I got the idea for this recipe from Everyday Pasta by Giada De Laurentiis. I got the book from the library because we love pasta and I wanted to try some new recipes. It's not really a cookbook I can recommend (at least health wise) since most of the recipes look pretty fattening with very few vegan/vegetarian options. Most of the non-meat recipes are loaded with cheese and cream ( I wonder how Giada stays so thin eating this stuff...). But I thought I'd flip through and see if there were any recipes I could adapt to be healthier.
This one was easy since the original recipe was already vegan (one of only 2 or 3 in the book). I changed it up quite a bit leaving the almonds raw, adding string beans, parsley & garlic and using panko bread crumbs instead of crushed croutons and using 1/3 the amount of oil (which was plenty!). I also used less pasta/more veggies and used rotini, instead of rigatoni, which I think was a good choice because the crumbs coated nicely to the spiral shape.
It came out really tasty and Phil loved it. He's doing the PCRM 21-day Vegan Kickstart right now so I am continuing to cook vegan meals for the whole family. He liked the flavor of this dish and thought the almond & breadcrumb mixture gave it a texture similar to grated parmesan which made him happy.
Pasta With Red Pepper, String Beans & "Almond Bread Crumbs"
1/2 lb rotini pasta
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/3 cup raw almonds
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, plus 1/4 cup
1 large handful fresh string beans, cut to 1/2-3/4 inch pieces (I didn't measure, just grabbed a big bunch and started chopping)
1 large red bell pepper, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
Sea salt & black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp freshly chopped parsley
Using a blender or food processor (I used my Tribest with the regular blade and it worked great), crush almonds to a fine crumb like consistency. In a small bowl, combine almonds and bread crumbs and set aside.
Heat 1 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add string beans and stir to coat with oil. Saute for 2-3 minutes, then add bell pepper and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Continue to cook, stirring often, for 5-6 minutes until vegetables are crisp-tender (longer if you prefer your veggies softer).
Meanwhile, cook pasta.
In a large bowl, toss together pasta, vegetable mixture and 1/4 cup olive oil. Add parsley and bread crumb mixture and toss again. Serve with a nice big salad & some crusty Italian bread. Yum!