The month designed for comfort food.
The essential meal to have during this season.
Imagine this — It's getting chilly outside, you're sitting in a comfy chair, wrapped up in a cozy blanket and you're looking out of the window at all the pretty leaves falling. With a bowl of delicious steaming tomato pasta, I might add.
Paints quite the picture, doesn't it? It's crazy how time flies. I feel like it was yesterday when I was enjoying the sun in my garden and complaining about the heat at the same time. All of sudden, the leaves are falling, we're all eating soup and apple pie and before you realize it, it's Christmas again. But don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I love every part of it.
November is definitely a month when it kind of starts to feel like Christmas. Don't deny it, you've probably already listened to Christmas songs. I know I have. It's still autumn but with all the Christmas decorations shops take out in the beginning of October, you just can't help but feel the Christmas vibe.
I started this post with the word 'Autumn' so why on earth am I talking about Christmas? Well, the thing is, I really really like Christmas and fall is my favorite month mostly because it means Christmas is close. When I was little I used to count down the days till Christmas starting in October! I was that excited.
Last year I didn't enjoy Christmas as much as usual because I mostly spent it at work as it was my first year out of school and I had a first full time job. Working so many hours a day during Christmas was nothing but tedious, especially for someone who loves the magic of Christmas so much.
This year is going to be different though. I decided to finally quit my job which is both scary and exciting. Scary because I don't have another job yet and exciting because I want to go work abroad.
I'm not actually going to spend December at home this year, though. Well, I am going to be at home with my family on Christmas eve., but I'm leaving for New York December 4th and then coming back December 16th. Thirteen days in New York! My favorite city. I still can't believe it. I rented an Airbnb so I'm excited to see how that's going to go. And because I'm going to be in New York most of December, I'm basically making November my December 2.0. That's why I'm talking about Christmas. I want to enjoy my holiday twice as much this year!
I can't wait to be in New York during Christmas! Get ready for a Christmas in NY post when I get back. AND also a post on my favorite places to eat! I'm getting hungry just thinking about Juice Press aka Green juice heaven.
I'm going to have Christmas recipes ready for you each week! I have a few days off right now so I'm cooking up a storm in the kitchen trying different recipes for you guys. I'm aiming for 2 posts a week, but I'll see how it all works out. Either way, there's gonna be a post ready for you each Monday. And maybe a bonus one on Thursdays! :)
I'm not going to finish each post now, though. I'm going to take pictures of the food and write the recipes, but the actual posts, I'll write in NY so I'll update you on everything while I'm there.
Don't forget to follow me on Snapchat so you don't miss the Christmas spirit and food while I'm in New York! @healthfulideas
Now, enough about Christmas. Let's talk about pasta. This bowl of spaghetti is definitely my most favorite pasta dish to date. A while back I said the same thing about my Roasted Bell Pepper Pasta. That still is one of my most favorite meals, however, this tomato spaghetti is maybe even better.
On the day I took these pictures, it was especially delicious. I've made it so many times, and I feel like it gets better each time I make it.
I've always loved spaghetti bolognese but now all the gluten, red meat, and oils don't make me feel so good so I made my own vegan gluten-free version.
I'm not calling it vegan spaghetti bolognese, because honestly, it doesn't taste like it. In fact, it tastes much better.
I never understand why people call certain dishes something they're not. For example, when you give me a raw vegan flax cracker with whatever seasoning and go like "Here, try this. It's a raw vegan garlic bread!!", I get confused because no, that's not a raw vegan garlic bread. That's a raw garlic flax cracker. I'm not saying it's not tasty, I just know what bread looks and tastes like and that wasn't it.
Except for my vegan nutella. That jar of goodness literally tastes just like Nutella.
Anyways, I always wonder if it's just a way to trick the customer into buying something, or if the people making it actually think it resembles the original thing. I mean, okay, let's be real. People are more likely to buy raw garlic bread as opposed to garlic flax crackers, that's for sure. But it's just so confusing. I could go on and on about this and tell you all about my frustration with calling something Chocolate when it in fact only includes carob, but we're here to talk about pasta so let's get to that.
Let me just tell you this.
This bowl of pasta is extremely delicious, it's easy to make, it's vegan, I used brown rice pasta so it's also gluten-free, and it's not trying to be something it's not. It's a bowl of tomato spaghetti with vegetables, beans and pine nuts and it's so good you won't want to share.
I tend to always have Bell or Poblano peppers and zucchinis in the fridge in case I want to make this bowl of happiness. And also because they last longer than leafy greens, so when I'm out of lettuce, roasted or sauteed vegetables always save my ass.
What else do I usually keep around? Canned beans and chickpeas. My favorite type is red kidney beans but you can use whatever type you like in this recipe. I like to mix and match and sometimes add beans, sometimes chickpeas. It's good to always have canned legumes in the house. They're a great addition to salads and stews, or any type of cooked vegetable dish, really. They're full of protein so if you add them to your salad, they'll keep you full and energized for a longer period of time.
When buying canned beans, check the ingredients to make sure there are only beans and water. Sometimes I come across brands that also include sea salt which is fine too, but I never buy brands that add table salt or any other weird ingredients.
And if you don't like canned food, that's okay too! Feel free to cook your own! Cooking your own is always best but I just don't have the time or the patience. You could also make your own tomato sauce while you're at it. ;) I used store bought glass jar of tomato sauce, because, again, it's convenient. But make sure there aren't any nasty ingredients, only 100% tomatoes!
Toasted pine nuts.
I definitely think that they complete the dish. I love the taste of toasted pine nuts and in combination with the tomatoes and the pasta, the whole meal is to die for.
This pasta really is good. Try it, then come back and tell me what you thought of it! Now, let's get cookin'!
- 1-2 zucchinis
- 4 bell or poblano peppers (red, orange, yellow, or green)
- 1-2 spring onions or 1/2 yellow onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 tsp coconut oil
- 500g tomato sauce (I used a jar of store bought organic 100% tomato sauce)
- 1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or 240g cooked)
- 3-4 servings brown rice spaghetti
- salt, pepper
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp dried basil or 1 tbsp fresh and chopped
- 1 tsp dried parsley or 1 tbsp fresh and chopped
- 1/4 tsp paprika
- 2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp tomato powder (optional)
- 3 tbsp pine nuts
- Wash the vegetables and peel the zucchinis if not organic.
- Dice them and set aside.
- Heat a pan over medium-high heat and add the coconut oil.
- Add the garlic and onion and sautee for 1-3 minutes until it becomes glossy and fragrant.
- Add the bell peppers, the seasoning (except salt and pepper), and cover with a lid.
- Cook for 5-6 minutes.
- Add the zucchini and stir to combine.
- Cover with the lid and cook for another 10 minutes, while stirring every few minutes.
- Meanwhile bring water for the spaghetti to boil and cook according to the package instruction.
- Add the tomato sauce and the beans to the vegetables, stir, and simmer for 5 more minutes.
- Add the spaghetti and toss with two wooden spoons until well incorporated.
- Take off the heat and keep covered with the lid.
- Heat a small pan over high heat and toast the pine nuts for a few minutes.
- Keep an eye on them and stir them regularly as they burn very easily!
- When golden brown, take off the heat.
- Plate the pasta and sprinkle the pine nuts on top.