Over the past couple of years, I’ve been striving to find more ways to incorporate more veggies into our household. (All the mommas feel me on this) I’ve always been a veggie head. I’ve loved every vegetable there ever was since childhood. It was never a problem for my mom to get me to eat my broccoli or brussel sprouts.. or any other veggie for that matter. Naturally, I assumed that my household would partake of and enjoy eating these nutritious delicacies just as I do, but that’s not always the case. Though our household typically eats healthier than the Standard American Diet, there’s always room for improvement.
In my pursuits to add more nutritionally dense foods to our menu, I had the culinary epiphany, to which I gave the uber elegant name of “Veggie Pasta”. At first it started out as an experiment of flavors and textures, some ingredients making it past the evaluation, and others not so much. I was inspired by one of my favorite dishes, Chicken Picatta. It’s a pasta dish that packs a flavorful punch with garlic, lemon juice and capers in an oily sauce. Traditionally it contains a breaded chicken cutlet that is placed on top of the bed of noodles. In most restaurant settings, I’m so tempted to order this tasty dish but there’s always one issue that makes me restrain.. I don’t eat wheat/gluten or dairy. Also, I don’t care to eat much meat on any given day, much less bad quality meat that most restaurants provide.
That probably sounded pretty snobby. But truthfully, my body has had its share of battles and knowing how much the foods that we eat directly affect it.. I’ll just accept my food snob reputation and keep on thriving! I’ve learned that you have to do what works best for you and your body and not let the opinion of others influence your decisions.
So, after a few test runs swapping out ingredients here and there, the Veggie Pasta was created. It has a lemony, garlic profile with zesty pops of capers and artichokes, salty bites of olives and fresh flavors from tomatoes, spinach and sweet peas. Every mouth full is bursting with veggie goodness that will have you dancing from the inside out. And the best part about this dish (aside from all the exciting things mentioned before), is that it is gluten free, dairy free and vegan friendly!
Now, you don’t have to follow any of these certain dietary restrictions to enjoy this meal. My family who are complete omnivores devour this pasta and look forward to seconds. If you try this recipe and find you aren’t a fan of the texture of brown rice noodles or feel like butter or heavy cream would suite it better, then by all means- by my guest! I won’t even be mad if you have to have meat and feel it necessary to add it in.. though, it technically wouldn’t be considered “Veggie Pasta” after that, but you do you Boo!
This is my recipe and I’m sticking to it!
- 1 pack brown rice spaghetti
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 cup olive oil extra virgin
- 2-3 tbsp capers
- 3-4 tbsp sliced green olives
- 1/3 cup artichoke hearts quartered
- 1 cup grape tomatoes
- 3-4 hands fresh baby spinach
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
- taste salt & pepper
- 1 whole lemon squeezed
- Bring a pot of water to boil and add in noodles broken in half. Cook noodles until al dente, strain and rinse with cool water.
- In a (very) large pan, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat. Something along the lines of a wok works best.
- Add garlic to oil and cook until fragrant (about 1 minute)
- Add capers, olives, grape tomatoes and artichoke hearts to pan and stir. Cooking for another 5 minutes.
- Pour in the juice of 1 lemon and add in handfuls of baby spinach and frozen peas. Toss to coat all of the ingredients. Cook for 3-5 minutes or until spinach and other ingredients have just begun to wilt.
- Season with Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.
- Add in strained noodles and the remainder of olive oil. Toss all ingredients in the pan together, coating them evenly. Cook for another 3-5 minutes until all ingredients are incorporated.
- Garnish with fresh basil (optional). Serve hot.. and enjoy!!
This meal is best served hot.. but be careful of the tomato lava bombs! It’s also great for making ahead and reheating for meals throughout the week. I find it best to reheat it on the stove in a pan over medium low heat. It helps to keep the integrity of the brown rice noodles better than the microwave, in my opinion.
I hope you try my recipe and love it as much as my family and I do! Please comment and let me know your experience: Did you follow the recipe exactly? (Does anyone really even do that??) Or did you decide to make substitutions and/or additions? I’d love to hear your thoughts! If this recipe is a win in your book, I’d be honored if you’d share it via the buttons below.
Bone Apple Teeth!