RECIPE BY: Olive and Mango
January is the time for new (healthier!) beginnings– this pasta bake is here to make that transition easy!
While it might look and taste just like your regular carb-filled, buttery pasta dish it has a secret: not only is this meal gluten-free and low in carbs, it’s also vegan! With fresh veggies and herbs, lemon zest spiked ricotta, and GoGo Quinoa pasta made from rice and amaranth, you’ll still feel light and airy after a second helping.
This Detox Pasta Bake is a lightened up version of a more traditional pasta bake loaded with cheeses and creams. It’s just as comforting but without all the extra dairy and calories – a fresher, healthy version. It’s a great addition to your meatless Monday or meatless one day a week lineup that will not disappoint.
- 12 ounces (1½ packs) of GoGo Quinoa Rice & Amaranth Penne
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 1 28-ounce can low-sodium diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp chili flakes
- ½ cup chopped fresh basil
- 4 cups of kale,rinsed and chopped and thick stems removed
- 2 cups asparagus, rinsed, woody ends snapped off, chopped into 1-inch pieces
- 1.5 cups of vegan ricotta (recipe below)
- Preheat oven to 400 ° F.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until slightly underdone approximately 5 minutes with this pasta. Drain and place cooked pasta back in the pot and set aside until ready to use.
- Next, make the sauce. Heat olive oil in a medium pot on medium-high heat. Add onions, garlic and chili flakes and saute until golden, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook for another minute. Then add tomatoes, salt, and pepper, and oregano and simmer 10-15 minutes until thickened. Stir in basil and turn off heat.
- While the sauce is simmering, steam the kale and asparagus in batches for a few minutes until bright green and tender then add to the pot with cooked pasta.
- Pour tomato sauce into the pot with the cooked pasta and vegetables. Stir until well combined. Check for seasoning and adjust as needed. Pour mixture into a large casserole dish.
- Dollop the ricotta over the top of the pasta. (Feel free to spread it in an even layer or leave it dolloped) Place in the oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes until casserole is golden on the top with crispy edges
- Remove from oven and let stand for a few minutes before serving and serve garnished with fresh basil.
For the Vegan Ricotta
- 4 cups medium-packed fresh spinach
- 2 small garlic cloves
- ¾ cup raw cashews
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons water
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon sea salt, plus more to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup crumbled extra-firm tofu
- 1 teaspoon dreid oregano
- ½ teaspoon lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Add ½ tsp of dry harissa seasoning as optional
- Fill a large pot with 1 inch of water and insert a steamer basket. Place the spinach and the garlic in the basket and bring to a boil. Cover and steam for 2 minutes, or until the spinach is wilted but still bright green. Remove the garlic and set aside. Scoop the spinach onto a kitchen towel or paper towels and squeeze out the excess water. Roughly chop.
- In a blender, place the garlic, cashews, water, lemon juice, salt, and a few grinds of black pepper. Porcess until creamy.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the tofu, steamed spinach, oregano, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, harissa (if using) and a few grinds of black pepper. Stir in the cashew. Taste and add more salt, if desired.