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.
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?
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.
Sanity-Saving One Pot Pasta
200g legume-based pasta (I used mung bean fettucini)
1 lb. / 500g asparagus
2 cups / 300g fresh or frozen shelled green peas
sea salt for cooking water and garnish
4 Tbsp. cold-pressed olive oil
zest of 1 organic lemon
3 Tbsp. capers (about 1 small 60g jar)
A large handful fresh mint, leaves only
1. Put a large pot of water on the stove and heat over a high flame.
2. While the water is heating up, wash, trim, and chop the asparagus. Shell the peas (or take them out of the fridge / freezer). Wash and roughly chop the mint. Once the cooking water is boiling, salt it generously (it should taste salty).
3. Add the pasta and set a timer for about 3 before the suggested cooking time. Three minutes before the pasta is done, add the asparagus and peas. Cook for three minutes. Drain well and place back in the pot. Add the olive oil, lemon zest, drained capers and a few pinches of sea salt. Season to taste. Fold in the fresh mint and serve.