I could eat pasta every single day.
Even during the warmest months of the year, a hearty bowl of pasta still sounds good. I do love mixing it up with the seasons, though, using different sauces, veggies, and flavors to compliment the current climate and most local produce. In the summertime, I like to keep it light with brown rice pasta, a "cheesy" nutritional yeast sauce, and additions such as mushrooms, local arugula, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil, both from my garden.
I'm going to let you in on a little secret. If you don't know this one already, this is THE trick to have up your sleeve when it comes to making pasta. Three words: RESERVED PASTA WATER. This literally changes everything. By saving some of the water that the pasta has been cooked in and adding it back to the pasta once it has been strained, results in a much creamier, tastier pasta than you could ever achieve without it.
What comes after this trick is probably one of my top 5 plant-based pantry staples. Nutritional yeast! Once you've added the reserved pasta water back to the pot with the strained pasta, throw in your nutritional yeast (along with the remaining seasonings + EVOO), and you will have yourself the "cheesiest" most delicious pasta sauce there ever was. So simple, so easy, so so good!
Not only is nutritional yeast in my top 5 list for being so darn delicious, it also ranks high because of it's incredible nutrition content. Just two tablespoons of nutritional yeast contains approximately 5 grams of fiber and 9 grams of protein, and includes all 18 essential amino acids. It is also high in B vitamins which are essential for the production of red blood cells and a healthy nervous system, making it something that us vegans should sprinkle on top of literally everything.
No matter what sauce or type of pasta you are making, adding reserved pasta water and nutritional yeast to your pasta dish is a must do in my book!
This recipe is gluten-free, dairy-free, neutropenic friendly (just cook the arugula longer and cook the basil instead of leaving it fresh), and is filled with tons of whole-food, plant-based nutrients!
Simple Summer Pasta
(Makes 4-6 Servings)
16 oz package brown rice fusilli pasta
1 container grape or cherry tomatoes
1 container mushrooms, sliced
6 good Tbs nutritional yeast
2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp mustard seed
2 cups reserved pasta water, divided
fresh basil to top
sea salt + black pepper, to taste
pinch of red pepper flakes
1. Add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package.
2. While pasta is cooking, sauté mushrooms and tomatoes in a pan, letting the tomatoes finally "burst." Use a splash of water to prevent sticking if necessary.
3. Once pasta is cooked to your liking, remove 2 cups of pasta cooking water and place aside. Strain pasta and place back in it's original pot, reducing heat to low.
4. Now add back in 1/2 cup reserved pasta water, olive oil, nutritional yeast and remaining seasonings, and combine. Slowly add in another 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water and stir once more.
5. Add sautéed veggies and arugula and combine all ingredients together. Add more pasta water if necessary, and adjust seasonings to taste.
6. Top with fresh basil, more nutritional yeast and red pepper flakes!
This pasta is exactly as titled: simple and perfect for summer. I hope you all enjoy and be sure to tag @nutritiouslynatalie on Instagram so I can see your delicious creations!