Sanity-Saving One Pot Pasta

pasta1

Life is beautifully full these days. Between caring for an energetic toddler and running my own business while attempting to carve out some time to cook, have a social life, exercise, pursue creative things and do laundry? It’s full-on. And wonderful. And then there are days when I feel that I may just lose it.

We were sitting down to dinner the other night, to a very simple meal that I had thrown together in a mad dash. My husband took a few bites, looked up and said: “This is really, really good.”
“Really?” I asked in disbelief. “I actually cooked the whole thing in 10 minutes and in the same pot” (a triumph for me – I’m a bit of a tornado in the kitchen).
“This is the kind of thing you should blog, Sarah. People like simple things.”

Not that I had forgotten this fact, but I also feel the need to like, blow your minds most of the time. Or at least attempt to, ya know? This was not a blow-your-mind kind of dinner. It was made on a busy weeknight from stuff we had in the fridge and pantry, while a hangry 2-year-old clung to my bare legs since he had already pulled my pants off. If this situation sounds familiar, this dinner will be your new go-to. It’s simple, fast, easy, and most importantly, very delicious. Just because you’re going insane doesn’t mean that you’ve lost all sense of taste. In fact, saving one’s sanity often hinges on proximity to good food, as evidenced by post break-up ice cream binges, and bad-day-at-work pizza parties. I get it.

pasta3

Legume-based pastas have been popping up in regular grocery stores all over Copenhagen lately, and I am loving them! They are made from just legumes (red lentils, green peas, adzuki beans etc.), they cook in about 6 minutes and contain unbelievably high amounts of protein and fiber, thanks to the only ingredient being, well, legumes. Although I have some “rules” in my diet which exclude most things that I couldn’t recreate in my own kitchen, these pastas are a serious life-saver when I don’t have a ton of time to make dinner, and a seriously great alternative to wheat pasta. I will compromise a little when my sanity is on the line, won’t you?

pasta4

The brilliance of this dish, besides the fact that it is so fast to make, is that it’s cooked in just one pot! Although it differs from the one-pot pastas I’ve seen online where everything is cooked together from the beginning, my version requires a little bit of timing on your part, adding the asparagus and peas about three minutes before the pasta is cooked. Theoretically, you could toss everything together in the same pot from the get-go, but this produces overcooked veggies, and no one really digs that.

You can use any legume-based pasta you like this, in any shape that appeals to you. And, you can really pick any seasonal veggies that cook in the same amount of time or slightly less than the pasta. It’s great with broccoli, sweet potato, green beans, zucchini or snap peas. I even enjoy this dish cold – so it’s the perfect make-and-take meal for a picnic dinner.

If you are not vegan, this is delicious with some grated Pecorino Romano grated in, or crumbled feta.

pasta2

 

Show me your pasta on Instagram: #MNRsanitypasta

107 comments

  1. Pingback: Next week's meal plan, with a sanity-saving one pot pasta & more.
  2. Erin

    Very simple ingredients list. What is it that makes it delicious? The lemon? I’d like to try it with different veggies (don’t like peas, asparagus, capers).

  3. Maja

    I’m currently spending my holidays in a rented flat in Brighton. As me an my mum cook all of our food ourselves and don’t have many ingredients on hand, this was a perfect solution for a quick and delicious dinner! It’s easy to get your hands on any legume-based pasta you’d like, as the health food stores around here are stocked pretty well!
    We melted coconut oil instead of adding olive oil as we didn’t have it (only a week-long stay, so we’re short even on some staples). And the result was amazing – the zest of the lemon, capers and the coconutty flavour that the oil gives blended into something absolutely perfect… If anyone is planning on cooking this, definitely give it a go with coconut oil 🙂

  4. Anthony

    Your husband was right: People like simple things, simple is best lol. However, this recipe looks so yummy, delicious. It is definitely great combination, seems easy to cook. I surely try it out for my family. Thanks for sharing a fresh recipe.

  5. Funlayo

    Dear Sarah, thank you! Your husband is right, this is the kind of thing we need to hear about! We’re a family of six and our four kids are between 9-16, you can barely imagine what our weekdays are like! It is SO helpful to have easy vegan/vegetarian recipies to cook, especially if you want to help keep the family well nourished and want to leave a lighter environmental foot print. Something which I think is quite an important thing to try and impress on children already in the home environment and something which is made infinitely easier with yummy quick to make dishes. Keep ’em coming <3!

