15-minute Greek Eggplant and Feta Pasta for Lunch

20180211_132808-01.jpeg

Throughout all this craziness of falling in and out of love with Straight-upBananas for the past 4 months, one thing has remained constant. I still love to cook, and I still looooove to eat — it’s just somewhere in the middle, the whole sharing bit that has me feeling a bit confused.

Yesterday’s easy, quick lunch was one of my favorite go-tos when I don’t know what to have, or my fridge is starting to run on low…pasta!

This pasta dish is garlicky, creamy and oh-so slurping good!

Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or a full-on omnivore, this recipe could be tweaked for any kind of quick lunch, dinner or even breakfast (who are you kidding, we all know at some point we’ve had something not very breakfast-y for breakfast — don’t lie).

Ingredients

  • Any type of whole-wheat pasta (I like OrganicLarder)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1 medium-sized eggplant, sliced
  • 2 chopped tomatoes
  • A splash of apple cider vinegar (or a squeeze of lemon)
  • Sea salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup of olive oil
  • Chopped dill, basil, or thyme (whichever you like best, or have in your fridge)
  • A sprinkle of good-quality crumbled feta cheese (if not vegan)

 

Here’s how to make it

  • First, make sure you put about 2 liters of water  with a nice amount of sea salt to boil for every two portions of pasta (the equation for the correct ratio per person still eludes me. That photo up there was enough for about 3 people, but I ate all of it…alone.)
  • Second, in a large pan, dry fry* (no oil) your eggplant till it gets nice and nearly charred.
  • Then, add your olive oil to the eggplant, and fry up the garlic till nice and golden. Then, add the tomatoes and vinegar or lemon and let the tomatoes stew up nicely and medium-high heat.
  • To the boiling water, add the pasta and cook as the instructions direct (usually about 7-9 minutes).
  • Add some of the starchy pasta water to the sauce in your saucepan and cook for a few more minutes with the sauce till it get’s nice and creamy and reduces. Add the dill to the sauce.
  • Drain the cooked pasta, and add it to the sauce and mix well.
  • Then, serve the pasta with its sauce, and taste it. Add salt and pepper (keeping in mind that your feta cheese will add a dimension of salt to the dish. So do not overdo the salt).
  • Serve in a plate and crumble some feta on top. If you’re feeling extra frisky and have the time, you could even add some chopped up Greek Kalamata olives to the sauce (again, watch the salt).

*The reason  I like to ‘dry’ fry my eggplants is that eggplants tend to act like a sponge when it comes to absorbing oil or water. When you sort of toast them in the pan, they cook through without absorbing the olive oil–making the sauce a lot lighter and less greasy.

I love this recipe. The flavor is so mousakka-ish, but minus the fried eggplants, and the time-consuming assembly. Plus there’s slurpy pasta there, so that’s a win if I ever did see one — no?

Give this recipe a shot, and give me a little shout out. Did you like it? Did you friggin hate it? Either way, I’d love to hear from you.

And since you’re here…why not follow me on Instagram, too?

 

Advertisements

15-minute vegan chili and garlic pasta

IMG_20170712_134032_199.jpg

Yes. You read that right, a 15-minute lunch recipe that’ll have you slurping delicious pasta in as long as it takes you to disgustingly crack all the knuckles of your body (cracking my fingers as we speak, and that’s the only analogy I could come up with).

So this sauce is so simple, that by the time the water for the pasta comes to a boil, and cooks your pasta the sauce is done! Now pay attention, or you just might miss how to make this supersonic sauce.

Ingredients:

  • Wholewheat spaghetti
  • 2 mid-sized tomatoes, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • 1 dried chili (depending on how hot you like it)
  • 1/3 cup of good quality olive oil
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of capers
  • 2 big handfuls of baby spinach
  • Toasted pine nuts
  • Boiling hot water
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

 

How to make it:

  • First, put about 1 liter of water to boil with a pinch of sea salt
  • Then, in a separate frying pan, and on medium-low heat, put the pine nuts to toast until golden brown, and remove from pan.
  • In the same pan and olive oil, toast your sliced garlic until nice and golden brown as well.
  • Add the dried chili (again, depending on the heat you like) and fry all together.
  • After, add the capers and let them crisp up a bit.
  • By this time, your pasta water should be boiling, add the pasta and cook until done.
  • In the frying pan, add the tomatoes and cook on medium-high heat until the tomatoes start to cook off (galayit bandora style)
  • Then add the pine nuts, add 1/2 cup of the starchy pasta water to the sauce and let cook until it becomes a sauce.
  • Once the pasta is cooked through, transfer it to the sauce and mix well together.
  • Turn off the heat, and add the spinach, sea salt and black pepper. The spinach doesn’t need to be cooked, it’ll wilt from the heat of the pasta and the sauce.

 

20170712_133146

There you go, easy peasy. The beauty of this recipe is that you could add or omit whatever you want. I mean white beans or butter beans go spectacularly well with this dish. I’m sure grilled chicken would go well with it. Once you’ve got a recipe down, the variations you could come up with are endless, seriously!

So that’s that. A 15-minute pasta dish, that only requires 4 dishes (if done right). Since you’re here, why not follow me on the Gram of Insta? Instagram

 

6-ingredient vegan pasta dish

Simple spaghetti sauce straightupbananas

My go-to meal when I’m in dire need of groceries and need something wholesome and easy for lunch.

Made of 5 ingredients and in two pots — it’s a win- win for me any day.

