The best thing to do when you get into a cooking rut is to buy a bunch of veggies at the store—whatever looks fresh—slice them up with garlic and onions, and get it all talking with some extra virgin olive oil in a pan. This simple process alone is enough to make your whole kitchen smell like something revolutionary is cooking on the stove. Add a few grinds of salt and pepper, and you’d be surprised at how easy a plate of veggies could go down.
Once you get started, it’s easy to get going. For me, this mindset applies to nearly everything in my life. From running to writing to cooking, after the first few tricky minutes, the rest of the cruise typically turns into a smooth and pleasant sail. I can’t count the number of times I’ve come home from work and forced myself to opt for a run over a nap. Or the number of occasions I’ve made veggie-chopping rather than toaster-plopping a mandatory evening activity. I’m always happy with these decisions. And the enjoyment usually comes no more than 5 minutes into the process.
When sauteing, once the veggies start releasing their aromatic allure, the creative juices may begin to flow. Perhaps you keep it simple, or maybe you add soy sausage, oregano and mozzarella like I did here. All of the ingredients that followed made this pasta spark, but it was the veggies that got the dish rolling. With the summer garden season still thriving, there’s really no better time to look towards the soil-rooted ingredients for a little culinary inspiration.
- -1 (13.25 oz.) box whole wheat spaghetti
- -1 onion, thinly sliced
- -1 small green bell pepper, thinly sliced
- -8 cloves garlic, chopped
- -15-20 baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
- -3 cups of spinach, chopped
- -10 oz. grape tomatoes, halved or cut into thirds
- -1 1/2 Tbsp. dried basil or about 4 1/2 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
- -4 oz. Gimme Lean sausage style
- -8 oz. mozzarella, sliced
- -Olive oil
- -Salt and pepper, to taste
- Cook pasta according to package until al dente.
- Meanwhile, heat 2 Tbsp. olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high. Add onion, bell pepper, garlic, and mushrooms. Season generously with salt and pepper. Saute until peppers begin to soften, but aren't fully tender, stirring occasionally.
- Add tomatoes, spinach and basil. While the veggies cook, make a space on one end of the pan and crumble the soy sausage in that area. Brown the sausage, stirring occasionally. Adjust salt and pepper, to taste.
- Once the peppers and onions are tender and sausage is browned, stir all together.
- Add the veggie mixture to drained pasta. Toss. Plate the pasta immediately, and top with fresh mozzarella. Serve.