My mother called me two days ago to try to convince me that being a vegetarian would send me into early menopause.

“But I saw it on the news!” she exclaimed, as if that made it the gospel truth.  As if some holy and all-knowing being had come down and whispered it in her ear.  You know, the all-knowing being otherwise known as the Good Day New York Fox Five news crew.

Right. I changed the subject.

A few minutes later.  “But Joanne, why don’t you just eat chicken?”  Because to her, chicken isn’t meat. Chicken is oxygen, vegetable, mineral.  The be-all and end-all of everything one should eat over the course of the day.  The pinnacle of all that is good in this world.  So obviously, as a vegetarian (or more accurately, pescatarian) I should eat it.

(As an aside, this recent vegetarianism/pescatarianism change of mine may or may not be permanent.  I make no promises and refuse to hold myself to anything.  But so long as I don’t crave meat, I’m not going to eat it. Deal?)

Well, I have news for her. If I ever crave a meat again…I highly doubt chicken will be it.


My point being that most people are completely clueless about what vitamins, minerals and supplements they actually need in their diet.  Understandable. Considering that the medical community really has no idea either.

Studies have not been done.  There have been no randomized control trials.  It’s all just one big guessing game.

In that same conversation, my mother also told me that she was going to start taking glucosamine.  For her joints.  Uhhh what?  Do you have arthritis? I asked her.  Nope.  Then don’t waste your money.

As you may or may not have guessed, our topic for this week’s Eat.Live.Be. is vitamins, minerals, and supplements. Also, as you may or may not have guessed, I am very brusque when it comes to this subject.

I am probably also going to offend people when I say that, on the whole. I don’t believe in them.


Let me qualify that.  I don’t believe in them in pill form.  Rather, I truly believe that if you eat a healthy well-balanced diet, you will never need to take another vitamin, mineral, or supplement again.  And it will actually be better for you, because vitamins and minerals are absorbed and utilized much better when you eat them than when you swallow them in a pill.  Take vitamin A, for example.  Vitamin A eaten in food can do no wrong.  You can not get too much of it and it will make you have gorgeous skin, better vision, and prevent cancer.  If you take too much of it in pill form, however, it can give you osteoporosis, altered mental status, and is toxic to a fetus.  Why? It all has to do with the preparation.  The chemical structure in the pill is not the same as that which is eaten, so they do different things.

The other problem I have is with all of these random supplements.  Biotin, coenzyme Q, glucosamine.  Yes, we use them in our bodies ALL THE TIME.  But there really is no proof that they are even absorbed in our intestines when we take them in a pill.  Much better, in my opinion, to just eat good food and let your body do what it’s been doing throughout all of evolution and make them itself from the building blocks you give it.

This all being said.  There are people out there who have real serious metabolic deficiencies and cannot make these.  In which case, listen to your doctor.  Take the supplements.  Some really are crucial…like iron for those with anemia, or B12/folate for those who are pregnant, or calcium for those of us who were underweight for a period of time and thus suffered from two very inconvenient pelvic stress fractures.  So yes, I do take calcium.  To be precise, I take Citracal.  2 tablets, twice a day when I remember (so four tablets total), but always at least once a day.  But this is only because my orthopedist and rheumatologist absolutely ordered me to.


I’m sorry if I came off as severely didactic and critical in this post.  This probably stems from my mother and co. calling me at least once a week to tell me that she has found the supplement that is going to cure her of all ailments in life and help her to live forever. I also have relatives who take, literally, a sugar pill every day (granted it’s not your usual glucose but some weird kind of sugar) that they swear cures multiple sclerosis, cancer, heart disease, etc. and proceed to try to argue with me about it at every family gathering.  I’m a scientist!  I try to tell them.  Show me some real scientific data!  Otherwise, I’d rather just eat my fruits and veggies.  They taste better anyway.

What do you guys think about all of this?  What vitamins, minerals, and supplements do you take (I promise not to judge! To each his own!)?  Write about it on your blog and link up here or leave a message in the comments!

And be sure to check out what the other Eat.Live.Be. bloggers have to say!

Picnik collage

Now let’s get this pasta back in the limelight, where it belongs.  This is a dish that is chock full of vitamins and minerals.  It’s high in thiamin, vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, iron, and potassium.  It’s a nutritional rock star.

Not only that, but it is the best baked pasta recipe that I’ve ever had.  That pine nut/pesto crunch topping…sent me spiraling into food heaven.  I basically want to top all of my pasta dishes with it from here on out.  Or just eat it by the spoonful.  Every day for the rest of my life.  That seems rational, right?

Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch
Serves 6-8, adapted from Bon Appetit March 2011

1 unpeeled large eggplant (1 1/2-1 3/4 lb), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium yellow bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 cups grape tomatoes
2 large cloves garlic, divided
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups (firmly packed) fresh basil leaves, divided
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup pine nuts (or 2 tbsp pine nuts and 2 tbsp almonds for those of us who forget we don’t have 1/4 cup pine nuts)
1 28-oz can whole tomatoes in juice (San Marzano please!)
1 cup almond milk (original recipe calls for heavy whipping cream)
1 lb rigatoni
Mozzarella for grating over the top (original recipe calls for 1 lb, but I used WAY less…maybe 1/4 cup)

1. Preheat oven to 425.  Spray large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray.  Add eggplant and peppers.  Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise and add to sheet.  Drizzle veggies with 2 tbsp oil.  Toss.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Roast veggies until tender, stirring often, 35-45 minutes.

