Once in a while I run across something that’s too good not to share, and this dish qualifies.  I had never really considered using pasta made out of anything besides whole wheat (since I’m not Celiac or even sensitive to gluten or wheat sugars), but when I saw this pasta on a friend’s Facebook post (you know who you are, and thank you!), I became interested.

The reason is because it is made from edamame, which are young soy beans.  This was especially intriguing to me for at least three reasons.  First, the more beans we can include in our diet the better off we are in terms of fiber, blood sugar control, weight control, and prebiotic goodies for our gut flora.  Also, the phytates in beans are very useful for helping prevent osteoporosis.  Second, beans are more nutrient dense than even whole grains.  In other words, you’ll get more nutrient bang for the same amount of calories if those calories come from beans than if they come from wheat, which is way awesome in my nutrition book.   This is the main reason I haven’t made any pasta dishes in a while, preferring to make bean dishes instead.  But I miss pasta, because hey, I like it.  Who doesn’t, right?  And the third reason is because minimally processed soy, such as edamame or tofu, is especially protective against female-type cancers.  Many people believe that the phytoestrogens in soy are dangerous, but part of this rumor is based on myth and a misinterpretation of nutritional science, and the other part refers to something called soy isolate, which definitely is bad for us because it’s hard on the kidneys.

So anyway, when I saw this amazing pasta was made from beans, I was ready to try it out.  Here’s the brand I found, and I love that the only ingredient on the label is “organic edamame (green soybeans)”.  That’s it.  Goodness in a box!  They also make pasta from adzuki beans and black beans, both of which will soon make it into my kitchen.

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Aside from the dull greenish color, it looked and behaved like ordinary pasta.  I added a veggie-based alfredo-type sauce, some purple carrots, and some broccoli.  I also found one lonely yellow pattypan squash in my fridge and threw that in too.  The combination was both beautiful and delish!

 

Ingredients (for two people, double or triple as necessary):

  • ½ box bean pasta of your choice (preferably organic)
  • 2 purple (or any color) carrots, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 cup broccoli florets (I used organic frozen)
  • 1 small pattypan or other summer squash
  • 1 ½ cups veggie alfredo sauce (see recipe below)
  • seasoning of your choice

 

The first step is to make your Veggie Alfredo Sauce.  As easy as this is, it’s the hardest part of this marvelous recipe!  Here’s what you need:

  • 1 cup red or yellow potatoes, chopped (you could use cauliflower instead of potatoes)
  • 1/4 cup orange or yellow carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1/3 cup onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic, minced (or 1/8 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/16 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika

 

Put the vegetables, cashews, and water in a small saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.  Cover with a lid and boil for about 15 minutes.   While it boils, put the remaining ingredients in the pitcher of your blender.

After the vegetables and nuts are done, pour the contents of the saucepan (the water too) into the pitcher of your blender with the other ingredients.  Blend on high speed for about a minute or until you get a creamy sauce.  My Blendtec takes less time (only 60 seconds) than my Nutribullet used to take, but any reasonably good blender will work.

 

Once your sauce is done, set it aside and chop the vegetables for your Veggie & Bean-Pasta Bowl.  Next, cook your pasta according to the box directions.  I was a little surprised that this edamame pasta only took 4 minutes of simmering as opposed to the traditional 9-11 minutes that the whole wheat pasta used to take.  So glad I read the directions!

When the pasta is done, remove it from the water and put half of the cooked pasta on each of two wide bowls or plates.  Then pour about a third of your prepared sauce over each pile of pasta (you’ll have extra left over) and give it a little toss with some tongs to coat.

Then place your vegetables into the pasta water for a few minutes to heat through.  This, rather than boiling them, will leave them warm but still crunchy.  If you don’t care for vegetable-crunch, you can cook them all the way and it will still be delish, though maybe not quite as colorful.   Finally, remove your veggies from the water with a slotted spoon and put on top of your pasta.

 

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Presto!!  Beautiful dinner in less than a half hour.  Another wonderful thing about this dish is that you can use any kind of vegetables you like, and you could use any kind of sauce as well.  You simply can’t go wrong with bean pasta and vegetables!