Thursday, June 6, 2013

Cajun Pasta Aglio E Olio

Some traditionalists will call this sacrilege.  I call them boring.

Yes, Pasta Aglio E Olio is perfect in its simplicity.  But there is much to be learned from its technique.

The first time I tried the original I was flabbergasted- it was positively creamy.  And yet there was absolutely no cream, no butter and flour involved.  It was a hit with the entire family, and quickly became a staple in our home.  It still is to this day.

Since my transition to a mostly vegan diet I've been missing a lot of old favorites.  My Southwestern Pasta recipe was one of my absolute favorites, so I utilized what I learned from Pasta Aglio E Olio to veganize it.  The results are amazing.  I really don't think I notice much of a difference between the two, and this version is so much healthier as well.  Not to mention easier!  No fussing over a roux, here.  I'm looking forward to utilizing this method in so many new ways.

Cajun Pasta Aglio E Olio

1 lb pasta noodles, any kind
1/2 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
1/2 red onion, sliced
1/2 yellow onion, sliced
1/4 cup minced garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 cup reserved pasta water
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1-2 tablespoons cajun seasoning (they vary by brand- I use and love this one
salt and pepper to taste
fresh lime, a few squeezes to taste
Optional- parmesan or nutritional yeast

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook noodles according to al dente instructions on box.  Meanwhile, sautee peppers and onions over medium heat in a bit of olive oil.  Allow them to soften a bit, then add garlic and 1/4 cup olive oil.  Continue to cook, stirring often so as not to burn the garlic, then add cilantro and remove from heat.  Remember to reserve 1/2 cup of your cooked pasta water, then drain rest of pasta in a colander and return to pot.  Using a rubber spatula, transfer sauteed veggies, along with all of the oil in the pan, and add to noodles.  Add pasta water, tomato paste, and cajun seasoning.  Season to taste with salt and pepper, then finish off with fresh squeezed lime juice.  Add parmesan or nutritional yeast if desired.  Enjoy!


  1. Jenny, that sounds like a perfect summer dish. All the veggies are available at farmers markets. I really like your idea of just a touch of tomato paste. I could use tomato powder to get the same effect. My husband loves Cajun flavored anything, so I know this would go over well with him.

    Great idea!

    1. Thanks, Sue! I've heard such good things about tomato powder, but can never seem to find any. I'll have to try getting some online.

  2. This pasta dish looks so darn good! And I'm intrigued by your Cajun twist. I think the guys would welcome this one, and so would I.

    Jenny, tomato powder is simple to make, if you have a dehydrator (or an oven :) and a spice (or coffee) grinder. I think the process is somewhere on my blog, but my weary brain won't cooperate. I'll look it up and contact you.

  3. Is it wrong that I just kind of want to bury my face in that bowl of pasta? Really. Like a dog would in a bowl of...(idk...what do dogs like? LOL!) Thanks for sharing. MUST try.

    1. Lindsay, that's pretty much what I did after snapping the pic :)