CHEESY NON-DAIRY SUNDRIED TOMATO PASTA WITH BROCCOLINI

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I hate a writing cliche as much as the next person, but when Banza sent me their pasta a while back, it really was love at first bite. Banza's gluten-free, low glycemic index, chickpea-based pasta contains 25g of plant-based protein (vs 13g in conventional pasta), 13g of fiber (vs only 3g in conventional pasta), and about half of the amount of carbohydrates per serving as conventional pasta, while cooking up with a perfect pasta texture unlike other alternative pastas. 

As a certified holistic Health Coach, I'm not so concerned with consumption of carbohydrates as long as they are in the form of whole grains and not processed, which are terrible for blood sugar. But based on results of a recent DNA test I did with Caligenix (you may have seen this in my Instagram stories, and you can get 10% off testing with the code RHDNA), I have reduced the amount of grains I'm eating in general, to help keep my blood sugar curve even throughout the day, and was looking for grain-free pasta alternatives when I came across Banza. In addition to the great stats above, Banza is minimally process with only 4 ingredients. 

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Banza has become a regular in my home, my family's home, and the home of many friends who have all tried it and love it as much as I do.

Initially I developed the recipe below for my friends with kids who are always looking for kid-friendly vegetable-based recipes that their kids actually want to eat. I love my non-dairy cashew-based cheese sauce, but not everyone can eat cashews, and I thought the cheesy flavor of nutritional yeast would be the perfect savory contrast to a sweet potato sauce which has more nutritional value than the standard potato sauce I've also made previously. And sundried tomatoes are a staple in my pasta recipes, with their slight tang the perfect ingredient to sharpen the flavor here.

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I had been wanting to make this for a while, and when Banza sent me their new shapes, I knew that this concept would pair perfectly with the rigatoni shape, with lots of indentations to capture the savory cheesy sauce. It's perfect for kids, but it's so delicious and hearty, you could easily serve this for dinner with friends, or a date night for two! (If making just for the kids, Banza also now has the most adorable wagon wheels!).

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WHAT YOU'LL NEED:

- 1 box Banza 

- Avocado oil or olive oil

- 1 organic sweet potato, peeled and chopped

- 1 bunch organic broccolini, rinsed and cut in half (to fit into a pot)

- 1/2C julienned sundried tomatoes

H- 1/2C nutritional yeast

- 1C BrothRX bone broth (or use water if you want this vegan). I used BrothRX because I love the collagen benefits, and high-quality protein. The code RH15 will get you 15% off your order!

- 1.5T Garlic powder

- 1T Onion powder

- 2tsp Pink Himalayan sea salt (or more to taste) 

- Pepper

- Red pepper flakes

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DIRECTIONS: 

- Bring a medium sized pot to a boil with salt, and then cook 1 box of Banza pasta per directions on the side of the box.  Once cooked, drain and then set aside in a large bowl tossed with 1T of avocado oil or olive oil.

 - Rinse and bring a new pot of water to a boil, and boil the sweet potatoes until fork-tender. 

- Combine the sweet potatoes, sundried tomatoes, bone broth, nutritional yeast, salt, garlic powder, and onion powder in a food processor or high-powered blender and process until smooth and only small pieces of sundried tomatoes remain. Add hot water and/or more broth as needed to thin into a cheese sauce texture.

- Rinse the pot once more, and bring to a boil again with a little bit of salt. Once boiling, add the broccolini, cooking until tender (about 4-5 minutes). Then drain and chop. 

 - In the large bowl holding the pasta, toss the pasta with the chopped broccolini, and the sauce until evenly coated. You may have some extra sauce which you can freeze for later. Taste, adding more salt if needed.

- Serve in pasta bowls with freshly ground pepper and red pepper flakes.