My mom often makes delicious and healthy pasta dishes that she throws together off the top of her head. Not all that long ago, when I was first trying to expand my repertoire in the kitchen, I asked her to help me come up with a similar dish that I could make on my own. It was a big success, even on my first attempt, and it now makes a regular appearance at dinnertime. Obviously I’m not a vegetarian, but occasionally incorporating vegetarian dishes into your everyday diet is never a bad idea. And this hearty pasta will fill you up, despite the lack of meat-based protein. The best part is, it makes a lot of pasta and freezes well. I love pasta, and as a college student juggling a part time job and an 18 hour course load, I love leftovers even more!
Hearty Vegetarian Pasta
*All of the measurements in this dish are a matter of personal taste and can be doubled or reduced without affecting the recipe
1 box whole wheat pasta, any kind (white pasta is okay too, but I recommend whole wheat for this dish)
2-4 bell peppers, sliced (any color is fine)
Approximately 1/2 an onion, chopped
1 can fire roasted diced tomatoes,drained (if you prefer saucier pasta, leave them as is)
2 cans large pitted black olives, drained
Garlic & onion powder
Minced garlic (for sauteing)
Olive oil (for sauteing)
Grated parmesan cheese (optional)
1. In a large skillet over medium heat, saute the onions in olive oil, and a dash each of onion and garlic powder, until the onions are sizzling but not quite softening
2. Add the sliced bell peppers and minced garlic and continue to cook over medium heat until the peppers start to soften but are still crisp (the longer and slower you cook them, the sweeter they’ll be)
3. While the peppers and onions are sauteing, bring a pot of water to boil and cook the pasta according to the directions on the box
4. Once the pasta and peppers are done cooking, combine in a large mixing bowl along with the olives and tomatoes and mix well. top with parmesan cheese if desired (highly recommended) and enjoy!
Before I go, I’m going to let you all in on a secret. When you boil pasta, always salt the water liberally. You’ve probably seen in the cooking directions on pasta packages to add salt “if desired.” But the secret to perfect pasta really is in the salted water. Trust me.