Feeling lazy? Vegetarian pasta is the answer when you are just too tired to spend hours cooking.
I have always found Thursday to be the toughest night of the week. We are all tired, but still have another full day to go before we can rest. When the kids were little, Thursday night was pizza night in our house. It saved my sanity – such as it may be!
I was happy to cook on Friday night. After all, the dirty dishes could stay in the sink until Saturday and I wouldn’t feel guilty at all. But Thursday? There just wasn’t enough energy left to cook and clean.
Even though the kids are grown with kids of their own, I still run out of steam by Thursday night. But now Thursday night is time for a quick “clean out the fridge” “make something from nothing” veggie pasta dish. There are various versions of this dish, no two are ever exactly alike. The key is:
- Add something for protein; nuts, tofu, beans or meat analogs.
- Add lots of veggies; zucchini, bell pepper, carrots, artichoke hearts, etc.Think a variety of colors.
- Use up odds and ends of greens. Spinach starting to wilt? Toss it into the mix. Herbs taking over the garden? Add them too.
- Don’t forget umami; increase “savoriness” by adding fresh or dried tomatoes, grated Parmesan cheese, mushrooms, and/or olives.
- Spice it up! Sprinkle with crushed red pepper or finish with freshly ground black pepper.
- Go beyond spaghetti; keep unusual pasta flavors and shapes on hand
- Finish with flavor; good quality olive oil and some tangy vinegar.
Last night I used:
- Fresh cherry tomatoes, basil and zucchini from the garden
- Leftover red bell pepper
- Black olives
- Fresh mozzarella
- Two handfuls of salad greens that had seen better days
- Aleppo pepper
- Red penne pasta
- Cretan olive oil and homemade red wine vinegar
- Vegetarian protein; i.e. nuts, beans, analogs, etc.
- Fresh, dried, or canned vegetables (or any combination)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Olives, mushrooms, and/or aged cheese
- Oil and vinegar
- Cook pasta according to manufacturers instructions.
- Meanwhile, cut veggies into bite-sized pieces.
- Stir-fry larger vegetables like zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms or carrots.
- When vegetables are almost cooked, add greens until wilted.
- Add nuts or beans, any canned vegetables, olives, fresh tomatoes, and salt and pepper.
- Drain pasta. Toss with oil and vinegar.
- Divide pasta among plates and top with vegetable mixture.
- Add shredded cheese.