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Spinach Pasta with Hummus Sauce


Guess what I learned this week in my new vegan culinary adventures? Hummus -- yes, hummus -- makes a tasty vegan alternative to traditional, artery-clogging alfredo sauce! Obviously, I couldn't wait to share this irresistible, savory and nutrient-dense dish with you! It's a delightful spin on traditional creamy pasta dishes that's insanely good and guilt-free. This wholesome and nourishing combination features a medley of ingredients, including aromatic onion and garlic sautéed to perfection, sweet sun-dried tomatoes that provide a burst of flavor, and a generous mix of velvety hummus, adding a creamy and tasteful twist! To enhance both taste and nutrition, I add vibrant spinach, which wilts down beautifully, infusing the dish with its earthy notes. I hope you enjoy it as much as Art and I did!


Ingredients:

- 2 cups penne pasta*

- 2 Tbsp olive oil (or 1/4 cup veggie broth if you prefer to reduce fat)

- 1/2 yellow onion, chopped

- 3 cloves garlic, crushed and diced

- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

- 1 cup sun dried tomatoes (I cut mine into 1/2-inch pieces)*

- 1 cup plain hummus (store-bought is fine - I use Wegmans brand)

- 1 cup pasta water, reserved

- 2 Tbsp lemon juice

- 1 cup spinach, fresh or frozen (thawed)*

- salt & pepper to taste


Instructions:

  1. Cook pasta, drain and set aside. Be sure to reserve 1 cup of the pasta water!

  2. In a large skillet, add the olive oil (or veggie broth) and sauté the onions and garlic until onions are softened.

  3. Reduce heat and add the red pepper flakes and sun dried tomatoes. Sauté and toss the mixture for a minute or so to combine the flavors as they cook. Add a little veggie broth if mixture gets too dry.

  4. Add the hummus, lemon juice and half of the reserved pasta water. Stir and mix all ingredients to a smooth consistency. Add more water as needed to reach desired thickness for your sauce.

  5. Cook over low heat for a minute or so, then add the spinach, salt and pepper. Use a little more pasta water if needed to mix all ingredients and wilt the spinach.

  6. Continue to cook over very low heat for another minute, then add the cooked pasta and toss well to coat with the sauce.

  7. Serve in pasta bowls with warm bread and vegan butter. Yum!


Buon Appetito!


*Notes:


1. To increase nutritional value of this meal, use whole grain pasta. Penne works best with this recipe as it tends to hold the sauce well.


2. I use sun dried tomatoes packaged in small packet found in the produce section of my store. If you use sun dried tomatoes from a jar, just be sure to drain them well before adding to the recipe.


3. If you don't have any fresh spinach, you can easily substitute frozen cut spinach. I measure out a cup and put it in a covered glass bowl to thaw. Or you can microwave it for a minute or so to have it ready to add to your recipe in a jiffy.


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