Easy Tofu Tacos

This tofu tacos recipe is what easy dinners are made of! The filling is spiced to perfection, making it a vegan meal everyone will love. Here’s a fast and easy dinner that went over like a charm over here: Tofu Tacos! While it’s not typically served in a tortilla, tofu is ideal for tacos. Its neutral flavor takes on whatever flavors you season it with: and these tofu crumbles are quite the kitchen trick. Add cumin, garlic powder, chili powder and smoked paprika, and the filling is bursting with flavor! You can whip up these easy tacos in just 20 minutes, making them ideal for weeknight meals. Wait: you can make a block of rubbery white tofu into the best vegan tacos filling? Here’s how. First off: is tofu healthy? There’s a lot of misinformation related to the health benefits of this soy product, so we get this question a lot. Here’s the thing: Tofu in moderation is part of a healthy diet (several times per week). Per to the Harvard School of Nutrition, soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week. It’s likely to provide health benefits, especially when you eat it as an […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This tofu tacos recipe is what easy dinners are made of! The filling is spiced to perfection, making it a vegan meal everyone will love.

Tofu Tacos

Here’s a fast and easy dinner that went over like a charm over here: Tofu Tacos! While it’s not typically served in a tortilla, tofu is ideal for tacos. Its neutral flavor takes on whatever flavors you season it with: and these tofu crumbles are quite the kitchen trick. Add cumin, garlic powder, chili powder and smoked paprika, and the filling is bursting with flavor! You can whip up these easy tacos in just 20 minutes, making them ideal for weeknight meals. Wait: you can make a block of rubbery white tofu into the best vegan tacos filling? Here’s how.

First off: is tofu healthy?

There’s a lot of misinformation related to the health benefits of this soy product, so we get this question a lot. Here’s the thing: Tofu in moderation is part of a healthy diet (several times per week). Per to the Harvard School of Nutrition, soy is a nutrient-dense source of protein that can safely be consumed several times a week. It’s likely to provide health benefits, especially when you eat it as an alternative to red meat and processed meat. For more, go to Straight Talk About Soy and Is Tofu Good for You?

Here at A Couple Cooks, for years we avoided tofu though we ate mostly vegetarian and vegan recipes. The past few years we’ve come around to it as a delicious and easy to prepare vegan protein! We just didn’t know the best ways to prepare it. Speaking of, here’s one of our new favorites…

Tofu Tacos recipe

How to turn a block into tofu tacos filling

Yes, it’s easier than you think to make a flavorless block of pressed soy into a delicious tofu tacos filling! The secret: tofu crumbles. You’ll break the tofu into smaller irregular shaped pieces, then mix it with delicious seasonings. Here’s what to do:

  • Crumble the tofu with your fingers. Yep, throw it right into a bowl and crumble it up! It’s usually pretty cold at this point (since it’s refrigerated), so you’ll have to grin and bear it.
  • Add olive oil and the secret spices. In this case, that’s cumin, garlic powder, chili powder and smoked paprika.
  • Cook in a skillet for 8 to 10 minutes. You’ll want it to be just browned and becoming lightly crisp on the outsides.

The easiest taco toppings

To keep these as a quick and easy dinner recipe, we went for the simplest toppings imaginable. Of course, you can customize them as you’d like! Here’s what we do when we’re in a rush:

  • Sliced red cabbage with lime: Thinly slice it, then spritz with lime juice and add a few pinches salt. You don’t even need to measure!
  • Pico de gallo: Get store-bought for the quickest prep.
  • Torn cilantro: No need to chop: just tear it with your fingers.
  • Yogurt mixed with hot sauce: This is our other favorite taco sauce trick! Take some vegan yogurt and swirl it with Mexican hot sauce (we like Cholula). It makes an instant creamy, spicy sauce. You can also use storebought salsa or taco sauce (or make homemade).
Tofu tacos filling

More tofu tacos topping ideas

The toppings listed above are the quickest and easiest: and usually they’re all we need! But if you want to get fancier, we’ve got lots of great options. Here are some fun tacos fillings ideas:

Tip: warm your tortillas

Here’s our biggest tip for tofu tacos, or tacos of any kind: warm your tortillas! There’s nothing worse than a taco with a tough, cold tortilla. Here’s how to warm tortillas like a pro:

  • Place them over the flame of a gas burner (preferred!). The best way? Place each tortilla directly on a gas burner for a few seconds per side. It lightly chars the edges and warms the tortillas. Then throw them into a tortilla warmer!
  • Or, warm them in the oven. If you don’t have a gas burner, you can warm them in the oven. Go to How to Warm Tortillas.
Tofu tacos

More great tofu recipes

There are so many great recipe to make with tofu! As I mentioned above, we used to avoid tofu but now we like including it as part of a healthy vegetarian and vegan diet! Now that we know the best ways to prepare it, we always look forward to including it in weekly meals. How about you: are you a tofu convert too? Have you always loved this tasty soy protein?

Here are a few more great tofu recipes we’d recommend in addition to these tofu tacos:

This tofu tacos recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Print
Tofu Tacos

Easy Tofu Tacos


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 8 tacos
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This tofu tacos recipe is what easy dinners are made of! The filling is spiced to perfection, making it a vegan meal everyone will love. 


Ingredients

For the tofu

  • 12 to 14-ounce block extra firm tofu
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

For the tacos

  • 2 cups red cabbage
  • Lime wedges
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, torn
  • Pico de gallo (purchased or homemade)
  • Vegan yogurt (or regular), mixed with salt and Mexican hot sauce to taste (we like Cholula brand)

Instructions

  1. Make the tofu crumbles: Drain the tofu container, then pat the tofu dry with a clean dish towel. Place the tofu in a large bowl and use your fingers to break the tofu into roughly bite-sized crumbles. (It might be a little cold on your hands: don’t worry, it should only take a few seconds!). Stir in 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, salt and spices.
  2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Add the tofu and cook on medium high for 8 to 10 minutes, breaking up large pieces into bite sized chunks and stirring occasionally, until browned and lightly crispy and the liquid evaporates. (The exact timing depends on the tofu brand.)
  3. Assemble the toppings: Thinly slice the red cabbage, and place it in a bowl. Spritz with the juice of 2 lime wedges and add a few pinches kosher salt. Mix the vegan yogurt with Mexican hot sauce to taste, and add a few pinches of salt. 
  4. Warm the tortillas: Warm and char the tortillas by placing them on an open gas flame on medium for a few seconds per side, flipping with tongs, until they are slightly blackened and warm. (See How to Warm Tortillas.)
  5. Serve: Place the tofu crumbles in the tortillas, then top with toppings and enjoy. 
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican inspired

Keywords: Tofu tacos

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Easy Black Bean Tacos

This black bean tacos recipe takes just 15 minutes! It’s a fast and easy dinner idea that’s easy to customize and pleases everyone. On the lookout for those elusive recipes that are healthy, easy and delicious? Meet our new favorite: these easy Black Bean Tacos! We created this recipe to be totally customizable based on your diet and available time. It stars our 5 minute black beans, a quick taco filling idea that’s bursting with flavor in just a few minutes. Top it with all the best taco toppings: corn, avocado, pickled onions: and a sprinkling of feta cheese. If you have time, we love it with cilantro lime sauce: but taco sauce and sour cream does the trick too! There’s really something for everyone with this one. More seriuously easy tacos? Try our Refried Bean Tacos or Egg Tacos! How to make the easiest black bean tacos These black bean tacos are beyond easy: and they work with whatever toppings you’d like! The secret behind them is the easy black bean filling. Here’s what to know about how to make the fastest black bean tacos there are: Mince garlic, then cook 30 seconds in butter and olive oil. The […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This black bean tacos recipe takes just 15 minutes! It’s a fast and easy dinner idea that’s easy to customize and pleases everyone.

Black bean tacos

On the lookout for those elusive recipes that are healthy, easy and delicious? Meet our new favorite: these easy Black Bean Tacos! We created this recipe to be totally customizable based on your diet and available time. It stars our 5 minute black beans, a quick taco filling idea that’s bursting with flavor in just a few minutes. Top it with all the best taco toppings: corn, avocado, pickled onions: and a sprinkling of feta cheese. If you have time, we love it with cilantro lime sauce: but taco sauce and sour cream does the trick too! There’s really something for everyone with this one.

More seriuously easy tacos? Try our Refried Bean Tacos or Egg Tacos!

