Pasta is a staple meal in our house, especially on “Meat-Free Mondays.” A lot of times I don’t exactly follow a recipe but rather just pull this and that from the pantry and make a big pasta casserole or one-dish-wonder. The sprouted pasta recipe here for whole grain penne with roasted zucchini and shitake mushrooms is a one-dish dinner, but with a classy spin. I actually first got the idea to make this dish from Bon Appetit magazine. I revamped and healthed it up but the end result is so good that I’ve even served it to guests at a few dinner parties.
Clean Cuisine Pasta MakeoverOne of the biggest tweaks I made to the original Bon Appetite recipe was the addition of hemp seeds to make a special rich and creamy less-cheese cheesy sauce. The hemp seed addition sounds odd, I know, but it works. I combine 1/4 cup grass-fed yogurt with 1/4 cup hemp seeds, 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast and 2 tablespoons hemp milk. And voila! You end up with a sensational less-cheese cheesy sauce. I also healthed things up several more notches by using sprouted pasta….
Why Use Sprouted Pasta?Chances are if you are trying to eat healthy you choose whole grain pasta over the standard white stuff. That’s a big step in the right direction, but it is still not the absolute very best choice from a nutrition standpoint. Health wise, whole wheat pasta is a nutritional shadow of sprouted whole grain pasta. I’ll even say sprouted pasta is better for you than plain whole grains. That’s because sprouting takes whole grains to a whole new level. Sprouting is actually the only way to release all of the vital nutrients stored within the whole grain. Sprouting also makes the whole grains easier to digest. In fact, if you have issues with gluten sensitivity, you’ll love that sprouting predigests much of the gluten, and you just might very well find you can eat sprouted pasta without any problems.
Look for Food for Life PastaFood for Life Pasta (Ezekiel Pasta) is the brand I use and it is the most widely available sprouted whole grain pasta on the market. Food for Life Pasta is 100% whole grain and contains a whopping 7 grams of fiber per serving. I especially love that it is made with more than one whole grain. Food for Life Pasta is made by combining six grains and legumes (see ingredients below) and sprouting them for maximized nutrition. The end result is a pasta bursting with nutritional goodness. As always I encourage everyone who buys anything from a box to read the ingredients and make sure everything looks A-Ok. Food for Life Pasta passes with flying colors. Take a look at the ingredients…. Pure & Simple Ingredients in Food for Life Pasta: organic sprouted wheat, organic sprouted barley, organic sprouted millet, organic sprouted lentils, organic sprouted soybeans and organic sprouted spelt. Look for Food for Life pasta (also known as Ezekiel Pasta) in the natural foods store or natural foods section of your supermarket.
What Does Sprouted Pasta Taste Like?Amazing. I truly enjoy the rustic heartiness and complexity of texture intrinsic to sprouted pasta much more so than the blander whole wheat variety. You just have to try it to see what I mean.
Quick Cooks Tip for Making Any Sprouted Pasta RecipeBe sure to note that sprouted pasta cooks in about half the time of regular pasta or whole wheat pasta. You’ll only want to cook your sprouted pasta for about 4 ½ minutes. This is because sprouting predigests the gluten and therefore the boiling water penetrates the pasta quicker. Be careful not to overcook your pasta or you’ll end up with a sticky, gummy mess.
Sprouted Pasta Recipe: Whole Grain Penne with Roasted Zucchini and Shitake
- Yield: 8 1x
- 4 large medium zucchini, trimmed and cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds and then cut in half again (see photo above)
- 7 ounces shitake mushrooms, cut into bite-sized pieces using kitchen shears
- 8 large shallots, thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper, divided (use more or less to taste)
- Unrefined sea salt, to taste
- 1/4 cup organic grass-fed yogurt (such as Siggis)
- 1/4 cup organic hemp seeds (such as Nutiva)
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons hemp milk
- 1 box (16 ounces) Food for Life Pasta: Ezekiel Pasta 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Penne
- 1 can (15 ounces) organic BPA-free garbanzo beans (such as Eden Organics), rinsed and drained
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil
- Juice from 1/2 lemon
- 3/4 cup pine nuts, processed into crumbs with a food processor
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss zucchini, mushrooms, shallots, garlic cloves and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl. Spread the vegetable mixture on 2 large baking sheets. Sprinkle with 2 teaspoons crushed red pepper and salt to taste. Roast the vegetables until tender, turning occasionally, 30-35 minutes.
- In a blender add the yogurt, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, Parmesan cheese and hemp milk. Process until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add the penne and cook 4-5 minutes (sprouted pasta cooks fast so keep your eye on it!) Drain the pasta and transfer back to the large pot.
- Toss pasta with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, garbanzo beans, the remaining crushed red pepper and salt to taste. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the hemp-cheese mixture; gently stir to combine. Stir in the basil. Transfer the pasta-vegetable mixture to a large 9 x 12-inch baking dish. Squeeze lemon juice on top. Sprinkle the pine nut crumbs on top of the pasta. Bake at 450 degrees for 8 minutes and serve warm.