Saturday, June 27, 2009

Almond Veggie Pasta Salad

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Each month friends and I get together to swap dishes, similiar to holiday cookie swaps (aka my Brunch & Barter events). This month I prepared the following recipe to share tomorrow. I have to admit, I really didn't have a clue what to make. Thanks to my friend Jen, she sent me a Cooking Light recipe which she made the last time we were over for dinner at their place. It was a great dish that's calls for a lot of pantry staples.

The original recipe calls for peanut butter - a standard pantry staple I don't normally have in the house. My husband isn't a fan of peanut butter so I just stopped using it in dishes. Because I didn't have any time to run to the grocery store, I opted to make a substitution - almond butter. I had plenty of raw almonds in my freezer to make a homemade almond butter so thankfully I saved myself a trip! I'm actually glad to have made this substitution because I feel better knowing it was truly a natural product without any preservatives or other miscellaneous ingredients.

The only other substitution I made was omitting the chicken using some broccoli slaw. It provided a bit more flavor and color to the overall dish and was something I had on hand. You're welcome to add chicken to this dish for a more filling meal.


Almond Veggie Pasta Salad
recipe adapted by Cooking Light

8 ounces uncooked rotini pasta
2 cups broccoli slaw (broccoli, carrots & cabbage mix)
1 cup thinly sliced green onions
2/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup homemade roasted almond butter (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh ginger "thumb"
2 teaspoons Sriracha (hot chile sauce)
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, black

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain well and place in a large mixing bowl.

Add the broccoli slaw salad and sliced green onions with the pasta; set aside.

Combine broth and next 7 ingredients (through Sriracha) in a food processor and process until smooth (or whisk together in a medium bowl). Drizzle broth mixture over pasta mixture; toss well. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.


Homemade Roasted Almond Butter
recipe from Mahalo

Toasting the almonds brings out their flavor. It is not absolutely necessary to toast the almonds, but toasting will enhance the flavor of your almond butter.


1 1/2 cups raw almonds (which will make about 1/2 cup of butter)

Preheat your oven to 350 F.
Spread the almonds evenly on a baking sheet.
Toast the almonds in the oven for about 8-10 minutes.
Remove the almonds from the oven when they start to change color.
Allow the almonds to cool to the touch.
Now that your almonds are nicely toasted, it is time to grind them into butter
Start your food processor on high speed and slowly add the almonds through the food processor shoot.
  • At first, the mix will be dry and dusty.
Continue processing the almonds until the oils release from the nuts and the almond butter becomes smooth and creamy. It can take up to 10 minutes for the oils to release.
  • You will know the oils are beginning to release when the mixture starts to change from a dry, crumbly mixture to a smoother, creamier mixture.
Use a spatula to scrape clumps off the sides of the food processor as necessary.
Add salt, if desired, to taste.

Scrape the almond butter out of the food processor with a spatula. All Recipes: Almond Butter Recipe
Store uneaten almond butter in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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