Regardless of which part of the world you reside in, pasta dishes are an all-time family favourite! It is easy to prepare and even easier to finish (burp!), making it a choice dish for all occasions. Having guests with dietary restrictions this time? Don’t worry! Here are some plant-based pasta recipes which will not compromise on your ability to deliver a little slice of Italy out of your own home!
The classic: Vegan Lasagna
- 1 cup dried red lentils
- 50 ounce marinara sauce
- 1 cup raw cashew nuts
- 16 ounce firm tofu (dry)
- ½ cup nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 2-3 cups baby spinach
- 1 box lasagna, whole grain or GF if required
- Vegan mozzarella cheese
- Add the red lentils and 3 cups of water to a pot. Boil the lentils and let them simmer for 20 minutes. Then, transfer the lentils to a large bowl after draining them. Add the marinara sauce to the lentils and mix them well.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C .
- Add the cashew nuts, tofu, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, basil, oregano and garlic powder into a food processor. Process these ingredients together until they appear well-combined.
- Spread 1 cup of marinara sauce around the base of a lasagna pan. Then, add 4-5 sheets of uncooked lasagna noodles above the sauce. Stack the ricotta from step 3 above the lasagna noodles, before topping with half of the total portion of baby spinach.
- Repeat step 4 to create 2 stacked layers of the lasagna. Then, top it off with 4-5 more sheets of lasagna noodles and the rest of the sauce.
- Cover the assembled lasagna with a sheet of aluminium foil and bake for 1 hour. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
- If you wish to add mozzarella cheese to the lasagna, simply remove the lasagna from the oven about 40 minutes through baking and add the cheese to the top of the lasagna. Then, return it to the oven to cook for another 20 minutes.
The adventurous: Mushroom and walnut spicy “Bolognese”
- 2 tbsp cold-pressed olive oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 450 gr. cremini mushrooms, half sliced and half cut into fine strips
- 1 cup of 100g walnuts, finely chopped
- 2 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 2 servings of 400 ml. canned tomatoes (chopped)
- 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp organic tomato paste
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried basil
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp paprika powder
- 1/4 tsp dried chili flakes
- Sea salt & black pepper
- Heat the olive oil on a sauce pan, on medium heat. Add the onions and garlic, and leave to sauté for 2-3 minutes.
- When the onions appear translucent, add in the mushrooms and cook for 6-8 min.
- Once the mixture on the pan appears dry, add in all the herbs, spices, apple cider vinegar and tomato paste. Ensure that these ingredients are well combined.
- Then, add the plum and canned tomatoes, and mix until all ingredients are well combined.
- Cook on medium-low heat for 20min, stirring as necessary.
- Add in the walnuts and leave to cook for another 5 minutes.
- Add the sauce over a plate of cooked, vegan pasta. Serve.
Children’s favourite: Plant-based mac and cheese
For the powder:
· 3/4 cup nutritional yeast
· 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or whole wheat or all-purpose gluten-free flour)
· 1 tablespoon white sugar
· 1 tablespoon paprika
· 2 teaspoons salt
· 2 teaspoons onion powder
· 1 teaspoon garlic powder
· 1 teaspoon lemon pepper
· 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
For the pasta:
- 1 cup uncooked macaroni noodles (choose the GF option if required)
- ¾ cup non-dairy milk
- Make the powder by simply adding all of the mentioned ingredients to a container and mixing them well.
- Cook the macaroni noodles as instructed on the package.
- Add ¾ cup milk and ¼ cup of the prepared mac and cheese powder into a pot. Whisk to combine them. Heat up this mixture on medium-high heat and cook until the sauce appears thick (this should take between 2 to 5 minutes).
- Add the cooked pasta to the pot and stir to combine.
- Cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Pasta dishes don't have to be meaty in order to be filling! With the right plant-based ingredients, you can serve a savoury meal that will leave your guests with full belly and a happy heart. Even the pickiest of Italian matrons will be pleased!