Ingredients:

  • Wholewheat pasta of your choice
  • 1 can of organic crushed tomato
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • Green peas
  • Sea salt

 

How to make it:

  • In boiling water with some sea salt, add the pasta and cook as instructed on package.
  • While the pasta is cooking, in a frying pan, add the olive oil and fry the garlic till nice and golden.
  • Then, add the can of crushed tomato and cook together.
  • Add some pasta water to get a nice rich consistency for the sauce.
  • Once the pasta is cooked through, add the pasta to the sauce and cook together then add the frozen green peas making sure not to over cook it.

That’s it, you’re done!

Hey why not visit my Instagram page: @straightupbananas

 

Vegan, healthy and quick pasta primavera

Primavera means spring in Latin. And a pasta primavera is quintessential for any Italian spread during the spring–filled with everything green and plenty of cream, it makes for the ultimate comfort food.

Fortunately for me, my newly-started vegan diet to atone for the food that I ate during the weekend, forced me to come up with my new plantbased spin on the famous Italian dish.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring to you a foolproof, quick and easy vegan pasta primavera.

20160724_151017-01.jpeg

Ingredients:

Sauce:

  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 1 chopped garlic
  • 1 grated zucchini
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1/4 cup of warm water
  • 2 sprigs of spring onions
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • Sea salt and pepper

Pasta:

  • Buckwheat pasta
  • 3 cloves of garlic, fried till golden in a pan
  • 1 handful of spinach roughly chopped
  • 1 handful of baby asparagus, grilled
  • Zucchini ribbons (you can make these by peeling off the skin of the large zucchini with a peeler)
  • Red chili flakes
  • Sea salt and black pepper

 

How to make it:

  • Make the sauce by mixing all it’s ingredients together and blending with a handmixer till smooth and creamy
  • Cook the buckwheat pasta according to the instructions
  • In a pan, sautee the asparagus first (because it needs more cooking time), then cook down the spinach for a minute.
  • Turn off the heat, and add the zucchini ribbons
  • Remove the veggies and cook the garlic until nice and golden brown
  • Once the pasta is cooked, add it to the pan along with the fried garlic and veggies
  • Turn off the heat, and add the pasta to a plate with the avocado sauce and mix well
  • If you allow the avocado sauce to touch the heat, it’s vibrant green color will fade
  • Enjoy!

Super simple and super good for you, this plant-based vegan avocado pasta primavera is packed with vitamins and is crazy easy to make. Also, it tastes AMAZEBALLS!

It’s really versatile as well . The beauty of this recipe is that you can use whatever green ingredients you have in your fridge on that day: peas, green string beans…

Go Straight-up Bananas with me and give this recipe a shot! And also, since you’re here, maybe check out my Instagram by clicking this link here? Thank you!

Creamy raw vegan avocado pesto sauce

Day 2 of my veg diet and I can honestly say I don’t feel like I’m missing anything!

A little bowl of wholewheat pasta never hurt nobody! Add some silky avocado, garlic and olive oil sauce. Delicious.

It’s so ridiculously easy to make, you can be slurping silky pasta in no time! Oh, and if it’s not pasta you’re craving, you could easy use this as a salad dressing or a spread on your sandwich for a little extra punch! I just love multi-functional food!

Ingredients:

  1. 1 ripe avocado
  2. 1/2 cup of raw cashew nuts
  3. Chopped spring onions
  4. 1/2 a clove of garlic
  5. Sea salt and pepper to taste
  6. 1/2 cup of the pasta water
  7. A drizzle of good quality organic olive oil

How it’s done, son:

Grab your trusty ole’ blender and mix all the ingredients together on the highest setting available until mixture is smooth and creamy. That is all. I kid you not.

Pour some of the mixture on top of some quinoa, wholewheat or spinach pasta (maybe even some zoodles?) and you are in business my friend! Have you ever had an easier, quicker and healthier pasta dish? EVER!

The beautiful thing about this recipe is, you can add whatever feels right to you! Sometimes I add some fresh red peppers and lime juice for an extra kick, and other times I have been known to grate some parmesan cheese on top when serving. You could add parsley, nutmeg, smoked salmon (if not vegetarian)…Just let this recipe be the base and allow your inner kitchen diva free range by adding whatever you’ve got in the fridge! Life’s too short to stick to the  recipe, anyway!

Go straight-up bananas with me and give this recipe a shot! I promise you won’t regret it!

Oh, and follow me on Instagram by clicking this link.

 

 

#vegan #whatveganseat #veganfood #veganfoodshare #veganfoodlovers #bestoftheday #bestofvegan #straightupbananas #yum #delicious #hungry #eat #food #foodporn #foodgasm #fit #healthy #sogood #eatwithme #foodie #avocado #passion #pasta #vegetarian #feedfeedvegan (at Dubai, United Arab Emirates)

I don’t think I’ve ever been more focused in anything in my entire life!

Live cooking class with @eatalyarabia

Today’s lunch is fresh tagliatelle tossed in a creamy butter and sage sauce with grated fresh black truffle! Instant salivation.

#dubaimall #cookingclass #fresh #eataly #eatalyarabia #food #foodporn #pasta #italian #fun #happy #ilovefood #eat #hungry #foodie #foodporn #foodgasm #mydubai #dxb (at Eataly)

A closer look at #toddenglish new brunch menu at #VenetianVillage Ritz Carlton. What an amazing spread, my tummy still ridiculously happy.

#toddenglish #straightupbananas #lunch #brunch #ritzcarlton #pasta #chicken #steak #food #foodporn #foodgasm #abudhabi #myabudhabi #foodblogger #delicious #hungry #eat #food #foodie #foodgasm #happy #love (at The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre)