While I have a long way to go until I remotely fit the bill as a gourmet chef (or any kind of chef for that matter) I do consider myself confident in the kitchen. I am getting more comfortable with trying out combinations that might sound strange at first thought and pairing ingredients that one typically might not. An example of such is this plate of Creamy Vegan Bean Bolognese:
It’s been almost 2 months since I recommitted to eating a predominantly dairy-free diet and fortunately it’s been much easier than I anticipated. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that most chocolates with 70% cocoa or more are naturally vegan (cocoa butter doesn’t contain dairy despite its misleading name). Thick & creamy smoothies fill the Greek yogurt void. Fortunately I prefer the taste of non-dairy milks like coconut & almond milk. The one dairy food I do miss sometimes? Cheese. The only thing more comforting than digging into a bowl of spaghetti in marinara sauce is digging into a bowl of spaghetti in marinara sauce…topped off with parmesan. I die at the thought! I will definitely make a cheese (& gelato) exception in Venice this summer, but for now I’m finding ways to get around it.
In attempt to add a bit of va va voom to to an otherwise standard bowl of pasta in marinara sauce, I played around in the kitchen earlier this week to create something creamy & decadent-tasting. Key to a dairy-free creamy pasta that almost tastes like Penne alla Vodka in its own right? Hummus! Yeah yeah I know- combining marinara sauce & hummus sounds kinda weird but trust me on this. After plenty of grossed out looks from my mom, she agreed to try a bite & even she liked it…just sayin’!
Taste aside, the beans & hummus pack in a nice dose of protein, soluble fibre, folate and magnesium. Along with volume, the eggplant & bell peppers add a delicious meaty texture – yay for veggies! Other than pasta, this Creamy Vegan Bean Bolognese would taste dreamy over toast, quinoa, jacket potatoes or brown rice. For a lighter, yet equally satisfying option, it also tastes fab with zucchini noodles…which is what I opted for after going to town earlier on in the evening with popcorn.
- 2/3 cup cooked beans (I used black-eyed beans)
- ½ cup diced bell peppers
- ½ cup diced eggplant
- 1 cup marinara sauce
- 1 tablespoon hummus
- Finely chopped basil
- Coat a large skillet with olive oil (or cooking spray) & place over medium heat.
- Once hot, add eggplant & sauté for 4 minutes. Add in the bell peppers & continuing sautéing for an additional 4 minutes, or until the veggies are tender.
- Add in beans & marinara sauce. Once the marinara sauce has warmed up, stir in the hummus & mix until the hummus is well-incorporated and the veggies/beans are covered in sauce.
- Turn off heat & serve with your choice of side. Garnish with basil prior to serving.
- i) For an extra cheesy flavour, stir in 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast towards the end.
What’s your favourite pasta sauce? Mix-ins?