Ok, ok, I know, it isn’t really all that kale-y. I mean there are two jam packed cups of kale in this bad boy, but I don’t think this dish screams foliage. Just look at it though. Would you really want me to not post this recipe? I’m gonna go ahead and say no, and continue writing this recipe down for you. If you are new to my blog, or just haven’t been paying attention (eh hem), you may wonder why I am fussing about the kale at all. Well you see, I started this challenge that I call 1/100/100 where it is my goal over the course of 1 year to post 100 vegan recipes featuring 100 vegan ingredients. You guessed it, today’s ingredient is kale.
Let’s look at it this way, if I had posted a kale salad, SNORE. Right? So instead I decided to make this creamy, comfort food (but secretly really healthy), totally scrumptious pasta bake. It’s pretty easy too. I used Cashew Ricotta and Parmegan, both of which you could make ahead of time if you like. 3 cups of marinara sauce, could be homemade or store bought, some freshly chopped kale, and some pasta. Layer that in a dish and pop it in the oven. Easy peasy lemon sneezy.
The creaminess of the cashew ricotta is pretty amazing. I served this to a bunch of the non-vegans and they were all very impressed, and marvelled how they would have never known it was cashews. The kale isn’t too in your face and adds a fun chewy bite. I bet little kidlets wouldn’t even complain. I went ahead and made this gluten free too, just by using a store bought brown rice pasta. I have really been into brown rice pasta’s these days, because when cooked correctly, you would never notice the difference. I like it because it’s actually a whole grain, so it’s much better for you. Win win! Whole wheat pasta sucks. I’m sorry, but it’s true. Corn pasta tends to overflow messy corn starch all over the stove. So it’s brown rice pasta for me, all the way!
Sneak peek, my next post will be for a GIVEAWAY!!!! So keep your eyes on your inbox. Some grate times yet to come.
Kale & Cashew Ricotta Pasta Bake:
1 Recipe Cashew Ricotta
3 Cloves of Garlic
1/2 Cup Non-Dairy Milk of Choice (I used almond milk)
1/4 teaspoon Crushed Chili Flakes (optional)
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Oregano
Several Grinds of Fresh Pepper
2 Tablespoons Paremegan (or Nutritional Yeast will work too)
2 Packed Cups of Finely Chopped Kale
3 Cups Marinara Sauce (about 1 large bottle if you are buying ready made)
16oz Pasta of Choice (I used Gluten Free Brown Rice Pasta)
Oh man, I’m excited. Preheat your oven to 350F (180C), and bring a large pot of water to a boil for your pasta. Cook your pasta of choice until al dente. You want the pasta to be just a tiny bit under cooked as it will finish cooking in the oven.
Wash and finely chop the kale.
Finely mince the garlic. Put the ricotta in a bowl, and mix in the garlic, non-dairy milk, chili flakes (if using), salt, oregano, and pepper.
Lightly grease a large baking dish. I used a 9″x9″ dish with high sides, but a 9″x13″ pan works works great too.
Place half of your cooked pasta in the bottom of the dish. Then spread half of the marinara on the pasta. Sprinkle all of the kale across the pasta and marinara. You might need to lightly pack down the kale, it will shrink in the oven. Spread half of the ricotta mixture on top of the kale. Next use up all the remaining pasta, then the remainder of the marinara, and last the rest of the ricotta mixture. Finish by sprinkling the Parmegan or nutritional yeast across the top.
Your layered pasta should look something like this. Um, yum! Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for 5 more minutes until the top and edges start to brown. Serve hot.