How to make the easiest black bean tacos

These black bean tacos are beyond easy: and they work with whatever toppings you’d like! The secret behind them is the easy black bean filling. Here’s what to know about how to make the fastest black bean tacos there are:

  • Mince garlic, then cook 30 seconds in butter and olive oil. The combination of two cooking fats makes for the very best flavor. But you can substitute all olive oil if you’d like!
  • Add drained but not rinsed black beans and cook 3 to 4 minutes. Here’s the key: a little bit of the can liquid will remain on the beans, making a thick sauce for the tacos.
  • Note: all black bean brands are different. Some canned black beans are more tender than others. We like this best with a black bean brand that’s very tender vs a more al dente type of bean. You’ll have to experiment to find your favorite!
Black bean tacos recipe

Customize your taco toppings!

Once you’ve got the black bean filling, it’s time for toppings! We’ve listed our favorite toppings in the recipe below. You can customize based on your preferences and diet. But it is important to have a few elements. Here’s what to note about topping your black bean toppings:

  • Crunchy veggies are required! Because black beans are soft in texture, you’ll need a crunchy contrast. Here we used chopped romaine and corn. Use these if at all possible!
  • You’ll need a good sauce. A good sauce is the key to a tasty taco! Purchased taco sauce or salsa and sour cream is the fastest option. If you have 5 minutes, make our Cilantro Lime Sauce.
  • Cheese is nice, but optional. We like adding a sprinkle of feta crumbles or queso fresco: you can also use shredded cheese.
  • Add other veggies as desired! We love it with avocado and the bright tang of pickled red onions, made in advance. A few sliced jalapeno peppers are nice too. If you have lots of time, make them with roasted sweet potatoes for an even tastier taco!
Black bean tacos

Sauce options for black bean tacos!

There are lots of other sauce options for these tacos! Here are a few more great options listed in terms of timing and diet preferences:

Tip: warm your tortillas

Here’s our biggest tip for black bean tacos: warm your tortillas! There’s nothing worse than a taco with a tough, cold tortilla. Here’s how to warm tortillas like a pro:

  • Place them over the flame of a gas burner (preferred!). The best way? Place each tortilla directly on a gas burner for a few seconds per side. It lightly chars the edges and warms the tortillas. Then throw them into a tortilla warmer!
  • Or, warm them in the oven. If you don’t have a gas burner, you can warm them in the oven. Go to How to Warm Tortillas.
Black bean tacos

Make gluten free or vegan black bean tacos

It’s easy to adapt these black bean tacos for various diets! Here’s what to do:

  • For gluten free, use corn tortillas. There are also lots of gluten free tortilla options these days, like cassava, sweet potato, and more. Check your local grocery!
  • For vegan, use vegan toppings. Use all olive oil for the black beans and omit the cheese toppings. Add a vegan sauce like Cilantro Sauce.

Black beans nutrition

What makes these black bean tacos such a great healthy dinner idea? They star black beans! Black beans are:

  • Excellent source of protein. 1 cup has 15 grams of protein, about 30% of your daily protein needs.
  • Excellent source of fiber. 1 cup also has 15 grams of fiber, about 50% of your daily intake.
  • Lower glycemic index compared to many other high-carbohydrate foods, meaning they cause a smaller rise in blood sugar after a meal.
Black bean tacos

This black bean tacos recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

Print
Black bean tacos

Easy Black Bean Tacos (15 Minutes!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (8 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 15 minutes
  • Yield: 8 tacos (4 servings)
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This black bean tacos recipe takes just 15 minutes! It’s a fast and easy dinner idea that’s easy to customize and pleases everyone.


Ingredients

For the black beans*

  • 2 15-ounce can black beans
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or substitute more olive oil for vegan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 scant teaspoon kosher salt

For the tacos


Instructions

  1. Make the black beans: Drain the beans, but don’t rinse them. Mince the garlic. In a medium saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté for about 30 seconds until fragrant but not yet browned. Add the beans (drained but not rinsed), cumin, kosher salt, and several grinds of black pepper. Cook 3 to 4 minutes until warmed through and the liquid cooks down and thickens. Taste and add additional salt if desired. 
  2. Assemble the toppings: Review the toppings above and prep them as desired.
  3. Warm the tortillas: Warm and char the tortillas by placing them on an open gas flame on medium for a few seconds per side, flipping with tongs, until they are slightly blackened and warm. (See How to Warm Tortillas.)
  4. Serve: Place the black beans in the tortillas, then top with toppings and enjoy. 

Notes

*Variation: Add Roasted sweet potatoes to make Sweet potato black bean tacos.

**If you have 5 minutes, it’s well worth it to make the Cilantro Lime Sauce! Or make the vegan Creamy Cilantro Sauce in advance.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Mexican inspired

Keywords: Black bean tacos

More with black beans

Love beans? Here are some of our top black bean recipes:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Honey Garlic Shrimp

This honey garlic shrimp is so irresistible, you’ll want to eat it every night! A sweet savory glaze covers succulent shrimp, and it’s done in 10 minutes. Every now and then a recipe comes along that knocks our socks off. And so it was with this Honey Garlic Shrimp recipe! There’s nothing like the sweet savory combination of honey garlic glaze and juicy shrimp. The best part? It takes 10 minutes to make. This one is hits all the comforting, satisfying dinner notes with a lightning fast prep speed. It’s hard to find those recipes with that elusive trifecta of healthy, easy and delicious: and this one has it in spades. The secrets behind honey garlic shrimp…in 10 minutes! There’s no marinating time needed with this honey garlic shrimp. It’s the ultimate fast and easy dinner idea…in just 10 minutes! One note: make sure to thaw the shrimp if you’re using frozen; this isn’t included in the timing. Here are a few of the secrets to this kitchen magic trick (or jump to the recipe below): Mix the shrimp with minced garlic, onion powder & salt. This allows maximum coverage of the seasoning on the shrimp first. Mix together a […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This honey garlic shrimp is so irresistible, you’ll want to eat it every night! A sweet savory glaze covers succulent shrimp, and it’s done in 10 minutes.

Honey Garlic Shrimp

Every now and then a recipe comes along that knocks our socks off. And so it was with this Honey Garlic Shrimp recipe! There’s nothing like the sweet savory combination of honey garlic glaze and juicy shrimp. The best part? It takes 10 minutes to make. This one is hits all the comforting, satisfying dinner notes with a lightning fast prep speed. It’s hard to find those recipes with that elusive trifecta of healthy, easy and delicious: and this one has it in spades.

The secrets behind honey garlic shrimp…in 10 minutes!

There’s no marinating time needed with this honey garlic shrimp. It’s the ultimate fast and easy dinner idea…in just 10 minutes! One note: make sure to thaw the shrimp if you’re using frozen; this isn’t included in the timing. Here are a few of the secrets to this kitchen magic trick (or jump to the recipe below):

  • Mix the shrimp with minced garlic, onion powder & salt. This allows maximum coverage of the seasoning on the shrimp first.
  • Mix together a quick sauce. Honey, soy sauce, and vinegar is all you need and it’s absolute perfection!
  • Sauté 1 to 2 minutes per side. To learn about the perfect sear, to Perfect Sautéed Shrimp.
  • Turn off the heat and add the sauce! Removing the heat is important so the sauce doesn’t evaporate when it hits the hot pan.
Honey garlic shrimp

The best shrimp to buy

When you’re shopping for shrimp, there are so many options at the store these days. If you’re making this honey garlic shrimp, here’s what we’d recommend:

  • Find medium shrimp (or large). Medium is nice because you get more bites! But either work. Medium is also labeled as 41 to 50 count, and Large as 31 to 40 count (which indicates how many shrimp there are per pound).
  • Use tail on or peeled. For this recipe we like tail on because it looks beautiful. But you do have to remove the tails with your hands as you eat them! So peeled is great too.
  • Fresh or frozen. Both are essentially the same freshness because most shrimp are immediately flash frozen. Just make sure to thaw the shrimp in advance.
  • Wild caught. Look for wild caught: it’s the most sustainable!
Honey garlic shrimp

How to thaw shrimp

What’s the best way to thaw shrimp? The easiest way is the night before! But if you’re like us and rarely think ahead: there’s a method too. Here’s the best way to thaw shrimp for this honey garlic shrimp recipe:

  • Day before: Place the frozen shrimp in the refrigerator overnight.
  • Day of: Place the frozen shrimp in a large bowl with very cold water. Stir the bowl every 5 minutes to break up clumps of shrimp that freeze together. The shrimp should defrost in about 15 minutes. Make sure to pat it dry before using!
Honey garlic shrimp

Ways to serve honey garlic shrimp

All you need are a side dish or two to make honey garlic shrimp into a healthy dinner that everyone will love. Our favorite picks? Rice and broccoli. Every time we make it, everyone around the table raves. Even our 4 year old inhales it! This is one of those recipes I could eat at least 6 out of 7 days of the week and be happy. Here are a few side dish ideas:

Honey garlic shrimp

This honey garlic shrimp recipe is…

Pescatarian, gluten-free and dairy free (with olive oil).

