Friday, June 15, 2012

Vegan Tallarin Verde - Peruvian Pasta with Spinach Pesto

Vegan Tallarin Verde

After the challenging dosa last post, this one is easy breezy!  You do need a food processor or a blender though.    This is not an Italian pesto pasta dish but it is a Peruvian pasta called Tallarin Verde.   Italian pesto pasta uses a lot of basil leaves.  This dish uses a lot of spinach and a smaller amount of basil leaves.  It is as garlicky as Italian pesto but not as oily.

Vegan Tallarin Verde sauce ingredients from top left, clockwise:  fresh basil, onion, fresh spinach, pine nuts, and fresh garlic.
In my area, recently, Peruvian restaurants start to pop up everywhere, don't know why?  I enjoy visiting Peruvian restaurants since they tend to have 1 to 3 vegetarian dishes.  I blogged in the past about El Misti Peruvian restaurant with Vegan Options.  That's the only restaurant offers vegan options in my area.  This green vegetarian pasta dish served in most Peruvian restaurants are not vegan because there is cheese, butter, or milk in the pasta.  I really love this green pasta and decided to veganize it.  It is easy to veganize it by replacing the cheese with nuts, soy milk, nutritional yeast, and white miso.  There is no need to have soy milk in it if you prefer no soy milk, just replace it with vegetable broth.

I love this pasta to be bright green because it is more appetizing to see it that way on the plate.   It is served this way in restaurants, too, bright green.  However, several times when I made it at home, it became dark green like Italian pasta with pesto sauce.

I was able to make this pasta bright green with a trick.
After several times making it, I learned the trick to make this pasta bright green by using a technique I described below, in the recipe.

I discovered this organic quinoa pasta below and love it.  Since it is a Peruvian dish,  why not using a quinoa pasta for this dish.  After all quinoa is originated in Peru.  The pasta is yellow and the sauce is bright green  It is pretty and glutten-free.


On the side, I served this pasta with a simple dish: sauted farmers market zucchini in salt and pepper.  I also served it with Boca Chik'n Patties, sliced.   They are optional.  The pasta is delicious and nutritious by itself.  I also like to sprinkle some fresh lemon juice on the green pasta.

A variety zucchini I found at the farmers market. Sauted with a little oil and salt and pepper.
Vegan Tallarin Verde
Serve 4

2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons chopped garlic
1 onion, chopped coarsely or 1 cup chopped shallots
1 cup fresh basil, packed
4 cups fresh spinach, packed
1/4 teaspoon pine nuts  (use 1/3 cup for a richer sauce)
3 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
1-2 Tablespoons white miso
Note:  For those of you with gluten and soy sensitivity, check out the Chickpea Miso from South River Miso.  I often use and order miso from them.  They are great!  I usually order them during winter time so the miso stay cool during shipping.
1 teaspoon salt, less if vegetable broth is also salty
a pinch of white pepper
3/4 cup vegetable broth or soy milk
Note: I use Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base

16 oz. dry Spaghetti or Linguini Pasta (quinoa or semolina)

  1. Heat olive oil medium heat  in a shallow frying pan.  Add chopped garlic and onions.  Saute until onion is soft and translucent.
  2. Transfer the cooked garlic and onions into a blender or food processor.
  3. Add pine nuts, nutritional yeast, white miso, salt, pepper, and vegetable broth or soy milk.
  4. Process until smooth.
  5. At this time, the mixture in the food processor or blender may be warm/hot since the onions and garlic were hot from the frying pan.  This is the trick to make a bright green sauce:  wait until the sauce is cooled down.  If you put the fresh basil and spinach into it, the warm/hot sauce will cook the spinach and basil and the color will turn darker green.
  6. When the sauce is cool, add basil and spinach, process until smooth.
  7. While waiting for the sauce to cool, boil pasta according to the direction in the package.
  8. The cooked warm/hot pasta also will heat up the sauce some.  Therefore, to have it bright green, it is important to wait till the sauce cools down.  If you don't mind for a darker green sauce, then there is no need to wait.
  9. Serve immediately.
The green sauce can be stored separately in a container in the fridge for several days.  Then, it is easy to combine with the pasta just before dinner is served.  

Spinach pesto sauce.
It is my preference is to store the sauce separately than combined with the pasta.
Combine spinach pesto sauce with pasta just before dinner is served.

Other Veganized Peruvian dishes:

Yuca Ala Huancaina
Peruvian Cau-Cau  by Bryanna Clark Grogan
Peruvian Green Sauce  by Bryanna Clark Grogan
Many other Peruvian dishes by Bryanna Clark Grogan

    10 comments:

    Bryanna Clark Grogan said...

    I'm so happy that you veganized this dish, Debbie! I've been meaning to for ages, but now I can just use your recipe, which I know will be fantastic! Thank you, Debbie!

    Spice Island Vegan said...

    You're welcome! I was working on it for a while. :-) Didn't like the dark green, like pesto with basil color, as a result since when I had it at the restaurant it was bright green. I hope you like it.

    glutenfreehappytummy.com said...

    looks so delicious! and what a color!

    Jane Jackson said...

    Have you tried Hipster Dust? It's a new spice blend made especially for vegans. Check it out at http://hipsterdust.com ; you can request a free sample.

    Greenearth said...

    What delicious food.

    Priya said...

    good combination of health and food with beautiful pictures...

    zoeee said...

    Hi,

    I'm thinking about making this into a paleo friendly recipe and putting the pesto over spaghetti squash.. I am curious as to what I can substitute for white miso? I cannot have any soy/soy based products..

    any suggestions would be fantastic!


    Spice Island Vegan said...

    Hi Zoeee,

    How about tahini and fresh lemon juice? I think it will be a good replacement. Can you eat tahini? It will make the sauce creamy and rich.

    Spice Island Vegan said...

    Hi Zoeee,

    I also used Chickpea Miso. I bought several miso from southrivermiso.com Some of their miso has no soy in it. For example, check out their Chickpea Miso which is a white miso with no soy in it.

    zoeee said...

    the chickpea tahini is a great suggestion! I will have to wait to do that since I am currently on a no grains, starches, corn, soy, dairy sugar challenge. Other than that, I can bend the rules of paleo every now and again and use regular miso.

    For now, I might try pureed cashews for the creaminess?

    thanks for the reply, your blog is amazing. Though I am not vegan, I have chosen to limit or remove the use of diary, and some animal products from my life and some of your recipes have inspired me that cooking for a specific diet doesn't have to be bland/boring/tasteless.

    Happy thursday :)