As its St David’s Day today (1st March), it seemed only right that I share something connected to Wales. Apart from stunning scenery and lush green countryside, the three things that spring to my mind are daffodils, sheep and leeks. And there’s only one of those that can feature in one of my recipes, so leeks it is!
Which is great, as I’m a big fan of leeks. This leggy member of the allium family can play a harmonious background role or be the star of the dish – leek and potato soup and leeks in white sauce are the two favourites in my house.
Being part of the same family as onion and garlic, leeks contain many of the same healthful properties and therefore nutritional benefits including the powerful sulphur compounds and gut-supporting pre-biotic fibre. However, leeks are less dense and therefore carry less of these compounds, which might sound like a disadvantage, but not if you have IBS or suffer from stomach issues or heartburn.
Many people with these conditions find onion and garlic intolerable. They can cause severe pain, bloating or hours of acidic belching – not really what you want after eating a delicious meal! But leeks, particularly the green leafy parts, tend not to have the same effect and can be used as a substitute ingredient. This doesn’t apply to everyone, but I know many people who happily chow through a dish with leeks with no bad side effects. Horray! If you find onions just too much and have been avoiding leeks as well, you might want to try a little and see how you respond – but only a little just in case.
As well as leeks. this quick pasta recipe contains the mighty broccoli, a nutrient powerhouse in it’s own right! Don’t forget to chop your broccoli before anything else so you have a good 15 minutes or so before adding it to the pan to make sure the enzymes have been released that enable you to gain the full benefit. Check out this old blog post to find out more about this.
I’ve labeled this as a pasta sauce as it works really well with whatever pasta you choose. If you can find lentil or chickpea pasta, then not only is it gluten free but you’ll be giving yourself an extra protein boost (although this dish contain plenty of plant protein already in the tofu). But if pasta is not your thing then try it with quinoa or steamed rice, or even over a baked potato. Whatever works for you.
If you are Welsh, I wish you a Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus (I hope I got that right!). And if you’re not, then I hope you enjoy the day anyway, and this yummy quick dinner. Do let me know what you think to it.
Quick leek, mushroom and broccoli pasta
- 2 medium leeks washed, trimmed and shredded
- 1/2 medium head of broccoli chopped into small pieces
- 150 grams mushrooms chopped
- 1 fat clove of garlic grated
- 150 grams silken tofu
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard optional but good
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- salt and pepper to taste
- 150 grams pasta of choice
- glug extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil to serve optional
- First bring a large pan of water to the boil and add the pasta. Cook according to the packet instructions. When the pasta is nearly cooked, add the broccoli to the pan and simmer for 2 minutes. Drain the water from the pan, retaining a little in a small jug.
- Whilst the pasta is cooking, make the sauce. Heat a couple of tablespoons of water in the base of a large pan. Add the leeks with a pinch of salt and sauté for 5 minutes until soften. Add the, mushrooms and garlic and simmer for a couple of minutes until the mushrooms just start to release some fluid.
- Make the sauce whilst the veggies are cooking. Pop the silken tofu, mustard, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper into a small blender or Nutribullet jug and blend to smooth.
- Once the leeks and mushrooms are ready, pour in the sauce and simmer gently for a few minutes (probably just while the pasta finishes cooking).
- Tip the cooked pasta and broccoli into the pan and stir well to combine. If the sauce is a little thick or dry, add a little of the retained pasta cooking water.
- Serve in bowls with a little extra nutritional yeast and swirl of extra virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil if desired.