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Honey garlic shrimp

Honey Garlic Shrimp (in 10 Minutes!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 6 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

This honey garlic shrimp is so irresistible, you’ll want to eat it every night! A sweet savory glaze covers succulent shrimp, and it’s done in 10 minutes.


Ingredients

  • 1 pound medium or large shrimp, deveined (tail on or peeled)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Heaping 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons sesame oil

Instructions

  1. Thaw the shrimp, if using frozen.
  2. Mince the garlic. Pat the shrimp dry. Stir it together with the minced garlic, onion powder and kosher salt.
  3. Mix the honey, soy sauce, rice vinegar, and cornstarch in a small bowl, mixing until mostly smooth (a few small lumps are ok).
  4. In a large skillet, heat the sesame oil on medium high heat. Cook the shrimp for 1 to 2 minutes per side until opaque and cooked through, turning them with tongs.
  5. Turn off the heat and remove the shrimp. Add the glaze to the pan and stir until thickened, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan. Once thickened, stir the shrimp back into the sauce and serve.
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Keywords: Honey garlic shrimp

More shrimp recipes

There are so many great ways to eat this tasty seafood! Shrimp features in many of our easy dinner ideas. Here are some of our favorite healthy shrimp recipes:

Shrimp with broccoli

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

This Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe is cozy and cheesy: the ultimate comfort food! It’s fast and easy to whip up in a pressure cooker. There’s nothing more comforting than a good bowl of mac and cheese. Ever tried it in your pressure cooker? Turns out, Instant Pot mac and cheese is layer upon layer of cozy. The way the Instant Pot cooks pasta makes it soft and supple, which has a down-home sort of vibe to it. It’s not al dente, but it almost feels like an elevated version of box mac and cheese. The big selling point here? The method is very hands off: throw the ingredients in the pot and press Go! Nothing better than that. Here are all the cozy secrets to this method. Ingredients for this Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe This Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe might even better easier than cooking from a box. (Maybe?) You need only a few ingredients, and assuming you stock cheese and pasta: they might already be in your pantry. Here’s what you need: Short pasta: Sure, you can use macaroni. But our favorite pasta shapes for mac and cheese are any other short type […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe is cozy and cheesy: the ultimate comfort food! It’s fast and easy to whip up in a pressure cooker.

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

There’s nothing more comforting than a good bowl of mac and cheese. Ever tried it in your pressure cooker? Turns out, Instant Pot mac and cheese is layer upon layer of cozy. The way the Instant Pot cooks pasta makes it soft and supple, which has a down-home sort of vibe to it. It’s not al dente, but it almost feels like an elevated version of box mac and cheese. The big selling point here? The method is very hands off: throw the ingredients in the pot and press Go! Nothing better than that. Here are all the cozy secrets to this method.

Ingredients for this Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe

This Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe might even better easier than cooking from a box. (Maybe?) You need only a few ingredients, and assuming you stock cheese and pasta: they might already be in your pantry. Here’s what you need:

  • Short pasta: Sure, you can use macaroni. But our favorite pasta shapes for mac and cheese are any other short type of pasta: shells, penne, fusilli, bowties, orecchiette and more. See below!
  • Sharp cheddar cheese: make sure it’s not aged
  • Monterey Jack cheese
  • Milk
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Seasoned Italian breadcrumbs (optional)
Mac and cheese Instant Pot

Pasta cooks to soft, not al dente in an Instant Pot

Over here, we’re sticklers for getting the perfect al dente when we cook our pasta. But here’s what to know about mac and cheese in the Instant Pot:

  • Cooking pasta in the Instant Pot comes out with a soft texture, not al dente. But here’s the thing: it’s still delicious! Cooking the pasta to a softer texture helps it to soak in sauces and it has more of a “down-home” cozy comforting vibe. Think of it as a totally different way to make a pot of pasta!
  • Leftovers of this Instant Pot mac and cheese work too. Even though the pasta comes out soft, leftovers work too! Add a splash of milk and reheat it in a skillet, and this tastes almost as good as new.

How to make Instant Pot mac and cheese: basic steps

There’s barely 5 minutes of hands on time here! It takes about 25 minutes to complete, but most of this Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe is hands off. That’s what makes it great as a quick weeknight meal, or to whip up for kids or as a side dish for a stunning main. Here are the basic steps to this recipe:

  • Pressure cook the pasta for 4 minutes. Remember that there’s a “preheat time” of about 10 minute before the Instant Pot gets up to pressure. This part takes about 15 minutes total.
  • Quick release! If you’re an Instant Pot pro, you’ll know: quick release recipes are the best! This means you don’t have to continue to wait for a natural release.
  • Switch to slow cooker mode and stir in the milk and cheese. Stir until they form a creamy sauce, just a minute or two.
Instant pot mac and cheese recipe

Bread crumbs optional!

If you’re a mac and cheese purist, there’s something so satisfying about topping this gooey, cheesy mess with crunchy breadcrumbs. The contrasting texture is extremely satisfying. But of course it’s not necessary! We like using seasoned Italian breadcrumbs because it adds a little nuance of herbs. They’re easy to find at the store, or you can make your own breadcrumbs and add Italian seasoning.

Best noodles for mac and cheese in the Instant Pot

You can use macaroni for Instant Pot mac and cheese…but what’s the fun in that? In fact, our favorite pasta for this comfort food is anything but macaroni. We love using a unique pasta shape to keep things interesting. Shells are a favorite around here: and while they aren’t unexpected, there’s something that’s even more homey about them than the typical mac. Here are our favorite types of short pasta for mac and cheese, in order of preference:

  1. Conchiglie (shells): what we used here
  2. Cavatappicork-screw shapes
  3. Orecchiette: ear shapes
  4. Gigli (Campanelle)lily shapes
  5. Penne: long thin tubes with diagonal ends
  6. Gemelli: twisted tube shapes
  7. Rigatoni: long thicker tubes
Instant Pot mac and cheese

Sides to serve with Instant Pot mac and cheese

If the idea of using your Instant Pot for mac and cheese is to not do any cooking: let’s stick with the theme! There are lots of ideas for adding nutrients and fiber to round out this pasta into a meal. Here are a few no-cook side dishes to serve alongside:

  1. Spinach salad: This Spinach Apple Salad is full of good-for-you ingredients and topped with a tangy dressing.
  2. Veggies & ranch: Go simple with this Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip and carrot sticks. Perfect for kids (and adults, really).
  3. Coleslaw: Try this Best Coleslaw with a tangy, creamy dressing.
  4. Celery salad: This Celery Salad with Apples is unexpectedly refreshing and a great counterpoint to pasta.
  5. Citrus salad: This Simple Citrus Salad is gorgeous, with beautiful colors and a citrus zing.

More Instant Pot pasta recipes

Want to keep cooking up pasta in your pressure cooker? Here are a few other ideas to try outside of this Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe:

Instant pot mac and cheese

A note on pressure cookers

All pressure cooker brands vary! Here’s the brand we use: the Instant Pot 6 Qt Programmable Pressure Cooker. We also have 2 Instant Pot sealing rings and use one for savory recipes and one for sweet recipes. This recipe is customized for a 6 quart pressure cooker. We also can’t speak to using other brands and types of pressure cookers for this recipe. Use them at your own risk!

This Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe is…

Vegetarian.

Print
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Instant Pot Mac and Cheese


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 6 to 8 as a main, 10 to 12 as a side
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe is cozy and cheesy: the ultimate comfort food! It’s fast and easy to whip up in a pressure cooker. Stovetop variation below.*


Ingredients

  • 1 pound short pasta (shells, macaroni, penne, etc)*
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) sharp cheddar cheese (not aged), grated
  • 8 ounces (2 cups) Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups 2% milk
  • 1/2 cup seasoned Italian breadcrumbs (or plain breadcrumbs, optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the dry pasta in the Instant Pot and stir in 4 cups water and the kosher salt, onion powder and garlic powder. Lock the lid of the Instant Pot. Place the pressure release handle (vent) in the “Sealing” position.
  2. Cook on High Pressure for 4 minutes: Press the Pressure Cook button, making sure the “High Pressure” setting is selected, and set the time. Note that it takes about 10 minutes for the pot to “preheat” and come up to pressure before it starts cooking. (During cooking, avoid touching the metal part of the lid.)
  3. Quick release: Vent the remaining steam from the Instant Pot by moving the pressure release handle to “Venting”, covering your hand with a towel or hot pad. Never put your hands or face near the vent when releasing steam. Open the pressure cooker lid. There will be water remaining, which is what is intended. 
  4. Slow cook and make the sauce: Switch to the “slow cook” setting on the Instant Pot. Stir the pasta, then stir in the grated cheese. Add the milk and continue to stir for a minute or two until the cheese melts to form a creamy sauce, adding more milk if necessary. Serve warm, topped with breadcrumbs.