2. Combine 2/3 cup basil, 1/2 cup parmesan, pine nuts, and 1 garlic cloves in mini processor.  Blend until crumbly.  Season with salt.  Remove to a bowl and set aside.

3. Blend tomatoes with juice, cream/almond milk, 1 1/3 cups basil, and 1 garlic clove in processor until smooth.  Season sauce with salt and pepper.

4. Cook pasta in a pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally.  Drain.  Return to pot.  Toss with veggies, sauce, and 1/2 cup parmesan.  Transfer to a 13x9x2-inch baking dish.  Sprinkle with mozzarella and pine nut topping.

5. Bake pasta until heated through, 25-35 minutes.  Let stand 10 minutes and serve.

I am submitting this to:
Presto Pasta Nights which is being hosted by Sweet Artichoke
Meatless Mondays which is hosted by Chaya of My Sweet and Savory
Maniac Meatless Mondays which is hosted by Rebecca Jean of Midnight Maniac
The Hearth and Soul Blog Hop


You are reading this post on Eats Well With Others at Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to the author and or owner of Eats Well With Others. All rights reserved by Joanne Bruno.
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133 Responses to Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch…Eat.Live.Be. for a Better 2011!

  1. Kim says:

    There are so many great things about this recipe… It looks delish. It’s so great for your body. It’s baked and gooey and crunchy. I have held out on eggplants, waiting for them to start showing up at the Farmer’s Market before using them again this year. But I’m breaking that and getting one immediately… 🙂

    And I’m glad that you ranted about vitamins! It was informative and entertaining, but gave me some serious insight as well!!!

  2. As soon as I saw pine nut crunch you had me! I love making pasta with a crunchy feel to it. It gives it a totally new layer of flavor in my opinion. I love anything gooey and this is definitely gooey and delish!

  3. Johanna GGG says:

    This looks wonderful – always love a vegie-ful pasta dish. Have you come across people saying that there are a whole lot more vegetables than meat so a vegetarian diet doesn’t need to be dull – this dish demonstrates this so well. I commented a few weeks back that I started my path to being vegetarian by discovering that vego dishes were so much better than meat ones – made me feel healthier. Good luck with cutting out meat – whether you eat meat again or not, I think it is great to eat less of it.

    And as for supplements, I sort of agree. I have found I need iron supplements occasionally but I hate the adverts saying, you will never eat enough food to be healthy so you must have supplements. The attitude just seems so wrong!

  4. Karis says:

    Ha, I can so relate! One of my Mom’s kitchen cupboards looks like a shelf in a pharmacy because she takes so many supplements. None of which have been recommended by a doctor. I take one vitamin, a prenatal, because we’re trying to have kids.

  5. janet says:

    Yes yes yes! Bring on the vegetarianism/pescatarianism! My mom thinks my veganism is a phase of mine, but I don’t think healthy eating will ever go out of phase. I actually don’t crave the meat, sugar or flours. 😉

    I actually started taking a multivitamin when I went vegan, as I kept track of the vitamins I was ingesting in my food. I have also become more conscious of which foods to eat to make sure I get my protein, iron, essential fatty acids, etc. But I agree, that a plentiful diet should give you everything you need!

    I can’t wait to see what else you make! 🙂

  6. If I could get my husband, the pharmacist, to read your post, he’d stand up and applaud you. He’d then carry the conversation further by expounding on the overmedication of the population!! And, don’t get him started on antibiotics!!

    This dish looks delicious. While I’ll never be anything but a varied diet eater, I don’t serve nearly as much red meat as I did a decade ago. There are times when nothing will please me put a nice juicy hamburger!!


  7. First, pine nut crunch needs to be an ice cream flavor 🙂 LOVE IT! Perfect for this dish!! Second, I’m a fan of the multivitamin and nothing else unless needed as you indicated. I might start taking fish oil only because we don’t eat as much fish as we need to… BUT we do eat all grass-fed meat and dairy, so there is a fair amt of omega-3 in that, so I’m still on the fence. Even though the BH and I are MAJOR meat-eaters and you are a vegetarian, both diets are extremely nutrient-dense b/c we eat a lot of fruits and veggies. We may eat a lot of fat (glorious, healthy grass-fed fat 🙂 but you won’t see a Dorito in this house and we try to limit sugar (unless I’m baking… life is to short to forgo dessert all the time :). That’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it!

    Oh yeah, and my favorite way to help joints? Exercise. Less weight on your joints = less joint pain, and stronger muscles = less joint pain. Easy concept that most people don’t want to believe 🙂

  8. I never eat tablets etc, just like you I prefer them in natural form. I let my body do the selection and processing, not some factory somewhere:) I hate to disagree with you but I have a different opinion on one issue. Sure not all tablets work medically but they probably have a positive psychological effect. I think there is a term for this which I don’t remember.

  9. Kim says:

    It’s always interesting to see what others think about vitamins. My Mom takes them daily and swears they make her feel more energetic. I’ve never really been a fan, with the exception of iron. I have an iron deficiency so I take an iron supplement 3 times a week.

