I’m not one to crave certain foods, but yesterday the only thing I wanted for dinner was a large mixed green salad with onions and oil-vinaigrette dressing and a light dinner with tomatoes and fresh mozzarella (I only recently started liking tomatoes, oddly enough).
So I took a quick drive to the local grocery store and picked up some bocconcini (a type of fresh mozzarella that is kept in water or whey, you can find it with the other cheeses near the deli, usually), basil, whole wheat rotini, and mixed greens.
On the side, I added some roasted vegetables and naan (just a little, don’t want too many grains in one meal). Dinner was delicious, vegetarian, light tasting, fresh, and quick (ready in under 30 minutes).
1/2 Red Onion
2-4 cloves Garlic
McCormicks Garlic and Herb Seasoning (or similar product)
Whole Wheat Naan (or bread of choice)
1 box Whole Wheat Rotini
Fresh Basil, (a handful), coarsely chopped
Bocconcini, 3 large balls, chopped
4 Vine Tomatoes, seeds removed, coarsely chopped
Garlic Expressions* (A type of garlic viniagrette. You can mix olive oil with vinegar and fresh garlic chopped along with some Italian spices)
Parmesan cheese (for topping)
1. Prepare Roasted Vegetables
Preheat Oven to 450 degrees. Chop vegetables and place on greased stoneware cookie sheet (if you have stoneware…I’m a big fan of it). Use a non-stick cooking spray, or even better, buy a spray pump that you fill with your own olive oil. I prefer this as you are just using olive oil and not propellant. Spray vegetables with olive oil spray or just slightly drizzle oil on veggies. Sprinkle with Garlic and Herb seasoning and bake for 20-25 minutes.
2. Cook Pasta
Cook pasta according to package directions (I recommend using some salt in water). While water is boiling/pasta cooking, mix chopped tomatoes (de-seeded, see below**), bocconcini, basil, garlic vinaigrette, olive oil, and Garlic and Herb seasoning in a bowl and let marinate while your pasta and roasted vegetables are cooking.
Of course this is to your liking. Mixed greens, cucumbers, and red onions is my preference.
4. Warm-up Naan/Bread (if using it)
I like to warm-up some garlic or whole wheat naan at my local grocery store, but use whichever bread you like. Don’t eat too much bread, though!!! One small piece per person that you load with vegetables on top is best. Only needs to be heated about 5 minutes, so add to the oven the last 5 minutes of vegetable roasting.
5. Complete the meal
Add marinated mixture to cooked pasta, add some extra olive oil (if needed) and top with some parmesan cheese. Slice naan/bread into small pieces (about the size of the palm of your hand).
* I purchase Garlic Expressions dressing from Big Y which you may be able to find locally, but you can make your own or find a similar product if you happen to see one. It is made with canola oil, garlic, vinegar, and some Italian spices.
** The best way to deseed a tomato is to cut it in half and use a spoon to scoop each half.