Notes

*Stovetop variation: Cook the pasta to al dente in boiling water. Drain and return to the pot. Stir in the remaining ingredients and heat on low heat until the cheese melts and forms a creamy sauce.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Instant Pot Mac and Cheese, Instant Pot mac and cheese recipe, mac and cheese Instant Pot

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Quick Chili Recipe

Need a meal in a flash? This speed demon quick chili recipe is just the thing: in 25 minutes you’ve got an easy dinner! Here’s our new favorite kitchen trick: this Quick Chili recipe! Yes, we dare say: this recipe is lightening fast. In just 25 minutes you have a fast and easy dinner recipe. 25 minutes! And most of that time is hands off. All you have to do is cut one onion: otherwise it’s dump and stir. Even better: the flavor is fantastic! There’s nothing about it that tastes like a short cut. We’ve made this many times already, and every time we make it, I think: Wow, that was easy. This one will be a staple in our kitchen for years to come. Ingredients for this quick chili recipe In a world full of chili iterations, is just one more necessary? Yes, we think. This one is one of the fastest and easiest you’ll find: and it’s healthy with great flavor. After cooking it, you might feel like you’re a super hero (we did). How is it possible to get flavor so quickly? Here are our secrets: Onion: You can’t cover up for real onion flavor. This […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Need a meal in a flash? This speed demon quick chili recipe is just the thing: in 25 minutes you’ve got an easy dinner!

Quick chili recipe

Here’s our new favorite kitchen trick: this Quick Chili recipe! Yes, we dare say: this recipe is lightening fast. In just 25 minutes you have a fast and easy dinner recipe. 25 minutes! And most of that time is hands off. All you have to do is cut one onion: otherwise it’s dump and stir. Even better: the flavor is fantastic! There’s nothing about it that tastes like a short cut. We’ve made this many times already, and every time we make it, I think: Wow, that was easy. This one will be a staple in our kitchen for years to come.

Ingredients for this quick chili recipe

In a world full of chili iterations, is just one more necessary? Yes, we think. This one is one of the fastest and easiest you’ll find: and it’s healthy with great flavor. After cooking it, you might feel like you’re a super hero (we did). How is it possible to get flavor so quickly? Here are our secrets:

  • Onion: You can’t cover up for real onion flavor. This is the only thing you have to dirty your knife for, and it takes only a minute to saute.
  • Canned fire roasted tomatoes: These tomatoes are roasted over an open flame before canning them. It makes them have a developed, sweet flavor right out of the can. If you can’t find them, use the best quality tomatoes you can find.
  • Kidney beans: The best chili beans, in our mind: pinto beans! But you can use any type of kind beans you like.
  • Chili powder, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder and cumin: A hefty chunk of spices does the heavy lifting in the flavor department.
  • Plant based veggie crumbles: Yes, you heard us right! Now, you can use straight up ground beef if you prefer. But this is the very first recipe ever on this website that we’ve used a vegan substitute for meat. Wondering why?
Quick chili recipe

What are the best plant based or vegan meat substitutes?

OK, here’s the thing. In 10 years of writing a mostly vegetarian and vegan food blog, we’ve never used a vegan meat substitute in a recipe until this quick chili. Why? Well, it seems like cheating. But more importantly, plant based meat substitutes of 10 years ago were much more processed. These days, there are some better options on the market that are more natural and less like processed food.

Keep in mind, this food group is not always super virtuous. But you can find some decent options these days. Here’s what to look for when trying to find the best vegan meat substitutes:

  • Look for a short ingredient list and whole food ingredients. Overall, the ingredient list should be relatively short and contain foods that you know. Of course, there will be some ingredients used as binders to hold it all together.
  • Consider dietary restrictions. Many vegan meat substitutes are similar to seitan, which is made of vital wheat gluten. Yes, a protein source that’s actually just made of solid gluten! We don’t eat gluten free, but we do prefer eating meat substitutes that have protein and aren’t all gluten.
  • Experiment for texture. We tried several different brands in this Quick Chili recipe. We liked Beyond Meat crumbles best: they’re made of pea protein and have a meat-like texture. Experiment to find a brand you love!
Quick chili

Use ground beef if you prefer a standard chili

In another ground-breaking first: this is the first time we’ve mentioned ground beef as an option in a recipe! This mostly vegetarian food blog typically doesn’t talk about eating beef because we don’t eat a lot of it. But if you’re craving a classic chili and beef is part of your diet: go for it! All you have to do is cook and drain 1 pound of ground beef., Then use it in this quick chili recipe in place of the veggie crumbles.

Best quick chili toppings

Of course, the best part of a eating chili is all the toppings! Use the simmering time for this quick chili recipe to assemble all your favorite toppings. Here are some of our top choices, some standard and some more unique:

  1. Sour cream: A must! Use vegan sour cream for a fully plant based chili.
  2. Shredded cheese: Use cheddar or Monterey jack, or get funky with smoked gouda.
  3. Green onions: Add a little green with thin-sliced green onions.
  4. Hot sauce: Naturally! A favorite is a Mexican hot sauce like Cholula.
  5. Pickled jalapenos or onions: These pickled jalapeños add a kick; pickled onions add a pink color and tangy flavor.
  6. Thinly sliced radishes: These veggies add a crunch.
  7. Chopped cilantro: The best way to add fresh flavor!
  8. Tortilla strips: Make a batch of tortilla strips: or just crumble tortilla chips on top.
  9. Diced avocado: Chopped avocado adds richness and makes it more filling.
  10. Roasted salted pepitas: This unique option adds a salty crunch.
Quick chili recipe

Sides to go with chili

To us chili is a meal itself, usually! But if you can, it’s great to sneak in a side to make it a filling meal. Adding a few sides is great to turn this quick chili into a meal for a crowd. Here are a few sides to go with chili:

This quick chili recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free (make sure your veggie crumbles fit your dietary restrictions).

Print
Quick chili recipe

Quick Chili Recipe (25 minutes!)


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 3 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 23 minutes
  • Yield: 4 to 6 servings
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Need a meal in a flash? This speed demon quick chili recipe is just the thing: in 25 minutes you’ve got an easy dinner!


Ingredients

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion
  • 3 cups (10 to 12 ounces) plant-based crumbles* (or 1 pound cooked and drained ground beef)
  • 2 28-ounce cans diced fire roasted tomatoes
  • 2 15-ounce cans kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • For topping: Shredded cheese, sour cream (or vegan sour cream), sliced green onions, pickled onions or jalapenos

Instructions

  1. Dice the onion.
  2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in pot or Dutch oven. Cook the onion for 4 to 5 minutes until translucent.
  3. Stir in the veggie crumbles and cook 1 more minute. Add the dice tomatoes, drained and rinsed kidney beans, chili powder, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, cumin, and kosher salt.
  4. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 15 minutes. If necessary, add a splash of water while it simmers: all brands of veggie crumbles give off different levels of moisture as they cook. Serve warm garnished with your favorite chili toppings.  

Notes

*Plant-based crumbles vary widely based on the brand. Review the label to make sure they are not overly processed. We used Beyond Meat Beyond Beef Plant Based Crumbles, which are made of pea protein and have a meat-like texture. Different brands have different textures and ingredients to fit different diets (vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free). Experiment to find a brand you love! 

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Quick chili recipe, quick chili

More chili recipes

There are lots of other other ideas! Here are a few more of our best chili recipes to try:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Ultimate Hummus Sandwich

A hummus sandwich is the best healthy easy lunch idea! This plant based recipe takes just a few minutes to make with colorful crunchy veggies. Looking for healthy and easy lunch ideas? Here’s a genius idea for busy days or even a lightening fast weeknight dinner. This Ultimate Hummus Sandwich! That’s right: hummus on a sandwich. You don’t have to reserve hummus just for carrots and pita triangles! It works as a sandwich spread that’s full of plant-based protein to keep you full for hours. Throw it on bread with all your favorite crunchy veggies and it’s a lunch or snack that couldn’t be easier to whip up. Here’s all you need to know about making the ultimate hummus sandwich of your dreams. Ingredients for the ultimate hummus sandwich This hummus sandwich make look like just a random assortment of vegetables with hummus, but it’s more than that! Here are some things to note about getting just the right combination of flavors and textures in a hummus sandwich: Hummus: Use your favorite hummus brand, or even better: make a batch of homemade! The flavor varies widely in store-bought brands, so choose wisely. Bread: We suggest using a crusty artisan bread. […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

A hummus sandwich is the best healthy easy lunch idea! This plant based recipe takes just a few minutes to make with colorful crunchy veggies.

