With winter on its way, I have been craving warm comforting meals more and this delicious pasta hit the spot!
This recipe is really easy to make so is perfect for a mid-week warming meal. Make a big batch and serve either cold or warmed up the next day as leftovers too.
This recipe is vegan, FODMAP friendly and one serving provides a well balanced, energy controlled meal at about 350kcal.
Pasta seems to have a bit of a bad rep, with many believing that it is a no-go food when trying to eat healthy, manage weight or when coping with a sensitive stomach.
There are no foods that can't be enjoyed as part of a healthy lifestyle, including a food like pasta. Pasta does have a high energy content but can be made into a healthy, balanced meal by controlling the portion as well as adding fibre and protein to increase satiety and fullness.
Healthy tips when enjoying your favourite pasta meals:
Enjoy a salad as a starter, followed by a small bowl of pasta (about 50g raw/1 cup cooked)
Add vegetables into your pasta to bulk up the fibre and make it look like a heartier portion.
Gluten free pastas are not necessarily healthier alternatives. Only those with celiac disease need to opt for these. Even those with stomach sensitivities can usually enjoy regular pasta in a small portion. Some gluten free pastas may have less fibre than regular durum wheat pasta. First try a higher fibre wholewheat pasta.
Add some protein for fullness. Try out a chickpea or lentil pasta as a high protein pasta alternative OR add a lean protein source such as chicken strips or medium fat feta cheese/parmesan/mozzarella/ricotta.
Limit the fat and calorie content by avoiding loading the pasta with rich, creamy, buttery or oily sauces and rather go for more tomato or vegetable based sauces or limit the amount of sauce used.
For a lower carb alternative, use zucchini noodles instead of pasta or an alternative such as TrulyGood pumpkin noodles or Woolworths Spinach/Cauliflower noodles.
Creamy Vegan Roast Pumpkin & Spinach Pasta
1 box (250g) Chickpea Pasta (I used Happy Earth)
800g pumpkin cubed into bite sized chunks
¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
250g bag of spinach, shredded
½ teaspoon ground allspice
Sea salt & ground pepper
1 Tbsp garlic infused olive oil (OR 1 clove minced garlic & regular olive oil)
chilli flakes OR 1-2 chopped red chillies
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons tahini
4-5 tablespoons water (reserved from cooking pasta)
1 tsp garlic infused olive oil (OR 1 clove minced garlic & regular olive oil)
Preheat oven to 220 degrees C. Heat a large pot of salted water for the pasta.
In a large bowl, combine the pumpkin cubes, allspice, sea salt, pepper and olive oil. Toss until veggies are coated and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes, toss and then roast for another 15 minutes, or until pumpkin is soft.
Cook the pasta according to package instructions and drain, reserving about 1/4 cup of the pasta water for the tahini sauce. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, add it back into the warm pot and stir in the spinach to wilt slightly. close the lid to keep warm.
Make the tahini sauce by whisking together the lemon juice, soy sauce, tahini and olive oil. Add in 4-5 tablespoons of pasta water to thin the sauce to your desired consistency.
To assemble, add the pasta, spinach, pumpkin and coriander into a large bowl. Add tahini sauce to taste and toss. Serve warm with additional salt, pepper and chilli flakes or chopped fresh chilli. This pasta is best served immediately, but you can also enjoy it at room temperature or reheat it.
Serve in a small bowl with a side or starter salad.
Note: This recipe is FODMAP friendly if you follow the suggested portion size (chickpea pasta is low FODMAP in a serving of 1 cup cooked). If you are following a low FODMAP diet and want to use regular pasta then 1/2 cup cooked pasta would be a serving.
For personalized guidance in making healthy food choices or planning a diet that works best for you book a consultation here: https://www.gabimeltzerdietician.com/book-online.