veggie pasta [without the pasta].

veggie pastaAccording to some researchers, we should be eating several bushels a day of vegetables in order to get the adequate amount of nutrients our bodies need.

Don't get me wrong: I love vegetables - I do! - but the prospect of eating that kind of volume is a little much. 

Instead, I love finding more reasonable ways of working more vegetables into meals throughout the day. Consistent variety helps us to ensure we are taking care of our cells from all angles and that we have our nutritional bases covered. 

This recipe is a little remix of an old favourite - all the flavor of traditional pasta primavera and all great-for-you carbohydrates, without the sluggishness-inducing refined starch from pasta. 

The great thing about this quick-and-easy recipe is that you can throw in whatever veggies you have around: as long as they're a little hearty and can stand up to a little heat, you're good to go. The cashew marinara sauce is another variation on a theme. Because it's just a few simple ingredients, you can feel good knowing exactly what's in it (no hidden preservatives here!).

Soak your cashews overnight to activate their powerful enzymes: this is a bit of twist on how you'd usually make cashew cheese, so all the benefits of that seriously excellent raw food are present here, too. 

Grab your blender, your steamer basket, and get cooking! This dish takes less than 20 minutes to throw together and is great as an entree or a side. 

veggies for steaming
Toss together a selection of veggies and steam in a steamer basket to desired texture. I used kale, sweet potatoes, and broccoli and steamed for about 5 minutes to get them nice and 'al dente'. 

photo 2

Once your cashews have soaked overnight, drain and combine in the blender with nutritional yeast and tomato puree. (Look for a brand that is sugar-free... ie. just a can of pureed tomatoes. You can also make this from scratch if you prefer by peeling tomatoes, stewing them (cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes), and blending.)

sauce in blender
Blend the cashews, nutritional yeast, and tomato puree until smooth. Add a little sea salt to taste, if you like.

photo 5

When your veggies are done, transfer them to a mixing bowl. Toss in the chickpeas, cilantro, and tomato sauce and combine. (Bonus: the heat from the veggies warms the sauce, so you can skip a step of heating the sauce separately.)

veggie pasta

Top with vegan parmesan cheese and grape tomatoes. This is incredibly filling (thanks, fiber!) and packed with a variety of micronutrients (thanks, plants!). It can also be a fun way to get picky eaters (boyfriends, kids, hesitant parents...) to get on board with new or different vegetables. Enjoy!

Veggie Pasta [without the pasta]
Serves 2
A vegan, grain-free take on a classic pasta dish. Packed with fiber and a variety of veggies (whatever you have handy), this hearty dinner can be adapted for any season or served as a side dish.
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Prep Time
10 hr
Cook Time
10 hr
Total Time
20 hr
Prep Time
10 hr
Cook Time
10 hr
Total Time
20 hr
  1. 1 cup chopped broccoli
  2. 1 cup chopped sweet potatoes
  3. 2 cups kale
  4. 1/2 cup cashews, soaked overnight and drained
  5. 1 cup tomato puree
  6. 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
  7. sea salt, to taste
  8. 1/2 cup cooked (canned) chickpeas
  9. 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  10. 6 grape tomatoes, for garnish
Vegan Parmesan [makes more than you need for this recipe]
  1. 1/2 cup walnuts
  2. 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  3. 1 tsp sea salt
  1. 1. Steam broccoli, kale, and sweet potatoes to desired texture. (5 minutes will be about al dente).
  2. 2. Combine cashews, tomato puree, nutritional yeast, and salt in blender. Blend until smooth.
  3. 3. Combine cooked veggies, tomato sauce, chickpeas, and cilantro in large mixing bowl and combine until coated.
  4. 4. Combine vegan parmesan ingredients in blender until they reach an even consistency (like that of traditional parmesan cheese).
  5. 5. Divide into two bowls and top with grape tomatoes and vegan parmesan.
  1. Sub in whatever veggies you have on hand: anything hearty like cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, or turnip would work well here!
From The Ground Up Wellness

How do you find balance with your meals throughout the day? Do you swap in other options when you've had a carb-heavy day?

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3 comments on “veggie pasta [without the pasta].
  1. Meg says:

    yum this looks so good! and I have to make that vegan parmesan cheese I saw you posted about too :)
    question: what are your thoughts on brown rice pasta? as bad as regular white pasta in terms of refined carbs, or better?

    • amyheight says:

      The vegan parmesan is awesome. It makes quite a big batch, so you can use it for days! I had some this morning with chickpeas, avocado, and quinoa for breakfast – it was silly good.

      Brown rice pasta is definitely a more whole product than refined white pasta, but it’s still a refined product. (If it doesn’t look the way it looked when it was growing, some kind of processing has taken place and the nutritional value is likely lower.) When it comes to grains, brown rice is always better than anything white; whole is always better than refined. I’m a fan of making the best choice you can with what you have available.

      If you’re interested, here’s a Consumer Reports study on the arsenic content of different white and brown rice products, including pastas. Brown rice is a great food: it’s just a good idea to know where it’s coming from.

  2. Ooh, I’m totally going to have to make some of that vegan Parmesan–yum!

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