Bell Peppers. Glorious, gorgeous, round, rotund bell peppers in all colors of the rainbow. They are just about everywhere right now, and I can’t get enough. Especially when I can add them to some wholegrain pasta for a delicious, summery, fresh meal that I know is good for me.
I got some green, orange and yellow bell peppers for a steal at the grocery store the other day and I couldn’t wait to eat them. Bell peppers are just about the prettiest vegetables out there and they are both delicious and good for you, packed as they are with a multitude of vitamins and fiber. They’re also versatile. You can add them to just about anything– curries, pastas, salads — or you can cook them up into tasty sabzis (cooked Indian sides). For a really simple side, I sometimes saute some sliced bell peppers with olive oil, salt and ground black pepper until they are slightly charred on the outside but still have a good bite to them.
My favorite bell pepper is perhaps the ugly duckling of the family– the humble old green bell pepper. And to those like Nigella Lawson who has famously declared that she cannot abide a green pepper, I say, well, try it with some Indian food.
While red, orange and yellow bell peppers are fabulous and sweet and nutritionally more gifted, green peppers — because they are raw — still have a pungency and spiciness to them that goes beautifully with Indian food. I never, ever substitute greens for another color peppers in my Indian recipes because, well, you just won’t get the same flavor.
But peppers of all colors are delicious in pasta, and especially so when they’re roasted. Ergo, my summery Pasta with Roasted Peppers and Baby Lima Beans.
I used organic, whole-wheat pasta for this recipe, but if you’re doing the gluten-free thing, feel free to sub with gluten-free or any other kind of pasta. And don’t hesitate to add more veggies. I threw in some leeks and some onions, but you can add to this recipe some green or yellow squash like zucchini or roasted eggplant.
A shout out today to the Washington Post, my hometown newspaper and one of the best in the world, for their fabulous article over this weekend on Pani Puris, the ultimate Bombay street snack, and for quoting me. Rachel Kaufman, the writer, said she reached out to me because she had enjoyed reading my blog posts about Bombay street foods. This is just one of the many, many joys I get out of writing this blog for you. Holy Cow! may not be the most famous vegan food blog out there, but who needs that when I know I have some of the best readers who appreciate what I cook and write for you.
And now, the pasta. Enjoy, all!
- 12 ounces of wholegrain pasta (I used fusilli, but use any small shape. You can also use gluten-free or regular pasta)
- 3 bell peppers (any color is fine, or use a mix, like I did)
- 8 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
- 2 leeks, cleaned and green and white parts chopped
- 2 cups frozen baby lima beans (feel free to substitute with canned beans and you can use another kind of bean. Chickpeas would be a great substitute)
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1 tbsp chopped thyme
- 1 tbsp chopped sage
- Salt to taste
- Juice of 2 lemons
- ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Rub some oil on your palms and then rub each bell pepper with your palms to coat it slightly with oil. Don't worry about the oil-- the skin will come off, but the oil will help your peppers roast better.
- Place the bell peppers on a baking sheet and roast in a preheated 500-degree oven for 30-40 minutes or until the skins are all black and wrinkly.
- Remove the bell peppers form the oven and set aside to cool.
- When they are cooled, remove the skins which will come off easily. Deseed the peppers and cut them into thin strips. Set aside.
- Cook the pasta per package directions, in salted water.
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a large saucepan.
- Add the onions and garlic and saute, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft but not browned. Add some salt, red pepper flakes and the ground black pepper.
- Add the leeks, sage and thyme and saute a few more minutes until the leeks are tender.
- Add the pasta and stir well to mix.
- Add the roasted bell peppers and parsley. Mix well and turn off the heat.
- Add the lemon juice and more salt if needed. Serve hot or warm. If you don't mind the oil, drizzle in some extra virgin olive oil just before serving for extra deliciousness.