This 30 Minute Dinner Idea is just the thing for “Meat-Free Monday” meals. It’s no meat, no dairy but all delicious! And, not only can you knock this dinner out in 30 minutes, it’s a one-dish meal, so you won’t have a bunch of pots and pans to clean either.
The Quick Cook’s Secret to Umami Flavor
My 30-Minute Clean Cuisine dinner has a umami-quality that will make you go “mmmm.”
Umami, or the fifth taste, is the word used for that elusive flavor best described as meaty or savory. Asians have actually been talking about it for centuries. In fact, the word umami roughly translates from Japanese to English as “deliciousness.” When a dish is described as having a umami quality it generally has a meatier depth of flavor, something that all cooks know can take a bit of time in the kitchen to create. But the quick cook’s secret to creating umami flavor in minutes is anchovies (or anchovy paste.) Don’t start squirming. I know a lot of people are not anchovy fans and neither was I up until a few years ago when I did an interview with a reporter who introduced me to this magical culinary umami secret. When you cook anchovies in a bit of olive oil and garlic they lose their fishiness and become rich, nutty and umami-licious! You just have to trust me.
Appealing to the quick cook’s need for speed, adding some anchovies or anchovy paste takes no more than 15 seconds, but contributes a lasting savory dimension that will make your family think you’ve been cooking for hours.
Anchovies and anchovy paste are basically the same thing, the only difference is anchovy paste is mashed up anchovies with olive oil. If you don’t think you will use a whole tin of anchovies for one recipe then buying anchovy paste is the way to go because it lasts for months if stored in the fridge (it’s less messy too.)
Anyway, whatever you do, when making the 30-Minute Clean Cuisine Dinner below don’t leave out the anchovies please.
Clean Cuisine 30-Minute Dinner Idea
Serves: 4 to 6
- 1 box (2.2 ounces dry) whole grain rotini pasta
- 4 tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 5 olive oil packed Spanish anchovies or 2 tablespoons anchovy paste
- 1/2 Spanish onion, finely chopped
- 1 large zucchini, finely chopped
- 2 large squash, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup chopped basil
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- Unrefined sea salt, to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 can (15 ounces) BPA-free garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta. Carefully add the tomatoes to the water and boil until the skin begins to split. Remove tomatoes from the water, cool under cold running water and peel off the skin. Drain the pasta once al dente, about 7-9 minutes. Set pasta and tomatoes aside.
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the garlic, anchovies (or paste) and onions; sauté 2-3 minutes, or until onions are soft. Add the zucchini and squash; sauté an additional 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and mash with a potato mixer. Simmer over low heat for 20 minutes. Add the basil. Season with oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Optional: You can eat the sauce chunky as-is or use a handheld stick blender to process it into a smooth and creamy sauce.
Pour the sauce over the pasta. Mix in the beans and olives. Serve at once.