I used to make tomato vodka pasta before I became vegan. The old version contained heavy cream and was one of our family favorites. You can buy jars of tomato vodka sauce at the store. It’s not very healthful. This version is low-fat, with a little boost of protein coming from the addition of pureed tofu, rather than fat coming from heavy cream. The result? Creamy, rich and decadent. Oh, yeah, the alcohol doesn’t really cook off. It actually does give this dish a little extra flavor. This makes plenty of food, so each serving is only getting a minute amount of vodka. Don’t add more than the 3 tablespoons of vodka. More does not make this recipe better. It will actually make it worse. If you’re avoiding alcohol or don’t want your kids to have any alcohol (understandably), just leave it out, the dish will still be great and then you can call it Tomato Vodkaless Veggie Pasta. Serve with a side of your favorite green vegetable and a green salad.
- 12-ounce box whole wheat penne pasta (use brown rice, quinoa or corn pasta to go gluten-free)
- 2 medium or 3 small zucchini, cut diagonally into small sticks (shaped like the penne pasta)
- 2 medium or 3 small yellow squash, cut diagonally into small sticks (shaped like the penna pasta)
- Tomato-Vodka Sauce
- 1 (12-ounce) package organic firm silken tofu (Mori-Nu Brand)
- 1 (15-ounce) can plain tomato sauce (not spaghetti sauce); no-salt preferred
- 1 (28-ounce) can crushed San Marzano tomatoes
- 5-6 cloves garlic, minced
- Tiny pinch red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons vodka
- Pinch fine sea salt to taste
- Fill a large 8-quart pot with water, cover and turn it to high. As soon as the water comes to a rolling boil, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta (reserving about a cup of pasta cooking water to thin out sauce later) and set aside.
- While waiting for the water to boil, in a food processor or blender, puree tofu until creamy. Add tomato sauce, (but not crushed tomatoes) and blend again until creamy and salmon colored. Set aside. Mince garlic.
- In a large shallow pan, warm a couple tablespoons of water, add zucchini and yellow squash and sauté for about 5-7 minutes until tender and slightly golden. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for about 2-3 minutes more. Do not allow the garlic to brown or it will turn bitter. Add can of crushed tomatoes. Pour tofu-tomato sauce mixture from blender into skillet and warm over very low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Pour tomato-vodka-veggie sauce over drained, cooked pasta in large pot. Stir in vodka, cover with lid and allow pasta to rest in warm pot for 5 minutes to warm and absorb the sauce. Sauce will thicken as it cools. Add a little reserved pasta cooking water or fresh water to thin out. Add a bit more water when reheating leftovers (if you have any!). Serve in large shallow bowls with a side of steamed vegetables.
Nutrition Facts: Just like many of my pasta recipes, this Tomato Vodka Veggie Pasta recipe uses the formula of ½ pasta and ½ vegetables to increase the nutrient density and decrease the calorie density of this dish. This is a great way to lose weight and increase health without going hungry. Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant, lycopene. Lycopene is reported to reduce the risk of several forms of cancer including prostate, cervical, bladder and skin cancer. It also may improve sperm count and fertility in men.
Use pureed silken tofu in any of your favorite recipes to replace heavy cream. It reduces fat, is free of cholesterol, reduces cancer risk and adds a boost of plant protein.
Recipe by Emily Honeycutt, 2016. © All Rights Reserved. www.emilyhoneycutt.com