Vegans need to try this Turmeric and Nuts Penne Pasta Salad today! Make this gluten-free pasta dish even more delicious by adding veggies and vegan cheese to it.
If there is one food that I cannot seem to get enough of, then it has to be the Italian pasta! What a discovery it has been for me. I remember the first time I ever had one and how it became an instant favorite. I was in college and one of my friend had come back from her holiday. She was only raving about this dish called white sauce pasta that she had in one restaurant. She insisted that all of us try it out for ourselves and we all decided to go this newly opened Italian restaurant near our college that very day to do just that. We 14 girls had set out to try this ‘new dish’ in town called Pasta with lot of anticipation and excitement. Back in those days, restaurants only prepared pasta in traditional Alfredo (white) sauce and red sauce. Since these were the only two options to order from, we ordered both.Once all of us had tasted both kinds of pasta, we immediately formed 2 groups of favorites. One loved the white sauce pasta more and the other loved the red pasta. I belonged to the white pasta lover team. It was one fun day!
Thus began my tryst with pasta! When I was in Bombay, I always only tried the white sauce pasta and never experimented with other sauces but then came our honeymoon in Europe. The menu cards of Paris and Italy blew my mind. I was elated to know that there was a pasta sauce with vodka in it and that pasta had a nice pink tinge to it! Genius I say! Soon, I began to only order the vodka pasta for every meal. It’s OK to be a little high on your honeymoon and KR was not complaining! I had so much pasta on our 15-day trip that I thought I was done with it. After coming to US, for the first 6 months I stayed far away from any kind of pasta dish but then Cookilicious happened. Now as part of my profession, I had to try new and innovative pasta sauce recipes. Also in order to stay fit and not get carried away with all the rich cream sauces, I had to discover alternatives that would still taste good and do full justice to the dish.
In the last 3 years (ever since I started this food blog), I have prepared various healthy pasta sauces at home and relished the rich ones at restaurants. Come to think of it, I have actually had pasta in different parts of the world – India, Europe and US. Each adding its own element of flavor to this Italian wonder. Plus whenever we travel, I feel besides ordering Indian food, pasta is my safe bet. One hardly messes up with it. In fact, its one of the first thing KR does when we reach a new city – he hunts for the best Italian restaurant there for me. Sweet! I prepare pasta dishes once a week for sure. It is usually my Friday meal which acts like my reward for following a lite meal during the week. I however try to keep it nutritious and balance it with different veggies to notch up the flavors. There are some Fridays (like this one) when I prepare a pasta dish minus the sauce and call my version of pasta salad and over time, this has become my absolute favorite meal. KR finds it a tad dry but I love it.
The recipe I created today is what I call a personal discovery. Growing up, I would notice my mom boil anything and everything with a dash of turmeric and salt. That is what inspired me to add turmeric while cooking my penne pasta resulting in this beautiful and natural yellow color. So naturally the first step to make this dish is to cook the gluten-free penne pasta as per instructions on the packet. However, while boiling it, add turmeric powder and salt. Strain the water once done and leave the cooked pasta aside for now. Drizzle olive oil and lightly toss it. In a pan, add almonds, garlic, pistachios and green chillies and dry roast it for 1-2 minutes. Let it cool down and then grind it to a smooth paste by adding any dairy free or regular milk to it. Heat olive oil in a pan and once its hot enough, pour the prepared sauce. Mix and cook it for 2-3 minutes. Then add the veggies like spinach, mushrooms and edamame.
If you want the pasta to be saucy, add more milk and then the cooked pasta. Since I wanted to make a pasta salad, I cooked the veggies and the sauce for 7-8 minutes, till it thickens and the water evaporates. Add seasonings like salt and pepper and then add the cooked pasta. Give it all a good mix. Add grated vegan cheese and dried herbs on top and serve warm. I enjoy a homemade garlic bread along with my bowl of pasta. It is my favorite combo. The turmeric flavored pasta is one colorful treat not just for the eyes but also the belly. Kids will be intrigued by the color and would want to try this pasta out while you can hide all the nutritious veggies in it that your kid would otherwise fuss over. You can prepare this Italian dish for weekend brunch or enjoy it as a pasta salad for weeknight dinner. This dish definitely adds to my long list of favorite pasta moments! This recipe is vegan and gluten-free. How I wish they start serving such pasta dishes at restaurants as well! Sigh!
If you do try this recipe, please do share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. This will keep me motivated to develop more interesting recipes. Click a pic and post it with the hashtag #cookiliciousveg . I would love to see your pictures on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!
- 2 cups uncooked penne pasta
- 1 tsp turmeric powder
- 7-8 almonds
- 5-6 pistachios
- 5-6 garlic
- 2 green chillies
- 1/4 cup any milk dairy/dairy free
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup spinach
- 2 cups mushrooms
- 1 cup edamame
- Salt and pepper as required
- cheese as desired
- 1-2 tbsp dried herbs
- The first step is to cook the gluten-free penne pasta as per instructions on the packet. However, while boiling it, add turmeric powder and salt. Strain the water once done and leave the cooked pasta aside for now. Drizzle olive oil and lightly toss it. In a pan, add almonds, garlic, pistachios and green chillies and dry roast it for 1-2 minutes. Let it cool down and then grind it to a smooth paste by adding any dairy free or regular milk to it. Heat olive oil in a pan and once its hot enough, pour the prepared sauce. Mix and cook it for 2-3 minutes. Then add the veggies like spinach, mushrooms and edamame.
- If you want the pasta to be saucy, add more milk and then the cooked pasta. Since I wanted to make a pasta salad, I cooked the veggies and the sauce for 7-8 minutes, till it thickens and the water evaporates. Add seasonings like salt and pepper and then add the cooked pasta. Give it all a good mix. Add grated vegan cheese and dried herbs on top and serve warm.
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If pasta is your weakness as well, then you must check out some of my favorite pasta recipes like – Easy Cheesy Tomato Rotini Pasta Bake, Vegan Cilantro Basil Cream Sauce Pasta, One Pot Indian Curry Pasta, Hummus & Sweet Potato Alfredo Sauce Pasta, Sun Dried Tomato Pesto Pasta, Garlic & Breadcrumbs Pasta Salad, Habanero Basil Mango Pasta, Avocado Pesto Barilla Pasta, Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Sauce & Bow-tie Pasta, Sriracha Peanuts Pasta, Butternut Squash Pasta and Edamame & Mushroom Pasta Salad.