Did you know that healthy pasta recipes, that actually taste good, do exist? I’m not talking about a dish of plain pasta with bunch of random vegetables tossed in it with a couple of herbs or even a few pieces of bland and boiled chicken breast. Today’s recipe is a vegetarian Mediterranean pasta sauce that has loads of flavor (so much flavor that you won’t believe it’s actually good for you). Once you make this Mediterranean pasta, you’ll start making this sauce and smearing it on bread, tossing it with chicken or shrimp or even just spooning it straight into your mouth. It really is that good.
You’ve probably noticed I’ve been posting a lot of really simple recipes lately. Not that I’m into the uber complicated stuff, but these have been really simple things. Why you may ask…or maybe you’re smart (like me) and choose not to look a gift horse in the mouth and just take advantage of the delicious simplicity. But since I feel compelled to actually write words here, and not just recipes and half ass pictures, I’ll tell you. I’m working hard on creating recipes that, first of all, are delicious but are insanely easy to make and indulge the senses.
It’s like applying the same things that make a person sexy…to food. Traits like being good looking, but not Photoshop good looking (because that can be intimidating), uncomplicated (because using the term ‘simple’ to describe a person makes them feel stupid) and drool inducing (I’m pretty sure that last one needs no explanation).
This Mediterranean pasta is one of those kinds of recipes. Yes, this also falls into the category of healthy pasta recipes (a nice coincidence if you ask me). There aren’t many ingredients for the pasta sauce, or the whole dish for that matter, but the flavors are fantastic.
I used spinach pasta, that I made myself (I’m not posting the recipe here because I’m still working on recipe), and made up the flavorful vegetarian pasta sauce to have all of those intense Mediterranean flavors so that it wouldn’t feel like we were being deprived of anything. The few flavors missing from the sauce were then tossed in as fresh toppings (the tomatoes and feta cheese). I highly recommend using spinach pasta for this dish. The color looks much better than using the typical beigey/brown pasta and the light spinach flavor blends really well with the sauce. It’s like they’re soul mates or something.
When you first look at the ingredient list, for the sauce, you may question how it has any kind of a body or thickness to it. Here’s the trick…the onions are grated and not chopped. Grating the onions gives you lots of liquid for the sauce and the small pieces of grated onion become a thicker blanket for the pasta than just chopping or even dicing the onion would give you.
You’re going to want to eat this Mediterranean pasta hot. If you want a cold pasta dish (with similar flavors) to take to a picnic or to save for lunches, I recommend making this cold Mediterranean pasta dish that I posted a couple of months ago.
Recipe: A Vegetarian Mediterranean Pasta Sauce
- 1 Pound Spinach Pasta (pre-cooked)
- 1 Large Tomato (chopped)
- Feta Cheese (crumbled)
Mediterranean Pasta Sauce
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 1 Medium Sweet Onion (grated on the large holes of a box grater)
- 4 Garlic Cloves* (minced)
- 1/2 Cup Kalamata Olives (pitted and roughly chopped)
- 2 Teaspoons Dried Oregano
- 1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Drained Capers
- 1/4 Cup Toasted Walnuts (chopped)
- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium high heat until oil shimmers.
- Add the grated onions (juice and all) along with garlic to the hot oil.
- Stir and cook until about half of the liquid has evaporated and the onions begin to turn translucent.
- Add in the olives, oregano, vinegar and capers.
- Stir until everything is combined and heated through (about 3 minutes).
- Remove from heat.
- Spoon pasta into bowls, top with sauce.
- Sprinkle the top of the sauce with the chopped walnuts.
- Add the tomatoes and feta to each bowl (put those around the edges of the bowl).
- Top with a generous amount of freshly ground black pepper and some red chili flakes (if you want a bit of heat).
* I used 4 cloves of garlic from a jar of garlic confit. This gave the dish a more subtle garlic flavor. So you could use this, if you have it, or just the fresh garlic minced. If you want a little less garlic (since 4 cloves could be quite potent, you could cut this back to 2 or 3 cloves.)
This sauce would taste great spread on slices of bread or over some baked chicken or shrimp. You could even use this to top steamed vegetables like green beans.
Preparation time: 20 minute(s)
Cooking time: 15 minute(s)
Diet type: Vegetarian
Number of servings (yield): 4
Culinary tradition: Greek