What do you do when you reach home after a super busy day at work? Do you feel like cooking a wholesome, nutritious balanced meal for your family? Especially when its freezing outside and all you can think about is slouching over with a hot cup of tea. Come on, admit it ladies.. Well, I would. These days, it’s so hard for me get going with the elaborated dinner. Usually I wrap up with simple dal rice and yogurt aside. This in itself, is quite a balanced meal. But you know, the foodie in me keeps peeping out to grab some from the fridge. And I have to think of new ways where I can get everything done from start to finish within half an hour and then I can relax and enjoy the food stooping on my couch.
This is the reason, I prefer one pot meals more when the temperature drops. Whether it’s a rice meal like Chickpeas Pilaf, Tomato beans rice or it’s a Pasta skillet like this Vegan Pasta with beans.. I am always up for it. Especially Pasta dishes, since then I get to enjoy the melted cheese too.
The best part about the Pasta skillets is that you don’t have to fuss over two separate pans. One to boil the pasta and the other one to prepare the sauce and then a third one maybe to mix both. And if I have got the sauce ready beforehand (which BTW is one of the best pasta sauce you must have ever tasted!), it’s done in less than 15 minutes. Isn’t it just great!
The pasta sauce consists of lots of veggies like carrots, tomatoes and bell peppers (capsicum) so its super healthy in itself. With no artificial preservatives and flavouring, this is the best you could do to provide a nutritious meal to your family and yourself. You may add any vegetable of your choice like spinach, broccoli, celery etc. in the sauce to further enrich it. Meat lovers can add some bacon, hamburger, sausage, chicken, turkey, beef, meatballs or even tuna to the sauce. Of course, you can use other type of pasta, like ravioli or tortellini or fusilli etc.
Some people might prefer One Pot Pasta to be thinner, more like a soup, while I wanted to achieve pasta-in-sauce consistency. One more advantage of this kind of cooking is that all the starch from pasta goes into the sauce and makes it very creamy without addition of heavy cream or butter.
- 1 ½ cups any pasta (I used whole wheat Spaghetti)
- 3-4 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 medium onions, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, very finely chopped or grated
- 1 bell pepper, chopped small
- 4-5 garlic cloves
- 3 cups chopped tomatoes (about 6-8 large tomatoes) OR use 3 cans chopped tomato with the juice
- 2 tbsp tomato puree OR tomato ketchup if you like your sauce a bit sweet
- 6-7 cups vegetable broth/stock (or chicken broth, if you like)
- 1 tbsp of mixed herbs like parsley, basil, oregano, thyme, allspice
- Salt to taste
- 1 tsp Black pepper, ground fresh
- 2 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated (optional)
How to make?
- In a pot, heat the oil and sauté onion until translucent. Add carrots and garlic and sauté for 2 more minutes.
- Add chopped bell peppers, tomatoes, tomato puree, spices and about 4 cups broth. Bring to boil and then simmer for about 15-20 minutes till the carrot chunks are soft enough for your taste
- Add pasta and simmer until it is tender, about 15 minutes. Stir from time to time and add more stock while cooking to achieve the consistency you like.
- Sprinkle some herbs on top, and serve with grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
- If using spinach, add it towards the end of cooking with the pasta, to retain the nutritional value of the leaves.
- Other vegetables which are good for such pasta skillet are- baby corns, mushrooms, zucchini, sweet corns, peas, celery etc.
- If preparing sauce beforehand, cook it for 20 minutes and then store. When using for pasta, bring it to a boil using some extra water and add pasta to it. Don’t add the pasta without bringing the stock/sauce to boil. Read my post on how to get the perfect pasta each time.
- The vegetables get soft when cooked in the sauce, and thats how I prefer them. But you may like them crunchy enough, so take care to adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Here are some more One pot meals recipes- >>>
Pizza Frittata– Pizza on an egg base. Gluten free and full of protein