Bread has some kind of a reputation for being the staff of life or something like that, but I think the staff of life is actually pasta.
There have been times in my life when I ate more or less pasta. When I was a picky child, it was dinner several nights a week. As a college student, I avoided it on campus (cafeteria pasta was not my fave) but on weekends Ryan and I spent at his parents’ house, his mother made bowls and plates of spaghetti, gnocchi, and homemade baked macaroni and cheese. Later, I had a health crisis and went strictly gluten free, and it took a long time to find a decent GF pasta. Now, I’m no longer 100% gluten free, but we eat a wide range of pastas made with everything from whole wheat to lentils and quinoa. It’s cheap, easy, versatile, and delicious.
Now that I have busier weekdays, I’ve been trying to crank up my creativity when it comes to pasta dishes that are quick and easy to make but also nutritious. It’s a challenge to mix things up so we don’t get bored eat pasta once or twice a week. The answer is one pot pasta.
A year or so ago, I learned about the one pot pasta or self-saucing pasta craze. The idea is that you put pasta and a bunch of other ingredients in a pot along with exactly the right amount of liquid so you don’t have to drain the water off afterwards. The liquid, juices from the other ingredients, and starches from the pasta join together to form a yummy sauce so you don’t need to add anything to the pasta when it’s done.
I loved this idea, but it was tricky to find one pot pasta recipes that were vegetarian but also didn’t require a lot of time spent chopping and slicing things. I loved pasta for its speed, and I didn’t want to lose that.
This creamy, green-packed 30-minute one pot pasta with veggies is all of the things I’ve wanted in a one post pasta. It’s more of a nourishing comfort meal than it is a fancy pasta dish, and that’s okay. And it’s done in half an hour on a weeknight or a busy weekend when we get home from hiking just before dinner, and that makes a winner in my book. This recipe also happens to be vegan, and you can make it gluten free by using a gluten free pasta of your choice.
Feel free to mix up the ingredients to include things you like and have hanging around the fridge. Need to use up some bell peppers? Chop them and throw them in! Wanna switch out the spinach for kale? Go for it! You can use all fresh veggies or frozen ones, whatever’s on hand. Swap the fresh garlic for 2 teaspoons of dried garlic flakes if you need to. This is a flexible recipe.
And it’s so tasty.
An easy vegan pasta dish made in one pot with lots of green vegetables and spinach. Creamy and comforting.
- 8 ounces pasta, any shape
- 2.5 cups veggie broth, low sodium
- 2 medium zucchini, peeled into ribbons with a vegetable peeler
- 1 cup broccoli florets, fresh or frozen
- 2/3 cup frozen peas
- half a white onion, diced
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon pesto sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt (may adjust depending on your broth)
- olive oil
- 2 cups chopped baby spinach
In a medium, heavy-bottomed pot (I use enameled cast iron), sautee the onion and garlic in olive oil for a few minutes until translucent.
Add all of the other ingredients except the spinach, coconut milk and pesto to the pot. Stir together (do the best you can--it may be difficult to get a good stir before things begin to soften) and bring to a boil.
Once the pot boils, turn it down to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes with the lid on, removing the lid to stir every few minutes. It helps to use a silicone spatula so you can be sure pasta isn't sticking to the bottom of the pot. The stirring is important for the development of the starches that make everything creamy!
When all of the liquid is absorbed and a creamy sauce is left behind, add the spinach, coconut milk and pesto and stir to combine. Serve it up!