    This pasta is gorgeous. It’s the mozzarella and pine nut crust that is really getting my attention:)

  10. sofia says:

    ahhh, vitamins. i have mixed feelings, but agree that whole foods are the way to go except when special needs arise. i too take calcium, along with vitamin D3 for absorption, DHEA for some extra hormonal love and a multi. and some other vitamin that escapes me at the moment. read my thoughts here:

    anywho, this pasta looks delish. it awoke the boyfriend from his slumber. his first words this morning were “what’s that green stuff on the pasta?” yeah, this stuff is powerful – the kid doesn’t wanna wake up ever to anything. bravo.

  11. I do take vitamins, but I try to make sure I get most from a well-balanced diet. This looks delicious and much more enjoyable than a giant One-a-Day.

  12. Pierce says:

    Early menopause huh? I think you have such an incredibly healthy diet – no worries with extra supplements because you eat so very well. With Others. (hahaha) I don’t take vitamins and my energy level is pretty high…but I eat balanced meals and move around as much as I can (for a desk drone).

    GREAT looking meal!

  13. OohLookBel says:

    I totally agree with you about vitamin supplements being unnecessary for most people(except calcium). And your rigatoni looks so good, you wouldn’t miss the meat at all.

  14. Katerina says:

    Ok let me ask the first question. When did you start being a vegetarian? I must have missed some line somewhere in my reading I guess. Second question is it my imagination or you did something with the lighting in your photos? Which look amazing by the way. Be so kind as to share it with me, I will be more than obliged for this! Third not a question just a statement; I am not a vegetarian nor would I like to be since I consider meat to be an important part of my diet, always in moderation, but this pasta is a dish I would be more than happy to eat since it contains loads of vitamins through the vegetables used. Very beautiful dish not only in taste but also in the eye!

  15. Shannon says:

    Absolutely beautiful dish Joanne! I much prefer to eat my vitamins than swallow them!

  16. Shawnda says:

    I couldn’t help but laugh a little… I have one of those weekly medical miracle discovery” phone calls with a family member, too. I’m in the camp of taking a daily prenatal until I reach a “no more kids” threshold (whatever that might be).

    The pesto topping on the pasta looks absolutely amazing!

  17. Joanne says:

    Oh Joanne, nowhere else on the entire internet does dinner look so very appetizing at breakfast-time. Your blog makes me want a serving right now, at 9:51 am.

  18. Pine nut crunch – yum, love it! Also like your substitution with almond milk, I’ve been using it a lot in recipes just recently.

  19. Jo,
    I don’t take vitamin supplements, I feel if you eat a well balanced diet, you are good to go.
    However, my husband takes fish oil for high cholesterol and it’s really helping to lower his triglycerides.

    Love this pasta dish, the crunch is what got me!

  20. Cate says:

    I totally agree with your thoughts on supplements. I never took anything until I got pregnant…and now I’m just taking a prenatal and iron at the recommendation of my doctor. I can’t believe how much money people spend on pills that aren’t proven to do anything.

  21. Ruth Daniels says:

    Who could even think of munching pills when they could eat your stunning and delicious pasta dish?

    Thanks so much for sharing with Presto Pasta Nights.

  22. bellini says:

    My dad has always been vegetarian (from the womb) and both of the doctors I work with are and all are pretty spry and healthy elderly folks:D

  23. Ohhhh, I could totally go for that! It looks so delicous and indulgent! xxxxx

  24. Eden says:

    I used to take Calcium, but I eat so much yogurt and cottage cheese, that I kinda weened myself off. I’m not a crazy anorexic anymore, so I feel way more confident I’m getting my calcium fill. And of course, real ice cream has calcium, right? (nod yes even if the answer is no)

  25. This just the carb-heavy meal you’re going to need before the marathon on Monday! Woo hoo!

  26. daphne says:

    I love how u make a vegetarian dish looks so interesting that I didn’t even realised it was vegetarian!

    I’m a supplement girl. It worked for me- having not take them for a couple of days, I felt the difference in energy. My take is that our current food probably does not have enough nutrients in it(sorry, but australia’s soil isn’t exactly very mineral rich at the moment) that could feed our bodies. And given family history, prevention is probably better than cure in my case. ;P

  27. Amy says:

    I remember when I stopped eating meat – my mom freaked out too. “But where will you get the protein from????” Like other foods don’t have protein in them. While I have no regrets about eating chicken and beef (and certainly pig) again, cooking vegetarian all those years was the best thing I could have done. Taught me so much about food and ingredients and how to cook.

  28. Barbara says:

    You’re young yet, without all the aches and pains of age, so don’t knock your mom thinking on supplements. Besides, if she thinks it helps, perhaps it does.
    I went to a nutritionist a few years ago and she suggested several herbal supplements for my arthritis, which is pretty bad. I don’t buy them from her, so it’s no skin off her nose. I think they have helped somewhat, but keeping active helps the most.
    I like chicken and fish, so will never become a vegetarian. Sorry. 🙁
    But I do love this pasta dish. Eggplant is one of my favorite veggies…had it last night!

  29. Dawn says:

    Wow….pasta, cheese and pine nut crunch?! Love this mix. And I’m with you. I don’t take much other than one multivitamin and cranberry.

