Pasta with broccoli sauce, made even greener with peas, is a simple weeknight dish that offers comfort and veggies in one neat package.
Kids who enjoy green vegetables will appreciate this mild pasta dish just as is, and adults can dress it up as they’d like. In fact, its very mildness makes it a canvas for the toppings, so I highly recommend choosing two or three, and you can vary the combinations each time.
Topping options include fresh herbs, toasted sliced or slivered almonds, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, and more.
Complete the meal: This simple dish goes with just about anything, honestly! Here are a few recipes you can pair it with for a complete meal. I just noted that all of these include black beans, so there must be something about black beans that goes particularly well with this dish:
- Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Black Beans and Corn
- Black Bean and Mango Salad with Avocado
- Black Bean and Tomato Salad with Croutons and Olives
- 10 to 12 ounces pasta, any short or chunky shape (spirals, wagon wheels, shells, etc.)
- 2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 3 cups finely chopped broccoli florets
- 1 1/2 cups frozen green peas, completely thawed
- 2 scallions, sliced
- 1/2 cup crumbled firm or silken tofu, or white beans
- 1/2 cup unsweetened nondairy milk, or as needed
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Optional toppings (choose 2 or 3)
- Easiest vegan Parmesan for topping, optional (see simple recipe followiing recipe box)
- Chopped fresh parsley and/or dill
- Toasted sliced or slivered almonds
- Sun-dried tomatoes, cut into strips Caramelized onions
- Plant-based bacon, cut into bits and sautéed
- Cook the pasta according to package directions until al dente, then drain. Transfer to a serving container, toss with the vegan butter, and cover.
- Meanwhile, steam the broccoli florets with a small amount of water in a saucepan or skillet until tender-crisp and bright green. Add the peas, and scallions, and steam for another minute or so, just until heated through.
- Add half of the broccoli and peas mixture to the pasta, stir together, and cover again.
- Combine the remaining broccoli and peas with the tofu and nondairy milk in a food processor or blender and process until smoothly pureed.
- Pour the pureed green veggies over the cooked pasta and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve at once with your choice of optional toppings for individual portions.
EASIEST VEGAN PARMESAN-STYLE TOPPING
Homemade vegan Parmesan is usually a combination of nutritional yeast plus ground cashews or almonds.
This version is even easier because you don’t need a machine to make it. Just two ingredients — almond flour (found in most natural foods stores) and nutritional yeast, fondly known as “nooch” — and you’ve got a great topping for pasta dishes like this one featuring spaghetti and zucchini noodles.
A tablespoon or two of this topping provides you with a nice dose of Vitamin B12 (from the nutritional yeast), and almond flour is a great source of Vitamin E and calcium.
What to do: Simply combine a more or less equal amount of nutritional yeast and almond flour in a small container. I usually go with 1/2 cup of each. For that amount, I add 1/4 teaspoon of salt; add your salt to taste. Mix it up well, then cover any unused portion tightly. This will keep well in the fridge almost indefinitely, but there’s no way you’ll make it last that long!
If you like this family-friendly pasta dish, you might also enjoy …
See lots more recipes for vegan pasta and noodles.
Photos: Yuliya Furman / Bigstock