Another new cookbook arrived from Paperback Swap a few weeks ago – The Best Vegetarian Recipes authored by my long time favorite, Martha Rose Shulman. Studying the recipes during stolen moments led me to craving a richly flavored stew of swiss chard, chickpeas, leeks, and fennel.
With just 15 minutes to make a grocery stop, I pulled into my favorite store. Surprisingly, they were out of fennel. Leaving empty handed and with no time to shop elsewhere I mentally searched the contents of my pantry.
A Well Stocked Pantry
The art of a well stocked pantry is a relentless pursuit, one that all good cooks pursue with fervor. Savory meals can be put together with little effort, desserts can be made from scratch with a few key ingredients on hand.
Knowing that I always have several cans of diced tomatoes on hand, I settled on a simple marinara sauce and consulted my new book for some more inspiration. I’d just cooked a big pot of chickpeas and had a bag of my newest favorite convenience food – frozen organic broccoli florets from Costco. Adding some gluten-free Tinkyada Pasta Spirals made a nutritious, satisfying meal.
Most marinara sauces use some form of sugar to balance the acid in the tomatoes. Instead of sugar, I used liquid stevia. If you don’t have any stevia, use any sugar substitute you have on hand. Start with a little, then taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. The cinnamon helps to make the tomatoes a little sweeter – no one will know it’s there.
Visit The Gluten Free Homemaker for What Can I Eat that’s Gluten-free and find more meal ideas.
What are your favorite in-a-pinch meals?
This recipe is adapted from The Best Vegetarian Recipes.
- 3 tablespoons olive, divided
- 3 large garlic cloves, grated on a microplane
- 2 (28 ounce) cans of diced tomatoes, drained with juice reserved
- 10 drops clear liquid stevia (I like NuNatruals)
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon basil
- 1/4 teaspoon thyme
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
- kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 1 pound frozen broccoli florets
- 1 pound gluten-free pasta spirals
- 2 cups cooked chickpeas
- fresh grated parmesan cheese, optional
- Heat one tablespoon of olive oil in a pan large enough to accommodate all the tomatoes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for a minute until it’s fragrant. Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup of reserved juice, then stir in stevia, oregano, basil, thyme, and cinnamon. Simmer, stirring often, until sauce has cooked down is fragrant. If you want a drier marinara sauce, cook it longer. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add broccoli and stir for one minute. You just want to start the cooking process. Remove broccoli and set in a bowl. Bring water back up to a boil and add pasta with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Stir to coat. Cook until al dente according to directions on bag.
- When pasta is nearly done, add broccoli and chickpeas. Heat through. Drain cooked pasta. Toss pasta and sauce. Top with parmesan cheese if desired.