  30. I am with you on supplements and the like. I would much rather eat healthy foods that actually contain the vitamins and minerals that my body needs, than eat crap and try to cram the vitamins and minerals into my body with pills that have who knows what else in them.

    And when you have delicious pasta dishes and other real food like this to eat and enjoy… who needs supplements?

  31. Mo Diva says:

    That looks amazing!
    Pasta is such a comfort. And the colors are breathtaking!

  32. Victoria says:

    Who would miss meat with an amazing baked rigatoni dish like this one! One of my favorite things about eggplant is its ability to seem meaty even though it’s not. I didn’t realize you were cutting meat out of your diet, I knew you were limiting it, but this change is news to me. Good luck with it all! I definitely go days where I don’t want to eat any meat, but usually after a few of those days, I’m ready to go right back into meatworld 🙂 haha. I miss you!! Help me find a job!!!

  33. Wow I really enjoyed this post!! You and your moms conversation was so cute! This recipe looks so good. Thanks for sharing. I absolutely love eggplant.

  34. Allison says:

    You are making me CRAVE some healthy meatless food on this Monday morning. This looks absolutely divine. Yum.

  35. I do love my meat and I also swear by my vitamins… So I am potentially your convert target..haha… Consolation- I made it a point to eat vegetables today!

  36. Okay, I think I missed your last post and it sounds like it was a doozy! You’re a pescatarian / vegetarian now!? Wow.

    I take Vitamin C, D, and B Complex. These are all cheap, and work for me.

  37. How delicious looking and healthy as well.

  38. girlichef says:

    I’m definitely of the school that eating a balanced diet is better than popping supplements, but my mom’s a big supplement believer, so…eeehhh…not really starting a crusade on either side. This dish sounds wonderful…and it’s so bright and colorful and beckoning 😀

  39. Suman Singh says:

    I am always on the lookout for a delicious pasta recipes and this look wonderful. Love the eggplant and pinenut combo..Thanks for sharing!

  40. Louanne says:

    Delicious dish, gorgeous colors and flavors – anything with eggplant ranks high with me. After reading your mom’s comment, I immediately thought about the scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the aunt meets the vegetarian fiance.

  41. MM says:

    Sign me up for some pine nut crunch, please!
    Not a fan of supplements. I’m wary of a quick fix in pill form and think it can lead to a dangerous mind set in some people. I know people (in my own family) who have whole cabinets devoted to supplements but who also have horrendous eating habits. They seem to think that the supplements will make up for that.

  42. archcook says:

    pasta maccheroni!!

    ahahah! ciao! from italy …

    really nice recipes!
    ps. i love so much nyc…i spent there amazing days

  43. I feel like in terms of the vitamins/supplement/meat argument everyone is different. When I went vegan I ended up feeling like crap after a while, even though I was living off veggies, fruits, tofu, and whole grains. It just wasn’t right for me. I actually started taking Glucosamine because ever since I started running and weight lifting my knees started to crackle like a bag of rice krispies and I was having pain as well. After a couple months of taking it I don’t have the pain in my knees anymore and I no longer sound like a box of cereal. So I don’t know IF it even works, but it seems to have helped my bad knees.

    Also I take a prenatal vitamin everyday and when I don’t my nails tend to peel off, even though I eat a balanced diet full of veggies and fruit. I also get colds when I stop taking them! I totally agree than synthetic vitamins are terrible and cause more harm than good! I take all natural plant derived vitamins from a health food store so I trust them! I don’t know, to each their own? =/

    More importantly, that food looks AMAZING!!! I want a big old bowl of that vegetarian heaven ^_^ yummers.

  44. Megan says:

    I think I always say I love whatever you’ve made, but this… I could seriously house a whole bowl of this. It looks incredible and has so many of my favorite ingredients.

    I try to take a multi-vitamin because my doctor asks me if I’m taking one every year when I go in to see her… but mostly I forget. I get really sick if I don’t take vitamins with food, so I need to time it just right, and that can be tough sometimes. I agree with you that you can get all the vitamins you need from the right diet… now if only I could make myself eat the right diet!!

  45. That Girl says:

    I’m not huge on supplements, but I do know I need more iron in my diet than I get from food alone, so I’ve always tossed in a multivitamin. Now I’m taking more specific supplements, but I don’t want to spoil my own blog post, so you’ll have to tune in later for more on that.

  46. Lora says:

    Supplements.Shupplements. All I want to do is take a nose dive into that pasta!

  47. Sippity Sup says:

    You know one of the things I love about you. You understand that when it comes to serving size plates of pasta– more is more (better)! Bake me up batch, maybe I’ll share. PS I take fish oil everyday. GREG

  48. Your pasta dish looks beautiful! And I also avoid pills, even painkillers and the like. If I have a headache or a cold, I try to slug through it without medication. Basically, I want to be as natural as I can, and like you say, get what I need from the food I eat.

  49. Julie says:

    The pasta looks so colorful and delicious…full of healthiness! I just take vitamin d to make the endocrinologist quit complaining every time I would go. I guess I avoid the sun too much 🙂

  50. A plate full of utter deliciousness! I love your disclaimer about going vegetarian…too fuuny…I would have to do that too! Isn’t it funny when youdo a food blog…all your followers will know if you slipped up! PRESSURE! Too funny…but I agree if you’re not craving it – go with it!

