Alejandra Schrader’s vegetarian pasta
“If you think plant-based cooking is boring – you haven’t eaten my food.” LA based Alejandra Schrader gives us her take on a veggie pasta as part of EAT Cook Club. Get involved and make your own version and show us how you’ve done.
Whole Grain Pasta with Seasonal Vegetables and Creamy ‘Pesto’
By Chef Alejandra Schrader
Yield: 6-8 servings
250g brown rice and quinoa pasta (or whole wheat pasta)
1 small bunch of kale
2-3 tbsp pure olive oil (or avocado oil), divided
1 long eggplant, roughly chopped
1 large zucchini, roughly chopped
100g of sweet 100 tomatoes
Optional: 1-1½ tbsp nutritional yeast
(see note below regarding seasonal vegetables)
For the creamy pesto:
1 small bunch of fresh basil
1 small bunch of chives
50g raw cashews (soaked in hot water for about 10 minutes, until soft)
1-2 cloves of garlic, peeled
½ tsp coarse sea salt, plus more to taste
¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
½-1 tsp fresh lemon juice
- Start by adding water to a large pot and put it on high heat. Add about ½ tsp of sea salt and bring water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook per the package’s instructions, preferably slightly undercooked or “al dente”. When the pasta is ready, strain it and transfer back to the pot, if necessary.
- While pasta cooks, separate kale stems and leaves. Thinly slice kale stems and cut leaves into ribbons, about 1 cm wide. Heat a large cast-iron or sauté pan over medium-high heat then add 1-2 tbsp olive oil.
- Add chopped kale stems and the eggplant to the pan and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Set the stove to a medium heat. Add zucchini and tomatoes to the pan and cook for another 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Add kale leaves and cook for another minute, until they wilt.
- While vegetables cook, make the creamy pesto. In a blender, combine basil, chives, cashews, garlic, salt, pepper, cashews, lemon juice, and a drizzle of olive oil (optional). Process the ingredients until mixture is smooth and creamy. You may add a little cold water to thin out sauce, if necessary, to desired consistency. Set aside.
- Once vegetables are cooked, add the pasta to the pan and carefully mix all the ingredients. Turn heat off and add the creamy pesto, stirring until pasta is evenly coated. Taste and adjust seasoning, if needed.
- Serve pasta on plates and sprinkle with a little nutritional yeast, if desired. Enjoy!
- Use any varieties of garden vegetables available. The long eggplant may be substituted by any eggplant: Italian, purple, etc. The zucchini may be substituted by other summer squash: crookneck, white, etc. The sweet 100 tomatoes may be substituted by cherry or grape tomatoes; large tomatoes are also great in this recipe, just make sure they’re cut into smaller chunks.
- To avoid food waste, store leftovers in an air-tight, reusable container and refrigerate for up to 7 days (or freeze immediately and consume within 6 months).