Posted by Stephanie Simpson on
Lately, I’ve been making my bloggable meals at my sister and brother-in-law’s place. And between the three of us, through a combination of choice and necessity, we sport nearly every dietary restriction in the book. Meat’s out for me. Dairy and chocolate are out for one of them. And across the board, refined sugars and grains are kept to a minimum (as in: when we don’t want waffles) and eggs are sourced from hens whose diets rival our own. Add to that our personal preferences, and things just get silly.
Restrictions, as you can see from scrolling through the recipes I’ve shared over the past few weeks, don’t have to keep you from eating well. But when you’ve significantly reduced the number of ingredients at your disposal, you’ve got to use them creatively or be satisfied eating the same few things again and again. And though I’m forever happy consuming pancakes, my sister and brother-in-law are a little more keen on variety. So we smash dates, grate carrots and repurpose bananas to make for sweet treats that are just as satisfying as the ice cream we used to make when dairy was still in play.
Today’s recipe is cut from the same delicious cloth, where ingredients are re-envisioned to make for a tasty meal that works for all of us. My goal was to come up with a pasta sauce that offered the richness of a dish made with cream or cheese (now restricted) and that didn’t rely on tomato (a preference). The solution: Roasted sweet potato, blended to bring out its rich texture, and spiced with additions like chile and garlic to keep the sauce firmly planted in the realm of savoury. Kale and white beans were added for tastiness and health, and salty feta was kept optional.
The ingredients can be easily tweaked to work for those of you who have more extensive restriction lists than ours. But the results, I hope, will satisfy even those of you whose only limitation is the amount of space in your belly.
Pasta with Sweet Potato Sauce
Makes 4-6 generous servings
6 cups of peeled, 1-inch cubed sweet potato
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 tbsp olive oil
400 grams of whole wheat spaghetti
8-10 packed cups of kale, torn into bite-sized pieces
2 tbsp olive oil
2-3 tsp hot chill flakes
2-3 tsp salt
2 cups of cooked cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup of salty feta
1. Preheat oven to 400 degress Fahrenheit. Toss sweet potatoes and garlic in 1 tbsp of olive oil. Dump veggies on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender through.
2. Cook pasta in a giant pot of boiling, salted water. Five minutes before the pasta’s tender, dump in the kale. Once the pasta’s tender, drain, retaining 2 cups of the pasta water.
3. While the pasta’s cooking, dropped the baked veggies in the bowl of a food processor with the 2 tbsp olive oil, chill flakes and salt and blend until smooth. With the processor running, slowly pour in as much of the 2 cups of pasta water as is necessary to make the consistency resemble your favourite pasta sauce.
4. Pour the sauce and white beans in the pot with the drained pasta and kale and toss until the pasta’s coated with the sauce. Divide the pasta up between bowls, top each bowl with a bit of feta, and serve.