Monday, October 07, 2013

Vegan And Gluten-Free Cherry Tomato Pasta With Peas - And, The Story Of The Wedding Tomato

Cherry tomato pasta with peas.

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The Story of the Wedding Tomato
On September 1st  we had the honor of hosting our nephew's wedding ceremony in our vineyard. Our daughter-in-law is a professional floral designer and generously volunteered to do the flowers. A gardener herself, she thought it would be great if we grew all the flowers for the arrangements and bouquets. And while we were at it, we should fill all our vegetable raised beds with flowers too since they would be the backdrop for the ceremony. (I will do a future post on growing your own wedding flowers.) 

The beds were filled with a variety of seeds, from zinnias, to sunflowers. There was, however, a tiny cherry tomato plant in the center of the main flower bed. We asked the bride and groom if they minded us leaving it there since it would be the only edible thing we were growing this summer besides the wedding flowers. They didn't mind at all. Since they are both would-be farmers, they would have been just as happy getting married in a field of zucchini.

So with much love and care, the little flowers grew into bigger flowers. And the tiny cherry tomato plant, getting more water than it should because of the flowers, grew into a giant, almost mutant, tomato plant about 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide. I continued to ask the bride and groom if they minded having a massive tomato plant as the backdrop of their nuptials, but they insisted that it was ok. I hated to rip it out as, despite it's healthy growth, it hadn't yet produced a single tomato! 

So there sat, in all it's glory, proudly beside the wedding chuppah and beds of lovely flowers, our massive tomato bush and it's unripened green tomatoes. You can see it, in the picture below, behind the yellow snapdragons.

Wedding tomato

Here we are in October getting bombarded with these beautiful, plump cherry tomatoes that eluded us all summer. Today's recipe makes a cherry tomato sauce with peas that you can put over pasta, rice, quinoa or any other grain. My pesca-vegan friends can add a can of oil-packed Italian tuna fish, which can be flaked in at the end.

Finally, the wedding tomato plant starts to deliver!

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Cherry Tomato Pasta with Peas
Vegan, Gluten Free (with gluten-free pasta]
(makes 4 servings)

8 ounces gluten-free or whole wheat pasta
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups ripe, halved, cherry tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 can organic peas with liquid
1/4 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Prepare the pasta according to directions. Drain and set aside.

Use gluten-free or whole wheat pasta

While the pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a medium saucepan, on medium low heat.
Add the onions and cook until they soften, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
Add the cherry tomatoes, black pepper, parsley, and basil and simmer until the tomatoes soften and begin to get juicy and break down, about  8 to 10 minutes. If they look dry, add a splash of water or white wine.

Cook until tomatoes break down.

Add the peas and their liquid. 

The liquid from the peas adds to the flavor of the sauce.

Cook for several minutes until the peas are heated through and serve over pasta.

Per serving (with gluten-free pasta): 338 calories, 5 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 60 mg omega-3 and 574 mg omega-6 fatty acids, 0 mg cholesterol, 9 g protein, 67 g carbohydrates, 10 g dietary fiber, and 423 mg sodium.

Per serving (with whole wheat pasta): 333 calories, 5 g total fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 75 mg omega-3 and 875 omega-6 fatty acids, 0 mg cholesterol, 14 g protein, 63 g carbohydrates, 11 mg dietary fiber, and 423 mg sodium.

For more delicious vegan recipes, preview my eBook, Health Begins in the Kitchen: Delicious and Easy Vegan Recipes and Seasonal Food Plan PLUS Raw Food Cleanse.

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