Struggling to get your little one to eat more veggies? This pasta with a vegetarian "meat" sauce uses cauliflower and mushrooms instead of ground beef, but you would never know. It will definitely have your family asking for more. To bump up the amount of protein in the meal, use a chickpea pasta, like Banza.
- 12 ounce baby bella mushrooms, stems removed
- 12 ounce package fresh or frozen riced cauliflower
- 1/4 cup, plus 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (omit if children don't like spicy foods)
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 cup tomato paste
- salt, to taste
- 1 pound package of chickpea rigatoni pasta (can substitute with regular pasta)
- 3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (or non-dairy version)
Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Meanwhile, pulse the mushrooms in a food processor until in fine pieces. Add mushrooms to the pan, and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes. Add in the onion and cook, stirring often, until onions are translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add in the garlic, chili flakes, oregano, and thyme. Cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes.
Add in the tomato paste and salt, stirring constantly, for a couple minutes, letting the tomato paste darken a bit. Add in the riced cauliflower, and cook for 8 minutes, or until it begins to stick to the pan. Remove from heat, cover, and set aside.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta one minute less than the packaging instructs, then add it to the pan with the sauce along with 1 cup of pasta water, the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and parmesan cheese. Stir until well incorporated together and serve.