I’ve already learnt so much during my Institute for Integrative Nutrition studies I barely know where to begin, but as a former chocolate-and-Starburst addict I particularly liked the module on ‘deconstructing cravings’.
- Lesson from the Institute: sugar cravings can often be decreased by increasing your intake of sweet vegetables.
- Lesson from life: men need (what I call) ‘boy food’ like daisies need rain, and serving up a simple salad to your favourite menfolk when they are ravenous could result in you losing an arm. Or worse.
The solution? A rich, satisfying pasta bake that will pacify the strongest of men and sugar cravings!
(And if you’re craving a man?? Well, sugar, we can only try…)
This is a great dish to cook for friends and visiting relatives because you can make individual serves ahead of time and then just pop them into the oven to bake just before your guests arrive.
Serve with an easy, pre-made Antipasto & Quinoa Salad or Roast Vegetable & Pepita Salad and then sit back, relax and spend your time catching up on the goss.
Please don’t be put off by the number of steps below – each one is incredibly simple and the finished product is oh-so worth it. Extra portions keep in the fridge for up to 3 days and taste amazing reheated, so you could also make extra bowls and take a break from cooking later in the week.
‘Cook once, eat twice’ (or more!) is another great lesson from my Institute studies. Less time in the kitchen = more time for play in your life! Hurray!
Sweet Potato & Pine Nut Pasta Bake
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- 1 red chilli seeded and chopped
- 1 small brown onion peeled and chopped
- 2 medium sweet potatoes peeled and chopped into 1 inch pieces
- 1 small head broccoli de-stemmed, washed and chopped
- 4 cups vegetable stock/broth
- 2 handfuls grated non-dairy cheese I use 'Vegusto No-Moo Piquant' in this recipe for a really smokey flavour that matches beautifully with sweet potato, but use any type you fancy
- 4 large handfuls pasta spirals I use a whole packet of 'San Remo Gluten-Free Pasta Spirals 250g'
- 3 handfuls pine nuts
- 1 handful fresh sage leaves
- 1 tbsp vegan margarine
- Pre-heat oven to 180C/350F.
- In a large pot over medium-high heat, bring a half cup of stock/broth to the boil. Lower heat and simmer.
- Add garlic, chilli, onion and sweet potato. Cook, stirring, until sweet potato softens. As the stock evaporates, add half a cup more at a time.
- Add broccoli and continue to cook, stirring, until broccoli softens.
- Remove pot from heat and using tongs, transfer broccoli and half the sweet potato to 4 small ramekins/cookware bowls, dividing evenly.
- Divide uncooked pasta evenly between the 4 bowls.
- Return pot to heat and cook remaining half of sweet potato with a little more of the vegetable stock/broth until sweet potato is very soft.
- Pour remainder of the vegetable broth into blender and add the sweet potato mix. Be careful not to burn yourself.
- Blend on high until smooth.
- Pour sweet potato 'soup' into the 4 bowls, dividing evenly. Be sure to push all pasta spirals down under the liquid to ensure it cooks well.
- Sprinkle cheese evenly on top of the bowls.
- Place the 4 bowls into the oven and bake until golden brown (about 20-25 mins).
- In the meantime, return empty pot to stove top over medium heat. Add margarine, pine nuts and sage leaves and sauté until pine nuts are golden. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Remove 4 bowls from oven, sprinkle them evenly with the pine nut & sage leave mix, and serve.