Reflections on the various dimensions of feminine vocation from liturgical homemaking and child rearing to education and the spiritual life.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Thirty-Minute Vegan Pasta Challenge

Along with millions of liturgically minded Christians the world over, we don't eat meat on Fridays.  Dairy is also off my diet since it doesn't agree with my breastfeeding son.  Plus, my family is currently rather broke.

So, on Fridays, I like to give myself the following challenge: Make a new delicious vegan pasta sauce, from whatever happens to be in the pantry, in the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta.  I do not usually plan ahead.  The challenge starts when I enter the kitchen and put the pasta pot on the burner.

Tonight's recipe was a great success, so I thought I'd share.

Spinach and Walnut Pesto Penne
Set salted water to boil for pasta.
Heat in a sauce pot over medium-high heat
  • 1 or 2 T olive oil
Dice and add to pot
  • 1/2 onion
Cook, stirring, until soft.
  • 1 C frozen spinach
  • 1/2 C frozen peas
Cook stirring until thawed.
Add to pot
  • 1/4 C (leftover) Chardonnay or other white wine
Blend in a blender
  • 1 14 oz can fire-roasted tomatoes
and add to pot.  Stir to combine.  Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer.
  • 16 oz pasta (I prefer whole wheat penne)
Meanwhile, without rinsing blender, add to blender and blend
  • 2 T freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 C fresh, snipped basil, or 6 cubes/teaspoons frozen basil
  • 3/4 C walnut pieces
  • 1 t salt or to taste
  • 1/2 t freshly ground pepper or to taste
  • 1/4 t hot pepper sauce (optional)
Blending may require more liquid, so use water from the pasta pot and/or olive oil. 
Pour walnut pesto into spinach-tomato sauce.  Mix and cook until heated through.
Serve over pasta.

Serves 6 to 8.

Anyone else want to take the challenge and share your recipe?


  1. That sounds great, Jen. I schedule a pantry meal into every week plus 1-2 nights of leftovers. We also usually have a 'make something with eggs' night. It certainly does help cut costs and I've had a lot of fun with it--and occasionally a bit of stress...(o:

  2. I love this idea. I've been doing something similar but in the salad genre. I have making various types of cabbage salad.
    Here are the ingredients, you choose the amounts
    napa cabbaage
    romaine lettuce
    green onion
    sesame seeds
    with leftover channa dal (Or canned chickeas)
    top with a dressing of seasoned rice wine vinegar and oil.

  3. Kid pleasing pasta salad
    (you pick the proportions)
    tri-color pasta
    frozen peas (microwave with corn to thaw)
    frozen corn
    frozen green beans (Microwave to soften)
    season with lemon pepper thyme and 21seasoning salute from Trader Joes
    add vinegar and oil for dressing.
    Mix everything together. Serve room temp.
    I added parmesan cheese and roasted sunflower seeds to mine and left Claire's plain