  6. Linda

    Hi Sara,
    Delicious combination, used some edame spaghetti that are available.
    I was wondering if instead of asparagus yellow courgette would work also?
    Or any other vegetable that is in season here like broad beans, French beans, Swiss chard etc.
    Appreciate your advise. My sceptical teenager also enjoyed it.
    Linda

  7. DDuffy

    Goat cheese – YES! I have a handy goat cheese producer very close to me.
    Legume pasta – NO 🙁 – so jealous! That would be amazing to have that available.
    I’m going to use the recipe with substitutions meantime anyway 🙂
    Thank you.
    http://www.CookLoveEat.com

  8. Cecelia

    Looks lovely! What stores in Copenhagen are carrying legume pasta?? I’ve found more vegetable pastas recently but not legume. Would you mind sharing your secrets?

  9. Debbie

    Just stumbled upon your blog, nice work, great photography too. Will be following, thanks for your contributions!

  10. Carolyn

    This is hands down the best meal I’ve made from your blog and book combined. Don’t get me wrong I’ve made plenty of your delicious recipes and loved them all, but this is real life, simplicity, fresh and flavorful. Love it, thank you!

  11. Joke

    Just wanted to give a thumbs up as well for posting a simple recipe!
    Expecting first child in less than three months and I imagine we will need quick recipes a lot 🙂

  12. Shana J.Eaton

    YUMMY!. This looks sooooooooooooo delicious. Simple and honest. I absolutely agree – we need more meals like this in our lives. Once again, thanks for sharing!
    Shana

  13. Antje

    I wish I could comment with a tasty variation but your combo is so darn delicious I probaby won’t try another one unless green aspargus is out of season. 😉 The only thing I subbed out is the pasta. Tried green pea and edamame. And yes, that stuff is expensive but so is organic meat and a lot of things happy animals produce.
    I’m having this dish every week since you have posted it – once freshly cooked and the leftovers as salad later that week. Love it so much. Thank you Sarah!

  14. Mary

    Mmmmm.

    I just made itand, I’m eating it now, and it’s very satisfying! ( Never would have thought to use mint!)

    I used whole grain pasta, because I had it in my pantry, but I would like to know why you chose legume pasta in a dish that already has peas? Isn’t the combination of grains and legumes necessary for balance in vegan nutrition?

    Thank you for the recipes, especially the simple ones!

  15. Mary

    Yes! Thank you for the simple recipe, Sarah!

    Question: while I understand the move to lower wheat consumption, I thought it was important to combine grains with legumes for a balanced protein. is this no longer considered important, nutritionally? Wouldn’t a whole grain pasta compliment the peas just as well or better than legumes?

    I love your recipes though I sometimes bitch them by substituting ingredients for what I have in my pantry ( tonight I will be trying this recipe whole grain pasta), but I really am curious about this trend towards no grains. Don’t we need them?

  16. Pure Ella

    Oh how I LOVE this post Sarah… ?
    It’s essentially all of my life (including the two year old (except in my life, I think it’s the toddler that’s bare ? and sure enough I just remembered the laundry all done in the washer from yesterday (oops!) and I also cook at superspeed and never share the simplest of my meals (because I feel like it’s missing that wow factor! Even though it keeps our mouths excited :)) But really, I’ll bet that’s what people are in need of the most…
    Anyway, just so much goodness resinating with me that I feel as though if we lived closer, we would surely be best friends and arrange playdates while we make wildly delicious raw desserts ?
    <3 ella

  17. Pure Ella

    Oh how I LOVE this post Sarah… 🙂
    It’s essentially all of my life (including the two year old (except in my life, I think it’s the toddler that’s bare 😉 and sure enough I just remembered the laundry all done in the washer from yesterday (oops!) and I also cook at superspeed and never share the simplest of my meals (because I feel like it’s missing that wow factor! Even though it keeps our mouths excited :)) But really, I’ll bet that’s what people are in need of the most…
    Anyway, just so much goodness resinating with me that I feel as though if we lived closer, we would surely be best friends and arrange playdates while we make wildly delicious raw desserts 🙂
    <3 ella

  18. Karo

    Nice recipe but I had a big problem to mix the ingredients together, I rather got a pasta and veggies on the side 😉 It was also a bit too dry to my taste, so we added grated parmesan on top. (Used black bean pasta).

