If you’ve ever tried “Veganuary,” you’ve probably been thinking up ways to make TikTok’s baked feta pasta recipe even more friendly for a plant-based diet. To encourage mindful and sustainable plant-based eating, Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli — who’s been sharing cooking tips on her TikTok — created three plant-based pasta recipes for beginners that are definitely giving us some major dinner inspiration. “I know that if I have a piece of beef or I have a potato, I can make 70 potato dishes and 70 beef dishes,” Chef Alex told POPSUGAR. “I’d like to see that versatility comfortably applied on mass with things like lentils.”
“Make a list of the few things you like already, and start with that.
For anyone not sure where to get started when going plant-based, Chef Alex suggests using what’s in your fridge and sticking to what you like. “Do you like squash in the winter?” she asks. “Do you like tomatoes? Do you like artichokes? Do you like mushrooms? What do you like? . . . Make a list of the few things you like already, and start with that and add something like some lentils, some chickpeas, some say, thyme, some chopped up walnuts, some almond butter; add one thing that maybe you don’t cook with a lot that adds that protein and that satiety to vegetables you love.”
At home, the Iron Chef cooks up a lot of legumes, lentils, and healthy sheet pan dinners to cut back on dishes. “I never get sick of cooking, ever,” she said. “I really get sick of cleaning up and doing dishes. That’s what I just cannot deal with anymore.” Still, she gets creative with different kitchen appliances, using blenders to whip up creative recipes for TikTok and even baking gooey brownies in the slow cooker.
Chef Alex’s pasta recipes include a 10-minute buttered, herbed elbow pasta, stovetop penne with winter vegetables, and rotini with clams, garlic, and fresh parsley, made with ZENB pasta. The gluten-free, vegan noodles are entirely made from yellow peas, skin included, which have a lower carbon footprint and use less water and fertilizer to grow than wheat crops. The brand itself seeks to reduce food waste by composting and even makes its pasta boxes out of 100-percent recyclable materials. In addition to being good for the earth, the yellow pea pasta has the same texture as traditional pasta. “Taste is 90 percent of what we’re looking for, but it’s also the texture,” she said. “You wouldn’t buy a potato chip that isn’t crunchy and you wouldn’t buy pasta that isn’t al dente when you eat it.”
Take a closer look at all of Chef Alex’s favorite plant-based recipes ahead. And, if you’re down for a plant-based cooking demo, you can also enter the ZENB sweepstakes to win a private (virtual) cooking class with the Food Network star, plus an autographed copy of her newest cookbook Cook With Me, and a one-year supply of pasta.