Lesson 1166 – The Win-Win-Win Cookbook – Creamy Mediterranean Vegetarian Pasta

It’s time for a vegetarian recipe. Don’t worry, it will consist of more than just nuts on top of wilted greens (although don’t knock that till you’ve tried it – yum.)

This is another pasta recipe. Think of pasta as the canvas onto which you can color your meal. With that in mind, choose foods that add both color and texture to the end product. I once served a cauliflower, mashed potatoes and baked cod meal – we called it the white dinner and even though the food was good, it didn’t look in the least bit appetizing – no one finished their food. Do your best to avoid that.

There are many reasons to eat vegetarian meals – these days a lot of meat is considered not clean, that means it’s filled with hormones and antibiotics. That’s the kind of stuff that no one should be eating. Vegetarian meals cost less, and once you’ve eaten a few of them, you’ll have saved up enough money to buy either a piece of grass-fed meat or wild-caught fish (both are considered clean.) But of course, you’re saving so much money by making your own meals instead of buying fast food that you could probably afford to buy clean meat now.

I was a vegetarian for seven years, but I did it wrong and did not replace the protein from the meat I was no longer eating. I’m one of those people who got very sick. The simple solution? For all vegetarian dishes, include some extra protein. Add bean paste (hummus) or beans to the dish for that boost of protein and also a splash of olive oil for the fat (I told you olive oil would come in handy) and all will be well.

A little bit more about protein. When babies get hungry you don’t give them candy or soda, you give them either breast milk or formula that contains a high amount of fat and protein. Guess what? Now that you are older, when you get hungry, the same rules apply – eat sugar and you’ll still feel hungry (and you’ll probably get that sugar headache), eat protein with some fat and you’ll feel full and satiated (there’s that word again.)

Pots and pans:

  • Mixing bowl

Pantry:

  • You don’t need to add anything to your pantry for this recipe. If you made the last recipe, you’ve got everything you need for this one.

Creamy Mediterranean Vegetarian Pasta

The eggplant, hummus, roasted vegetables, and feta give this dish a bit of a Mediterranean flare. For additional punch, consider adding a few sliced olives to the mix.

If the instructions seem familiar, it’s because they are and you are starting to recognize that cooking is not that mysterious. Cooking is all about following a few simple procedures and learning what flavors work well together.

(Cost of *prepared* food from Whole Foods was $2.88)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 serving of dry pasta (this is easy, if you followed the advice to split up the box into servings, you just need to grab a pre-measured bag of dry pasta.)

From prepared food bar:

  • 2 Tablespoons of roasted eggplant
  • 1 Tablespoon roasted onion
  • 1 Tablespoon assorted roasted peppers
  • 2 Tablespoons of hummus (put in the corner of the box so that it won’t mix with the other ingredients)
  • 1 small piece of feta cheese (again, keep separate from everything else.)
  • Olive oil

Instructions:

Place a small pan of water (filled about halfway) on the stove and heat it on High

While the water is heating, chop up the vegetables into smaller pieces.

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Place the vegetable mixture in a fry pan and add a splash of olive oil. Occasionally stir. This mixture is already cooked, you want to heat it up and meld the flavors just a bit.

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When the water is boiling, add the serving of pasta to the pan. Stir occasionally until well cooked.

Drain the pasta and put it in a mixing bowl with the hummus. Mix until well coated.

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Place the pasta on your dish and then plate (it means to carefully place don’t just dump) the vegetables on top of the pasta.

Using a knife, slice or crumble the feta into tiny bits and artfully place on top of the vegetables.

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Serve on a real plate, put your phone away, and enjoy.

 

Notes:

Feta is a salty cheese, if you put it on top of a dish, there is no need to add additional salt. (Your blood pressure will thank me later for teaching you about using salt in moderation now.)

About the dishes and utensils you are using. If you clean them right after you eat when the food is still wet, it will take a matter of seconds. If you wait until the food dries up and is caked on the plate, the chore will take longer – your choice (but any cook will tell you that it’s easier to clean things up as you use them.)

You know the plastic containers that you bring the food home in from the salad and hot food bars? Please wash them out and reuse them. It’s a small step that means the world to the earth.

Unlike the last recipe, this recipe is best served fresh, if you try to store it, the pasta will absorb the hummus and you won’t have that “creamy” sauce. It’s best to save this recipe for dinners (may I also suggest that you use it for date-night? Hint-hint)

Tomorrow: How about a rice dish?

***

Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com

Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.

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Filed under Mama Hen, Personal, Teaching kids, The Family, Win-Win-Win cookbook

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