  51. mmm… I rarely eat pasta (because when I was losing weight I deemed pasta *off limits*, mostly because the overflowing bowls that I used to enjoy of it with sauce, butter, AND cheese). I have this idea in my head that it’s hard to eat pasta without overeating pasta, but I think that with a recipe like this that is so satisfying, maybe I could be satisfied with one bowl.

    (or maybe… two. hahah)

  52. Swathi says:

    These rigatoni with eggplant and pinenut I am in.

  53. aipi says:

    Very flavorful and so enjoyable! Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe Joanne..

    US Masala

  54. Tasha says:

    How I wish I could pluck a bowl of that pasta from my computer screen and eat it right now. It sounds so amazing- and all of the pictures in this post are gorgeous!

  55. A good multi-vitamin maybe…if you feel you’re really lacking something then go with it. Most people know their bodies. I’m on blood pressure pills with a diruetic and sometimes don’t hydrate enough and get really bad charlie horses in my calf. When that starts happening, I’ll supplement with potassium for a couple of days. I guess I need to get on calcium since I just turned the big five-oh! If I shrink, I won’t be able to reach the pedals and drive.

    Fantastic looking pasta dish…you know I’m a pasta junkie!

  56. Nicole, RD says:

    I am LOVING all of the eggplant recipes in the blogosphere…yum! Makes me anxious to grow it this year! 🙂 Your mom is funny…my mom does the same thing. Dr. Oz is God, didn’t you know? Everything he says is 100% FACT! *eye roll*

    I agree with you on the supplements. People ask me all the time what I take and the answer is nothing. I have made a concerted effort to get in more omega 3’s because I know I can lack in that department, but otherwise, I don’t see the need. And if I ever got bored of being an RD and wanted to scam somepeople and make a ton of money, I would sell CoQ10. Holy expensive…and people line up to pay it.

  57. Corina says:

    The crunch on that pasta looks delicious.

    I also think it’s usually a waste of money to buy lots of vitamins, except for some medical reasons. Reading this post has also made me add some extra veggies to my dinner!

  58. That’s great advice Joanne. Although I’m not a vegetarian I totally agree with you on the vitamines issue.

    Camila F.

  59. Katie says:

    I’ve gotten off the supplements – the last was the baby aspirin that my US doc told me to start taking a few years ago (after an H) My French doc asked me what I took, I told him… He said ‘Why would you do that? You’re healthy and eat well so don’t take that stuff.’
    Wise words, I thought, LOL. For the calcium I eat a lot of yogurt and cheese…. as do most Europeans. I’ve never seen calcium supplements here.

  60. I would love to get my vitamins this way. The pasta dish looks heavenly…so heavenly. I am trying to figure out how I can fit in going to the store on my way home so I can have it tonight!

  61. nico. says:

    this looks so delicious and I have a bunch of basil to use up! I can definitely appreciate your understanding of vitamins and minerals and as far as I know, early menopause due to vegetarianism is only going to happen if you consume too much soy. Your diet always seems impressively balanced, so you’re right to not worry about it!

  62. Tracy says:

    I am inclined to agree with you. And, I think this dish looks absolutely lovely – so colorful too!

  63. I am not a fan of supplements. Like you I think if you eat right your body will get what it needs from food. Love this recipe.

  64. Looks like my kind of pasta! I love eggplant and pine nuts. I really enjoyed this post, very informative and funny as always. I have a couple of thoughts/quistions for ya.
    1. While I totally agree with you that a well rounded diet is of upmost importance and obviously better than supplements, what are your thoughts on mineral & vitamin defieciency in produce due to over & mis-use of soil?
    It’s my belief that even if you are perfect in your eating habits (which like you said is really hard for most people) you still aren’t getting all of the vitamins you need these days and absorbing them is a whole other matter.
    2. Why no meat? You just don’t care for it (I don’t like red meat or pork, never have) or is it a health concern? What about natural, responsibly raised chickens ect.? I’ve cut down to 1 a month so we can afford ‘real’ chicken and it’s absolutely amazing at how much different/better it tastes. Like real chicken no less.
    just curious. 😉

  65. Shanon says:

    This looks really good. I actually don’t think the name of the dish is true justice for all the good things in it. Rigatoni is my favorite cut of pasta and I actually have more basil than I know what to do with. And go vegetarianism! Woohoo! (I am not one, but I am a big supporter)

  66. I prefer to get all my vitamins and minerals from food. I have taken calcium at times, but I no longer do. This pasta dish looks like a great source of lots of vitamins and other good stuff. The pine nut topping looks delightful!

  67. Oh, I ment to say that I take a B-complex when ever I remember and also a teaspoon of apple cidar vinegar once a day to aid in digestion & absorption of vit & min (does that count as a supplement?)

  68. I m so J of your roommate who gets to enjoy such heart pasta dishes that you make.I love eggplant, bell peppers and pinenuts.If some day I ll shift to NYC, please promise to host a pasta night for me.Love the bright flavors here.
    As far as supplements go, I dont think I have ever had them in my life.I sometimes take calcium but thats like one or two weeks in 3 months.Its for the bones.

