Italian eateries don't (typically) have much in the way of vegan-friendly fare. Butter, cream, and egg tends to be par for the course, key ingredients in the dishes we love so much.
But it is possible to recreate Italian flavors without any animal products, just ask Melanie Bozzo Perez, co-founder of the Pasta Plant. (Available at Farmer's markets listed on its Twitter feed.) The pastas, sauces, and ready-made meals are handmade, locally-sourced, sustainable, GMO free, unprocessed, organic, and, most importantly, delicious.
"We make everything from scratch, we make all our own cheeses," says Perez.
The ingredients are all recognizable and pronounceable. For example, here are the breakdowns for the three dishes they were serving at Seed:
Mushroom Bolognese: Sauce: *Roma Tomatoes,* Onions, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, *Carrots, *Garlic, *Basil, Sea Salt, Black Pepper, *Oregano, *Portobello & *Crimini Mushrooms, Red Wine, Water and Celery. (500 ml for $10)
Tomato Basil: Sauce: *Roma Tomatoes, *Onions, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, *Carrots, Water *Garlic, *Basil, Sea Salt, Black Pepper and *Oregano. (500 ml for $7)
Rotolo Vegan Pasta Roll: Pasta: *Sprouted Spelt flour, Water, Salt. Filling: *Spinach, *Kale, *Carrot, *Mushrooms, *Rapini, *Onions, *THE PASTA PLANT Almond Ricotta, *Spelt Bread Crumbs, *Fresh Basil, Salt, Coarse Black Pepper and *Garlic. (Two person portion 1.5 lbs for $16)
And of course, everything is 100 percent vegan.
"My family moved to plant-based about three years ago there wasn't anything in the market that had the flavor that traditional Italian food has. It's just about using high-quality ingredients," Bozzo Perez adds. The business is family-run, and the family patriarch, Frank Bozzo, is an Italian immigrant with over 40 years of experience in the food industry.
'We partner with local farmers and we try to make everything as local and sustainable as possible, " she adds.
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They're also launching the F Program, a line of protein-heavy, nutrient-dense foods that offer complete balanced meals. Made with hemp and spelt flour, some include local organic Florida greens mixed in (both dehydrated and fresh).
While their homemade foodstuffs aren't in stores yet, they do set up and sell regularly at local farmer's markets. The best way to stay abreast of which markets the Pasta Plant is popping up at is to follow them on Twitter @thepastaplant. In addition, to special order their items, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahgetshappy.