30-Minute Creamy Red Pepper Penne
30-Minute Creamy Red Pepper Penne- just 8 ingredients for a quick and easy dinner that’s high in protein and super delicious! (vegan + gluten-free)
Maybe it’s the Italian in me, but pasta will forever be one of my go-to quick and easy meals. I love that I can store it in my pantry for months and never have to worry about it going bad. It’s always there when I’m in a pinch, like a best friend giving me a shoulder to lean on.
Okay, so I’m being dramatic but it gets the point across. You can never go wrong with a little bit of pasta and salad on your meal plan.
What’s so awesome about this vibrant pasta is that you can buy virtually everything you need online from Nuts.com, and store it in your pantry until that one night when you’re not feeling up to making something complicated. Let’s be real, that’s pretty much every night in my house.
Of course choosing the right pasta is essential to make it a healthy meal. I like to use this gluten-free penne which is made with quinoa and offers up 4 grams of protein per serving.
The sauce is also packed full of protein, vitamins and minerals thanks to a combination of calabrian tomato sauce, blanched organic almonds, and dried oregano. For even more flavor there’s a jar of roasted red peppers mixed in, and roasted cauliflower for antioxidant power.
Side note: if you’re not into cauliflower or don’t feel like turning your oven on, sautéed spinach also works well. Or you can leave it out altogether, if you just want to eat your pasta and not worry about chopping veggies.
The sauce is rich and creamy, all while being entirely dairy-free. I’m telling ya, it’s a pasta you’ll want to make again and again. I hope you enjoy it!
20-Minute Creamy Red Pepper Penne
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
- 2 cups finely chopped cauliflower florets (about 1 small head cauliflower)
- 2 tablespoons high heat oil
- 10-ounces pasta (I used this quinoa penne pasta)
- 2 cups marinara (I used this Spicy Calabrian Tomato Sauce)*
- 1 (12-ounce) jar roasted red bell peppers, strained
- 1 cup blanched almonds (raw cashews will also work)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt & pepper
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
Preheat the oven to 400°F then line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the cauliflower florets on the baking sheet and drizzle with high heat oil. Toss to evenly coat then arrange so that each floret is separated with space in between. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, until light golden brown. Remove from oven, sprinkle with salt and set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta as directed, just until tender. *If using gluten-free pasta, only cook what you plan to eat immediately. It does not hold up well when leftover. Strain the pasta and reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water to add to the sauce.
Prepare the sauce by combining the tomato sauce, roasted red bell peppers, blanched almonds, salt, pepper and oregano in a high speed blender. Blend on high until smooth. Add the reserved pasta water and blend to combine.
Add the cooked pasta back to the pot then pour in sauce to coat. If you’re only cooking half of the pasta, save half of the sauce for later. Add roasted cauliflower to pasta, serve warm and enjoy!
The tomato sauce I used is somewhat spicy. If you don’t like spice, a simple tomato basil sauce will also work.
I like to add vegan cashew parmesan on top. To make your own vegan cashew parmesan, combine 1 cup raw cashews with 4 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1 teaspoon fine sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder in a food processor (a NutriBullet also works great) and pulse until finely ground.
Adapted from Pinch of Yum
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