  69. tigerfish says:

    The only supplement that I will take if I remember is the liquid multi-vitamin in my fridge. I have not taken it for weeks now cos I have forgotten :O

    I do not mind turning vegetarian but I will have difficulty convincing the other one in my family to turn vegetarian. He needs his meat! But I have already cut down the intake of meat by so much. So it is basically seafood and veggies (+fruits) for us now and if meat is needed – it is chicken. 🙂

  70. Sarah Caron says:

    OMG, that Rigatoni looks AMAZING. Excuse me while I wipe away the drool.

    YES! Yes, yes, yes. I haven’t written my post yet, but I totally agree with your perspective.

  71. Shannon says:

    wow, look at those tomatoes… i long for summer fruits and veggies. delicious.

    i definitely eat so much less meat these days, and take no vitamins. except i extra C when I’m sick. I bought D for the winter, but never really remembered to take it… good thing it’s spring 🙂

  72. I won’t get into the whole debate between you and your mom but suffice it to say that rigatoni looks delicious. I love the basil/pine nut crunch!

  73. La Liz says:

    My doctor diagnosed a mild anemia, which shocked me. I decided to load up on iron-rich foods (spinach, kale), and … problem solved! Rather than take iron supplements, I’d opt to change eating habits which, in this case, improved my diet. I eat more greens now. Win/win. This dish looks great — at first I thought you had used broccoli sprouts as a topping. The pine nuts are intriguing . . .y et another dish that I must try. Thanks!

  74. sweetlife says:

    oh goodness my mom has a pill for everything..she really takes too many, but gotta love her and this pasta..perfect for my lenten meals!!


  75. Tammy says:

    Joanne, I swear, my eyes went wide when I saw this dish! How beautiful and delicious- it’s calling out to me! This just sounds and looks fantastic.


  76. I do agree about most supplements. Although in saying that I actually take glucosamine for a dodgy hip I got from a severe car accident years back and find it really helpfull in winter when it gets stiff.
    Your pasta looks amazing! I do love a good pasta bake and the crunch makes it even better. Looks fab 🙂

  77. Pam says:

    What I would give for a bowl full of this right now!

  78. Nicole says:

    OMG looks amazing!! And i laughed out loud at your mom’s comment!!!

  79. It looks fantastic, a lot more appetizing than a vitamin pill, and definitely more filling!

  80. This looks wonderful. I’m of the same philosophy as you. I have to tell you that my kids’ pediatrician shares the same philosophy too. When I asked him if my kids should take supplements, his response was: “If you want expensive urine.” 🙂

  81. iscribbler says:

    That looks delicious! And it’s low in cheese, which is always why I fail to make any rigatoni bake – I crave it but the sheer amount of cheese involved makes me wary. Definitely going to try this. 🙂

  82. Marcia says:

    Yeah, so, not a vegetarian, but eat like one most of the time. And it’s funny how people just don’t get it…what do you EAT??

    Plants. Eggs. Cheese.

  83. Reeni says:

    The pine nut crunch totally stole the show! It looks incredible! I take vitamins but truly who knows if they’re doing any good? I feel like I should because of my past bad eating habits. I’m trying to make up for it.

  84. ohhh LOVE the pine nut crunch! PS. I take calcium pills daily and vit C from time to time, because the effervescent vit C pills taste like soda! heheh 😀

  85. Julie says:

    Pine nut crunch…amazing. Another delicious recipe!!! Too funny about the vegetarian and menopause. 🙂

  86. Yummy yummy yummy in my tummy tummy tummy! Can’t wait to try pine nut crunch! I’m with you on supplements, I get it all from food! (But the glucosamine stuff does wonders for my 70 year old mom).

  87. Miriam says:

    Your meal looks awesome, and way to go on the whole vegetarian thing! You know I support you :). About your mom, once my mom saw how much healthier I looked and felt after the initial months and years of being a vegetarian, she finally dropped the plugs for beef and chicken. Good luck :), [email protected]Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

  88. Veronica says:

    I didn’t know you’d turned veg since I was last following you, but I did notice that your recipes were veg and was wondering. It’s funny how our relatives can be so unsupportive of decisions like this. Choosing to be vegetarian, choosing to lose weight, choosing to follow Christ…I think perhaps our loved ones might see these things as almost a criticism of their choices if they are not doing the same. More power to ya, girlfriend, you know what you’re doing. I agree with you on the supplements but I do take a daily multi-vitamin. I figure it won’t hurt me and I feel better (whether it’s in my head or not) when I do. However, I think it’s important to eat a nutritious diet and not to rely on supplements. Oh, and the pasta looks fantabulous, btw. You rock my socks off.

  89. Maria says:

    Gorgeous and colourful dish! I don’t take any supplements except for magnesium. I try to eat a balanced diet instead.

  90. Candace says:

    Thank you for making me feel better about not taking my vitamins! My mom sounds like your mom….always looking for the thing that will be the cure all for whatever ails her or will ail her in the future. I’m so bad with taking any kind of pills or supplements and it drives her crazy. I guess that’s not a bad thing. Your pasta looks amazing. I love the pine nut crunch. Yum!

  91. Ashlee says:

    Of course you know I’m thrilled with this change 🙂 I hope that you continue with it, but do what feels right for you! This looks amazing, just bookmarked it to make when my parents visit in 2 weeks. They’ll love it!
    Right now I take prenatal vitamins, my sister told me Fennel is good when you’re breastfeeding, and to continue to take them… so I’ll just stick with that I guess! I’ve never been a supplement person before, I eat the rainbow instead!

