Yay! Another great, fantastic, awesome, deliciously healing, yet paleo AND vegan pasta dish that tastes like real, classic, homemade Italian pasta. Wow, that was a mouthful! But I honestly don’t know how to accurately describe the awesomeness of this dish without using so many adjectives…
If you know me at all, you know that I will try any and every pasta that I see if it’s paleo. Some are truly awesome. Some… not so much. This lentil pasta is one of my favorites. (See the recipe below for where you can buy it.) It really has the texture and taste of traditional whole wheat pasta. For real — no one will know.
I made this dish a few days ago and I got to do one of my favorite things — feed an unsuspecting guest… My daughter’s boyfriend was here and I was in the kitchen experimenting and I made these pasta bowls. You know young men — they are always hungry… So, he gladly accepted a pasta bowl and ate it. Now, he knows my bent toward all things healthy, so after he ate half of it, he looked up and asked: “Is it real pasta?” I just smiled. He knew the answer, but continued to eat with gusto. Success! After that my daughter ate it and also loved it. The list continued from there. So, to Sam, my willing taste-tester, you are welcome in my kitchen any time!
This pasta is made so amazing by the delicious (and oh-so-easy) creamy roasted red pepper sauce. And then, a few drizzles of pesto and a dollop of cheese (I used a great vegan creamy cheese) and some crisp fresh arugula and fragrant basil. Really, this roasted red pepper pasta bowl is the complete package! I have to send an shoutout now to one of my favorite blogs: Half Baked Harvest, because she came up with the original recipe that inspired me to create this version — ingenious!
If you are looking to try another paleo pasta recipe, try my Vegan Fettuccine Bolognese.
Here are some of the amazing ingredients in this roasted red pepper pasta bowl:
Bell peppers help with indigestion. If you are feeling bloated and full from over-eating a lot lately, consuming bell peppers will help reduce this feeling. They are also good for blood circulation and research has shown that they are good for people with a low appetite or anorexia. It used to be common in China to use bell pepper tea to soothe indigestion.
Lentils help lower cholesterol, manage blood sugar levels, are high in vitamin B and protein, and have hardly any fat. They are a good source of long-term energy and are very high in fiber. These tiny legumes also help with digestion and they are the perfect protein to eat in the summer because they actually clear the body of excess heat; long ago, cold lentil soup was prescribed for patients with heatstroke or fever.
Cashews are really a multi-tasking nut. I use them all the time so I say it all the time: Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts. Most of the fat in cashews is unsaturated and is made up of oleic acid; this is the same acid that is found in olive oil, making these nuts a heart-healty choice. The cashews give this sauce a velvety, creamy texture.
Basil has anti-viral and anti-bacterial capabilities. It also is good for settling your stomach, and it’s good at lessening the symptoms of the common cold and its accompanying cough. Basil is a spiritual herb — the scent actually calms you; you can boil some in a pot and let the aroma fill the air, you can just leave some around the house, you can toss a bunch in your bath water (I love to do this), or you can use an essential oil with basil to get some great calming effects.
Garlic is amazing in its antiviral and antibacterial capabilities. Garlic is actually a Chinese herb (Da Suan). It’s used to kill toxins and parasites and also to reduce swelling in the body. It’s what I call a great “A” herb: anesthetic, antibacterial, anti fungal, antioxidant, antiviral, etc….
Arugula has a good amount of calcium and it also contains vitamins A, C and K. It is rich in potassium and it’s extra beneficial in the summer because it actually cools the body down. This delicious peppery green is also believed to be a libido booster. One of the first things I learned when I started really taking care of my health through proper nutrition, was to substitute dark greens for lighter greens whenever possible. One of the easiest, tastiest, and healthiest switches you can make is to swap out some of your lighter salad greens for peppery, dark arugula.
- 16-oz jarred roasted red peppers
- 10 sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil, drained
- 2 large garlic cloves
- ¼ cup raw cashews (you can buy them here)
- ½ cup packed fresh basil leaves (plus more for serving)
- 12 oz pasta -- I used a paleo, lentil pasta (you can buy the lentil pasta here)
- a few handfuls of fresh arugula
- small jar of vegan pesto (whatever kind of pesto you like will be great)
- 4 dollops of a creamy cheese (I used Kite Hill's vegan cream cheese with chives and it was perfect)
- Boil the pasta al dente.
- Put the red peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, cashews, and ½ cup basil into a blender (I used my Vitamix, so it was really quick). Whiz it up until smooth and creamy.
- Drain the pasta.
- Toss the pasta with as much sauce as you like.
- Divide the pasta between 4 bowls.
- Top with pesto, arugula, cheese, and extra basil leaves.