In many busy households, pasta dishes are a staple for quick weeknight dinners. Truly as easy as boiling water, even the most culinary challenged can manage to successfully prepare pasta. Throw on some steamed veggies and a protein for a complete meal in well under 30 minutes! But while quick, throw-together meals can be a lifesaver during busy times, don't forget that pastas can also be the base for some pretty fancy entrees. Rich, creamy sauces; exotic spices; and an array of fresh, seasonal vegetables can turn plain old pasta into a stunning and delicious meal! Pasta meals are also super versatile in terms of eating seasonally. Zucchini pasta with a fresh tomato sauce is a cool choice for summer months, while cheesy casseroles and rich sauces are creamy and comforting in fall and winter. Bonus: There are now plenty of delicious, great-textured gluten free pasta options on the market. Or for the ultimate healthy (and gluten free) pasta, try a vegetable version! Simply substitute spaghetti squash, shredded zucchini, or another squash for the noodles in your favorite pasta recipe.
Zucchini Pasta with Chunky Tomato Sauce [Vegan]
- 4 medium zucchini
- 1 tsp + 1⁄2 tsp sea salt
- 20 sundried tomatoes, soaked in warm water until soft (about 30 minutes)
- 1⁄2 cup tomato soak water
- 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1 medium clove garlic
- 2 heaping tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 heaping tbsp chopped fresh oregano
- 1 tbsp raisins
- 1 tbsp hemp oil
- 1⁄2 cup chopped walnuts or chopped Brazil nuts
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- Trim the ends of the squash. Using a hand-held vegetable peeler, carefully strip the squash, layer by layer, into noodle-like pieces and gather into a colander (for best results, discard the watery center section that holds the seeds).
- Toss squash strips with 1 tsp of sea salt and place the colander over a large bowl to catch excess moisture. Let rest for 30 minutes.
- After 30 minutes, wash the squash thoroughly with warm water to remove any excess salt, and let drain for 5 more minutes.
- In a food processor, blend together the sundried tomatoes, 1⁄2 cup soak water, fresh tomatoes, garlic, basil, oregano, raisins, hemp oil, and 1⁄2 tsp of sea salt into a chunky paste.
- Add the nuts and pulse a few times to chop the nuts finely (but do not blend).
- Toss the sauce with the zucchini strips and sauté over medium-low heat for
- 1–2 minutes to warm through.