  92. Oooh that pesto crunch topping! I want a big plateful of this dish please! I haven’t had eggplant in a while and now I am totally craving it, along with some pasta (and lots of cheese). Great recipe!

  93. Unfortunately we do not always eat a balanced diet and exercise which are key to good health. I love the crunchy pine nuts topping in this dish. Pasta with eggplants is so delicious!

  94. Mary says:

    Your pasta looks wonderful and I love that crunchy topping. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  95. I love the pasta recipe! Looks delicious! I agree about the supplements. I take calcium and a multivitamin each day. This is my first visit to your blog…which is wonderful..!!!

  96. SeattleDee says:

    Once again your recipe sounds delish and your photos rock! Thought-provoking comments on supplements, diet, etc.- and I love Ashlee’s “I eat the rainbow instead!”

  97. Kristen says:

    I am not much of a vitamin eater, though I make my little girl take a chewable every day just because her picky diet isn’t very full of fruit and veggies. My family is pretty healthy without the suppliments. I would much rather eat a bowl full of your pasta and eggplant anyway.

  98. Sanjeeta kk says:

    I get a whiff of fresh air every time that I land here 🙂 Love the refreshing veggie treats from you, Joanne.

  99. OMG, I had to stop and write a note to you and I’m not even finished reading your whole post yet, cuz I’ve got to run and teach my class in a few minutes!

    Your mother’s phone call is just a hoot and I love how you’ve responded to it all. I’ll write more later, but just also wanted to clarify to your comment on the Jamie Sloppy Joes….he had only one GROUND beef recipe….I’m sure he prob’ly has more beef recipes, but my search was for ‘ground’. He really writes in a most interesting way doesnt’ he?

    Anyhow, I’ll read the rest later. Is your linky party open to all . . . and do you want it to be vegetarian?

    Thanks, Roz

  100. Nadji says:

    J’aime toutes les déclinaisons de pâtes. Je note ta version.
    See soon.

  101. I saw that recipe in BA and was loving it. Looks delicious!
    I’m not a big vitamin preacher either. I do take prenatals, on occasion (although I haven’t been pregnant in 2.5 years!) but nothing regularly.

  102. I’m always interested in the subject of supplements. When I was diagnosed with the recurrence of my cancer last year I went a little crazy with supplements because I was desperate. After a while I realized that they weren’t going to do anything for me. Waste of money- some could even hurt. Plus, I’m usually on chemo and you can’t take them with chemo. You’re right, a well balanced diet should do the trick.

    Like this meal that you made here- so healthy and so delicious!

  103. RamblingTart says:

    I agree completely, my brusque friend. 🙂 I’m anti-pill and pro-whole food goodness. 🙂 I’m not a vegetarian, but I love veggies and vegetarian cuisine and it’s a huge part of my life. It’s amazing, since I went off supplements and eat greens like nobody’s business, my mineral vitamin levels are perfect. HOORAY! 🙂

  104. teresa says:

    so true. the only time i take a vitamin is when i KNOW that i haven’t been eating the way i should be. otherwise, i’m with you, i try to get them the natural way (not to mention the fact that even a childrens vitamin makes me sicker then a dog).

    LOVE this recipe, it looks so clean and full of flavor.

  105. Im with you. Most supplements are bs unless you have a particular disorder. I do however take krill oil (intense fish oil), calcium, and a hair growing supplement that may or may not work haha! It seems to be working wonders though..
    Also , it is key to buy supplements from reputable sources, otherwise you definitely arent getting what you want. I only order from vitamin research products…


  106. Julie says:

    i hate the fox 5 news crew! the chick crap i can’t remember her name in the morning is so damn annoying i could punch her. she makes me hate long island haha. i go by the living of dr. oz. if he says it i’ll believe it!

  107. Sonia says:

    Joanne, the pasta is looking so good. Its a perfect bowl to quench hunger after a hard day, loved the veggies added, high on nutrition and adding a dash of color to pasta too. next time i cook pasta, i’m gng to try ur version for sure…have a great day !!!

  108. One day I’ll eat pine nuts again- that pine nut crunch sounds so good! I got “pine mouth” from some pine nuts I bought that weren’t labeled as to their origin, and haven’t been brave enough to eat them again. I take Citrical, fish oil and vitamin D. Doctor’s orders. 🙂

  109. I don’t take or recommend a lot of supplements either. I do take fish oil, since that’s something we don’t get enough of otherwise, and a probiotic. While pregnant/nursing I take a multi. But generally…I think it’s a bit of a scam.

  110. Peggy says:

    Working in a pharmacy, I run into this discussion all the time. Me? I’m with you. Number one, I don’t like swallowing pills (I can’t hardly bring myself to take some ibuprofen when I have a headache). Number two, I love eating food, and completely agree with you that the majority of what my body needs, I can get from some good ol’ fruits and veggies.

  111. Raina says:

    Wowy, wow, wow! This is my kind of dish. That pine nut topping does sound incredible. I think the whole gang would love this. Thank you.

    I totally agree getting vitamins and minerals from good, healthy foods definitely beats a pill any day.

