As a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network, I was asked to participate in the #PastaFits campaign. I was compensated for my time. Thanks for supporting Hummusapien!
Autumn is like one big excuse to face-plant into comfort food.
Let’s ignore the fact that it’s about 92 degrees right now in the lovely city of Columbus. Let’s pretend there’s a crisp chill in the air. Let’s imagine we’re wearing our flannel button downs, pretending to understand the football game, and popping pumpkin bars like they’re candy. Ahhhhhh Fall. Gotta love her.
In honor of the impending season of all things comfy, let’s chat about pasta. If you know me at all, you know I’m in a Facebook-official relationship with carbohydrates. Pasta holds a special place in my heart because it’s so darn delish, quick, easy, and cheap. My go-to is 100% whole wheat pasta, which is loaded with filling fiber and plant-powered protein to keep me energized through all the crazies.
Complex carbohydrates fuel your muscles and brain and digest more slowly, which provides a slower release of energy to power you through your day. Wait. Why have we not created a breakfast pasta?! The wheels are turning.
With roughly seven grams of plant-powered protein and less than 200 calories per serving, pasta provides the perfect foundation for a nutrient-dense meal. Pasta also has a low glycemic index, meaning it doesn’t cause as quick of a spike in your blood sugar. Did you know a one-cup portion of whole-grain pasta provides 25% of the daily value of fiber? Load it up with more veggies and you’ve nearly hit your quota for the day!
For all those times when you’re craving spinach and artichoke dip but you don’t want to break the calorie bank, this recipe is for you. It has all the creaminess and dreaminess of the classic version but is completely free of mayo and cheese. Shocking, I know.
So let’s give a warm welcome to the plant powerhouses that made this epic pasta creation possible….cauliflower and cashews! Whenever I want to make a sauce just a tad creamier, cashews never disappoint. The cauliflower adds body and moisture plus a hefty dose of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. I added an entire bag of spinach to up the veggie count for this dish, but feel free to reduce it a bit if you’re cooking for kiddos.
HellooOoooOooOOoo Autumn, we’re ready for you!
- ½ cup raw cashews
- 8oz whole-grain fusili or penne pasta
- 1-12oz pkg frozen cauliflower florets
- 1-12oz pkg frozen flat-leaf spinach
- 1-15oz can artichoke hearts, divided + ½ cup liquid reserved
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- ¾-1 tsp salt, or to taste
- Lots of freshly ground black pepper
- Smoked paprika + hot sauce (optional)
- Place cashews in a small bowl. Cover with hot water and set aside. (The further in advance you do this step, the better! Soak for at least 15 minutes and up to overnight.)
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Meanwhile, cook frozen spinach and cauliflower according to package directions. Drain spinach and set aside.
- Place cooked cauliflower, drained cashews, one cup of the artichoke hearts, ½ cup of the artichoke liquid, lemon juice, nutritional yeast, garlic, dijon, salt and pepper in the bowl of a large food processor. Process for a few minutes, or until nice and creamy.
- Chop the remaining artichoke hearts. Place in a large mixing bowl along with the sauce, cooked pasta and drained spinach.
- Sprinkle with smoked paprika (for color, optional) and serve as is OR dump pasta into an 8x8in baking dish and Heat at 350F for about 15 minutes, or until hot. I love this dish drizzled with Frank's hot sauce!