Hummus Sandwich

Looking for healthy and easy lunch ideas? Here’s a genius idea for busy days or even a lightening fast weeknight dinner. This Ultimate Hummus Sandwich! That’s right: hummus on a sandwich. You don’t have to reserve hummus just for carrots and pita triangles! It works as a sandwich spread that’s full of plant-based protein to keep you full for hours. Throw it on bread with all your favorite crunchy veggies and it’s a lunch or snack that couldn’t be easier to whip up. Here’s all you need to know about making the ultimate hummus sandwich of your dreams.

Ingredients for the ultimate hummus sandwich

This hummus sandwich make look like just a random assortment of vegetables with hummus, but it’s more than that! Here are some things to note about getting just the right combination of flavors and textures in a hummus sandwich:

  • Hummus: Use your favorite hummus brand, or even better: make a batch of homemade! The flavor varies widely in store-bought brands, so choose wisely.
  • Bread: We suggest using a crusty artisan bread. If you’re an overachiever, you can make homemade! Try our Sandwich Bread, Whole Wheat Bread, or No Knead Bread.
  • Pickled Vegetables: This is the flavor maker! Using pickled vegetables brings in the best nuance of tangy, sweet, and salty flavor.
  • Raw Vegetables: You can use any combo you like. We used cucumber, red onion and tomato.
  • Cheese: Add cheese for a vegetarian sandwich, or keep it as a vegan sandwich and omit!
  • Sprouts or Microgreens: The finishing touch! It’s optional, but adds nice texture.
Hummus sandwich

The flavor maker: pickled vegetables!

Let’s talk about those pickled vegetables again! This is a trick we picked up from an Italian sandwich shop we visited in Traverse City this summer (Folgarelli’s: we highly recommend it!). One of their vegetable sandwiches had a garlic cheese spread, raw vegetables and the kicker: marinated vegetables from the Italian deli. They added such great tangy, nuanced flavor that it made the entire sandwich taste better!

You can use either mixed pickled vegetables or marinated vegetables. Try pickled cauliflower and carrots (or this recipe for homemade), or whatever you see that strikes your fancy. Or grab some marinated vegetables, jarred or from the antipasto bar if your grocery has one.

Tip: remove excess moisture!

The most important part of this hummus sandwich is this: make sure to remove all excess moisture from the vegetables before you start. Pickled vegetables have quite a bit of moisture (since they’re canned in brine), and so do veggies like tomatoes.

All you have to do is squeeze out the pickled veggies in a paper towel or clean dish towel before building your sandwich! You can also blot the tomatoes with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.

Hummus sandwich

Step it up with homemade hummus

Step up your hummus sandwich by using homemade hummus! It’s the best way to bring in big flavor. Or, use one of our hummus flavors below to mix it up. Here are some ideas:

Variations: more hummus sandwich toppings

It goes without saying that you can vary the toppings in this hummus sandwich to your liking! This is more of a concept than a recipe that has to be followed exactly. Here are some ideas on how to branch out and create thousands of hummus sandwich variations:

Hummus sandwich ingredients

Make-ahead info for a hummus sandwich

Last thing to note about this hummus sandwich. It is best made right before eating! Because hummus has moisture and the veggies have moisture, it gets a little too soggy in the fridge. If you want to bring it to an office or outside of the house, here’s what to do:

  • Slice the veggies in advance and place in a container. Assemble the sandwich right before eating.
  • Try making the sandwich as a wrap. A wrap can better hold up to storage than bread.

This hummus sandwich recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free and plant-based.

Print
Hummus Sandwich

Ultimate Hummus Sandwich


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 10 minutes
  • Yield: 2 sandwiches
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

A hummus sandwich is the best healthy easy lunch idea! This plant based recipe takes just a few minutes to make with colorful crunchy veggies.


Ingredients

  • 1/4 medium cucumber
  • 1 small tomato 
  • 1/4 small red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped jarred pickled vegetables (we used pickled cauliflower and carrots)
  • 1 cup hummus
  • 2 slices provolone cheese, optional (omit for vegan)
  • 4 slices bread
  • Microgreens or sprouts, optional
  • Other optional toppings: avocado slices, roasted red pepper, lettuce, feta or goat cheese crumbles, fresh herbs, etc.

Instructions

  1. Chop the veggies: Peel and slice the cucumber (or peel alternating strips as we did here). Thinly slice the tomato. Slice the red onion. Chop the pickled vegetables. 
  2. Toast the bread: If desired, toast the bread.
  3. Remove excess moisture: Meanwhile, place the chopped pickles in a paper towel or clean dish towel and squeeze out any extra water. Place the tomatoes on a paper towel or towel and blot them to remove excess moisture.
  4. Build the sandwich: Place the cucumber slices on the bottom of the sandwich to act as a moisture barrier. Top with a layer of hummus. Add the cheese (optional), pickled vegetables, red onion, tomato, and microgreens or sprouts (if using). Spread the remaining hummus on the top slice of bread and place it on top. Note: This sandwich is best made right before eating. If you’re bringing it outside the house like to work, we recommend chopping the components in advance, then building the sandwich right before you eat it. To make it in advance, you could make it as a wrap.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Sandwich
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Hummus sandwich

More great sandwich recipes

The sandwich is one of the easiest ways to a healthy lunch or easy snack! Here are some of our favorite sandwich recipes:

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Cauliflower Stir Fry

This easy cauliflower stir fry is an ideal healthy and easy dinner idea! It’s full of nutrients and covered in a punchy sauce. Hands up if you love cauliflower! (All hands raise, over here.) This vegetable has star status among veggies these days: because there are endless creative ways to use it. Make it into tacos, use it as a plant based stand-in buffalo wings, or hide it in alfredo sauce. Here’s our new favorite way to use these tasty florets: in a cauliflower stir fry! Fry it until lightly charred and tender, then add bell peppers and a punchy stir fry sauce. It’s the best way to make eating your veggies irresistible! Try it as a healthy side dish or an easy plant based dinner (with the protein adders below). Ingredients in this cauliflower stir fry This cauliflower stir fry is fast and easy to make! On its own it works as a side dish, but eat it with a plant based protein (see below) and it’s an easy dinner. The main thing to note is that cauliflower requires much more time to stir fry than other veggies, so you’ll need to add it to the pan first. Here […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This easy cauliflower stir fry is an ideal healthy and easy dinner idea! It’s full of nutrients and covered in a punchy sauce.

Cauliflower stir fry

Hands up if you love cauliflower! (All hands raise, over here.) This vegetable has star status among veggies these days: because there are endless creative ways to use it. Make it into tacos, use it as a plant based stand-in buffalo wings, or hide it in alfredo sauce. Here’s our new favorite way to use these tasty florets: in a cauliflower stir fry! Fry it until lightly charred and tender, then add bell peppers and a punchy stir fry sauce. It’s the best way to make eating your veggies irresistible! Try it as a healthy side dish or an easy plant based dinner (with the protein adders below).

Ingredients in this cauliflower stir fry

This cauliflower stir fry is fast and easy to make! On its own it works as a side dish, but eat it with a plant based protein (see below) and it’s an easy dinner. The main thing to note is that cauliflower requires much more time to stir fry than other veggies, so you’ll need to add it to the pan first. Here are the basic ingredients you’ll need for this stir fry:

Nutrition note: This recipe uses 2 bell peppers along with the cauliflower. 1 medium red bell pepper provides 169% of your daily vitamin C, so using 2 knocks this vitamin off the charts (Source)!

Cauliflower stir fry

Notes on the stir fry sauce

This cauliflower stir fry has an incredible stir fry sauce that brings in lots of savory, salty and sweet flavor! Use the recipe as printed, or another option is our Go To Stir Fry Sauce. It’s just as good and is an oil free option. Here are a few notes on the ingredients in the stir fry sauce:

  • Soy sauce: Use regular sodium to get the full seasoning. Tamari is a gluten free soy substitute, or use coconut aminos for a soy free gluten free substitute. You may need to add a pinch more salt in both cases.
  • Cornstarch: Arrow root powder is an effective substitute for cornstarch in stir fry sauces!
  • Miso: Miso is a Japanese fermented soybean paste that’s full of nutrients and savory flavor. It’s a must in this sauce and can’t be replicated. You can find miso in the international foods aisle near the Japanese ingredients. There are lots of types of miso: we used yellow or light miso here.
  • Gochujang (optional): Want to add a little spicy funkiness to your sauce? This Korean chili paste steps it up a notch.
How to make a cauliflower stir fry

How to make a cauliflower stir fry: some tips!

