For me, the thing about pasta is that it’s a quick, delicious meal and if you do it right it can be healthy. When I feel like there’s nothing special in my fridge and I don’t know know what to make but I don’t want basic Indian food, this Spaghetti Aglio Olio with vegetables is what I make. It’s almost impossible to ruin it.
If I’m cooking pasta myself, it’s always whole wheat. It’s very easy to get whole wheat pasta these days – it’s available at every large grocery store and several varieties that too. I save the refined flour, creamy, cheesy versions for when I eat at a good Italian restaurant and deserve a treat. For everyday purposes, it’s usually a vegan pasta with no cream, cheese or butter. You can swap in and out whatever vegetables you like but I would recommend adding at least 2-3 veggies. I think broccoli would work great in this – I would’ve added it in but somehow I’m always skeptical about the quality of the cauliflower and broccoli until it’s “winter” in Kolkata, where I am currently at least for the next few weeks.
The ingredients for this Spaghetti Aglio Olio with vegetables are very simple – pasta, olive oil (not extra virgin unless you’re drizzling with it after cooking), garlic, veggies, spices, that’s it. You don’t need anything special (the basil just makes it pretty, it is not required at all). Still, it tastes as authentic as a pasta in Italy minus all the cream and cheese and butter that should be reserved for once in a while. Try this vegan recipe out and let me know what you think! It makes just enough for two. I usually eat this with a salad and some crumbled spiced tofu (specifically, the tofu from my tofu and vegetable tacos recipe) to make it a balanced, filling meal. For more healthy pasta ideas, check out my tips and tricks + a recipe for red pepper pesto pasta, my classic tomato-based pasta arrabbiata recipe and this easy spinach and seared garlic pasta that’s similar to this one but focusing on just spinach.
- 60g dry whole wheat spaghetti
- 120g spinach, washed and finely chopped
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 30g or approx. quarter of a yellow bell pepper, sliced thin
- 30g or approx. quarter of a red bell pepper, sliced thin
- 3 cloves garlic, grated or crushed
- 50g mushroom, sliced
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Crushed red pepper, to taste
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook the spaghetti in salted water for the time specified on the packet. Reserve the water.
- Separately, cook the sliced mushrooms in a pan till most of the water is evaporated.
- In a pan on medium heat, add the olive oil and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes till fragrant.
- Add the red and yellow peppers, mushroom and sauté for a minute or two.
- Add the chopped spinach and lemon juice. Sauté for just a minute then add the pasta and 2-3 tbsp of the cooking water.
- Add salt, pepper, crushed red pepper and combine. Serve immediately.
- Be careful not to overheat or overcook the spinach to prevent it from darkening and oxidizing.