Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

Delicious winter fare: Butternut squash and red onion pasta

I nearly wrote “autumnal” fare. I have had this squash for ages. Seriously. I forgot about it, and it’s still good. A testimony to the miracle of nature. Late autumn brings forth fruits that last for a long time to see us through winter. You know…in the days when we didn’t pop to Tesco for a pot of basil in winter…..

Butternut squash on pasta? Overly starchy? Definitely a dish for a cold day!

The pasta is wholewheat, and the sweetness of the squash is balanced by salty olives (optional) and sundried tomatoes, and some crunchy walnuts. The onion can be lightly sauteed or added raw at the end. It sounds like it wouldn’t work raw but I have eaten it both ways and I think it definitely does. Adding it raw adds a bit of bite to the flavour and texture  contrast (I preferred it. And so did my inner vitamin-loving self)

  • 1 small butternut squash, steamed or roasted, flesh scooped out and mashed
  • 2-3 sundried tomatoes, soaked and chopped
  • a handful walnuts, chopped
  • 4-5 black olives chopped
  • 1 small red onion, chopped raw or gently sauteed in extra virgin olive oil (minimum oil, or it gets greasy at the end)
  1. Mix all ingredients
  2. Add to cooked pasta (wholewheat or alternatively brown rice pasta, spelt etc)
  3. Finally, dress with:
  • Extra virgin olive oil  (a glug) apple cider/white wine vinegar (smallish dash)  and 1-2 pinches of sea salt. Sorry, no measurements, but it’s just about tasting it.

I am afraid we have no photos of the starchalicious plate.

But, trust me, mmmmm. 

Just a small portion for me thanks. I need a gap for the last roast chestnuts of the season 🙂

Vitaminspeak: While nutrition tables are all a little different, and each squash will vary (multiple factors) a 200 gram cup of cooked butternut squash contains between 20-50% of our RDA for Vitamin C, and is extremely rich in beta-carotene (the plant form of Vitamin A, which is an anti-oxidant) Adding some fat (eg the walnuts and olive oil) aids in the absorption of the Vitamin A. Adding the olive oil at the end, unheated, as a “dressing” makes it tastier and more nutritious still! Enjoy!

Happy Halloween! Green Noodle-worms and Spooky Trees

I sort of get off on the whole theme thing with my children. Just once in a while, you know….and of course Halloween is here, and what could possibly beg to be themified more than Halloween? Anything involving pumpkin does not go down well with my girls, (not even butternut squash or sweet potato). Amelia once declared butternut squash was “too sweet” which I thought was rich coming from her; she would purposefully  inhale the smoke if a chocolate factory was burning down! That said, butternut squash doesn’t taste anything like chocolate (not even smokey chocolate).

So anyway……..I thought I would go for green. You know, green, that conjures up images of green-faced witches,  slimey goo, and Frankenstein. Or, if you’re me, chlorophyll  🙂

Chlorophyll, I have heard, has a molecular make-up almost identical to that of haemoglobin, except at the centre, there is magnesium instead of iron. Furthermore, while I cannot go into this any more than what I remember from GCSE Biology, it harvests the suns rays and transforms it into food, which just fills me with delight and gratitude for the Creation and all lessons contained therein. All green leaves are very rich in minerals too, especially calcium and iron, and in general as humans, we don’t consume enough leaves. Moving down the food chain is a positive step forward for your health in my opinion.

One ideal green pasta sauce would be home-made pesto, but I was using what I had in the house; thanks to the blessed Tesco reduced shelf, I had about 8 avocados, ready to use, and all of them LOVE avocado pasta. However I felt like, it being a Halloween theme, the green needed a little more ……vibrance.

So I threw in a bottle of food colouring.

Just kidding. That really would be scarey.

I threw in some spinach.

Young spinach is so very nutritious, while being very mild in flavour. Perfect for kids smoothies (and grown-ups), salads, and obviously, green halloweeney avocado-based sauces.

Our green sauce is simply a food processed mixture of some soft avocados, a handful of babyleaf spinach, a pinch or two of sea salt, and some Nutritional yeast powder, because they all enjoy that.  It’s nothing complex in terms of flavour….but avocado is creamy and relatively neutral tasting.If so inclined, you could create some amazing sauces with slightly punchier flavours, and smother your wholegrain pasta with creamy, nutritious, unheated, unprocessed healthy fat.

So when I was in Tesco, I saw a cauliflower variety pack labelled “Ideal for Halloween” and couldn’t resist adding some spooky “trees” to our green noodle-worms. I was pretty sure they would be so excited to see purple trees, and spikey-spooky Romanesco cauliflower trees. (I know I am) I stress, excited to see them. They don’t really like eating it much though,so I also did some broccoli trees which they love don’t mind eating. I think I’ll be eating quite a bit of steamed cauiflower later.