  19. Kimberly

    Though i felt this was missing some of the umami/meaty base flavor (i admit that i added bacon, but only because it has been lingering in the fridge)-next time i will take your suggestion and use goat cheese. That should do the trick :]
    Otherwise, i love how fast this recipe was!!! We need more of your sanity saving dishes 😀 please?

  20. Alexandra

    Just wanted to chime in and say we love the simple recipes! Fed this to my 9 month old and my 2 year old and they both liked it, as did my partner and I. Loved the abundance bowl series too. I absolutely love browsing your book and website but rarely end up making things because life right now calls for simple satisfying meals with two little guys underfoot. Thanks for the delicious supper!

  21. louise organ

    Hi sarah tnis looks great but 200g of pasta doesnt seem enough for 4-6 people given most pasta recipes allow 100g per person.
    ?
    ?

  22. Karen

    I love bean and lentil pastas! But I find they are often cost prohibitive. I was thinking of making my own. Have you ever tried it? I would like to keep ingredients minimal. Some recipes called for semolina flour as well. But I’m wondering if I can just use my own ground bean flour and water … Possibly an egg. I don’t know. Haven’t thought it through. But maybe u have?

    • Kuldeep Kumar

      Yes @Shalini Agree with Your Point.. It take less time to prepare..and Healthy Also because contain so many high protein and fibre in it.. Pot Pasta also Loves My Younger Son..

  23. ashima

    wow this is looking delicious.I love to eat pasta.. I will surely try this recipe…Have you ever used cashews nuts flavor in your pasta?

  24. Lexie

    This was really, really good. I used a whole box (12 oz) of red lentil penne, two pounds of asparagus, and browned up a panful of mushrooms. I was going to do basil leaves instead of mint, but then I found some pesto in my freezer. So, that went in as well as a little feta, the lemon zest, and black pepper. Quite delish! And it would be amazing cold for lunch.

  25. Allyson

    I don’t think there’s any shame in outsourcing some production to people who are making labor intensive food healthily. The one pot pastas that I see around pinterest never appeal to me because the veg always looks overdone. This, however, looks beautiful.

  26. Elizabeth

    Sarah, I just wanted to chime in on blogging more simple, everyday recipes. You are such a gifted cook, and I love making things from the blog and your cookbook. But I would love to have more simple recipes! This is just perfect… Many thanks for it.

      • Maria

        Definitely Sarah! This world needs to simplify things in order to become sustainable on every single level.

  27. Joanna

    YES!!! More like this please!

    All your recipes look amazing, but I have only ever had time to make a few of them.

    Food porn (sorry, blog!) sites such as My New Roots are gorgeous, but I have to scroll past all the lovingly-chosen words and sensual photos just to get to the recipe, to see, ‘do I have time to do this?’.

    By the way, I found your site when I was diagnosed with candida and put on a strict no-pleasure diet… you justabout saved my sanity and my tastebuds. Thank you <3

  28. Ange

    Great idea, except these legume based noodles are insanely expensive. 3.90 euros for 250 grams (!!!!) in Germany. I’m not sure if everyone could afford this. I love good old whole wheat pasta.

    • Karen

      I knoooow!!! Bean pastas are a luxury item. Not an everyday item because of how expensive they are!! I totally feel you. I might try making my own pasta which is a lot of work. But a penny saved is a penny earned in my books. Funny how beans are so cheap but they can jack up the price so much on things like bean pasta… Total scam.

  29. Natalie

    I agree with the other comments and your husband! While I’ve tried many of your more complex recipes and have loved them all, most nights I’m looking for something quick, healthy, and delicious. This recipe and the abundance bowl series you did in the past are my favorites. It would be great if you did another series like that!!!

  30. Johanna Woodbury

    My favorite legume based pasta right now is the New Black Bean rotini at Trader Joe’s. It’s vegan, kosher, and gluten- free.

  31. sara

    i read your recipes regularly but this one looks like something i might really make — as a single mom of two little ones, i don’t have time or energy for complicated dinners, (despite wanting them) nor the patience for the piles of dishes and pots (we have no dishwasher, just me!) i would super super appreciate more simple recipes like this – dishes like these are the ones i pin and actually make! your husband was right on with this!