The overall process for this cauliflower stir fry is easy: but there are a few things to note to make it come out perfectly. Here’s what to know:

  • Stir fry the cauliflower about 5 minutes before adding other veggies. Here’s the kicker: cauliflower takes much longer than other veggies to stir fry. If you add them all at once, it will come out too tough. Make sure to follow the instructions exactly.
  • Use medium high heat. The point of a stir fry is to cook at high heat: quickly. This will get nice char marks onto your cauliflower.
  • Don’t double the recipe. The biggest tip for a stir fry: you can’t crowd the pan! If there are too many veggies, they’ll steam instead of stir fry. If you want to increase quantities, cook the veggies in batches then re-warm everything together.
Cauliflower stir fry

Add protein to make it a main dish!

Are you serving this cauliflower stir fry as a main dish? It’s a perfect healthy meal or fast and easy dinner idea. Just make sure to serve with a whole grain and consider adding protein to keep it filling. Here are some ideas:

  • Serve with Rice: Rice has protein (about 10% of your daily needs in 1 cup cooked) and fiber, which helps to make a filling meal. Try our White RiceBrown Rice, or Instant Pot Rice.
  • Cashews: Throw 3/4 cup cashews into this stir fry when you add the cauliflower. This makes a main dish of about 2 to 3 servings.
  • Edamame: Add 1 cup shelled, frozen edamame in the last 2 to 3 minutes of the cook time. Or eat edamame in the shell as a side: try Easy Edamame or Spicy Edamame.
  • Tofu: Cook Marinated Tofu or Pan Fried Tofu, then add it once the stir fry is done.
  • Shrimp: Make Garlic Shrimp but use sesame oil instead of butter and omit the lemon.
Cauliflower stir fry

Or serve cauliflower stir fry as a side dish

You also can serve this cauliflower stir fry as a side dish instead! It would be fantastic with the following main dish options:

This cauliflower stir fry recipe is…

Vegetarian, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free and gluten-free.

Print
Cauliflower stir fry

Easy Cauliflower Stir Fry


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (6 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4 as a main with added protein, 4 as a side
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

This easy cauliflower stir fry is an ideal healthy and easy dinner idea! It’s full of nutrients and covered in a punchy sauce. 


Ingredients

  • 1 medium head cauliflower (2 pounds)
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 orange bell pepper
  • 1 medium white onion
  • 3 green onions
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar*
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce (or tamari or coconut aminos)
  • 1 tablespoon light miso
  • 1/2 tablespoon gochujang (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (or maple syrup)
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil (regular, not toasted)
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch (or arrowroot powder)
  • 3 tablespoons neutral oil for stir frying, divided
  • To serve as a main dish: Add 3/4 cup cashews with cauliflower**, add 1 cup shelled frozen edamame in the last 2 to 3 minutes, or add Marinated Tofu, Pan Fried Tofu, or Sauteed Shrimp and serve with rice

Instructions

  1. Chop the cauliflower into small florets. Thinly slice the bell peppers. Thinly slice the white onion. Thinly slice the green onion.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, soy sauce, miso, gochujang, sugar, sesame oil, and cornstarch (or make the Go To Stir Fry Sauce). 
  3. In large skillet, heat 2 tablespoons neutral oil over medium high heat. Add the cauliflower and a pinch of salt and cook unstirring, for 3 to 4 minutes until charred. Flip the florets and continue cooking for 2 minutes.
  4. Add the bell peppers, white onion, a pinch of salt and the remaining 1 tablespoon oil and cook 4 to 6 minutes until tender.
  5. Turn off the heat. Pour in the sauce and add the green onions. Stir until the sauce coats everything and thickens. Serve immediately. 

Notes

*Or substitute the Go To Stir Fry Sauce for the sauce ingredients (oil free).

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stir Fry
  • Cuisine: Asian inspired

Keywords: Cauliflower stir fry

More great cauliflower recipes

There are so many tasty cauliflower recipes to try if you love this healthy veggie! Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Buffalo Cauliflower Wings They’re crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, and tossed with spicy buffalo sauce.
  • Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower No one can resist this roasted cauliflower with Parmesan! It’s as irresistible as French fries, baked in a hot oven until browned and crisp.
  • Creamy Cauliflower Sauce Like a healthy alfredo sauce using cauliflower as a base! It has less calories and all the benefits of this healthy veggie.

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Pesto Salmon

Bright green basil pesto is a natural fit with baked fish! This pesto salmon is an easy weeknight meal that also works to impress guests. Ready for the perfect zingy sauce to add life to baked salmon? Try this pesto salmon! Bright green pesto goes hand in hand with tender baked fish to make a stunning dinner. Because really: what isn’t better with a little pesto on top? It’s mid-summer here and we’re making all the pesto with our overactive basil plant. The savory, garlicky sauce makes the flaky fish pop: you’ll already be taking your second bite before finishing the first. It’s easy enough for a weeknight, but impressive enough to serve to guests. This one went over very well in our house. Here’s what to know! Use homemade pesto if you can…but purchased works This pesto salmon is best with…you guessed it, homemade pesto! Now, we know it’s not always that you have access to loads of fresh basil. But the flavor of freshly made basil pesto is so good, you’ll want to make it if at all possible. Here are a few things to know: Make a half recipe of our basil pesto. This way, you don’t […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Bright green basil pesto is a natural fit with baked fish! This pesto salmon is an easy weeknight meal that also works to impress guests.

Pesto salmon

Ready for the perfect zingy sauce to add life to baked salmon? Try this pesto salmon! Bright green pesto goes hand in hand with tender baked fish to make a stunning dinner. Because really: what isn’t better with a little pesto on top? It’s mid-summer here and we’re making all the pesto with our overactive basil plant. The savory, garlicky sauce makes the flaky fish pop: you’ll already be taking your second bite before finishing the first. It’s easy enough for a weeknight, but impressive enough to serve to guests. This one went over very well in our house. Here’s what to know!

Use homemade pesto if you can…but purchased works

This pesto salmon is best with…you guessed it, homemade pesto! Now, we know it’s not always that you have access to loads of fresh basil. But the flavor of freshly made basil pesto is so good, you’ll want to make it if at all possible. Here are a few things to know:

  • Make a half recipe of our basil pesto. This way, you don’t need as much basil: just 1 cup of basil leaves.
  • You can use cashews or walnuts. Traditional pesto is made with pine nuts, but they can be expensive or hard to find. Using other nuts works too! Our favorite is cashew pesto, or try this walnut pesto.
  • Or, find the best quality purchased brand. Here’s the thing about storebought pesto: the quality varies widely. Some pestos taste flat and dull, some are overly salty. So experiment until you find one you love!

Tip for baked pesto salmon: brine it first!

Here’s a little trick we’ve used to great success. Brine your salmon before baking! What’s brining? Brining is letting your salmon sit in a brine solution before baking. This makes for perfectly moist salmon, and it helps the salmon come to room temperature which makes it cook more evenly. It also cuts down on the white stuff (see below). Even better: it doesn’t take any extra time! You can do it while the oven preheats. Here’s how to brine salmon:

  • Mix up a salt water solution. In a large dish, stir 4 cups of water with 3 tablespoons salt to make a salt water solution.
  • Place the fish in the water for 15 minutes. You can do this in the time it takes to preheat your oven: so there’s no time lost!

What’s the white stuff on cooked salmon?

What’s that gooey white stuff that sometimes appears on the surface of the fish after it’s cooked? Good news: it’s perfectly normal! The white stuff is coagulated protein that seeps to the surface while baking, called albumin. The amount of albumin varies greatly depending on the fish, so it’s not something you can control. (Read more here.) It’s safe to eat, but it does look less than appetizing on top of a beautiful fillet. Here are a few ways to reduce the albumin when you cook salmon:

  • Cook it at a lower temperature to cook it more gently (325 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • Brine the salmon in a salt and water solution before baking
Pesto salmon

How to garnish pesto salmon

The presentation is the fun part, right? This pesto salmon looks just lovely on a plate. Here’s what to know about the presentation:

  • Add the pesto after baking. This keeps it beautifully moist and bright green.
  • Add chopped and toasted pine nuts as a garnish. These look lovely, and they have a unique flavor. Make sure to toast the pine nuts before using them: it accentuates the flavor in a way where you’ll taste the difference.
  • Lemon zest adds brightness. Zest helps brighten the flavors; you’ll already have a lemon onhand if you make homemade pesto. If using storebought pesto, it can be a nice way to revive the flavors.

