Considering my birthday later this week (April 14th), I’m sharing a recipe from Jazzy Vegetarian that’s birthday-worthy. Fusilli-Broccoli Bowls with Walnut Cream Sauce from her new recipe book, Deliciously Vegan.
Not only is the recipe something I’ll enjoy having on my birthday, but it’s also healthy. No oil, very little sugar and no refined grains here!
I made this Fusilli-Broccoli bowl last week…just to make sure the it’s a recipe I wanted to share. I didn’t doubt Laura’s flavor expertise, but I didn’t realize how quickly the bowl was to put together.
Some pasta dishes take hours to make. Lasagna takes forever to assemble, and others require lots of time to simmer. Luckily, Jazzy Vegetarian Fusilli Bowl is pain free. Laura uses walnuts to create a savory flavorful and herby cream sauce. Broccoli adds freshness and bright color to the dish while the pasta provides substance.
I made a few adjustments to Laura’s recipe. I adjusted the recipe as little as possible, so I could appreciate her flavors.
Adjustment 1: pasta type
Instead of using wheat pasta, I used Trader Joe’s Red Lentil Sedanini. It’s no longer a ‘fusilli’ bowl, but it’s still pasta… and delicious at that! I swapped for red lentil pasta because it’s more nutritious and filling than traditional pasta. Legumes tend to have more fiber than grains, even whole grains.
Plus, I loved the extra pop of color the red lentil pasta gave the dish.
Adjustment 2: the sauce
I’m a huge fan of herbs and spices, so I tend to have lots of individual spices over spice mixes. And if I do have spice mixes, I tend to make them myself. With the recipe from my new Jazzy Vegetarian cookbook, I was in a predicament. I needed Italian Seasoning Blend.
I did the best I could in the situation and used the following to create my own herb blend:
- 1 tsp dry parsley
- ¼ tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp thyme
- ½ bay leaf
- ¼ tsp coriander
From experience, I know that nuts blend well after being soaked. I soaked all the sauce ingredients together (hot water) for around 30 minutes prior to blending.
I noticed that the sauce was too thick for my preference, so I ended up adding around ½ cup more water to the mixture to make it thinner. The thinner sauce was easier for me coat the pasta in.
The last replacement I made was using a large medjool date instead of maple syrup.
Thanks Laura for this easy and delicious recipe. This recipe is the perfect fuss-free birthday meal or ideal dinner if you need food on the table in 30 minutes or less.
This creamy tasting pasta bowl comes together in about 20 minutes and makes an enticing weeknight meal or a casual party dish. Plus, the Walnut “Cream” Sauce does double duty as a delicious sauce for topping grains, salads, or veggies!
Sara’s note: I second that the sauce is great for salad dressings! It’s flavorful enough on its own but neutral enough to go with almost any salad flavor combination.
Vegan and free refined grains, oil/butter, soy and seeds. Sugar-free option available.
- 8 ounces fusilli pasta
- 4 cups bite-sized broccoli florets
- Sea salt, to taste (Sara’s note: I added none)
- 1 tablespoon roasted or raw sunflower seeds (optional), for garnish
- Fresh chopped parsley (optional), for garnish
Walnut “Cream” Sauce
- 1 1/2 cups walnut halves
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons tamari
- 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning blend
- 1 medium clove garlic, chopped
- Several grinds of freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the fusilli. Decrease the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes. Add the broccoli florets, stir and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until the fusilli and broccoli are both cooked al dente.
While the fusilli and broccoli cooks, put all of the Walnut “Cream” Sauce ingredients into a blender and process until very smooth and creamy. Taste and add more pepper, if desired.
Drain the fusilli and broccoli. Transfer the fusilli/broccoli mixture to a large bowl, and stir in 1 to 1 1/2 cups of the Walnut “Cream” Sauce. (See note). Gently combine, adding more walnut sauce, as needed, to thoroughly coat the fusilli. Season with sea salt, to taste. Garnish with optional sunflower seeds and parsley, if desired. Spoon into pasta bowls and serve immediately, with extra walnut sauce offered on the side.
Chef’s Note: Store any leftover Walnut “Cream” Sauce tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.