Meat-Free Fridays: 6 Vegetarian-Friendly Pasta Dishes

1 Mar

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Fun fact: Pasta + veggies = a vegetarian and vegan-friendly feast.

No, but seriously! Any combination of sauce, veggies, pasta and protein / fat can be a fabulous meal, particularly for a Lenten Friday when you’re scrounging around the pantry. The above recipe for Sesame Chick Pea Pasta is only one example. In this post, I’ll share an easy template for vegetarian pasta dishes that work for Lenten Fridays or any old weeknight. Mangia!

To whip up a vegetarian pasta dish, you just need 4 components:

  1. Pasta
  2. Sauce
  3. Veggies
  4. Cheese / Seasonings

For an oven-baked approach to any of these combos, bake at 350°F for 20 minutes covered in foil, than for an additional 5-10 minutes uncovered for the cheese to melt and brown. (Extra broiling at the end is optional, but results in crispy-gooey cheese that’s hard to beat!)

This is really similar to the 4-Ingredient baked pasta recipe I posted in December, but these dishes don’t need to be baked. They’re straight from the stove — just with a vegetarian (and, thus, Lent-friendly) twist.

Here are 6 ideas for veg-friendly pasta dishes:

  1. Greek Feta-Fest: Combine cooked orzo with crumbled feta, chopped Greek olives, diced tomatoes, peeled diced cucumber and a splash of Greek dressing. To make the dressing yourself, combine olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, lemon juice, and salt / pepper to season.
  2. Sesame Chickpea Pasta (see picture above): Season a basic marinara sauce with sesame seeds and extra oregano. Add a can of rinsed chick peas and serve over bow ties or ziti. (Optional: Add mozzarella and steamed broccoli florets.)
  3. Squash & Pea Pasta: Steam 1/2 of a butternut squash, cut into chunks, by nuking for 10-12 minutes on HIGH in the microwave. Stir in Parmesan cheese, olive oil, salt & pepper. Serve with wheat rotini and 1/2 to 3/4 cup frozen peas. The heat from the pasta will “cook” the peas through, leaving you with a colorful, delicious dish.
  4. Pea-sto Pasta: Add pesto sauce, quick-cooked frozen peas, Parmesan & cherry tomatoes to cooked pasta for a GKG classic. (Thank my big sis for that one!)
  5. Un-baked Mac & Cheese: Whip up a quick cheese sauce by adding shredded cheddar to a basic bechamel. Stir in roasted cauliflower or broccoli and cooked elbows or ziti for a filling, cheesy treat. (For a fall twist, add pureed pumpkin or squash to the bechamel.
  6. Salmon Superfood Pasta: Add 1/2 pkg. frozen kale to pasta in the last minute of cooking time. Drain and add to serving bowl. In a separate small bowl, combine 1 can of salmon with olive oil, 1 tbsp mayonnaise, salt, pepper & a splash of lemon juice to taste. Stir in 1 tsp capers. Top pasta with salmon mixture and serve.

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Nommy nom nom goodness, indeed. What are your favorite vegetarian pasta dishes? Are you folks fans of pairing pasta with veggies, cheese and beans? Which sauces do you prefer? Share away!

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One Response to “Meat-Free Fridays: 6 Vegetarian-Friendly Pasta Dishes”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. “So Earth-Friendly, Even a Vegan Will Eat It” Veggie Chili | galley kitchen gal - January 14, 2014

    […] as you know, I’m a fan of experimenting with vegetarian and vegan food. (Baking, more baking, pasta dishes, etc. )While I can’t say I’d go vegan for life (being engaged to a semi-carnivore makes […]

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