Lemon Pepper Asparagus Pasta with Sugar Snap Peas

  Summer pasta dish with whole grilled lemon slices

Summer pasta dish with whole grilled lemon slices

When I think of eating pasta, I think of a snowy winter day, curled up in my oops-i-ate-too-many-cookies-pants shoveling (not so much spooning) bucketfuls of straight gluten into my pie-hole, warming up my insides and protecting my body against the cold with an extra layer of much needed survival chub.  

Pasta in the summer?  Betch, I'm on a diet.  There are bikinis involved in this season, hello!  And yes, I feel you, but lemon and asparagus (whether our frenemy pasta is involved or not) just screams summer-time flavor town to me.  So I decided to drum up this special citrus-y dish that is at the same time light and packed with flavor.  Can be served as a hearty entree or side dish to compliment your main event.  The dish is inspired by long drives through Long Island where local farms boast their fresh produce on roadside stands and farm adjacent markets.  The secret to well cooked asparagus is not to overcook it; blanching allows you to saturate this finicky veg without draining the life (crunch) from it.  

Also, shout out to my peeps at @homegoods.  This place has amazing deals on furniture, cookware, throw pillows and other home goods, but I go for the gourmet grocery items at RIDICULOUSLY DISCOUNTED PRICES.  Like the beautiful pasta shells you see here.  A giant bag was only $3.99.  I also got an 18 oz. bag of raw turmeric powder for $5.99 and a bag of banana flour for $3.99 (I mean wtf is banana flour?  I'm so pumped to try it, and when it's that cheap, one can afford to experiment.  Neat-o).  

  Pasta from Home Goods

Pasta from Home Goods

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bag of vegan friendly pasta (any will do!)
  • 1 head/bunch of fresh asparagus
  • 2 lemons (including about 1 TBSP of zest)
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas (de-podded, or English peas)
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • .5 teaspoon Himalayan pink sea salt
  • Pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  • Before you start, get everything ready.  De-pod your peas if necessary, zest one whole lemon, and thinly slice the same lemon (or a fresh one) and place on a baking sheet.  Pre-heat oven to 400º
  • Bring pot of water to a boil.  
  • Slice the asparagus tips and then proceed slicing diagonally creating 1” pieces
  • Blanch in boiling water for 2.5-3 minutes (less time = more crunch)
  • Drain and rinse under cool water to stop it from cooking further
  • Boil another pot of water, add a dash of pink salt and add the pasta.  Cook according to the package directions (again, less time = al dente pasta, which is my personal preference)
  • Meanwhile, put your lemon slices in the oven and cook for 15ish minutes (or until as blackened as you want)
  • Once pasta is cooked to desired tenderness, drain and rinse with cool water
  • Add the olive oil 
  • Squeeze the juice from 1 whole lemon
  • Now toss
  • Next add the asparagus
  • Add the peas
  • Add about 1 TBSP of lemon zest
  • Add salt and pepper
  • Lastly, remove the lemons from oven and gently lay on top of pasta for presentation

For a step by step tutorial, see video below!  

Musis by Podington Bear, Kid is Frangin', soundofpicture.com

 

 

Slaw (a lighter twist on a creamy classic)

IMG_4128.JPG

This slaw got two thumbs up from two cool homies.  Which makes four thumbs.  Which is practically like five stars.  Naw what I mean? 

This makes a great little side dish.  Maybe pair it with baked tofu, falafel, or even lentil cakes.  Or just have a giant bowl of this, if you so please.  

INGREDIENTS:

One bag of shredded green cabbage 

1 cup of chopped almonds (toasted)

1/3 cup of hemp seeds

1 scallion, diced

2+ TBSP of olive oil (start there, and add more if you like it greasier)

a bunch of chopped fresh dill

salt, to taste

4 caps full of apple cider vinegar (cap from the bottle, that is.  Look!  Your ingredients come with measuring utensils.  Neat-o.)

DIRECTIONS:

Rinse cabbage, and make sure to dry extra well!  Put in a large mixing bowl.  Now, chop the scallion and dill and toss into bowl.  Lastly, you should add the olive oil; drizzling deliberately for the sake of equal coverage for all cabbage, declared the president of the kitchen!  

Whoa, where am I?

Back to the slaw.

Toast those almonds, yo.  Then add them to the mix.  Lastly, add your apple cider vinegar.  Why last? Because sometimes you really want to taste the vinegar, and sometimes you don't!  I like it with some extra kick, so I'm not shy about how much I add, but again I encourage you to play around!  Toss lightly with tongs until well mixed.  (If it needs more anything...now's your chance).  Okay, NOW lastly for real: throw in the hemp seeds and salt.  Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to three days in an airtight container.  

 

Whole Roasted Cauliflower (marinated in a Teriyaki/chili sauce)

©Alex Wolfe Photography

Easy peasy.  5 Ingredients.  45 minutes to make (most of which is inactive).  So really the question is...what's stopping you?  This dish can be served as the main event, or cut into wedges and served as a side or an appetizer.  Also, there is a TON of room for play here.  Playing in the kitchen is exactly how this bitch got invented in the first place.  So I encourage you to indulge your adventurous nature.  What's the worst that could happen?  Otherwise, follow the recipe below for a yumalicious addition to any meal:

INGREDIENTS:

One bottle of Island Teriyaki Sauce by Soy Vay (available at most supermarkets or you can order it on amazon.  

One jar of Chili Garlic Sauce by Huy Fong Vietnamese Chili Garlic Sauce (findable in the Asian food section of your local grocery store, or again on amazon.

One large (preferably organic) head of Cauliflower

Almonds (finely diced)

Olive or vegetable oil to grease the pan

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat your oven to 425.  Lightly grease a square (or rectangular) baking dish with oil and set aside. Meanwhile, cut the bottom of the cauliflower head so that it is even and will stand straight in the dish.  Don't remove the leaves!  Believe it or not, once you marinate and cook 'em, the leaves are one of the tastiest most nutrient dense parts...

In a small bowl mix together half a bottle of Island Teriyaki, and two heaping tablespoons of Chili Garlic Sauce (or really as much as you want...this is a good time to taste test to your desired level of spiciness). Then add two tablespoons of Olive Oil.  Mix well.

Place the cauliflower head in the baking dish and pour the marinade on top, making sure it's completely covered.  Use a brush or a baster to keep marinating whatever dripped to the bottom. 

©Alex Wolfe Photography

A tip:  If you're gonna spend any time on this recipe, let it be during this part.  Keep brushing the marinade at the bottom of the pan onto and in the crevices of the cauliflower to ensure it is completely saturated.

It's time for the oven!  Bake until the top is browned (but not super burnt, a little crispy in places is okay) and a knife easily cuts through, about 45 minutes.  Baste periodically with sauce from the pan.  

©Alex Wolfe Photography

If you have a hand chopper or a food processor that will make this part go much faster, thus making your life easier, and ensuring you don't lose a finger.  Or you can do it the old fashion way, just be careful you wild one!  After you finish chopping, transfer nuts to an un-greased pan and "toast" over low heat for several minutes.  You can either add the nuts to the top of the whole cauliflower if serving as a main dish, or if you decide to cut into wedges you can add the nuts on top of the cut pieces as well!  The almonds are imperative for the finishing taste and texture profile of this dish, so don't skip it unless you have no nuts in the house and there's a snow storm outside : )

©Alex Wolfe Photography