    • Sarah Britton

      So good to hear Sara! Honestly, on nights when I am home alone with my son and there is “nothing to eat” this saves me every time. I bow to you, single mom! You must have super powers.
      And I hope you and your kids love this meal <3
      xo, Sarah B

  32. marvelous.max

    Aren’t bean-based pastas amazing? I find they have a genuine flavour that actually adds something to every dish, whereas standard pasta is sort of a filler, in terms of taste, it carries flavours but only adds texture really.

  33. michelle Lynn

    I just made this… for myself… and it was AMAZING! Quick and easy!!

    I used half the bag of that yummy Edamame Pasta and the full batch of veggies. It was wonderful! Added a little vegan walnut Parme!!

  34. Sarah | Well and Full

    Everyone loves a nice and simple, sanity-saving recipe!! Especially when it’s a delicious pasta 😉 I’ve tried that mung bean fettuccine and it’s so good… it kind of tastes a little buttery, I think!

  35. Kelsey

    This looks great! I haven’t noticed legume pasta yet, but I’ll have to look for it next time I go shopping.

    Completely unrelated to this recipe, but have you had any luck finding tempeh in Copenhagen? I’ve lived here for almost a year and haven’t seen it in anywhere.

    • Sarah Britton

      Hi Kelsey!

      Yes indeed I have. Most health food stores carry it now, but sometimes it’s not even on the shelves because no one buys it! Just ask whoever is working there and they’ll help you. I know for sure you can get it at Go4Love on Amagerbrogade. Hope that helps 🙂

      xo, Sarah B

  36. Jessica

    Your simple meals are my favourite! While I love all of your recipes, I’m always more likely to make the simple ones right away while all the others get pinned for a rainy day.
    There’s nothing like a recipe you read that day and realize you only need to pick up 1 or 2 ingredients to make that night.

    Thanks, Sarah!

  37. Laura Plumb

    You blow our minds with the simplicity of fresh, natural, healthy, bright and beautiful meals, with tiny things like lemon zest and capers that turn an simple spring pasta into a song. Thank you.

  38. Nina

    Looks delicious! And yes, more truly simple recipes like this would be much appreciated! By the way, I think pecorino romano would make the dish unsuitable for vegetarians as well as vegans, wouldn’t it? Pretty sure it’s always made with animal rennet.

    • Sarah Britton

      Hi Nina,

      Thanks for your feedback 🙂

      And many cheeses now are made with non-animal based rennet if you can believe it! You may need to do a little research first, but if that is a concern for you than look into it. Good luck!

      Sarah B <3

      • Nina

        Oh, I know that a lot of cheeses are made with vegetarian rennet, but as far as I know Pecorino Romano is one of those with Protected Designation of Origin and is actually *required* to be made with lamb rennet. There are some alternatives, quite hard to find, but they won’t be called Pecorino Romano because of the PDO.

  39. Lisa

    YES!!! I have been looking for a sanity saver – thank you!!!
    And lol – the bare legs in the kitchen! Such a real honest moment – love to you!

  40. Cassie

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE legume-based pastas. OBSESSED. Anyhow, edamame spaghetti is my favorite to get from Explore Asian! Black bean is good too, and I have to try the mung bean pasta as well! Totally making this recipe next time I cook with edamame noodles!

  41. Fran

    Loved this simple recipe!!! Being a very busy student I really appreciate quick and easy recipes. Legume-based pasta dishes like this one have been a staple in my kitchen for a while now, and I am still not fed up with them=)
    Spinach works really fine too with them and I would recommend some freshly grated ginger for flavor;)
    Thanks for sharing your amazing recipes!

  42. KATHI

    Love one pot pasta!
    It’s official, I finally need to make this amazing recipe. I’ve pinned it no less than 10 times.
    Awesome giveaway, thanks! My favorite thing to make with pasta is macaroni and cheese. Duh, that was an easy one.
    Thanks for sharing <3

  43. Ginny

    Ha! Love this post! Great recipe, and great writing. Thank you for blowing our minds on such a regular basis (those candy bars?!). And please, don’t stop. But my life looks a lot like the one you described, right down to the 2 year old hanging onto your bare legs because your pants have already been pulled down– LOL! FYI, mine’s 4 now and I usually get through dinner prep fully clothed these days : ) Anyway, this is a recipe I feel like I can make tonight, vs. another mind-blowing one added to my pile of “someday” recipes. You rock. Thanks Sarah!

