Growing up in an Italian/American family, comforting pasta dishes were always a staple on our dinner table. Especially in the colder months, who can deny how satisfying a big bowl of creamy pasta can be.
Pasta is also a fairly affordable and quick solution to getting a meal on the table. One of my favorite Sunday pasta’s growing up was manicotti. My grandfather would get up at the crack of dawn to start the sauce and stuff the pasta with ricotta and fresh herbs.
If you follow me on Instagram (@hay.b) you know by now that I’m currently doing a 14-Day Core Restore Detox. In short, I’m cutting out gluten, dairy, sugar, alcohol and soy for 14 days, while taking vitamins and supplements to help my body release toxins.
I typically try to limit my gluten and dairy intake, but can honestly say I went a little overboard over the holidays.
Although my purpose for cleansing is to feel better, I wouldn’t mind if my jeans got a little looser too.
With that being said, it’s still pretty cold here in New York, (aka don’t want to move from your bed freezing). I wanted to whip up a recipe that was a cleanse approved version of comfort food. That’s where this dish comes in.
Does anyone else spend hours looking at all the interesting products their local health food store sells? The inspiration for this dish came together the other night when I was doing just that. I went in for chickpea pasta and fresh basil and ended up checking out with a whole lot more.
My brother was coming over for dinner and he is trying out being plant based, so I went down the pasta isle to pick up some chickpea pasta for him. I also ended up enjoying the Banza pasta as it was only made from chickpeas, a cleanse approved item.
While picking up that pasta I saw that there were manicotti shells made of brown rice. I love brown rice pasta, so you can understand my “I just won an Oscar” kind of excitement when I saw this manicotti variety.
The manicotti wheels started turning.
I’m a big fan of Kite Hill almond products and reached for their Ricotta style almond cheese to help bind the filling to the manicotti. Since it’s a bit on the pricier side, I decided to add some caramelized onions and sautéed kale, as well as a bunch of fresh herbs to the mixture.
I had plans to just top the dish with my homemade tomato sauce, but then I discovered a new dairy free Fresh Mozzarella. I don’t know if it’s really new or just new to me! The brand is called Miyoko’s Creamery and It’s one of the best cheese alternative I’ve ever tried. Plus, it doesn’t have a million added ingredients like a lot of other brands do.
I was surprised how quickly and easily this decadent pasta dish came together. Plus it’s gluten free, dairy free, vegan and packed with nutrition. Nourish your body with magnesium, vitamin e, vitamin c, iron and unsaturated fats, to name a few.
Oh, and did I mention that it’s old school Italian grandpa approved. What’s your favorite healthy spin on a classic dish? Let me know in the comments below!