Cavatappi with Eggplant, Roasted Tomatoes and Broccolini

I’ve been under the weather this past week with an upset stomach. For some reason, I only want to eat junk food when I’m not feeling well. And because I’ve been feeling sick, I haven’t been working out. Yesterday, I was finally starting to feel better, but the effects of being sedentary and eating poorly were catching up to me. I needed something light and healthy, but with enough starch to keep my stomach settled.

This recipe, like many others, was conceived of in the aisles of the grocery store. The eggplant caught my attention first, then the broccolini (mini broccoli). Since both ingredients can be bland on their own, I decided to roast some mini heirloom tomatoes and garlic to boost the flavor. I rounded it off with a large shallot, some fresh basil from my herb garden, and some balsamic vinegar. The result was pretty amazing!

cavatappi with eggplant, roasted tomatoes and broccolini

Cavatappi with Eggplant, Roasted Tomatoes and Broccolini

Serves: 4

Prep time: 1 hour

Ingredients

12 oz cavatappi pasta (or other pasta of your choice)

1 small eggplant, cut into 1″ chunks

1 1/2 C broccolini florets

12 oz mini heirloom tomatoes, cut in half

1/3 C fresh basil (about 8 large basil leaves), sliced into chiffonade

1 head garlic

1 large shallot, sliced very thin

4 tbsp balsamic vinegar

olive oil

salt and pepper

Directions

1) Preheat oven to 375F. Spread tomatoes in a single layer on baking pan. Spray or toss with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper.

2) Peel the garlic and remove all of the cloves. Lay out the cloves on a square of tinfoil and add 1 tbsp olive oil. Secure the garlic in the tinfoil and place in a ramekin dish.

3) Roast tomatoes and garlic on the top rack of the oven for 40 minutes.

4) Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large skillet on medium-high heat. Add shallot and saute for about 5-6 minutes, or until shallot turns golden brown. Add eggplant, and continue cooking for about 5 more minutes, stirring frequently. Add broccolini florets and balsamic vinegar. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook for about 5 more minutes, then reduce heat to low.

5) Meanwhile, bring a pot of salted water to a boil and cook the pasta al dente. Drain and rinse with cool water.

6) Add cooked pasta, roasted tomatoes, and roasted garlic to the eggplant mixture. Turn up heat to medium and cook until pasta is heated through, for about 5-6 minutes. Add basil and cook for another minute or so. Serve!

cavatappi with eggplant, roasted tomatoes and broccolini

cavatappi with eggplant, roasted tomatoes and broccolini

Israeli Couscous with Spinach and White Beans

I came across Israeli Couscous while perusing the aisles of World Market. It’s different from regular couscous in that the grains are slightly larger, and expand while cooking to resemble small pearls. I had noticed a few recipes on other vegan blogs raving about this ingredient, so I picked up a package. The couscous I bought is mixed with orzo and lentils, but it seemed to be about 95% couscous. Here’s a close-up:

DSC_0132Creating this recipe was super simple. I just threw together some ingredients I had in my kitchen, including a batch of spinach that was dangerously close to its prime, but turned out great when wilted. My husband and I both loved this dish and it took under 30 minutes to prepare (thanks to the mini processor I used to chop some of the ingredients).

The ingredients:

DSC_0129And here’s a photo of the dish in progress:

DSC_0133Ingredients

1 C Israeli Couscous (or you could sub quinoa or another favorite grain)

1 14-oz can white beans (either Cannelini or Great Northern)

2 C spinach, roughly chopped

1/2 medium yellow onion, minced (optional)

1 C sundried tomatoes, chopped

1/2 Kalamata olives, chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

Juice from 2 lemons

3 tbsp nutritional yeast

vegetable or vegan chicken broth (optional)

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/2 tsp garam masala

1/4 tsp ground ginger

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

Directions

1) Cook couscous (or other grains) according to the package directions in either broth or water. The broth will give the couscous a heartier, meatier feel, but if you’re watching your salt intake, it might be a good idea to cook it in water.

2) Meanwhile, spray a large skillet with olive oil, and heat on medium-high. Add the garlic and cook for about a minute or until the garlic becomes fragrant. Then add the onion, and cook for about 5 minutes, or until onion begins to turn translucent.

3) Add the tomatoes, olives, and white beans, and spinach. Cook for about 7 more minutes, stirring frequently, until the spinach begins to wilt. Add the lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and spices, cook for another 3 more minutes.

4) Stir cooked couscous into the skillet mixture until thoroughly combined. Add extra lemon juice, salt, and pepper as desired. Serve.

DSC_0139I’m so glad we tried Israeli Couscous, as it has become part of our regular rotation. The other night we had it with artichoke hearts, asparagus, and chickpeas. Not only did it take just 15 minutes to make, but it was so filling and flavorful. Hope you enjoy!

PS: Please forgive my poor food photography skills. I’m still learning. 🙂