Monday, September 16, 2013

Tomato & Basil Pasta with (best ever!) Vegan Parmesan ‘Cheese’

This meal is so, so easy and quick (especially if you already have some of the vegan parmesan made and waiting in the fridge!). We are just loving this at the moment and I make it quite a lot (especially when I’m feeling lazy but want something nutritious and yummy!).

Spring is in the air here on the Gold Coast in sunny Queensland, so basil and tomato are a perfect combo right now. And it always reminds me that sometimes the simplest things are the most amazing.

Ingredients - serves 2 with 1 serve leftover for lunch :)
I      1 large punnet of grape tomatoes (or 2 large tomatoes)
I      ½ bunch of basil
I      4 – 5 cloves of garlic (to your taste)
I      250 g pasta (I swap between penne & spaghetti)
I      A  couple of tablespoons of olive oil
I      Salt & pepper to taste
I      Rocket to serve

For the Vegan Parmesan Cheese 
(makes enough for several meals – store in refrigerator)

I      About a cup of walnuts
I      About half a cup of pine nuts
I      About half a cup of nutritional yeast
I      1 tablespoon of flavourless coconut oil (or olive oil)
I      Big pinch of salt


1.    Before you do anything else, dry roast the walnuts in a frying pan for a couple of minutes, then add the pine nuts. Brown slightly and put aside to cool.
2.    Chop up the tomato, basil & garlic. (in the photo, the tomatoes were left whole, but I learnt that it’s better to chop them, 'cause they pop when you mash them if they’re whole, and can splat up at you - rookie mistake!!).
3.    Put some water on to boil for the pasta (I usually boil the kettle first and add to the pan – saves time). Add the pasta and cook to packet directions.
4.    Heat the olive oil on medium and add the tomato, basil & garlic. Stir well and allow to cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5.    While the tomato mix is cooking, add the nuts and the nutritional yeast to your food processor and pulse (stirring occasionally) to a fine ‘powder’. Add the salt and oil and pulse again. The mixture will be quite salty, but that’s how it’s meant to be. Cut down on the salt if you like.
6.    When the tomato mix has been cooking for a 5-10 minutes, mash gently with a potato masher (don’t allow it to squirt up at you!) until most of the tomato is broken up. Add salt & pepper to taste. Drain the pasta and add to the tomato mixture and mix well.
Serve with some rocket (or salad) and a really good sprinkle of the ‘parma’. And a glass of red doesn’t go astray either. Enjoy!

Have a great week, and don't forget to jump onto my new website to check it out & enter my competition to win a $50 Booktopia book voucher! Competition closes on the 20th Sept. 

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