It wasn’t until I became a vegan that I started worrying about the nutritional content of my food. I had no idea how many calories I should eat, how much protein I should consume or how to create a balanced meal.
Now I know better. I aim to create meals that are properly nutritionally balanced, aiming for more than 50g/d. Knowing that my major sources of protein are from beans, leafy greens, whole grains and a smaller amount from nuts and seeds, a meal feels incomplete without them. Where are my beans?? Where are my vegetables?
So you may be scratching your head, wondering why the heck I would post a recipe for pasta with a rose sauce, the seemingly antithesis of what I eat on a daily basis. However, this dish is packed with all good things.
First, the sauce is a zippy tomato-based creamy vegan rose sauce. All of the vegetables are roasted to create a lovely, creamy backdrop: roasted cherry tomatoes, roasted cauliflower, roasted garlic and roasted shallots. I sprinkled Aleppo chili flakes overtop to add a nice zip to the sauce. The cheesiness of a standard rose sauce is achieved with nutritional yeast, without being overpowering and cashew butter as a thickener. Throw it into your blender for an easy, delicious sauce.
But what to pair it with?
I recently picked up a package of red lentil pasta. Beans hidden in pasta form! Made by Eco Chefs, the only ingredients are red lentils and water and thus pack a nice amount of protein compared to other pastas. While I often use zucchini as a pasta substitute, it was nice to be able to have fusilli-shaped pasta. My spiralizer can’t do that to any zucchini. ;)
Next time, I may try blending in white beans, like in my High-Protein Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Alfredo Pasta or add in more greens.
Red Lentil Fusilli with Zippy Vegan Rose Sauce
Adapted from Vegan Richa
1 pint cherry tomatoes (2 cups)
1-1/3 cups chopped cauliflower
4 small shallots, halved (1/2 cup)
1/2 head of garlic, top sliced off
1 tsp olive oil, or oil of choice
1/2 tsp Aleppo chili flakes, or more, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp cashew butter
5 tbsp nutritional yeast, or to taste
1 cup almond milk (I used sweetened) or your choice of nondairy milk
1 package (227g) red lentil fusilli (or pasta of choice)
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Meanwhile, in a large roasting pan covered by a silpat, combine the tomatoes, cauliflower, and shallots. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with the chili flakes and salt and pepper to taste.
3. Drizzle a touch of oil on the head of garlic, and wrap in aluminum foil.
4. Place vegetables and head of garlic in the oven and roast until caramelized, around 45 minutes. Check after 30 minutes to make sure nothing burns. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
5. As it cools, prepare your pasta: Boil your water and boil the noodles. Drain.
6. As the noodles cook, remove garlic cloves and add all vegetables to a blender, making sure to scrape up any bits of caramelized goodness on the silpat.
7. Add cashew butter, nutritional yeast and almond milk to blender and blend until smooth. Thin with additional almond milk, if desired. Season with salt and pepper.
8. Combine sauce with noodles. Devour.