  44. Yvette Niles

    Yum! I will make this and have done similar things when in a hurry or have limited ingredients. I like to sprinkle chopped almonds on top too for texture.

  45. Amber

    Thank you thank you! I to have a toddler and another on the way and sometimes trying to keep things simple (to save my sanity!) and healthy is a challenge to say the least. Thanks for the little glimpse into your personal and real life! I so get it!

  46. Elizabeth

    Everything about this is perfect for me and my family right now, including the part about your toddler pulling your pants down. Thank you for sharing your life with us along with your food.

  47. Rebecca

    I would love to see more quick “busy mommy” recipes like this! Think I’ll try this tonight! Looooove your blog. The raw brownies were one of the first recipes I tried (I picked a good one!!) and there was no turning back!

  48. Heather

    legume based pasta….sounds brilliant! Could you let me know what the brand name is so I can try and source some.
    Many thanks!

  49. Agnes {Cashew Kitchen}

    Oh how I know that feeling of wanting to “blow the minds” of the readers with every creation! But just like your husband pointed out, people love simple things! And I always forget that myself too. Food is interesting that way. It is both something that our lives depend on, something we do more or less mindlessly every day. But it is also an opportunity to be creative and make art almost. To engage all of our senses and occationally, yes, blow people’s minds. Including our own 🙂 Perhaps that’s why it’s sometimes hard to accept that the simple, daily things are just as incredible in their own way, at least if your leaning towards the nerdy, perfectionist foodie 😉
    I’m adding this to my “To cook” list right away. Fridge cleaning for the win!
    Thanks for sharing <3
    xx

  50. Špela

    Dear Sarah,
    I’ve been truly madly deeply in love with your blog for a long time. Tried many of your recipes (raw brownies, harissa…) and loved them. And shame on me, I’ve never posted a comment before, kind of not my thing. But you see, I’m a mother of six, aged form 4-12, and your husband is soooo right. Please, if only you can, post some more sanity-saving recipes. We all need them badly, with many or no kids around, I guess. Thank you VERY much for everything you’ve shared so far!!!

    • Sarah Britton

      Holy moly Špela! SIX KIDS!?!?!? You are a superhero. And I promise to make recipes with you in mind, deal?
      Thanks for the comment, despite how busy you are 🙂 Big love to you and your family <3

      xo, Sarah B

  51. Ksenia - At the Immigrant's Table

    I absolutely agree – we need more meals like this in our lives. Meals that don’t require cookbooks or exact measurements or 10 dirty dishes or 90 minutes. Meals that don’t leave you cursing your life or the recipe developers. Meals that nourish your body and feed your soul.
    Thank you for creating such a meal (even sans pants).

  52. Inês

    This sounds lovely, simple and honest. Absolutely true, we don’t always have time, or mood to spend 1 hour cooking. And trust me nothing makes me happier than spending 1 hour or more preping a meal but busy weekdays exist and as you put it there are no excuses to eat badly even in those! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  53. Johanna

    Hmmm, this looks good!
    I always dread the gigantic mountain of dishes whenever I cook 😉 This looks like a solution.
    I have some questions about recipes in the cookbook (best purchase ever)
    – the freekeh burger didn’t turn out that well, after looking closer at the photo, it seems your freekeh is “boulghour-sized’. Here in Belgium I’ve only found the whole freekeh grain. Is there any chance I could remake the burgers with boulghour?
    – I’m making the chocolate chili this evening but haven’t got chipotle powder, can I use chipotle sauce?

    Hopefuly you find some time to answer 🙂
    Thank you in advance!

    • Sarah Britton

      Hi Johanna,

      I’m sorry to hear that the freekeh burger didn’t turn out for you! I hate that…
      Yes, the freekeh I get here in Copenhagen is cracked and quite bulgur-sized, so you could try that if you feel like giving it another go 🙂

      And you can totally use chipotle sauce in the chili – just go for that smoky rich taste!

      Big love and happy cooking,
      Sarah B

      • Johanna

        We loved, loved the chocolate chili! I’ll retry the freekeh burgers for sure 🙂

  54. Caz

    I make a very similar pasta to this all the time, my toddler loves it too! This is just the sort of simple cooking I love to see on blogs. We are all so busy it’s great to get some new inspiration for a quick week night dinner. Thanks!

Post a comment