The other day I was making this Pasta Primavera for dinner when it hit me: this dish embodies everything I believe vegan food should be – easy, quick to make, tasty and healthy – so it would be unfair to not share this recipe here on the blog! In fact, I’ve been making some variation of this pasta quite regularly because this recipe always saves the day whenever I’m too tired/lazy/pressed for time to make a more elaborate dinner. Plus, Rob being half-Italian is a big fan of pasta!
The hands-down awesomeness of this recipe is that it’s very customizable depending on what ingredients you have on hand. I like it with spaghetti, but any pasta shape will do. Fresh veggies are great, but if you don’t have a lot of them, you can easily use a bag of assorted frozen vegetables in a pinch. Store-bought pasta sauce will work if you didn’t make a batch of all-organic, superhealthy homemade sauce last weekend – we ain’t no superhumans, are we?
As much as I try to stay away from eating processed foods, recently I’ve been indulging in an occasional chick’n patty by Gardein. I like the slightly smoky flavor these patties take on when pan-fried, plus they don’t have an overly scary ingredients list like some other ‘fake meats’ tend to. (Disclosure: Gardein isn’t paying me to say this.) One or two cooked and cubed chick’n patties make a nice addition to this Pasta Primavera. In case you choose against using Gardein patties, you can always substitute them with baked tofu – here’s how I bake it with no oil – or just plain ol’ cooked beans.
Here’s a trick I’ve been using lately to make sure the cooked vegetables stay nice and crisp: I’ve been cooking them all at once in a wok! Yep, that deep pan with a domed lid can make Italian dishes with the same success as Asian stir-frys. I currently use a wok we bought at Ikea, but the good ol’ Amazon is lousy with great wok options. If you don’t have a wok right now but decide to buy one, make sure you get one with a lid: magic happens to your favorite veggies only when a wok is covered up. Added bonus – you save quite a bit of time when cooking vegetables all at once in a wok, plus stirring them is a breeze because woks tend to be pretty large.
In the recipe below, I show you how I manage to throw this dish together in only 15-20 minutes. A little multitasking goes a long way here!
This easy pasta dish is chock-full of vegetables, fiber, and whole grains. It’s easy and quick to throw together at the last moment when you don’t have lots of time to cook dinner.
- - ½ package of spaghetti or any pasta shape of choice (about ½ pound), preferably whole-grain
- - 3-4 cups chopped fresh vegetables of choice – onions, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, mushrooms, bell peppers, etc.
- - ½ cup frozen peas
- - 3 garlic cloves, minced
- - 1 ½ cups homemade or store-bought pasta sauce, preferably oil-free, plus more to taste
- - 1-2 cooked Gardein Chick’n Scallopini patties, cubed, or ½ block cubed baked tofu, or 1 cup of cooked beans of choice
- - Olive oil cooking spray for the wok (or use 1-2 Tbsp water/broth)
- - Salt, pepper, red pepper flakes - to taste
- Wash all of your fresh vegetables and chop them into bite-size pieces. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add up to 1 tsp of salt, and then add the pasta. Cook to al dente according to the pasta package directions – thicker shapes tend to take longer to cook than thin ones like spaghetti.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat up the wok, spray it with cooking spray (or use 1-2 Tbsp of water or broth). Add fresh vegetables, cover with a lid and cook for about 3-5 min, stirring occasionally.
- Pour pasta sauce into a microwave-safe cup or bowl, cover with a paper towel, and microwave for 1 min. Once the sauce is hot, add it to the vegetables in the wok along with the cooked and chopped chick'n patty (or baked tofu/beans), minced garlic and frozen peas - the peas will only need 1-2 min to defrost. Stir to distribute the sauce.
- Once the pasta is cooked to al dente, spoon it out of the cooking water with a slotted spoon, and add directly to the wok. Don’t worry if some pasta cooking water makes its way into the wok – it will enhance the flavors and texture while preventing the dish from drying out.
- Season with salt and pepper if needed – I usually skip the salt since pasta sauces have plenty of it. Serve sprinkled with red pepper flakes if you like it spicy. Enjoy!
This recipe was featured in Virtual Vegan Linky Potluck over here.
By the way, don’t forget about the giveaway of THREE 8-oz jars of organic almond and pumpkin seed butter made by Naturally Nutty of Traverse City, Michigan! Enter over here until Monday, July 21st at 11:59 pm PST.
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