Buying sustainable salmon

Want to buy the most sustainable fish you can? Here are a few pointers when you’re looking at salmon at the grocery store:

  • Look for wild-caught fish if possible. Wild-caught fish is more sustainable than farmed.
  • Find US caught (if you’re in the US). 90% of the seafood we eat in the US is imported. Imported seafood runs the risk of being overfished, caught under unfair labor practices, or farmed in environmentally harmful ways.
Pesto salmon

Sides to serve with pesto salmon

This pesto salmon makes an easy, healthy dinner recipe: great for weeknights in and when you’re entertaining guests! How to make it into a meal? Because you’ll have the oven occupied for the salmon, here are a few ideas for side dishes that are oven-free:

This pesto recipe is…

Gluten-free and pescatarian. For dairy free, use Vegan Pesto.

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Pesto salmon

Easy Pesto Salmon


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

Bright green basil pesto is a natural fit with baked fish! This pesto salmon is an easy weeknight meal that also works to impress guests.


Ingredients

  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets or a large 1 1/2 pound fillet, wild caught if possible
  • Olive oil, for brushing
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for brining
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons basil pesto (homemade preferable)
  • 1 tablespoon toasted and chopped pine nuts
  • A few grates of lemon zest, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Brine the salmon: While the oven preheats, in a shallow dish stir together 4 cups room temperature water and 3 tablespoons kosher salt until it dissolves. Place the salmon in the water and wait for 15 minutes (this should be about the time it takes to preheat).
  3. Bake: Rub the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil. Pat each piece of salmon dry and place it on the pan. Sprinkle the salmon with 1/8 teaspoon kosher salt for each of the 4 fillets and fresh ground pepper. Cover pan with foil and bake the salmon for 10 minutes. Then remove the foil bake again for 3 to 6 minutes, depending on thickness, until just tender and pink at the center (the internal temperature should be between 125 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit in the center). A 1-inch thick fillet should cook in about 15 minutes total.
  4. Serve: When the salmon is done, spoon the pesto over the salmon. Sprinkle it with chopped pine nuts and if desired, a bit of lemon zest. Serve immediately. (Leftovers can be stored refrigerated for 3 to 4 days.)

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Baked
  • Cuisine: Seafood

Keywords: Pesto salmon

More recipes with pesto

Got lots of basil? Let’s make everything pesto! Here are some of our favorite meals starring this bright green sauce:

  • Pesto Spaghetti or Pesto Cavatappi The trick to getting the creamiest pesto pasta evenly covered in silky sauce! Make it with homemade or purchased basil pesto for a fast dinner.
  • Shrimp Pesto Pasta An impressively fast and easy dinner recipe! Cover the noodles in glistening green basil pesto for a meal that pleases everyone.
  • Pesto Cream Sauce This 5-minute pesto cream sauce is genius: just simmer pesto and cream until a thick sauce forms!
  • Easy Pesto Shrimp A dinnertime win! Savory basil pesto is a natural pairing with juicy shrimp; serve with pasta or rice for an easy dinner idea.
  • Pesto Aioli Full of incredible basil and Parmesan flavor! Use it for dipping fries or to slather on a burger or sandwich.

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Egg Salad Sandwich

This really is the best egg salad sandwich! The basic recipe is creamy, savory, and full of fresh herbs for an insane amount of flavor. Everyone needs solid basic recipes for kitchen standards. And here’s one we think will become part of your repertoire: the perfect Egg Salad Sandwich! It’s the best kind of basic. This is a sandwich you can sink your teeth into, that tastes like an elevated version of what you’re used to. It’s fresh and healthy, not the mayo-laden kind you can find at the store. Another secret? It’s stuffed with fresh herbs, to give you a beautiful pop of flavor. The moment we tried the first bite, looked at each other and said, “Wow!” You’re going to want to try this: stat. Ingredients for the best egg salad sandwich There are lots of spins on ye old egg salad sandwich. Your grandma probably has her own family favorite recipe! This one is new and improved, with a few little tricks to modernize it and infuse the freshest of flavors. Over here we tinkered with this recipe quite a while to get it just right. The ingredients for an egg salad sandwich are: Eggs Greek yogurt […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

This really is the best egg salad sandwich! The basic recipe is creamy, savory, and full of fresh herbs for an insane amount of flavor.

Egg salad

Everyone needs solid basic recipes for kitchen standards. And here’s one we think will become part of your repertoire: the perfect Egg Salad Sandwich! It’s the best kind of basic. This is a sandwich you can sink your teeth into, that tastes like an elevated version of what you’re used to. It’s fresh and healthy, not the mayo-laden kind you can find at the store. Another secret? It’s stuffed with fresh herbs, to give you a beautiful pop of flavor. The moment we tried the first bite, looked at each other and said, “Wow!” You’re going to want to try this: stat.

Ingredients for the best egg salad sandwich

There are lots of spins on ye old egg salad sandwich. Your grandma probably has her own family favorite recipe! This one is new and improved, with a few little tricks to modernize it and infuse the freshest of flavors. Over here we tinkered with this recipe quite a while to get it just right. The ingredients for an egg salad sandwich are:

  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Mayonnaise
  • Dijon mustard
  • Green onion
  • Fresh dill or basil

Here’s a little more about why this combo works…

Egg salad

Yogurt + mayo makes it light and fresh!

Here’s a trick we use in traditionally mayo-based recipes from the 1950’s to lighten them up. Instead of straight mayo, we use mayo and Greek yogurt! Here’s why it works:

  • Mayo lends a savory richness, but using all mayo can feel too heavy.
  • Greek yogurt cuts back the calories and keeps it light and healthy, while adding a tangy flavor and a creaminess.

This winning combination is the secret behind our Ultimate Tuna Salad Sandwich! It also works great in creamy dressings: try our Homemade Ranch Dressing or Caesar Dressing.

Egg salad

Fresh herbs are key

The other trick to the best egg salad sandwich is using fresh herbs! If you know us, you know our mantra: Fresh herbs are the best way to infuse flavor into your cooking without adding calories. Herbs bring the best nuance and pop of flavor! Here’s a bit about what herbs go well in egg salad:

  • Dill: Use fresh dill for a classic flavor. Dill is often used in egg salad and it brings a delicate herby flavor.
  • Basil: This is our favorite unique variation! Basil egg salad has the best fresh flavor with the peppery pop of bright green basil.
  • Chives: Chives are another natural pair with egg salad. Because this recipe also uses green onion, they’re not as necessary: but they also bring great flavor if you have them on hand.
Hard boiled eggs

Master method: how to hard boil eggs

This egg salad sandwich requires a kitchen mastery skill: how to hard boil eggs! This is a skill that we didn’t learn until later in life. So we know not everyone knows how to do it like the back of their hand! Here’s the method we used:

  • Bring water to a boil: Cover the eggs with 1 inch water in a saucepan and bring the water to a boil.
  • Turn off and stand for 15 minutes. Right when it comes to a boil, turn off the water and let the eggs sit in the water for 15 minutes.
  • Remove to a bowl of ice water and cool. Then immediately transfer the eggs to a bath of ice water. Wait until they’re cool enough to peel.

You can make up a large batch of hard boiled eggs and store them for 1 week refrigerated. It’s best to keep the eggs still in their shell, which keeps them the freshest. We’d suggest boiling them in advance and then making the egg salad right before you make it, because…

Egg salad sandwich

How long can you store egg salad?

Here’s the thing: egg salad tastes best when it’s made fresh. But you can store it: egg salad lasts for 3 to 5 days in the refrigerator. The flavors can dull after refrigeration, so when you serve leftovers, let it come to room temperature and take a taste. Add a pinch of salt and another squeeze of Dijon mustard to taste to revive the flavors.

Make an egg salad sandwich into a healthy meal!

This egg salad sandwich is clutch for a fast and easy dinner recipe or a healthy lunch! Especially if you boil up the eggs in advance, this sandwich comes together in a snap. How to make this into a healthy meal in a rush? Here are some of our favorite non-recipe sides that take no time at all:

Egg salad sandwich

What can I use instead of bread for egg salad?

There are lots of options instead of bread for egg salad! If you eat a gluten free diet or are just looking to mix things up, here are some options:

  • Lettuce wrap: Serve it rolled up into butter lettuce leaves.
  • Stuff in an avocado: A ripe avocado makes for an out-of the box serving vessel.
  • Crackers: Gluten free crackers work well for serving: use your favorite brand or homemade almond crackers.

Variations on egg salad sandwich

There are lots of variations on egg salad! Here are some of our favorites, including a vegan variation:

  • Easy Chickpea Salad Sandwich A fan favorite! This chickpea salad sandwich is a plant based way to get your egg salad fix.
  • Tuna Salad with Egg Combine egg salad with tuna salad in this ultra-filling, protein packed creamy sandwich.
  • Curry Egg Salad Add 1 teaspoon curry powder for a flavorful variation.

This egg salad sandwich recipe is…

Vegetarian. For gluten-free, use the gluten-free serving options listed above.

