of admire her. Her newer, more mature and subdued incarnation is not quite as grating as her younger, overly perky persona who was too often prone to shouting at me through the TV and telling me a gazillion times that "oregano" means "joy of the mountains" in Greek. (I don't even know if that's true... Anyone?) Anyone has to admit she's got a good schtick going and a lot to show for it. And while I'm being nice, I'd go so far as to say I feel bad for the woman, since I think she's burned the f*ck out, personally.
But enough of all that. The point is, I've been wanting to try a vegan version of this recipe for Sausage, Kale and Cranberry Pasta for quite some time (probably since last Thanksgiving), and I'm quite glad I finally got around to it. It was a great way to use up cranberry sauce (my mom made a homemade batch, so I had a can languishing in my pantry, begging to go to a pasta party with some greens and Gimme Lean ground "sausage").
Anyway, I highly recommend giving it a try. For the record, I used a plain, yellow onion because I refuse to pay that much for an onion unless it's very necessary (I didn't feel it was in this instance), and I obviously omitted the Parmesan cheese at the end. I also found it necessary to perk up the Gimme Lean with some fennel seed, garlic powder, and red pepper flakes. I'd never used the product before, as I try not to make a habit of using processed foods, but I figured, what the hell? It's a holiday. But it tasted more breakfast sausage-y than Italian sausage-y, which is why I would recommend those additions. Also, don't skip the little shaving of fresh nutmeg at the end... It was a phenomenal touch.
Ray-Ray apparently paired this recipe with some croquettes made of turkey and mashed potatoes (I didn't see the actual episode, though I'm sure it was played approximately 1,217 times last week on the Food Network). Well, mashed potatoes don't stand a chance of lasting more than a few hours in my family (W, my dad and I all have Irish blood in us, after all). And for my leftover faux turkey, I chose instead to turn to use it up in my Tetrazzini recipe. It's a very nostaligic dish for me, but I can understand how folks might tire of it year after year – but not I! And I realize only just now that last year's photo is less than appetizing, but it's long since been gobbled up (har har har). So maybe I'll take another one next year? Anyway, I'm hoping everyone had a happy and healthy Thanksgiving with loved ones. Now let's all brace ourselves for the next round of holidays! (Also, did I use enough parentheses in this post? Don't answer that.)