Weeknight Ponzu Pasta
This one is for semi-lazy nights when you still want to get something vibrant and seasonal on the table. All things green in a quick, weeknight pasta option. It's feel-good food that won't weigh you down. The ponzu dressing comes together in a flash, boosted with a good dose of garlic and a thread of toasted sesame oil. The broccoli and green beans are cooked in the same water as the pasta, and everything gets tossed together in one big bowl to serve family style. The recipe is incredibly versatile - it is vegan as written, you can use GF pasta if that is a consideration, and there is very little added oil, if you're keeping an eye on that. It can adapt through the seasons - swap in asparagus/favas in spring, roasted cubes of winter squash or sweet potatoes later in the year. Enjoy! -h
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Weeknight Ponzu Pasta
Use your favorite pasta, preferable whole-grain or something made from legumes - I've been enjoying this chickpea pasta lately - made from chickpea flour. It's nice because if you're serving a crowd, it works for GF, etc. On the ponzu sauce front I've been liking the "From Japan" brand organic ponzu - but there are a good number of vegan ponzu options out there. Just choose one that tastes good, preferably organic, without too much salt. A twist on this would be to skip the pasta, and swap in the equivalent of a can of garbanzo beans (rinsed, drained). Or trade out the tofu for chickpeas. If you want to make this ahead of time, for a party or picnic later, run each ingredient under cold water to stop the cooking, and assemble just before serving.
8 ounces extra firm tofu, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
8 ounces small pasta
6 tablespoons ponzu sauce
3 garlic cloves, minced
scant 1/2 teaspoon chile flakes, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
8 ounces green beans, chopped
8 ounces broccoli florets
a small bunch of cilantro (or basil), chopped
bonus: cherry tomatoes, hemp hearts, crumbled kale chips, also we have a makrut lime tree, and if you finely slice a leaf or two into fine threads, then add it here...magic.
To get things started, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment, arrange the tofu in a single layer on the parchment and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden. In the meantime, you can prepare the rest of the ingredients.
To make the dressing, in a small bowl, whisk together the ponzu, garlic, chile, and sesame oil. Taste, adjust, and set aside.
When the pasta water is boiling, salt the water, add the pasta, and cook per package instructions. Use a strainer to transfer the cooked pasta into a large serving bowl. Use the same boiling pasta water to cook the green beans for about a minute, add the broccoli, and allow to cook another minute. Until both are just tender. Quickly drain and transfer to the bowl with the pasta. Add the tofu, and the ponzu dressing, and toss well. Add the cilantro, and any other bonus ingredients, give one last toss, and serve immediately.
Prep time: 10 min - Cook time: 10 min