  112. sophia says:

    I’m with you, Joanne, I don’t believe in pills either. I don’t eat a single damn vitamin or nutritional supplement. My dad doesn’t either, and in fact, he’s the one who stopped me from consuming them, because he doesn’t believe we need them. He says it almost prevents us from relying on good, wholesome food like we’re created to!

    But I also think that humans are supposed to eat meat, at least a bit. Forget boring ol’ chicken. Are you sure you don’t want some nice, crispy bacon…? 😉

  113. marla says:

    The words ‘pine nut crunch” are making me very happy right now. Nice rigatoni girl, keep eating like this & those supplements seem so silly & pointless. They are for those people that live on processed foods – I guess. xo

  114. Monet says:

    I have been underweight for some time, so I try to take calcium and a multi vitamin everyday. But I know that our bodies absorb vitamins best through food. This looks like something that would taste great and make my body feel good too. Thank you for sharing with me tonight, my sweet friend. I hope that you have a wonderful week full of laughter, love and good food. As always, I’m leaving tonight feeling inspired by your creativity and kindness.

  115. Cathy says:

    That looks so incredibly healthy and like a rainbow of good eats! My doctor says to eat a “rainbow” everyday! I take calcium (when I remember). My doctor wanted me to take 2 a day, but because I run, I only have to take 1. Running cures a lot of ills! And, I can eat more!

  116. Dana says:

    First of all, gorgeous job with the pasta and photos. It’s 11pm and I am now hungry. And I had Mexican food tonight. Now. Just tell you mom that vegetarians do not eat anything with a face (or mollusks). That usually makes sense to everyone in my experience. And finally, my family is the opposite of yours in that my dad (the oncologist) not only does not believe in vitamins, he does not believe in the body’s ability to absorb things like iron or calcium from plants. So there you go. All those leafy greens for nothing.

  117. theUngourmet says:

    I love your photos with the fun checked napkin. 😉

    I have tried to go veg so many times. Unfortunately, I have a meat loving husband. I never buy beef anymore so he has to settle for chicken or turkey. I do try to throw in as many meatless meals as I can. This looks like a winner to me. I’m crazy for pine nuts!

  118. Ada says:

    I totally hear ya on the vitamins, I don’t believe people should take artificial supplements either (unless, like you said, they have a medical condition requiring them to do so). Most people get enough vitamins in their daily life already and will just urinate out the excess anyways!

    Your mom is too funny! I’m sure this pasta dish could convince anyone that going vegetarian/pescetarian does not deprieve you of taste or nutrients!

  119. you are amazing!! seriously, we had tacos for dinner last night…and the night before spaghetti.
    Can you come over and get me out of my dinner funk?
    This pasta looks incredible and your photos are brilliant!

  120. Bizzy says:

    How do you get your food to look so good? I am sure it tastes even better but it it pretty also.

  121. Hannah says:

    This looks so awesome, especially the pesto-like topping! I may just have to try sprinkling that on top of other dishes… I bet it would taste great as a crust on tofu, too.

  122. Oh my! Rigatoni are one of my favorite pasta and your pine nuts crunch look awesome! + I have a crunch on your lovely napkin 🙂
    Thanks for sending this delicious dish to PPN!

  123. GORGEOUS dish, I love rigatoni pasta.

    My mom is the same…it makes me want to yell at her and then have her send me the money she spends on pills etc to me in the mail 🙂

    Be a vegetarian with meeee!

  124. Martha (MM) says:

    This looks super yummy and so nice and healthy! Major deliciousness 🙂

  125. Are there three more beautiful words than Pine. Nut. Crunch. I think not! I am with you on the healthy, balanced eating overall, but I do find that as much flax seed, salmon, etc. that I try to just eat during the week, my hair and skin seem to do so much better when I pop a little extra fish oil. 😉

  126. Jeanette says:

    This sounds amazing, especially the Pine Nut Crunch!

  127. Elizabeth says:

    MMM…. pine nut crunch…

  128. I love all these veggie recipe you’ve been posting lately! That pine nut crunch, GENIUS!

  129. I’ve been wondering recently about taking a nutritional supplement so found your post interesting! I’ve never really taken them before and agree with a lot of what you said but there’s always that fear that I’ll be missing something which will cause me some terrible disease later! Anyway, I can see why you love the pine nut crunch so much. And I can imagine the crispy baked pasta pieces on top are so good.

  130. This looks great – I love the pine nut topping!

  131. Gail says:

    Your version looks SO much more appetizing than the original! I am on the hunt for a collection of summer recipes to have waiting when all the amazing produce starts rolling in. May I please Pin this? Thanks either way.
    Here are my healthy eating guidelines: Avoid food with packaging (equating to processing and ANY kind of additive), and eat a lot of stuff that used to have roots:) I don’t claim to do this all the time, but it helps keep the focus!

  132. Anna says:

    Looks SO delicious….just got some eggplant from the CSA (community supported agriculture) bag and can’t wait to make this!

    Also, I’m pescatarian as well, and it has proven to be one of the greatest decisions I’ve made! While I didn’t like meat a whole bunch before, I’ve found a slew of protein-packed alternatives to meat. Tempeh is one of my favorites! There are so many preservatives, hormones, and other nasty junk in meat these days that it’s really not worth eating!

  133. Adrian Fleur says:

    I love that you make so many vegetarian dishes. Thank you!

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