I usually side with Anthony Bourdain and Nigella Lawson when it comes to vegetarians and vegetarian cookery. Most people who try to impose vegetarianism on others are annoying prats who are into the whole veg lifestyle for all the wrong reasons. Now, I would understand if one turns vegetarian for ethical, religious, or medical reasons. But to become a veggie just because they think it’s cool or that it’ll turn them from lumpen, flabby chubbies into models who wouldn’t be out of place on the cover of Sports Illustrated is just plain wrong. Plus, I don’t buy PeTA’s Meat is Murder schlock: eating meat isn’t murder! Hiking up the prices of basic commodities to the point that one out of every five Filipino families goes hungry is murder!
But anti-vegetarian rants notwithstanding, I actually do like vegetables and some vegetarian dishes are actually quite comforting and satisfying. Root-veg croquettes, eggplant lasagne, torta con patatas, and pinakbet are among my favorites along with this breakfast sandwich I recently discovered at Starbucks: spinach, artichoke, mushrooms, and mozzarella on a rye bun.
It looks rather small, but it’s actually a good hefty sarnie that makes a good breakfast and an even better lunch when served with a bag of chips and a tumbler of hot chocolate. (Marshmallows are optional, but are oh-so-welcome!)
The mushrooms are the primary reason why you won’t miss the meat in this particular sandwich. The butter-sauteed mushies taste rich and meaty and work beautifully with the mild-tasting mozzarella. The spinach is obviously wilted here, but it still has a bit of a crunch and the artichoke hearts taste gorgeously nutty.
Truth be told, after a fairly bad experience after trying to go vegan, I doubt if I’ll ever go veggie on a permanent basis. Nevertheless, occasional all-veg lunches like these are delicious and are certainly worth it every once in a while.