Pesto Spinach Pasta

We are a family of pasta-fanatics! I have my pantry full of different shapes and types of pasta. I would really love to make fresh pasta for my meals soon. I attended a fun pasta making class at Galeries Lafayette two years back, more on this here. Need to put the knowledge to some use!

This makes an interesting lunch option on weekends. The pasta comes together in literally a couple of minutes. This is a go-to recipe even on week nights when after work, all I want is an indulgent bowl of warm pasta and griddled bread.

I usually do my groceries from the Fruit & Vegetable market on Saturday afternoons. So making a fresh batch of pesto early on to use the fresh basil seems a good idea. I readily use up the pesto within the first half of the week for this recipe.

The pasta sauce is fragrant and oozes with flavours of basil, garlic, olive oil, sea salt, a handful of parmesan and pine nuts. I am not sharing the pesto recipe since I do not follow any standard measurements when making one.

This is my husband’s favourite recipe as well. Some days I just toss the pasta in the sauce and top to with kalamata olives and sundried tomatoes and then there are times when I add some spinach to the mix.

Pesto Spinach Pasta

Here’s the recipe with spinach:

Cooking Time : 15 minutes
Serves : 3

1 cup pesto
3 tsp roasted pine nuts
2 tsp olive oil
2 tsp garlic mayo (Add more if you’re feeling naughty!)
2 cloves garlic minced
1 red onion thinly sliced
250 grams of Tagliatelle pasta
250 grams baby spinach
Flaky sea salt to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper to taste

In a pan, heat some olive oil and add sliced onions. Cook with minced garlic until it is lightly browned.

Add pesto and make a sauce with little water in which the pasta is getting cooked. Season as required, add garlic mayo to provide some more creaminess to the sauce. Go easy on the salt since the pesto already has salt from the parmesan cheese added to it. Add some spinach at this point and just sauté it gently.

Pesto Sauce

Cook the pasta, drain and add it to the sauce. Coat well and serve with a side of toasted baguette.

Until next time, happy cooking! 🙂

Hummus

Eid Mubarak everyone! I hope this festival brings in loads of joy and happiness to you and your family.

I’m sharing a recipe of hummus as I make at my place. Hummus is a popular Arabic dip perfect to be served with pita bread (khuboos) or just as a side for any appetizers.

Hummus2

Homemade hummus is much more healthier and cheaper than it’s canned counterparts. Easy to make and stores well for 3-4 days in an airtight container or a mason jar. Sometimes when I have the time and determination to indulge in batch cooking over weekends, instead of using canned chickpeas I go for the freshly cooked chickpeas.

It’s pretty simple! Soak chickpeas overnight and pressure cook them in salted water, drain the chickpeas and then make fresh hummus. Preserve the liquid in which the chickpeas are cooked and substitute the same with plain water as indicated in the recipe. It tastes fantastic and really makes a difference.

Hummus is my go to snack to carry for work. I eat this with baby carrots, cucumber sticks or just crackers. It is rich in protein, folic acid, Vitamin C and iron. Better than a pack of salty crisps any day!

I also substitute peanut butter with hummus for days when I feel too much PBJ sandwiches did no one any good!

Why add Tahini Paste to this ? Read here!

Comes Together In : 10 minutes
(Considering time taken to make Tahini Paste)

Ingredients
1 can chickpeas
1/3 cup tahini paste
5 tsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
2-3 cloves garlic coarsely chopped
1/2 cup water
Salt to taste
Olive oil and paprika to garnish

Puree the chickpeas with garlic, add little water to facilitate a smooth texture.

Chickpeas

Add tahini paste and the remaining ingredients. Keep adding water and olive oil a little at a time.

Once the texture is smooth and velvety, remove in a bowl or store well.

Hummus1

This versatile recipe can be altered to your own liking. Garnish with olive oil and add Za’atar powder, sumac powder, cumin powder or just paprika to spice up.

Until next time Happy Cooking! 🙂

Tahini Paste

Tahini

Here’s a post on how to make Tahini Paste at home! I am amazed that I am blogging about something which has sesame seeds as the key ingredient.

I have never liked sesame seeds, my earliest memories are of my mum making some cutlets dusted with sesame seed crust. This particular evening I was excited about mum trying a new recipe and I was looking forward to hog the snacks after a long session of working on a crucial college project!

But my excitement disappeared once I took a bite and the slightly bitter sesame seeds greeted me. It was one of those moments wherein you are so put off with something that you form a very strong perception. Ever since then I never tried anything which had sesame seeds in it.

Cut to 3 years back when I landed in Dubai and munching on toasted pita bread and hummus became a way of life. Initially I was quite ignorant and thought hummus is made only from chickpeas but a quick check on Google proved me wrong!

When I tried making hummus the first time, I skipped the sesame seeds and the consistency of the hummus was very off and watery. I decided to take the plunge and add the tahini paste and after seeing the difference they make when added to hummus, I was a convert!

Comes Together In : 5 minutes

Ingredients
1/3 cup sesame seeds
Water as required
1/4 cup olive oil

Dry roast sesame seeds on low heat until they have acquired a light golden brown color.

Tahini 1

Blend the roasted sesame seeds with little water and olive oil until it is a smooth paste.

Voila! Home made tahini paste is ready to be used in making the super-healthy hummus.

I love the creamy and nutty texture they give hummus. I always make a big batch one fortnight and use it during the week to whip up fresh hummus. It stays well for a month if kept in a airtight container refrigerated.

Until next time happy cooking!

Red Cabbage & Carrot Salad

Off late I have taken a liking to eating carrots with a side of hummus or zataar labneh. It’s my usual go-to snack at work as well. I have always liked eating the red carrots I find back home. When I first came to Dubai, finding red carrots also referred as Pakistani carrots became a rarity.

I took my own sweet time liking the orange-tinged New Zealand or Australian carrots but now I use them in mostly everything. I put diced carrot in tomato soup (it lends a beautiful color and adds an undertone of sweetness to the acidity of the tomatoes) in savoury snacks like Poha, Upma or just carrots in salads.

Orange carrots are a good source of beta carotene and Vitamin A. Long hours spent glaring at the computer screens have left my eyes looking tired so I munch on these apart from investing in an eye cream.

I have family come over often for weekend lunch. My brother in law likes experimenting with salads and his favorite is the sprouts salad I make. However this time around he asked me to make something different.

Salad 2

I instantly remembered a bookmarked recipe from BBC Good Food’s website. I had red cabbage in the fridge and decided to make this Red Cabbage and Carrot Salad. It’s an adapted version.

Ready in 10 minutes max
Serves : 4 people

Ingredients

3 carrots grated
1 baby red cabbage
1 medium sized red onion thinly sliced
4 sprigs of coriander and mint leaves each
1/3 cup toasted and coarsely chopped salted peanuts

Dressing

Juice of 2 limes
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper powder
1 tsp organic brown sugar

Toss all the veggies in a salad bowl. I have added more of the peanuts since we like a bit more crunch in the salad. I have used a pack of pre-toasted and salted peanuts which you easily get in Indian supermarkets.

In a small bowl mix the ingredients for the dressing and blend them well.

Add the chopped herbs and pour the dressing over it. Add the toasted peanuts and serve immediately or chill for 10 minutes.

Salad

I hope you like this recipe as much as my family did.