Quinoa Pasta with Tangy Peanut Sauce

Quinoa Pasta with Tangy Peanut Sauce

This is one of my favorite recipes — I love Asian flavors and this a crowd pleaser every time!   This version turns a typically unhealthy meal into a nutritional staple by substituting quinoa pasta for traditional white flour pasta, replacing chicken with tofu, and adding lots of veggies.

Quinoa Pasta with Tangy Peanut Sauce Ingredients (serves 2):

1 bunch of scallions (both green and white parts), cleaned and chopped
2 cups of shitake mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
2 – 3 bell peppers, cleaned and chopped
1 package extra-firm tofu, sliced into matchsticks
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon liquid aminos/tamari/soy sauce
1 box quinoa pasta

Tangy Peanut Sauce Ingredients:

3 heaping teaspoons of crunch peanut butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup liquid aminos/tamari/soy sauce

Scallions are part of the allium family (along with onions, shallots, and leeks) and boast a number of important vitamins (K, B-Complex, and C), as well as high anti-oxidant and falvinoid counts.  The Allicin in alliums reduces blood vessel stiffness through the release of nitric oxide, thus helping to reduce blood pressure.  Shitake mushrooms are immune boosting powerhouses due to their polysacchariade content.  Polysacchardies help the immune system produce stronger immunity cells and have shown to be particularly effective in attacking cancer.  Bell peppers are filled with vitamins and anti-oxidants; most importantly, C, A, and beta-carotene (especially high in red and yellow peppers).

Quinoa Pasta with Tangy Peanut Sauce

I’m very selective about where I use fermented soy products (tofu, tempeh etc.) in my cooking.  I have a sensitive digestive tract and sometimes they upset my system.  I’m also a slave for delicious food and only like to use them where I truly feel they add value to a dish and have a pleasing flavor and texture.  Because of all that, please trust me that tofu is really good in this recipe!

After slicing the tofu into matchsticks, brown them in a medium/hot pan with olive oil and Bragg’s (any soy sauce will work, but Bragg’s is one of the healthiest options on the market).  Be prepared for the matchsticks to crumble a bit during cooking, but it’s fine to end up with smaller well-cooked pieces.  Once the tofu is nearly finished (~10 minutes) add the sliced shitake mushrooms and peppers and saute them lightly (~4 minutes).

While you’re sauteing the tofu and vegetables boil a large pot of salted water and cook the quinoa pasta. For this recipe I typically use spaghetti, but any pasta works.  By switching your pasta to quinoa pasta you completely transform the nutritional content of this dish.  Quinoa is a complete protein, a low-fat grain, and a great source of iron and magnesium.  By using quinoa pasta you not only add all these nutritional benefits to the dish, you also eliminate all the negative impacts of white pasta (gluten, sugar, refined carbohydrates etc.).

In a small bowl begin mixing the peanut sauce.  Combine all of the ingredients listed above and whisk with a fork until it reaches a uniform consistency.  Feel free to add more oil, vinegar, soy, or peanut butter to taste.  You can also add a dash of maple syrup if you like a sweeter taste in your peanut sauce.

Quinoa Pasta with Tangy Peanut Sauce

Mix the sauce in with cooked pasta, sauteed tofu and peppers, and fresh sliced scallions.  Toss well and enjoy!  This is a great dish for converting picky eaters in your family or introducing kids to tofu for the first time.

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