A Meatless Monday option that evolves with the growing season
This meatless dish is on the menu a lot at my house, especially when the garden is in full swing. Like so many of the recipes I share here, my garden vegetable pasta bowl recipe evolves with the growing season. As June’s snap peas and greens give way to July’s summer squash and peppers, I will tweak the basic recipe to take advantage of what’s fresh and in season. But the basic cooking technique remains the same.
Depending on what’s in your garden (or refrigerator), you can use any combination of firm vegetables (like broccoli, cauliflower, snap peas, and carrots) and tender vegetables (like peppers, mushrooms, summer squash, and leafy greens). The firm vegetables are cooked in boiling water with the pasta, while the tender vegetables are sautéed in olive oil with onion and garlic.
You also can change up the type of pasta based on your preferences (or simply what’s in the pantry). I use farfalle (bow-ties), rotini, or penne pasta most often in my garden vegetable pasta bowls.
The basic recipe
The formula is simple. Cook the pasta according the directions on the package. When there are about four minutes left in the cooking time, add the firm vegetables to the boiling water and cook them right along with the pasta. In the meantime, sauté the onion, garlic, and tender vegetables in olive oil in a skillet. Toss everything together at the end, along with a 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Top each vegetable pasta bowl with a generous amount of grated Parmesan cheese.
The end result is an easy, healthy, and delicious meatless lunch or weeknight meal. To add extra protein, top each bowl with an over-easy fried egg. The creamy yolk will coat the pasta and the vegetables like a luscious sauce.
After you’ve mastered my recipe, go ahead and experiment with your own combinations of vegetables and pasta. This is a recipe that will let you have a little fun in the kitchen with the garden’s bounty!
Garden Vegetable Pasta Bowl with Cauliflower, Snap Peas, and Garlic Scapes
- 10 ounces whole wheat rotini pasta
- 1 cup cauliflower florets
- 1/2 pound snap peas, trimmed
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 garlic scapes (the thin flower stalk of the garlic plant) or scallions, sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Bring 2 quarts of salted water to a boil in a large soup pot. Add the pasta and cook according to the directions on the box. When there are 4 minutes left in the cooking time, add the cauliflower florets and snap peas and continue to cook until the pasta is al dente and the vegetables are crisp tender.
- In the mean time, heat the olive oil in large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic scapes (or scallions) and cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables are soft, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook one minute longer, stirring frequently.
- Drain the pasta and vegetables, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the pasta, vegetables, and cooking liquid to the contents of the skillet and toss to combine. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper.
- Divide the pasta and vegetable mixture among 4 bowls and top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.