May 20, 2011

Recipe - Primavera Pasta

Hello everyone! Hope springtime is finding you well. We still aren't out of the woods here in New York... seems that April showers bring May... showers! But it has been warming up and the sun is starting to peek around the clouds today, so we're hopeful for a sunny weekend.

This recipe was inspired by a dish at a little Italian restaurant around the corner from our apartment. Johnny loves this place and while I enjoyed it quite a bit as a vegetarian, it's been tougher to negotiate as a vegan. Their pasta is homemade so they use egg in it and even their olive oil and garlic sauce is prepared with chicken stock! A few visits ago I explained my diet restrictions to the waiter and he made some awesome suggestions: they keep dried whole wheat pasta on hand that doesn't contain eggs, and they could easily pair that with some veggies and olive oil/ garlic without the chicken stock. Ask and ye shall receive! I was blown away by the dish that they prepared just for me and I'm so happy that we can visit the restaurant anytime Johnny needs a little spaghetti bolognese action. (As for the French restaurant down the street that served me a boiled potato and some unseasoned asparagus - we have issues.)

I figured I'd try to recreate this meal at home because it's such a perfect recipe for Spring. I am in even more in love with my version of the dish and luckily Johnny is, too! This is definitely a Superhero dish, though you may want to omit the black pepper, substitute shoyu for salt, and keep the garlic to a minimum. I definitely noticed some acid reflux as a result of the black pepper - crazy what sets it off!

I also am excited to report that I met with a great nutritionist this past week. Her name is Molly Lee and her company is called Energizing Nutrition. Molly could not be kinder and I'm really stoked to work with her. She feels certain we can conquer my acid reflux through diet and get me off the meds! Molly draws from many different philosophies to develop the best plan for each individual and she does believe in eating for blood type. We share a blood type and she said that when she tried going vegetarian a few years ago it did not agree with her. I explained that there is really no chance of me eating meat or dairy again and I'm happy that she isn't forcing the issue. But she did mention that if we don't see results in a few months that she may bring it up again. I truly believe that would be an absolute last resort and I'm staying hopeful that I can achieve optimum health on my terms. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Now for the scrumptious recipe...

Guaranteed to give you veggie superpowers!
Primavera Pasta
Serves 6

4 stalks fresh broccoli, cut into florets
5-6 small carrots, peeled and cut into sticks
1 large zucchini, cut into strips
1 box whole wheat penne rigate
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp Earth Balance
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
salt & pepper

Placed your prepared veggies in a steamer basket in a large pot with a few inches of water. Cover tightly with a lid and steam over medium heat for about 20 minutes. You want the veggies to be tender, but still a bit firm. Once done, transfer to a large bowl and use the same pot to cook your penne rigate according to package instructions. (You can also do this in a separate pot while the veggies are cooking to save time.)

Meanwhile, in a small skillet melt the Earth Balance over low heat and stir in the olive oil. Add the garlic and sautee on low heat for several minutes. Stir continuously as you don't want the garlic to brown. Remove from heat.

Once the pasta is finished cooking, drain and transfer to the large bowl with the veggies. Pour the garlic sauce over the top and stir to combine. Season each serving with salt & pepper separately to taste.

Nutrition info per serving: Calories 426; Total Fat 14.9g; Saturated Fat 2.5g; Trans Fat 0g; Cholesterol 0mg; Sodium (depends on how much salt you add at the end); Carbohydrate 66g; Dietary Fiber 8.1g; Sugars 3.5g; Protein 10.6g; Vitamin A 203%; Vitamin C 49%; Calcium 4%; Iron 31%


  1. As much as I LOVE garlic, it affects my acid reflux once in a while. So just a heads up on that.

  2. Yeah this one was a double-whammy with the garlic and black pepper. It's always a battle for me to not eat things I know wil make me feel crappy, even though I crave them!

  3. I'm starting to feel that way about dairy. There are very few dairy products anymore that don't make me sick. Some of them, so much so that i get queasy just thinking about eating them. I guess that just puts me one step closer to vegan. :)