We cooked this recipe live on our instagram (@_thepeacefulplate_) and loved the response so much we decided to share it here so you can make it whenever! We created this easy vegan pasta dish for everyone to enjoy! Of course it is animal products free, but its also easily made soy free, nut free or gluten free with a few substitutions. This recipe is ridiculously easy, requiring just 15 accessible ingredients found at most grocers (all at Publix or organic food stores, most at Target and Walmart and other local groceries), less than 45 minutes, a pot, pan and blender. Easily serves 4 hungry people. Here we go!
1/2 large yellow onion, sliced thin
2-4 cups baby spinach or baby kale
1 14oz can artichoke hearts, drained
a few tbsp oil (olive or sunflower or refined coconut)
1-2 tsp garlic powder
tsp dried basil
4 cups dry penne pasta, boiled by package instructions in well salted water
4 servings vegan chicken (we like this best with two Gardein breaded chicken patties or Light Life Savory chicken tenders)
2 tbsp lemon juice or rice vinegar
1.5 cups raw, unsalted white nuts, soaked in hot water (such as cashews, blanched almonds, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, or a blend)
1-4 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/3 cup vegan parmesan shreds (such as follow your heart or Violife, if using mozzarella we would suggest Violife shreds)
1/3 cup vegan cream cheese (we used kite hill chive cream cheese)
1/2 cup unsweet vegan milk (cashew or oat tastes best) or vegetable broth or water
salt and pepper
For allergy substitutions:
For gluten allergy-
Use gluten free pasta, and 1 14oz can of chick peas instead of the vegan chicken patties
For soy allergy-
Sub 1 14 oz can of chick peas for the vegan chicken patties
For tree-nut allergies-
Instead of 1.5 cup nuts, use either: 1/2 cup sunflower butter OR 1/2 cup hummus OR 1 small avocado OR 1 cup cauliflower (steamed or raw)
Make sure to use nut free vegan cream cheese, or use extra hummus
- Prep: Slice onion and drain canned veggies as needed. Measure out all your ingredients ahead or at least have them out and ready to go to speed up the process! If your pasta is not already cooked, this would be a good time to put the pot on to boil with salted water, begin cooking the noodles once its ready according to the package instructions. This is also the time to begin soaking the nuts in hot water. They will need to be soaked at least 10 minutes but can sit until you’re ready to use them.
- For your first step, you will need the onion, spinach or kale, 1 tbsp oil, 1 tsp garlic powder, artichoke hearts, and salt. If you don’t mind spinach taste, use closer to 3 or 4 cups. If you aren’t a huge spinach fan, use just two cups. To a large pan, add the oil and onion and saute over a bit less than medium heat until softened and browned, about 4-5 minutes. Stir it every 30 seconds or so to make sure it doesn’t burn.
- Crumble the artichoke hearts, including the soft ends (I did this by pulling apart by hand but you can roughly chop them) and add them to your pan with the onions. Continue to saute until browned, another 3-4 minutes. Add the spinach, garlic powder, and salt and mix until the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat when done and save until use later. No need to wash the pan just yet!
- To the same pan: FOR VEGAN CHICKEN OPTION– add another 1-2 tsp oil to coat the pan over medium heat. In a small bowl, mix 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp dried basil, big pinch of salt and pepper. Add the vegan chicken patties. Coat each side of the vegan chicken in the oil, then sprinkle on part of the spice mix on each side of each patty until evenly distributed. Cook the vegan chicken for 3 minutes on each side. Yes, the Gardein chicken says to bake, but it will cook just fine on the stove top. If it is not cooked all the way through, put a pot lid directly over them in the pan for an extra 2 minutes at the end. Remove from heat and let cool. Still don’t need to clean your pan yet! Once chicken is cooled, cut into bite sized pieces. This is about the time your pasta will be done so go ahead and drain that as well. FOR THE SOY/GLUTEN FREE OPTION– add another 1-2 tsp oil to coat the pan over medium heat. In a small bowl, mix 1 tsp garlic powder, 1 tsp dried basil, big pinch of salt and pepper. Add the canned chick peas to the pan and add the seasoning and 1 tbsp lemon juice or rice vinegar. Saute until chick peas are lightly browned (about 6 minutes), then begin smashing them in the pan until they resemble “tuna” texture (not completely mashed). Once you are happy with the texture, mash the chickpeas together until evenly centered in the middle of the pan. Let cook a few more minutes until browned along the bottom. Remove from heat, don’t clean your pan yet! This is about the time your pasta will be done so go ahead and drain that as well.
- For this next step, you will need your blender (I find small blender cups such as a nutri-bullet or ninja smoothie cups get the best results. You can make this happen with out a super high speed blender), the nuts (or nut substitute), nutritional yeast, lemon juice, water, salt, and the onion and artichoke mix from earlier. To your blender, add the nuts, nutritional yeast, 1 tbsp lemon juice or vinegar, a big pinch salt, and just enough water to cover the nuts in the blender. If using the nut free option, start out with 1/2 cup water and use more if needed for texture. It might sound bland right now, but its about to get real tasty! Blend until completely smooth. Then, add only HALF of the onion, artichoke and spinach mix to the blender. Blend until smooth.
- Now, back to your pot you cooked your pasta in or your pan from earlier if it is large enough, add the blender mix, the rest of the onion mix, and 1/3 cup parmesan, 1/3 cup cream cheese, and 1/2 cup liquid. Stir over low heat until cheeses are completely melted and the mix is combined together. Stir in pasta and chicken mix until reheated and coated. Add more liquid if needed (up to 1/2 more cup) for consistency. And thats it! Serve while hot, and top with extra parm and nutritional yeast. Enjoy!
- Optional: If you want to make this look fancy, after you combine the dish, add and extra 1/2 cup liquid and then add to a baking dish. Top with a heavy layer of vegan break crumbs, parmesan, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and salt. Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes until browned on top. Enjoy!