Ever since I moved back to India and especially as I spend more time in Calcutta, I don’t actually eat much bread and seldom eat classic wheat rotis. There are too many additives and i just haven’t found a multigrain bread that’s right in Calcutta (but that’s another story). Since I don’t consume much wheat otherwise, I really don’t mind if I eat pasta 1-2 times a week. I try to incorporate vegetables, nuts, seeds and tofu in it as well. It’s actually pretty easy to cut the bad stuff from your pasta meal and replace it with nutritious, healthier ingredients. I’ve written a few tips and tricks as well as a couple of recipes: a classic arrabbiata, pesto with veggies, protein-packed red pepper pesto pasta, spaghetti with spinach and seared garlic, veggie aglio olio which are all either vegan or vegan option. That means no cheese, butter, cream but they still taste so good! You’ll agree when you try ’em out. The recipe I’m sharing today for a pasta with broccoli and almond parmesan is made with everyday ingredients that you might never have thought to put together.
“Winter” has finally set in, which means the quality of vegetables has improved and will continue to be good for the next month or two. I’m enjoying the fresher, brighter green in spinach, broccoli and more. I decided to use broccoli in this vegan pasta recipe but you can use any green or pretty much any vegetable you like – spinach, kale, zucchini, pumpkin are some others that I think would work great. The star of the recipe is this vegan almond parmesan that I came up with. The combination of ground almonds or almond flour, lemon zest and crushed garlic sauteed till crispy is reminiscent of a sprinkle of parm! I was channeling those crispy breadcrumbs married with parmesan that are usually sprinkled generously on spaghetti alla chitarra and such at Italian restaurants in America. If you make this recipe for pasta with broccoli and almond parmesan, leave me a comment here or tag a photo on Instagram @theindiaedition. I’d love to hear what you think!
- 60g whole wheat pasta - fusilli, penne or spaghetti work well
- 60g broccoli, cut into florets
- 30g ground almonds (approx 20 almonds or ¼ cup)
- Zest of one lemon
- ½ tsp of salt or to taste
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, grated or crushed
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, optional
- Cook the pasta in salted water according to the instructions on the box. Reserve some of the cooking water (see below).
- Par-boil the broccoli florets.
- In a pan, saute the ground almonds, lemon zest, grated/crushed garlic and a pinch of salt in olive oil for 2-3 minutes until fragrant and slightly crispy. Set aside 1-2 tbsp of this mix to top your pasta with just before serving.
- Add the broccoli, 3-4 tbsp of the pasta cooking water and pasta. Allow to cook for a few minutes. Add salt and taste for seasoning.
- Just before serving, sprinkle the sauted almond mix that you set aside earlier. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil, after plating, if the pasta feels dry. Serve immediately.