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Egg salad

Ultimate Egg Salad Sandwich


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  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 4 sandwiches
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

This really is the best egg salad sandwich! The basic recipe is creamy, savory, and full of fresh herbs for an insane amount of flavor.


Ingredients

  • 8 eggs
  • 1 green onion
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill (or basil)
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt*
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 8 slices of bread
  • For the toppings: lettuce, red onion, tomato, etc

Instructions

  1. Hard boil the eggs, according to Perfect Hard Boiled Eggs or Instant Pot Hard Boiled Eggs.
  2. When the eggs are cooked and cooled, peel them and chop them roughly.
  3. Thinly slice the green onions. Chop the fresh dill or basil.
  4. In a bowl, stir together all ingredients. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. (Tastes best freshly made. You can also refrigerate for up to 3 to 5 days; after refrigerating taste and add a little salt and/or mustard to refresh the flavors.)
  5. If desired, toast the bread. Place the egg salad on the bread and top with lettuce, red onion, and any other toppings desired.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Egg salad sandwich

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Pesto Spaghetti

Here’s the trick to getting the creamiest pesto spaghetti evenly covered in silky sauce! Make it with homemade or purchased basil pesto for a fast dinner. It’s late summer and our basil plant is massive. We’ve got pesto coming out of our ears over here. The best way to make this tasty sauce into a fast and easy dinner? Pesto spaghetti! It’s herby, Parmesan-y, garlicky and always a crowd pleaser. We’ll show you the trick to getting a silky sauce covering all your noodles: no more gummy, dry pesto here! Serve them as is, or top with veggies or shrimp for a fast and easy dinner. Here’s what you need to know to make the best spaghetti pesto around! Another idea? Try our Easy Pesto Cream Sauce. How to get the best pesto coverage: pasta water! Here’s the thing. You can make spaghetti pesto by simply mixing pesto with spaghetti. Ever done this and ended up with dry, gummy pasta? It’s a problem. The nuts and the cheese in the thick pesto sauce cling to the noodles if you don’t give them a little help. Here’s what to do to make the pesto perfectly coat the noodles: Add pasta water! […]

A Couple Cooks – Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes

Here’s the trick to getting the creamiest pesto spaghetti evenly covered in silky sauce! Make it with homemade or purchased basil pesto for a fast dinner.

Spaghetti pesto

It’s late summer and our basil plant is massive. We’ve got pesto coming out of our ears over here. The best way to make this tasty sauce into a fast and easy dinner? Pesto spaghetti! It’s herby, Parmesan-y, garlicky and always a crowd pleaser. We’ll show you the trick to getting a silky sauce covering all your noodles: no more gummy, dry pesto here! Serve them as is, or top with veggies or shrimp for a fast and easy dinner. Here’s what you need to know to make the best spaghetti pesto around!

Another idea? Try our Easy Pesto Cream Sauce.

How to get the best pesto coverage: pasta water!

Here’s the thing. You can make spaghetti pesto by simply mixing pesto with spaghetti. Ever done this and ended up with dry, gummy pasta? It’s a problem. The nuts and the cheese in the thick pesto sauce cling to the noodles if you don’t give them a little help. Here’s what to do to make the pesto perfectly coat the noodles:

  • Add pasta water! This is a common Italian technique for cooking pasta. You’ll add cheese and then toss it with the pasta water to create a quick sauce. The starchy pasta water makes the perfect thick and creamy sauce. Same goes for pesto! Start with 1/2 cup pasta water, then add more as necessary until the noodles are slick.
  • Toss the noodles and pesto in a bowl: not the pasta pot. The pasta pot is still hot from cooking the pasta. So it can turn the basil brown and stick to the bottom of the pot. So toss the noodles and pesto together in a bowl: it works much better (we picked up that method here).
How to make spaghetti pesto

Spaghetti pesto is best with homemade pesto

It goes without saying that spaghetti pesto tastes the best with homemade pesto. The flavor here is beautifully fresh: and our pesto recipe has lemon for just the right zing! But we get it: basil isn’t always available. If you’re going storebought, go to the next section. But if you do have basil on hand, here are some things to know:

  • Make pesto with any nut you like. Pine nuts, the traditional nut in pesto, can be expensive and hard to find. So you can easily use cashews or walnuts! Here are our best pesto recipes using all three: Basil Pesto, Cashew Pesto, or Walnut Pesto.
  • You can make vegan pesto, too. Nix the Parmesan and you’ve got a dairy-free pesto! Try this Vegan Pesto that uses a secret ingredient.
  • There’s also a nut free option. This Basil Sauce has no nuts or cheese!It’s so oily on its own you don’t need to add pasta water, skip that step if using this one.
Basil pesto

Or, use best quality purchased pesto!

To make this spaghetti pesto an easy weeknight meal, just use storebought pesto! It’s easy to find, but there are a few things to know about purchased pesto:

  • The quality of brands varies greatly: so experiment! All brands vary quite a bit in flavor: some are light and fresh, others can taste stale or dull. Make sure to experiment to find one you like.
  • The salt quantity also varies, so adjust the added salt as needed. After tossing the pesto and spaghetti, add additional salt to taste. With homemade pesto we added 1/4 teaspoon salt, but we change it when we’re using a purchased pesto brand.
Spaghetti pesto

Variations on spaghetti pesto

Once you’ve made your pesto spaghetti, there are lots of tasty adders to make it an even tastier meal. Add other vegetables or proteins to customize your pasta: or different pasta shapes!. Here are a few ideas for how to switch it up:

  • Use different pasta — like bucatini or penne. Bucataini is like hollow spaghetti, and it’s our favorite type of pasta. Or use a short-cut shape like penne, cavatappi or bowties.
  • Sliced cherry tomatoes. Slice them up and they add a beautiful color.
  • Tomatoes & fresh mozzarella chunks. Makes anything better.
  • Raw thin sliced zucchini. It adds a nice crunch!
  • Roasted red peppers. Another easy addition.
  • Shrimp. Try it with Pesto Shrimp to make a full meal.
  • Scallops. Make a fancy meal by adding Pan Seared Scallops.
Spaghetti pesto

Make it a meal: what to serve with pesto pasta

What to serve with spaghetti pesto? This is an especially good question if you’re making this as a vegan or vegetarian dinner idea. It’s important to integrate a source of plant-based protein so that the meal is filling. Here are some options for what to serve as a side dish with pesto pasta:

This spaghetti pesto recipe is…

Vegetarian. For vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, use Vegan Pesto. For gluten-free, try gluten free or legume-based pasta.

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Spaghetti pesto

Spaghetti Pesto


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (5 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 10 minutes
  • Total Time: 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3 to 4
  • Diet: Vegetarian

Description

Here’s the trick to getting the creamiest pesto spaghetti evenly covered in silky sauce! Make it with homemade or purchased basil pesto for a fast dinner.


Ingredients

  • 12 ounces spaghetti or bucatini pasta
  • 1/2 to 2/3 cup basil pesto*
  • 1/2 cup pasta water, plus more as needed
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 large handful fresh basil leaves, to garnish (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese, to garnish (optional)

Instructions

  1. Start a pot of well salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta until it is just al dente (start tasting a few minutes before the package recommends: you want it to be tender but still a little firm on the inside; usually around 7 to 8 minutes). Just before draining, reserve 1 cup pasta water! Then drain the pasta.
  2. Place the pasta in a bowl (not the pasta pot). Stir together the pasta, pesto, and 1/2 cup pasta water, tossing with tongs until the pesto is well distributed and the pasta water forms a creamy sauce. Add more pasta water if desired. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt and taste. If the flavor doesn’t pop, add a few more pinches until it does (the salt content in purchased pesto brands varies, as well as the amount of salt you used in the pasta water). Serve immediately.
  3. Store any leftovers refrigerated: note that pesto can get gummy when reheated, so it’s best to eat leftovers cold or room temp.

Notes

*This spaghetti pesto tastes best with homemade pesto! If fresh basil is not available, use your best quality store brand. Brands vary widely especially in salt content, so adjust salt to taste.

  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Boiled
  • Cuisine: Italian

Keywords: Pesto spaghetti, spaghetti pesto pasta

More recipes with pesto

There are so many great ways to use pesto! Try these pesto recipes:

  • Pesto Pizza Full of big flavor! Top with mozzarella and thin sliced tomatoes and dinner is serve.
  • Pesto Mac and Cheese A swirl of basil pesto brings so much flavor to this classic comfort food! This one features Havarti cheese for ultra creaminess.
  • Pesto Aioli This pesto aioli is full of incredible basil and Parmesan flavor! Use it for dipping French fries or to slather on a burger or sandwich.

A Couple Cooks - Healthy, Whole Food, & Vegetarian Recipes