Cajun Veggie Pasta

P1030543I used to go to Trader Joes on a weekly basis. It’s not the most convenient place for me to go to and I have to walk a half hour there and then a half hour back- but I loved it enough to make it work. Now with a busier schedule, however, I can’t quite make it there consistently. I still love TJs to death, but I only get to walk through their doors a couple times a month now.

THUS when I do get to go… it’s a pretty big deal and I get pretty excited about it. I also stock up on special TJ items and a lot of convenient frozen stuff (their salmon burgers, chili lime chicken burgers, and frozen brown rice packs are da bomb).

Last week when I went, I spotted their andouille chicken sausage and grabbed it without even really thinking about what I was going to use it for. Then I saw the whole wheat fusilli pasta and thought huh, I haven’t made pasta in a while. Game on.

Popular in Cajun cuisine, “andouille” sort of denotes flavors of garlic, pepper, and onion. I thought of making some sort of jumbo mumble jumble of stuff. Really I just wanted a soul food like dish that I could eat by the forkful out of a bowl- with lots of tomato flavor, a little bit a heat, and plenty of veggies.

I quickly drafted a little recipe for “Cajun Veggie Pasta” and got to work.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of whole wheat noodle pasta
  • 2 yellow squash, chopped
  • 2 cups of assorted chopped bell peppers
  • Little less than 1 lb. of brussel sprouts, sliced thin (I bought the TJs shaved brussels)
  • 1 cup yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 cup of chopped fennel (optional- I had some lurking in my fridge)
  • 4 andouille chicken sausage links
  • 1 can of fire roasted tomatoes (14 oz)
  • 2 tbl. e.v.o.o.
  • Salt, pepper, paprika, celery seed, and garlic

I roasted my chopped yellow squash and bell peppers for about 35 minutes at 400 degrees in 1 tbl. of olive oil with some salt, pepper, and paprika (tossing halfway through).

While they were roasting, I boiled my water and cooked my whole wheat pasta according to the directions on the bag.

With vegetables roasting and water boiling, I sauteed the sliced brussels, onions, and fennel in the other tbl. of olive oil with a tablespoon of minced garlic on medium high heat. I added some salt and pepper to taste. I sauteed them for about 15 minutes, tossing from time to time.

When there was 15 minutes left on the vegetables roasting in the oven (halfway through their cook time), I heated the andouille sausage in a small pan according to the package directions: pan fry for 12-14 minutes). 

I also then added the can of fire roasted tomatoes, a generous sprinkle of salt, pepper, paprika, and celery salt into the sauteed brussels/onion/fennel mixture. I brought the mixture close to a boil and then reduced the heat to medium low until the vegetables in the oven were finished roasting.

Once the vegetables in the oven were done, I portioned the pasta into four bowls (well two bowls for Will and I, and two tupperware containers for leftovers), divided the roasted vegetables among them, divided the sauteed vegetables among them, sliced and added one andouille sausage to each bowl.

BOOM DONE.

You could add some cheese into your final product, you could add even more heat with some hot sauce, or for more Cajun flair- you could add shrimp to the mix too. You could also easily make this dish vegetarian by using kidney beans instead of the sausage.

That last note there was specifically for my best friend Kate who currently lives and works in Baton Rouge- hey girl hey! How does it feel to know you sort of inspired this dish? 😉

It was a delicious warm dinner to cozy up to while watching the Golden Globes Sunday.

I love pasta. I’d be lying if I were to say that it wasn’t one of my favorite foods. It gets a bad rep as being unhealthy, but when you eat it in appropriate portions and bulk it up with good stuff (i.e. vegetables), it’s a great, filling, cheap, and easy source of whole grains and yummy eats.

Keep it wicked healthy xoxo

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