Is there a woman alive who doesn’t love pasta? Show me! Well, it’s taken me many years to find my absolute favorite gluten free pastas, so eating pasta is wonderful again. For my everyday pastas, I use Jovial. I have been able to find it at Whole Foods, Amazon and of course their own Jovial site, which has so many pastas to choose from! What I love about this pasta is that it tastes like good ol white flour pasta. It’s not gummy like so many gluten free pastas can be and refrigerates well for leftovers. That is a tough one with most gluten free pastas. Because this is one of my favs…I am bringing you plant based pasta night.
What I Ate In College
One of my favorite memories about pasta was in college. My roommate Robbye (that was a girl btw), loved making pasta. I didn’t know how to make a thing other than Raman noodles and spaghetti O’s! Seriously…crazy I had no idea how to cook back then. It’s become such a passion for me now. Anyway, she would make this pasta dish with spaghetti noodles, Italian dressing and parmesan cheese. That was it, but I swear I still crave it today.. Give it a go people, it’s soooo good! Ha! I truly believe it’s what got me creating food in the kitchen. My mom was an amazing cook and even had a catering company for a long time, but I think my days in college with Robbye fed the fire that was always there.
Friends Teach Us Everything
I am so inspired by my friends. I have another friend Stephanie who makes this pasta dish that has become a staple in our house. She is not vegan, so I have changed it up a tiny bit, but the base is truly the same. Chop up whatever veggies you have left in the fridge and place them on a foil lined cookie sheet. Mine is usually a mixture of red pepper, squash, zucchini and shredded Brussel sprouts or broccoli. I drizzle olive oil, sea salt, cracked black pepper, fresh garlic and crushed red pepper over the top. I broil all the veggies up until I get them a bit charred. The burnt the better for me! While that’s cooking, I boil my pasta. As the pasta is done, that’s typically when the veggies are coming out. Once I drain the pasta, I place it back in the pot and throw all of the veggies over the top of it. It may need a drizzle of olive oil to combine it all.
As I plate it, I add chopped walnuts and a little sprinkle of some good vegan cheese. I love voile parmesan cheese or myokos herb blend. I like to place it on top in chunks. It melts really beautiful over the top and adds the right bite to the dish. I ALWAYS add hemp hearts to my vegan pasta dishes. This gives me a good source of protein. Sometimes, I even grill some Beyond Meat sausage and chop that up to mix in the pasta. SOOO GOOD! My family craves this dish!
One of My Trader Joe Favs….
Another favorite vegan pasta dish is Cauliflower Gnocchi from Trader Joe’s. I usually pan sear this so that it does not get chewy. Having the edges a bit seared adds so much flavor to these yummy little things! While those sear, I start to saute some fresh spinach. This takes a second, so I wait until the gnocchi is about done. I also love to broil some broccolini in the oven with this. Again, just lather up some olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. I like these a little charred as well.
Anyway, when that is all done, I plate the spinach first in a heap on my plate, then add the gnocchi on top of it. I then place a little marinara on the top. If you need a store bought sauce, Rao’s is my fav! Once I have everything layered, I of course sprinkle with hemp hearts and nutritional yeast. Then I add the broccolini as a side. This dish takes about 20 min. It’s a fast go to!
Okay cuties….my last dish that brings back that yummy comfort food craving is stuffed manicotti. I have two ways to make it… The first is to take Vegan ricotta (you can buy this at Whole Foods in the cheese section) Violife Parmesan cheese and any vegan shredded mozzarella cheese and combine all of these together. I then add 1 Tbsp of Italian herbs, 1 Tbsp of freshly chopped parsley, 2 cloves of garlic chopped, sea salt and pepper. You can even shred up some spinach and add it to the mixture. I would say about 1/2 cup finely shredded. Mix this all together and this forms the inside of the manicotti. Boil the pasta to directions. Make sure you do not overcook! You want them al dente so that they do not tear.
Once these are done and cool, I begin to stuff. If you have a piping bag, you can use it to stuff the cheese mixture. If not, take an ol’ fashion spoon and shove it on in! Once you have these stuffed, I then top with my favorite marinara sauce or store bought and cover these in a baking dish. I cook at 350 for 20 minutes until heated through. Once I plate these, I add more fresh parsley and grated violife parmesan cheese. Sooo good!
The other way we love stuffed manicotti is to take squash, zucchini, mushrooms and carrots. I grate the carrots super fine, and chop the other ingredients very fine as well. I add 2 cloves of garlic to the mixture and some chopped shallots. One whole shallot should do the trick. I sauté these in a little bit of olive oil or if you are trying to cut out oil, cook in 1 Tbsp of water! They both work wonderful. You are just trying to sauté until soft. While this is cooking, you will want to cook the manicotti to package directions making sure to not over cook! Once the veggies are heated and soft, you will take this mixture and stuff your shells carefully. Here is the deal… don’t worry if you tear them. Place the tear side down in your baking dish and no one is going to know!
Once these are stuffed, I place my marinara on top and bake for 20 min in the oven at 350 degrees. Once these are done, you can plate them and add vegan parmesan, freshly chopped parsley, nutritional yeast and/or hemp hearts. It’s really up to you. I literally try to add hemp hearts and nutritional yeast to everything I cook. These are so delicious and can be served with a little fresh arugula on the side with some balsamic vinegar. Fabulous!!
Pasta Girl Forever!
Okay, looking over this post, it’s LONG!!! But, I LOVE pasta apparently! LOL! I have so many wonderful dishes that I have turned vegan and we have all come to adore pasta again. As always, if you have any questions, please respond here and I will get right back to you. Most of these dishes do not have a set recipe so it’s a sprinkle of this and that… When we go plant based, sometimes it’s just getting in the kitchen and trying things out. It’s what I have had to do, to continue my love for cooking.
Thanks for reading along with me everything I find fabulous,
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