Creamy One-pot Vegan Pasta Chowder with nutritious red lentil and coconut milk broth. Crispy tofu or roasted chickpea toppings are optional and add extra protein, texture and flavour to this easy comforting pasta dish.
Just like the rest of the world whole for the past few weeks, we’ve been cooking mostly from our pantry while we #StayHome. I’ll try to devise more recipes from pantry staples over the next weeks or months even, given the unforeseeability of the COVID-19 situation that is changing day by day. Wherever we are, let’s all do our part during this time of crisis and stay at home unless absolutely necessary to go out.
With that said, now’s a great opportunity to be doing some cooking with the family. So, let’s get on with today’s easy creamy vegan pasta chowder recipe.
Here’s what’s interesting about this pasta chowder:
It’s easy to make, uses few ingredients, most of which are pantry staples, it’s delicious, nutritious and can feed a crowd on a low budget.
There’s more, this vegan pasta chowder has a little twist which adds a nice boost to the nutrient profile—red lentils, coconut milk (or other plant-based milk) along with a few herbs, make up the base for the broth.
Very simple and made in one pot. Crispy tofu toppings are optional and they add some extra protein, texture and flavour to this comforting pasta dish.
Coconut milk makes this dish really creamy but you may use other plant-based milk with equally tasty results.
Because the pasta sits in the sauce and will tend to absorb it quickly, I recommend that you make and eat it right away. Leftover pasta will soak up almost all the broth causing the pasta to become very soft. Some people do like pasta in this way. If you do then you can make a double batch and keep leftovers for the next day. Just be wary that the pasta may start to disintegrate upon reheating. Otherwise, just make and eat right away!
One-Pot Vegan Pasta Chowder with Red Lentil Broth
This creamy pasta chowder is made in one pot. It is a complete meal by itself, with lentils as the creamy base. The fried tofu is optional and made separately in a skillet. Else, you can also top this delicious pasta chowder with some roasted chickpeas for a little bit of crunch.
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For the chowder:
- 150 g (¾ cup) red lentils
- 1 litre water, more as needed to make the sauce
- ¾ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- ½ vegetable bouillon cube
- ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme (or 4 - 5 sprigs fresh thyme)
- ½ teaspoon dried chives
- 2 kaffir lime leaves (substitute with 1-2 bay leaves + few drops lemon juice)
- 225 g bow tie pasta (or any other type)
- 200 ml (¾ cup) coconut milk (or other plant-based milk)
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 45 g (¼ cup) sweetcorn, frozen or canned
- 4 - 5 white mushrooms, sliced
For the topping:
- 200 g firm tofu (if unavailable, use shelf-stable extra-firm silken tofu or chickpeas)
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons oil, for pan-frying
- Rinse and drain the red lentils. Place in a large pot together with 1 litre of water and ¾ teaspoon salt. Cover and bring to a boil, then simmer on medium-high heat for about 10 - 12 minutes, or until lentils are tender.
- Once lentils are tender, add the rest of the chowder ingredients to the pot. Cover and simmer for about 8 - 10 minutes until pasta is al dente.
Occasionally stir the pasta and add water, if required, during the simmering or to make more sauce.
- Adjust seasonings and turn off the heat.
- While the pasta is cooking make the tofu topping. Heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet.
Tear little pieces out of the tofu block into small irregular pieces. Place the tofu pieces in the skillet. Toss and stir fry until tofu is crispy on all sides. Add the soy sauce and fry for a little longer. Remove from the heat.
- Serve pasta immediately topped with tofu. Garnish with fresh herbs like coriander or parsley if you have any on hand.
Also, check out this playlist of Pantry Recipes, from our YouTube channel, that can easily be made with pantry staples