Alrighty, continuing on in my nourishing, comfort food series… this is one of my favorite meals because you literally can use whatever you have on hand in your fridge. Whatever you normally like to eat (or tolerate) is going to taste GREAT in this warm pasta dish.

I’m going to show you what I used, and also give you a whole bunch of possible subs to give you ideas for whatever you might have on hand. When my 15-yr-old son ate this pasta after soccer practice, he yelled out:

“OMG Mom! This is INCREDIBLE!! Why don’t you cook more??!!”

Too funny, and bless him. Keep in mind, this is my son who makes cinnamon buns from scratch, sesame ginger chicken, and eggs benedict (perfectly!). I think HE should cook more!

Okay, so here’s the ingredients I had on hand in my fridge and cupboards:

  • Gluten-free brown rice rotini pasta. You can also use soaked or sprouted quinoa (quinoa is a high protein seed, not a grain, so often well tolerated) or millet instead.
  • Zucchini spaghetti (but I usually use diced zucchini). You could also use diced cucumber instead.
  • shiitake mushrooms
  • Roma tomatoes (remove peel and seeds if you’re avoiding lectins)
  • asparagus
  • green beans
  • mixed organic power greens (baby kale, bok choy, spinach, arugula etc pre-mixed in a plastic tub from the grocery store),
  • olives
  • dried oregano, dried basil, garlic powder, olive oil, toasted sesame oil, Himalayan salt, pepper

The secret to making a fresh pasta like this taste divine, is to NOT overcook your veggies. AND to chop your veggies to the size YOU like to have in your mouth!

How much veggies? How much spices, salt, etc? Let YOUR BODY decide! This is also great practice for listening/dialoguing with your body. Trust me, this will work. I call this intuitive cooking, and I once showed a couple 19-year-old young men how to make chicken fettuccine alfredo – one of them had never cooked before and had no idea what garlic was! I told him to just ASK his body how much it wanted and he made a great meal. YES, this is totally possible, and surprisingly easy when you give it a try.

So for all these ingredients below, use however much your body wants. Either hold the ingredient in your hand, and ask your body, “how much?” – then trust the first answer that pops into your head. Or, imagine the ingredient in your pasta and visualize how much of these ingredients feels good to you.

Here’s how to make easy-peasy Pasta Fantastico:

1. Decide how much pasta you want and put salted pasta water on to boil. I don’t like too much pasta (I like a higher ratio of veggies than you’ll ever get in a restaurant), so I throw in one large handful of GF Rotini per person.

2. Slice shiitake mushrooms and cook them in a large frying pan with olive oil and ghee (medium heat), sprinkled with garlic powder and salt. You could also use coconut oil if you prefer. Note: If I were using onions, I would cook them first (they take longer than mushrooms), then I would throw the mushrooms in with the nearly cooked onions and stir fry together.

3. While mushrooms are cooking, chop up asparagus and green beans, and throw them into hot/boiling pasta water. If you’re using any other veggies that require longer cooking time (like carrots) throw them in the hot pasta water too.

4. Chop up/dice Roma tomatoes (remove peel first and then remove seeds if you’re avoiding lectins) and put to the side. Dice up any other veggies, olives etc you’ll be adding.

5. When hard veggies are cooked (asparagus, green beans, carrots etc) use a slotted spoon to remove them from boiling pasta water, and throw them into the frying pan with the mushrooms, stir to mix.

6. Add pasta to water and cook al dente (not mushy!)

7. While pasta is cooking, add the zucchini to the frying pan mixture. If I were adding Napa cabbage (Chinese cabbage) or baby bok choy, I would add them to the frying pan now too.

8. Drain pasta and dump into frying pan mixture, on low heat. Drizzle with LOTS of olive oil, toasted sesame oil to taste (for 4 people I used 2 tbsp toasted sesame), dried oregano, basil, cilantro – whatever dried spices you have to hand, and Himalayan salt. Mix well. You want to add enough olive oil that pasta is well-coated and juicy. If you had some basil pesto, that would be great to use in place of olive oil, or half each (see Variation #2 below). If you’re minimizing oil, then use broth instead to add liquid/juiciness.

9. Final step is to add your ingredients that don’t require any cooking, just warming: baby power greens, spinach, tomatoes, olives and any fresh herbs you might have (fresh parsley, cilantro, basil are all amazing in this pasta!). Turn off heat.

10. If you want to add soft goat cheese, or feta cheese, or any meat (cubed chicken, fish, shrimp, scallops, sausage, bacon) now’s the time. Mix well and then add Himalayan salt and pepper to taste. If your pasta feels like it needs something to perk the flavor, drizzle a little bit of fresh lemon juice over it and mix – but if you’ve got olives and good-tasting tomatoes this will not be necessary.

Serve! I ate my pasta right away, but the rest of my family didn’t come home until 30-40 minutes after I made this. So I just put a lid on the frying pan and left it at the back of the stove. The warmth just lets the flavors soak in – no need to re-heat, as long as it’s room temperature, it will taste, as my son Hugo said, “INCREDIBLE!!”

Oh one last thing – I didn’t want any meat, but we had some leftover turkey sausages that I knew the rest of my family would enjoy. So I heated them in the toaster oven, then chopped them up and added them to the pasta after I had taken my bowl out:

TIP: It’s super easy to have a tub of Organic mixed baby greens on hand, or even just arugula, and throw a handful into any pasta, soup, stew you’re cooking, or heating up. The baby greens are much easier to digest and cooking them lightly improves digestion and disables the nutrient-blockers in the plants. A great and easy way to get potent nutrition/minerals from greens.

I then also had some hummus and sundried tomato pesto in my fridge – yay! So I threw a scoop of each on top. Basil pesto also works well, as does a dollop of ranch dressing, or garlic mayo, if you like. If you have pine nuts or pistachios, sprinkle those on. Seriously, this is one of the easiest ways to get a super nutritious, comforting meal, out of whatever you have on hand.

Variation #2

A few days later, I still had most of the ingredients in my fridge AND I had fresh parsely and a carton of Basil Pesto! So I made this pasta again, but instead of using just olive oil, I added a whole lot of the basil pesto to make the sauce:

All stirred up together and ready to serve:

I then sprinkled mine with some goat feta this time:

*And remember, if you’re staying away from all grains, you can easily substitute soaked or sprouted quinoa, or millet, for the pasta. It will be just as yummy.

If you make this, let me know what ingredients you threw in. And upload a picture if you like – we have a new Picture Upload function on the blog here. I’d love to see your bowls of deliciousness!