This stuff is the bomb.
I have a picky eater in residence. I won’t mention any names, but she may or may not be my mother. I’m stealth like that.
The epic saga of finding the perfect dinner recipe has gone on for too long. Honestly I didn’t think I was asking for too much.
All I wanted was a dish, ONE dish, that is full of veggies and non-animal protein, ready in under 30 minutes (so we can all have a life outside of the kitchen), and impressive/scrumptious enough for guests and moms alike.
Finding this was harder than I thought. But after literally years of testing every dinner recipe my hungry heart could dream up, I have finally concocted the grand champion.
The ultimate test is dinner with Mom. The verdict?
I am proud to announce the newest member of the clean plate club.
The beauty of this recipe is how customizable it is. Make it your own by swapping in whatever ingredients you want based on preference, what you have on hand, dietary lifestyle, and honestly just whatever you’re in the mood for. I only used five ingredients to make the whole experience, from shopping to preparing to cooking to tasting, as simple and delightful as possible.
Behold my favorite kind of math:
The Perfect Dinner Formula
4 ounces pasta equivalent
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
about 1 pound of vegetables
1 tablespoon citrus juice
1/2 pound protein source
1 cup basil
Let’s break this down, shall we?
The subtle star of this recipe is the olive oil, because it makes all the difference when crisping up the noodles. Don’t worry, I didn’t go nuts with adding fat, but the healthy fats in olive oil are amazing for you and you get the perfect dose of them here.
Since we’re not using a ton of EVOO, it needs to be excellent quality. Everyone needs a good olive oil and I am no exception, so allow me to highly recommend Bertolli Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
What I love about this brand is how high quality it is, especially for the price point.The flavor is lovely without being too strong or heavy. Life is too short to cook with anything but great EVOO, and Bertolli makes this accessible for any budget.
Let’s have the pasta conversation, because I know that’s where I’ll get the most questions.
Kelly, I thought we were low carb buddies. But pasta is carb central! Why would you betray me like this? What gives??
I would never betray you, low carb buddy! I used soybean pasta (this is the brand I get) to test this recipe, which is super high protein, low carb, relatively low in calories, and tastes just as good (if not better!) than regular pasta. But since soybean pasta is a pretty niche ingredient, you can use whatever spaghetti-shaped food your heart desires.
Spiralized carrots or zucchini? Spaghetti squash? Good ol’ noodles? So many pasta-bilities.
This recipe is worth putting up with my terrible jokes. Pinky swear.
The good news continues: you can use whatever vegetable(s) you’d like. I used radishes, but just use your roasting vegetable of choice or whatever you have on hand. I’m pan roasting the veggies (i.e. cooking them in a skillet in a bit of olive oil), which cuts down significantly on time while allowing them to get perfectly golden on all sides. Plus you don’t have to dirty a baking sheet. Hooray for fewer dishes to clean!
Having never roasted radishes before, I was very impressed with how buttery the texture and delicate the flavor became.
My goal when making this recipe is to use very high quality ingredients but only a few of them, as to not overcomplicate things and let the stars shine. In that spirit, I only used one vegetable, but feel free to use a combination of anything you’d like. You can pan roast as much or as little as you so desire, depending on how veggie heavy you want this dish.
I’m excited to play around with all the possible vegetable combos. Pan roasted brussels sprouts with caramelized onions? Sign me up!
As for the touch of zing, I used kumquat juice because I was feeling particularly fancy, but feel free to replace it with whatever juice tickles your citrus.
Make sure to stir in some basil. Because basil makes every dinner better.
As for the protein, just sub in your favorite meat/meatless meat. Jackfruit made me feel very cool and adventurous, but this is your dinner so you call the shots.
4 ounces soybean pasta (328) + 1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Bertolli Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (160) + 1 cup basil leaves (4) + 2 bunches radishes (33) + 1 tablespoon kumquat juice (8) + 1 (10 ounce) package jackfruit (40) / 3 = 191 calories per serving
4 ounces soybean pasta (22g) + 1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Bertolli Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (0g) + 1 cup basil leaves (0g) + 2 bunches radishes (5g) + 1 tablespoon kumquat juice (2g) + 1 (10 ounce) package jackfruit (5g) / 3 = 11g net carbs per serving
4 ounces soybean pasta (50g) + 1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Bertolli Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (0g) + 1 cup basil leaves (1g) + 2 bunches radishes (2g) + 1 tablespoon kumquat juice (0g) + 1 (10 ounce) package jackfruit (5g) / 3 = 19g protein per serving
- 4 ounces spaghetti*
- 1 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon Bertolli Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 bunches radishes, quartered**
- salt + pepper
- 1 tablespoon kumquat juice***
- 1 (10 ounce) package jackfruit****
- 1 cup basil leaves, finely chopped
- Prepare your pasta of choice as directed. Boil pasta, cook spaghetti squash, etc. If you're using a spiralized vegetable, then don't cook it yet and wait until we get to the crisping step.
- Heat 1 teaspoon of EVOO in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add in radishes and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden and tender, which can take up to 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
- Add in the prepared pasta. Add in the juice and remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and stir until completely combined. Continue cooking over medium high heat, stirring occasionally, until the noodles get crispy. This will depend on how crispy you want the noodles, but for me it took about 7 minutes. Just keep an eye on it.
- In the meantime, prepare your protein of choice. I just heated a touch of olive oil in a skillet and sauteed the jackfruit to get a nice golden texture. This method works for all proteins I've worked with-- tofu, tempeh, seitan, etc. My jackfruit came pre-sauced, but feel free to add whatever seasonings you like, be it salt and pepper or a prepared sauce, etc.
- Once the noodles are crispy, add in the chopped basil and cooked for about 30 seconds. Stir in your protein and devour.
*I use soybean spaghetti, which is super high protein, low carb, relatively low in calories, and tastes just as good (if not better!) than regular pasta. But you can absolutely use whatever spaghetti-shaped food your heart desires. Spiralized carrots or zucchini! Spaghetti squash! Good ol' noodles! So many pasta-bilities.
**You can use whatever vegetable(s) your heart desires. For the sake of my assignment I used radishes, but just use your roasting vegetable of choice or whatever you have on hand. You can pan roast as much or as little as you like, depending on how veggie heave you want this dish.
***Again, in the spirit of my Chopped-style extravaganza I used kumquat juice, but feel free to replace it with whatever juice tickles your citrus.
****Just sub in your favorite meat/meatless meat. Jackfruit made me feel very cool and adventurous, but this is your protein so you call the shots.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Bertolli. The opinions and text are all mine. Thank you for helping me keep the lights on around here!