Pesto Pasta

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Photography and styling by myself

One of my recent food obsessions is pasta, and credit for my obsession goes to my awesome sister for talking about pasta all the time, although a lot of the blame also lies on Clean Eating Goddess who has an incredible variety of delicious pasta recipes up on her site! I simply can’t resist any of her vegetarian pasta options, so today I present to you the greenest pasta I’ve ever enjoyed, the Green Goddess Pasta.

Unfortunately I made a slip up with the amount of sea salt added to the pesto which resulted in a saltier version than I would have otherwise enjoyed. On the bright side however, I now understand what it means when they state “a pinch of salt” in a recipe. It’s literally a pinch. Thankfully it didn’t matter so much because with an awesome recipe and ingredients, the end result more than made up for it compared to my usual average pasta-sauce-straight-out-of-a-jar adventures.

INGREDIENTS:

3 cups fresh basil leaves

3 heaped tbsp pine nuts

2 garlic cloves

4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

juice of1 lemon

a pinch of sea salt

500g spinach fettucine

4 tbsp frozen peas (divided in half)

3 tbsp pumpkin seeds

2 ripe avocados

1 tbsp almond flour/powder (for garnish)

Serves 4

DIRECTIONS:

1. Bake the pine nuts at 150 degrees Celsius for 5 minutes.

2. Add basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic cloves, lemon juice and salt into a blender. Blend on low speed, slowly incorporating all the olive oil. Blend until a smooth pesto paste is formed.

3. Boil pasta in highly salted water until al dente.

4. Meanwhile, toast the pumpkin seeds in the same way as above, and de-seed and mash the two avocados using a fork.

5. Combine pasta, half the pumpkin seeds, peas, pesto and mashed avocados in a pan on med-low heat. Toss until pasta is well coated.

6. Serve while hot. Garnish with the remaining pumpkin seeds and almond powder. Enjoy.

Vegan Veggie Pasta

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Photos by myself

I’ve always wanted to try my hand at making fresh pasta sauce from scratch, and this Clean Eating Goddess recipe was perfect for me to start out with. It promised a genuine Italian treat, which is exactly what I had been looking for, tips to cook European dishes the traditional European way! As this was the first time I had cooked pasta since I converted to a vegetarian diet, I was honestly slightly worried it would not turn out as tasty as before without my usual minced meat and sausages. I am so happy that it turned out quite the opposite, it was the best pasta I had ever eaten my entire life, including the numerous times I’ve eaten at restaurants. I will never eat pasta sauce out of a jar again, this recipe is too good not to reuse, and not all that difficult to create. The meat eaters and vegetable haters in my family really enjoyed this and while my mom and sister said they had tasted better Italian pasta at authentic Italian restaurants, this did rank up there with the ones they had. My dad however declared it the best pasta of his life, and I take that as a sincere compliment from someone who loves meat.

INGREDIENTS:

1 package linguini pasta (or substitute with pasta choice of your preference)

2 cans plum tomatoes

2 heaped tbsp ketchup

4 tbsp olive oil (divided)

4 cloves garlic

2 small shallots

2 zucchini

2 red peppers

1 tsp red chilli flakes

a few dashes Tabasco

1/2 cup red wine

2 sprigs fresh basil

6 tbsp pine nuts

salt and pepper

Serves 4

DIRECTIONS:

1. Chop the garlic and onions and set aside. Dice the zucchinis and julienne the red peppers and set aside.

2. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large and deep pan on low heat.

3. When the oil is hot, add the shallot and sautee for about 1-2 minutes until soft. Add garlic, chilli flakes, salt and pepper and sautee for another 30 seconds.

4. Add the canned tomatoes and crush them with a wooden spoon. Bring the mixture to a boil and set the heat to low. Add ketchup and mix well. Let simmer for about 30 minutes until most of the water has evaporated.

5. While the sauce is simmering, heat another 2tbsp of oil in another pan on low heat. Add zucchini and red peppers, salt and pepper, cook for about 30 minutes or until tender and slightly brown.

6. Boil pasta according to directions on the box. Make sure the pasta is boiled in extremely salty water. I usually use 5 tsp of Himalayan salt. If you prefer your pasta al dente, minus off 2 minutes from the time stated on the box.

7. After the pasta sauce has thickened add red wine. Stir and taste. Add Tabasco, salt and pepper according to taste.

8. Bake pine nuts in a baking tray for about 5 minutes at 150 degrees Celsius or until slightly browned.

9. Add the zucchini and red peppers to the sauce and stir until well combined.

10. Serve with the pasta sauce atop the pasta, and top with pine nuts and fresh basil. Enjoy.