That happened to me this morning. I realized that sometime between this week & last, I became a soccer mom.
A bona fide, mini-van driving, messy-bun wearing, chauffeuring soccer mom.
Not quite a revelation–it was sort of inevitable considering my brood, but
Here’s what I mean:
3:20 kids come home from school, we sort through papers & I supervise (nag? nah…) chores & putting school stuff where it belongs
3:50 snacks–everyone gets what they want–Asher gets frozen bluberries but spills a bunch on the floor, need I mention I’m not thrilled, since they cost about a little less than gold per pound?
4:10 more tidying, kids playing
Where the crazy starts:
4:30 start prepping ingredients for dinner
4:40 help Amalia get dance clothes & shoes
4:42 get the kids in the car, take Amalia to ballet
5:05 arrive back home, cut up cauliflower, peppers, change Salem’s diaper, wash hands, continue dinner prep
5:22 throw vegetables in the oven to roast, put water on to boil for pasta,
put kids in the car again & take Hyrum to soccer practice (his first practice)
5:31 drop Hyrum off at practice (darn it, he forgot his water bottle & it’s 90 degrees out), go back home, throw pasta in water & turn the stove on low,
drive to Amalia’s dance class to pick her up
5:55 arrive back home with Amalia & other kids, drain water, remove veggies from oven
6:00 finish dinner prep, Joseph’s home! kisses.
6:30 Joseph gets Hyrum from soccer practice
6:40 we sit down & eat dinner. Ahhhhh.
Here’s the deal with this recipe.
It’s absolutely a meal in a bowl. But, had I more time, I would have added a simple green salad (red leaf lettuce + sliced cukes + baslamic vinegar to dress). The savory needs more acid & a green salad with vinaigrette would pair well with this dish. I didn’t get around to making a salad, but that was okay. This dish is super filling.
It also does well with a little (or a generous, if you’re like me) douse of a quality dark balsamic vinegar.
I once read a well known chef say, “More acid, not fat, that’s what most dishes need.” I agree. That said, kids may do well to have the noodles served separate from the sauce (serve sauce on the side, so they can try it on their own) & with a little melted Earth Balance or other non-dairy butter served over it.
For that matter, for kids, I suggest serving noodles, vegetables, & sauce all separately. My kids all ate it as shown in the photo, but I have one child who has trouble eating anything with sauce–he still ate it, but prefers noodles sauce-less. Since this sauce is packed with all sorts of good stuff (vitamin A, fiber, omega-3’s) it was non-negotiable.
My goal with all my meals is to keep it under $5 or less (this is one of the premises of my upcoming cookebook). Here was the breakdown for this meal. I got everything on sale (with the exception of the pumpkin) which is one of the reasons this meal came together–I had these ingredients & thought, hmmm, what can I turn it into?
1 red bell pepper, $.50
1 head cauliflower, $1.50
walnuts, 1 cup, $1.00
1 15 oz. can pumpkin puree, $1.00
chickpeas (I buy mine in bulk & cook from scratch & freeze), $.15
olive oil, 2 TBS., $.05
A bit higher than my $5 target, but we only ate about half (maybe a bit more) so Salem & I will eat the leftovers for lunch for the next few days.
You can steam the veggies instead of roasting (to avoid the oil), but can I give a plug for the beauty of roasting? It brings out the veggies natural sweetness, makes the outside crispy, the inside warm & cooked. My kids love roasted veggies. A little oil goes a long way, but I think is absolutely crucial to producing a truly savory roasted veggie.
Most low-calorie veggies (not potatoes, which aren’t vegetables, but a starch) will roast at 325F for 30 minutes.
Here it is: vegan, gluten-free (but feel free to use wheat noodles if so inclined).
Pumpkin + pasta + roasted veggies. Gluten-free & vegan.
- 1 red bell pepper, cut into slices
- 1 head cauliflower, washed & cut into small chunks
- sprinkling of cumin (about 1/2 tsp.)
- 2 TBS. olive oil
- cracked black pepper (to taste)
- 4 c. dry penne whole grain pasta (I used Glutino's gluten-free pasta)
- 1 c. walnuts
- 2 c. 100% pumpkin puree
- 2 c. water
- 1 tsp. salt or no-salt seasoning
- 1 c. cooked chickpeas, rinsed
- balsalmic vinegar
- Heat your oven to 325F.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, use a non-stick baking sheet.
- Drizzle the cauliflower & pepper with olive oil.
- Sprinkle with cumin & season lightly with freshly ground pepper.
- Toss, using your hands. Cauliflower needs a little encouraging to absorb the olive oil & seasonings, so help it out & use your hands to really coat the veggies.
- Put the vegetables in the oven & set your timer for 30 minutes. Great! Now it's time to get the pasta ready.
- In a large pot, fill it halfway with water, then bring to boil on high.
- Once water has reached a boil, add pasta & reduce heat to medium.
- Follow the instructions for cooking for your particular pasta. Gluten-free pasta varies by brand & by type (brown rice, quinoa, etc.) as does whole wheat. Once done (don't let it get mushy!), rinse with cold water & drain.
- For the sauce, blend the walnuts & water until smooth. (2 cycles of dressings button on my Blendtec did the trick).
- Add the pumpkin puree & salt. Blend until very smooth (1 cycle of dressings settings on my Blendtec).
- Remove cauliflower & red peppers from the oven.
- Add the sauce, chickpeas, & a third of veggies to noodles. Gently stir to incorporate & let sit on stove on medium low for about 10 minutes (gently stir about half-way to warm).
- To serve: top with roasted veggies (or on the side), & douse with a little balsamic vinegar (to taste).
Additional Nutrition Info: carbs 59 g, protein 13 g, fiber 7 g, sugars 3 g, vitamin A 61% of DV.