Here it is. We used wholewheat noodles, and also made some purple and orange Halloweeny coleslaw (which I forgot to photograph, with Cashew mayonnaise, a recipe suggestion is here)

 I am absolutely amazed! Amelia who- quote- HATES- cauliflower, tucked into this and proffered various surprised “Hmmmmmm. Not bad. Prefer the green ones, but the purple and the spikey one’s aren’t bad.” (praise inDEED. Especially as they were a little aldente….) Ellie, (who has flirted with raw cauliflower, though it ended unhappily) crooned little songs “spooky purple trees, yummy spooky trees…..can I eat the raw ones in the kitchen?”  Then, I wasn’t sure if I had overdone the babyleaf spinach when Amelia asked “is this pesto?” Me: “No’ it’s avocado sauce.” (pause as she tries it, eyeing it’s extra-green hue suspiciously) “Mmmmmm. I love it!” (Note to self: Always add babyleaf spinach to avocado sauce!)

Thank you God for both purple and wierd-but-beautiful spikey edible plants!












P.S. Chlorophyll levels are reduced when the veggie is cooked, but it is only reduced in very significant amounts after quite prolonged cooking times, like boiling broccoli for 20 minutes. Eat plenty of greens raw, and opt for things like steaming for a few minutes when cooking.

P.P.S Their “dessert” is being provided by the local neighbourhood, and trust me, it won’t be appearing on this blog!  🙂  Happy Hallowe’en. Eat some plants y’all.

Wholewheat noodles with amazing 10 second sauce

A 3 ingredient sauce is always a winner for me. No-cook-just-mix-it-up? Even better. Wholesome ingredients? My joy is full.  Are you ready? It’s so easy.

Equal amounts of tahini, honey and soy sauce .

I did 1/8 cup of each, and it was enough for 2 large bowls of noodles.

(Optional extras for a hotter sauce are crushed root ginger/chilli/garlic.)

  • Cook your wholegrain noodles (be they wholewheat, brown rice noodles, buckwheat “soba” noodles, wholegrain spelt noodles, whatever….just go for unrefined 🙂 ) Blue Dragon do a wholewheat version. I got quite excited about that.
  • Meanwhile, briefly steam some broccoli and/or peas, or basically, anything green you like.
  • Spoon over some sauce. This sauce is salty-strong, so spoon some over, mix it through and taste before adding more.
  • Sprinkle with copious amounts of chopped spring onion and extra sesame seeds if desired.

GORGEOUS SAUCE!!! No photo. If you make it, take one and send it to me 🙂

This was a pilot version, tested on myself and Isaac, and I will definitely be trying this on the girls. I am thinking about trying a variation with almond or maybe even peanut butter though, as they deeply dislike sesame ( they have both tried it before they declared how gross it was, full marks!)  I am not sure they will like even a variation …..I struggle with food-picky children like the next parent, but I would love to get them enjoying new flavours.

The nights are closing in.

With one copious  lunch salad and a new wholegrain noodle dish under my belt, (literally)  I am about to put on my PJ’s , blitz some sesame seeds and cook myself  us up some tahini toffee. It just seems like the right thing to do.

5 simple meat-free pasta toppings

Eat your pasta with plants! Here are 5 suggestions to replace your red meat.

Note: Wholewheat pasta keeps you full longer, and the fibre helps you avoid constipation (that afflicts so many people– and it is so easy to rectify!) White pasta is effectively just glue in your digestive tract. If you do not eat wheat, soba noodles (made from the buckwheat seed) or brown rice noodles or spelt pasta are alternatives)

1. AVOCADO. Our family favourite. For a silky smooth sauce use a food processor, or just mash well with a fork and a pinch of salt. Embellish with chopped kalamata olives, tomato or even sprouts.Or eat as is, it’s such a majestic sauce. Best ever.

2. RAW MARINARA SAUCE. Food process 3 large tomatoes, 2 soaked sundried tomatoes, half a red bell pepper, a small glug of extra virgin olive; season with salt, onion and garlic powder, and hot spice if desired.

3.PESTO. What a classic. And so good! I blend up unroasted cashews, a handful per basil plant, instead of the hyper expensive pine nuts and use some nutritional yeast powder instead of cheese. So- basil cashews, olive oil (2-3 Tablespoons?) salt to taste, nutritional yeast, and a garlic clove if I am not going out ! Everybody loves this one, including the children.(I minus the garlic when this is a family meal)

4.BUTTERNUT SQUASH. My friend and I stumbled upon this simultaneously. As with the avocado you can mash well, or blend to a silky smooth sauce. Take a (leftover) roasted butter nut squash half, mash/blitz and mix with wholewheat pasta, with chopped walnuts, chopped sundried tomatoes, some sea salt and some extra virgin olive oil, tossed together- it is DELICIOUS!

5. Grilled garlic mushrooms with a savoury-seasoned cashew cream.

Extra tip for hard-core plant lovers. You can make courgette “pasta” noodles/ribbons using a simple julienne slicer or vegetable peeler respectively as shown in this post. Serve them steamed or raw. If you want to get fancy with raw zucchini pasta recipes, or just see her beautiful photos and flavour combinations, check out this girl here.

School run again! x

%d bloggers like this: