Farfalle pasta

Farfalle, or bow tie, pasta is the main attraction in this fun pasta dish.

Enjoy this beautiful meal al fresco, or outside in the cool, open air. Whether you have a patio, deck, picnic table, or you go to a local park — this is the time of year to enjoy eating outdoors with friends and family. Utilize our local parks and bring the family, a tablecloth, flatware, and cutlery for a beautiful picnic.

Don’t forget reusable bottles of water. Take advantage of seasonal spring veggies from the farmer’s market, such as asparagus and spinach, by making the veggies at the peak of their flavor. Supporting local farmers is super cool too!

Ingredients:

1 package grilled Chick’n strips– found in the meatless frozen section

(See article for substitution options)

½ cup vegan butter – Country Crock or Earth Balance are my faves!

16 oz bow tie pasta, aka farfalle (gluten-free is fine)

1 lb asparagus, diced

1 lb spinach

2 lemons, sliced into ¼s

Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

Bring a large pot of six cups of water to a boil. Add two tablespoons of salt and the box of pasta. Cook according to package directions, reserve ½ cup of pasta water, drain, and set aside. In a medium sized sauté pan, heat the vegan butter until hot, add the chick’n strips, cover, and cook 7-8 minutes. Cover the pan, stir well, add the asparagus, cover and cook 3 more minutes. Uncover pan, add the spinach and sauté, stirring frequently, until spinach is completely wilted. Add the cooked pasta, tossing together with a spaghetti fork until fully incorporated with the veggies and chick’n pieces. (If using substitutions, add the substitution here.) Squeeze the lemon wedges juice into the pan and toss again. Serve hot and eat outside, if possible.

Vegan chick’n pieces are found in the meatless, frozen section of most supermarkets. Make sure to buy grilled chick’n pieces, not chick’n tenders, for a light way to add protein if you desire. The meatless chick’n can be omitted OR replaced with a can of drained and rinsed, cooked white beans; or one pound of crumbled organic tofu; or a cup of riced cauliflower; or a cup of chopped broccoli. All of these substitutions will pair nicely with the light and flavorful lemon-butter pasta.

Bow-tie pasta, aka farfalle, is one of the most versatile and fun pasta types to play with in the kitchen! Do you prefer gluten-free pasta? What is your favorite pasta shape? Let me know at the email below! My top favorite pasta shape is angel hair pasta for the speed at which it cooks; a relief for this busy Mom of two boys, so look out for an angel hair recipe in the near future! Let me know what you think of today’s recipe by emailing me at vegancookingbyleah@gmail.com and thanks for cooking with me today.

Leah Okeson writes from Montrose.

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