However, panko crumbs can be used to add a fun 'crunch' to pretty much anything! In fact, the recipe below dresses it up by sauteeing it with olive oil, fresh garlic, salt, and pepper. Jazz this recipe up with some soy parm topping, or omit it entirely to discover how great panko can be as an alternative finish to your traditional pasta dinner.
Lemon-Asparagus Linguine with Garlicky Panko
(Adapted for vegans from the original Oh My Veggies! recipe)
MAKES 4 SERVINGS
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, divided
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 ounces dry linguine, cooked until just al dente (according to package instructions)
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 to 1 1/2-inch pieces
Zest from 1 lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup grated vegan Parmesan alternative (I recommend Galaxy Nutritional Foods' Parmesan Flavor Grated Soy Topping.)
1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil
1) Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1 clove of garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the panko and cook, stirring constantly, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and transfer to a small bowl. Wipe the skillet with a paper towel to remove any remaining breadcrumbs.
2) About 3 minutes before the pasta is finished cooking, heat 2 tablespoons of water in the skillet, over medium heat. Once it's steaming, add the asparagus and cover. Steam for 2-3 minutes, until crisp-tender.
3) Add the remaining olive oil and garlic to the skillet and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in the linguine and toss to coat. Remove from heat and add the lemon zest, juice, soy topping and basil; toss again to distribute the ingredients evenly. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then divide onto plates. Top each serving with 2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs.