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Meatless Monday: Pasta with Lavender

Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

Lavender is most often associated with soaps or potpourri, but the fragrant flower is fabulous to use in cooking, too. With its citrus notes and floral flavor, lavender adds sophistication to both sweet and savory dishes alike.

Try it yourself in Mark Bittman’s pasta with lavender. The distinct aroma enhances the fresh vegetables rather than overpowering them. If you can’t find lavender, rosemary works well in this minimalist recipe also.

Pasta with Lavender
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium-to-large zucchini, trimmed
1 medium carrot, peeled and trimmed
1 red bell pepper, cored
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 or 3 cloves garlic, crushed
Several lavender leaves or flowers, or both (or use rosemary)
1 pound penne or farfalle cut pasta

Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Shred vegetables, using a food processor, grater or knife. Put olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add garlic. When it starts to brown, stir and add vegetables. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper, add a bit of lavender and cook, stirring occasionally, until they barely soften, just 5 minutes or so.

Meanwhile, cook pasta until it is just barely tender, a little less cooked than it would be to serve it. Drain, reserving some cooking water. Add pasta to vegetables and continue to cook, adding water as necessary to keep mixture moist.

Taste, and add more lavender to taste; it should be distinctive but not too strong. When pasta and vegetables are tender but not mushy, adjust seasoning for salt and pepper, garnish with a couple of lavender flowers if you have them, and serve.

Use up leftover lavender in these great recipes:

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