Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Whole Wheat Rotini with Roasted Zucchini and Cheesy Tomato Sauce

I LOVE to cook and bake, it's one of my favorite hobbies.  I've been baking and cooking for a long time but still feel like I have so much to learn and I'm trying to get better at it.

In January of this year, I became a vegetarian.
I was having so much trouble with my stomach that I had to do a major overhaul on my eating habits. Before January, I kept meat in our meals because my husband is a meat, potato and veggie kind of guy. He likes the full meal deal but I don't eat much at night with my stomach issues and I was beginning to hate cooking dinner. I was starting to hate to cook!  I rarely ate what I made (before I changed my eating habits) at dinner time because of my stomach and I was really only cooking for my husband and son. My son was never a big meat eater and add on that my husband would never eat meat the second day. I always had so much waste.

In January, I changed all that. I took meat completely out of our diets. I don't regret or miss it for a moment. My husband eats what he wants away from the home so he can get all the meat he wants at Wendy's. I still use lunch meat when I pack my son's lunch for school, but even that I'm trying to get rid of.

 I actually started turning away from meat in November 2013 Thanksgiving. I brined a turkey and at the first bite, I was so turned off, I knew my meat eating days were coming to a close. In January, I stopped eating it all together. I've lost over 20 pounds and I feel so much better. I also I don't eat dairy, except for a bit of cheese once or twice a week and I still eat yogurt at times. Sugar is a different story. I have a sweet tooth and that won't change but I do find when I eat too much sugar my body starts to crave it. If I don't get enough sleep I'll crave sugar. I try and keep moderation and balance with the sweet stuff and if I'm going to eat it something sweet?  I'm gonna to make sure it's good. Since changing the way I eat, I feel a thousand times better. More energy, clearer thinking and my body doesn't ache as much.

Since January, I've rediscovered my love for cooking again. I love using fresh vegetables and all the lovely spices to be had. All the recipes I've been trying are full of so much flavor and texture that cooking and eating is fun again!
I made this dish last night. It was tasty and full of flavor and pretty easy to do. I found the recipe in a vegetarian cook book but changed it quite a bit.

Whole Wheat Rotini with Roasted Zucchini and Tomato Sauce

2 medium sized zucchini cut into quarters. (cut length wise in half, then lengthwise half again then chop it up)
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 small carrots chopped up
1/2  green pepper chopped
1 garlic clove chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 cup of vegetable stock
around three to four sun dried tomatoes chopped up (I had a small jar of Trader Joe's sun dried tomatoes that I used for this. I used about two tablespoons and chopped them up)
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
One half box of whole wheat rotini. I used the Barilla Plus whole wheat pasta.
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
salt and pepper
Heat oven to 400 degrees and on a baking sheet toss half the oil with your chopped zucchini and roast them in the oven for 15 mins or so until they are tender and lightly browned. This doesn't take long. Don't go too long or they get mushy. When these are done cooking, set aside.

While the zucchini is roasting put the remaining tablespoon of oil into a saucepan. Add the onion, carrots and green pepper and cook these on a low to medium heat until tender. I then add the garlic for a minute or two. You don't want to burn your garlic. 
While the veggies are cooking, boil some salted water for your pasta. Cook up your pasta according to the directions, drain and place back into the pot and set aside.
When the vegetables are tender add your can of diced tomatoes, 1 cup of vegetable stock the sun dried tomatoes and the oregano. Let this simmer until some of the liquid reduces a bit. Salt and pepper to taste.

Then add the 1/2 cup ricotta cheese and mix it into the hot sauce. 
When the sauce is warmed mix with the pasta then add the zucchini and mix gently. Serve immediately. 

I used a full box of the whole wheat rotini so the sauce is thinner on the pasta in the picture. I would use only half the box for more sauce. 
This was a very tasty and filling dish. Meat free....and really good for ya!

(recipe modified from the book Good food made Simple: Vegetarian)


  1. I became a vegetarian last fall. I am always looking for new recipes. My husband goes with me to the grocery store. Makes cooking easier. So, this is another recipe I will need to try. I always have gluten free pasta in my cupboard. Thanks for the post.

    1. I'm so glad I went ahead and made the change. I had wanted to for along time and cooking for my family was getting difficult trying to make everyone happy. I just decided if I was cooking it and I was going to eat it then I want to make what I want to cook and eat. My hubby is welcome to cook up some meat if he wants. It never turns out when I cook meat and I just can't handle eating animals anymore. Just a personal preference. This was really good! Are you vegan? or do you still eat eggs and cheese and such?

  2. I would love to go vegan, but I live in the middle of nowhere, so that type of food is difficult to find here. So I consider myself a vegetarian. Nothing with a face. I recently cut out cheese after a post on Google +. I do eat eggs, because they do not have a face. My husband says that doesn't count. Lol. It was actually his idea to start eating a plant based diet, he quit after 2 weeks, so he is totally for my choice to stay on a plant based diet (except for eggs). Does your husband support your being a vegetarian? I do eat some dairy, yogurt. But I am in love with almond milk. It is delicious. I would love to, one day, eat at a raw restaurant.


I love to hear your comments or just say "Hi!"....