Guest Blog! ‘The Non-Recipe Recipe’

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A guest post by Almost Vegetarian, “the Non-Recipe Recipe” is written in her unique narrative style that is relatable and humorous and even leaves people thinking, “This is just like me!”

A guest post by yours truly should also be appearing on Almost Vegetarian sometime today. Enjoy!

The Non-Recipe Recipe

by Almost Vegetarian

You know, I get tired of following recipes all the time. I mean, until my friendly neighborhood farmer at my friendly neighborhood farmers’ market starts packaging ingredients together (a tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of salt, 8 capers, a bunch of kale, 3…well, you get the idea), recipes can be a real bother.

It’s more fun to just buy whatever inspires me and throw things together. But sometimes it doesn’t turn out well.

Me: “Gee, that might be too tart.”

Husband: “No, no—it’s fine. Refreshing, really.”

Me, taking another bite: “Really, I’d call that too much.”

Husband, gainfully eating: “No, darling, it’s fine. Just fine. But, erm, just out of curiosity, exactly how many lemons did you put in there?”

Me: “Four. Big ones. Do you think I overdid it?”

Husband, through clenched jaw: “No, no…not at all.”

Me: “Then maybe it was the three limes that were too much.”

Husband, sputtering: “Three limes?”

Me: “Yeah. And the chilies.”

Husband: “Oh dear.”

But, sometimes, just sometimes, it does turn out well. I know when this happens because the conversation is much shorter.

Husband: “This is great. Make it again.”

Me: “OK.”

So that’s what I want to share with you now. A non-recipe recipe that turned out well. It’s in recipe format. But don’t let that fool you—you can adapt it any which way you like. Almost.


Some nice crusty bread, like a baguette, cut lengthwise
A handful or two of tomatoes, chopped into bite-size chunks, or a jar of tomato sauce
Green peppers, ditto the bite-size chunks
Onions, also ditto the bite-size chunks
The kind of spices you would throw into a tomato sauce, like garlic and oregano
Any extras you like to throw into a tomato sauce, like black olives or capers
Soy cheese that melts nicely, sliced thinly

  • Pour some oil (I’d go a tablespoon or two of olive oil) into a fry pan, turn the heat to medium, and add the onions and green peppers.
  • Pop the bread under the broiler to toast.
  • When the vegetables are starting to crisp a bit at the edges, say after five minutes or so, add the chopped tomatoes or tomato sauce as well as any spices and extras you like, bearing in mind that the consistency you are aiming for is more thick stew than runny gravy. Stir and simmer for five minutes or so.
  • Once the bread is lightly toasted, cover the inside surfaces with cheese and broil until the cheese is melted. Then cut the bread into sandwich portions (think hoagies), plate, and cover the bottom half with a generous helping of the tomato sauce and vegetable mixture. Put the top half of the bread on your creation and enjoy.
  • Serve this with a fork and napkin because, if you’ve been as generous with the sauce as you were supposed to be, half of it will escape from your sandwich.

The first non-recipe recipe part is that I invented this based on whatever looked nice at the market that day. The second non-recipe recipe part is how flexible this sandwich is.

For example, say there are no nice onions at the market. Then try grilling some eggplant for your sandwich instead. Or say you found a gorgeous bunch of parsley. Go ahead and sprinkle some into your sauce. Or perhaps you’ve an open bottle of red wine. Throw in a splash. And what about those leftovers in your fridge, like that half a can of tomato paste? Dump her in.

They all work. I know. I’ve done them all. And every time, my husband asked me to make it again.

Something he never did after the lemon recipe. Oh dear.

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