But hear me out about this one: it will be one of the most, if not the most delicious dinner you will have this year. And for the amount of effort that goes into it, it’s almost unbelievable how delectable it is.
Everything gets thrown in one pot and left to simmer and in 30 minutes you have a winning dinner. This was my first attempt at homemade vegan cheese, and it could not have gone better. I’ve linked the recipe that I used below, I really think that it’s worth the effort! It’s simple, cashews are soaked overnight and then blended with nutritional yeast, garlic and fresh herbs. The texture is similar to that of a cream cheese dip, and the flavour is simply outstanding.
I paired this with a sweet white wine; one of the perks about vegetarianism is not having to rely on the meat dish for the choice of wine. I’m sure there are several other nuances that go into this decision such as the amount of spice in the dish and the richness of the sauce but I’m going to go with what feels good. Sometimes food doesn’t have to have restrictions, its all about what makes your tummy happy. This dish definitely makes my tummy happy!
Cosy One Pot Spinach Pesto Pasta Bake
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 250g mushrooms, sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 medium carrots, roughly chopped
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1×14 oz can of tinned tomatoes
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 400g farfalle pasta, uncooked (you can substitute any other short pasta like tortellini, rigatoni, macaroni or fusilli)
- ¼ cup spinach pesto, homemade or storebought
- ¼ cup vegan ricotta (this is a good recipe)
- Optional for serving: fresh basil, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, glass of white wine, crusty bread
- Heat some olive oil in a large, deep saucepan. Fry the onions and mushrooms until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots and cook until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomato paste, tinned tomatoes and vegetable stock to the pot. Stir to combine, making sure the tomato paste has dissolved, and bring the mixture to a boil.
- Add the pasta to the pot and stir well to ensure that the pasta is submerged in liquid. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the pasta is cooked al dente. Stir the pot occasionally, if the pasta is not yet done and the sauce is close to burning then pour in ½ cup of vegetable stock or water. When the pasta is done, the sauce should be very thick.
- Drop tablespoons of spinach pesto and ricotta over the top of the pasta bake. Cover the pot and cook for another 5 minutes. Serve hot with some nutritional yeast and fresh basil. Leftovers will keep well if tightly sealed in the fridge for up to 4 days.