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Easy Peasy GREAT Goulash
1 lb. whole grain macaroni, any shape
2 medium carrots, peeled and sliced thin
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 medium zucchini, small diced (I used a white zucchini!)
1 head broccoli, cut into small florets
5 large button mushrooms, washed, stemmed, chopped
3 cans (14.5 oz ea.) low sodium diced tomatoes
1 can diced tomatoes with mild green chilis
1 small can tomato paste (6 oz)
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Perfect Pinch Italian Seasoning blend
Salt and pepper to taste (to finish, do not add during cooking if trying to lower sodium.)
Nutritional Yeast (“noochie”) to shake on top
*I chose the veggies based on what I had in the fridge that needed to be used. You can get as creative as you want with this recipe. The more veggies, the better!
Cook the macaroni according to package directions except for one: do not add salt to the water. It does absolutely nothing other than raise the sodium content.
When the macaroni is al dente, drain and rinse in a big colander. Rinse it more than you think, and stir it around while you do (hence the big colander) to remove starch.
Rinse the macaroni pot. Pour the rinsed macaroni back into the pot.
While pasta boils, sauté the vegetables in a heavy, quality non-stick pan without oil or spray. Get the pan to a nice hot temp, with the burner just above medium. Hotter will damage the surface. Heat the pan until you can drip water in and it will bead up into a ball and dance. Then pour the peppers, onions, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms into the hot pan. (Not yet the zucchini.)
The keys to the oil-free sauté are a high quality pan, steady hot heat, and motion. Stir and cook and stir and cook. When the onions are translucent, and brown, thick sugars are starting to form and get sticky on the pan, add 1-2 tablespoons of vegetable broth.
When the onions start to get translucent, add some broth to deglaze and add the zucchini and seasonings. Sometimes I cover the pan at this point to speed up the process, but then it’s no longer a true sauté, so when I’m fussy and have time, no cover—just stir, deglaze, repeat until every veggie in the pan is almost done.
Add two cans of the diced tomatoes. Mix the third can with the tomato paste in a separate bowl and then add that as well.
Simmer the sauce until the veggies are crisp-tender to fork-tender, depending on your preference. Add pepper to taste, stirring it in. Scatter a small amount of salt over the surface of the sauce if you think it’s needed.
Now pour the veggies & sauce into the macaroni and stir with a big spoon, gently, but throughly.
Sprinkle with nutritional yeast if desired.
In the past I used commercial pasta sauce in this recipe, to which I always added a can or two of diced tomatoes. But hubby and I both agree this far is better — and closer to the earth, and minimally processed. Really the tomatoes are canned, and the paste is cooked down and then canned. The macaroni is changed from grain into elbows. Those are all forms of “processing.” But they are minimal compared to the amount of processing involved in turning an animal or even a soybean into a burger.
I chose the veggies in this recipe based on what I had in the fridge. You can use any veggies that sound good to you!
Slice the carrots very thin. They take forever to cook otherwise.
Next time I make it, I will try adding about 1/2 cup of nutritional yeast to the sauce mix, as I think that would be even better, but this was excellent just as is.
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Newsflash: I’m officially enrolled in the eCornell (yes, that Cornell) T. Colin Campbell Plant-Based Nutrition certification course! It starts tomorrow! Eeeee!