Easy Penne Arrabbiata

Imagine this: rich, bright tomato sauce infused with buttery olive oil, fresh garlic, and tons of crushed red pepper flakes. The result is a vibrant red sauce that takes garlic and heat to the next level!
I’d been dancing around making arrabbiata pasta…

Easy Penne Arrabbiata

Imagine this: rich, bright tomato sauce infused with buttery olive oil, fresh garlic, and tons of crushed red pepper flakes. The result is a vibrant red sauce that takes garlic and heat to the next level!

I’d been dancing around making arrabbiata pasta for years because I love spicy pasta, but never had I taken it to this level of fiery, garlicky drama! And when I tossed the sauce with penne, it was instant love.

Easy Penne Arrabbiata from Minimalist Baker →

Broccoli Pasta Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

This Broccoli Pasta Salad features a tangy homemade vinaigrette, nutty sunflower seeds, and creamy-salty feta.

The post Broccoli Pasta Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette appeared first on Budget Bytes.

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when all I want to eat are cold salads with crunchy vegetables. And since fresh broccoli is one of my favorite crunchy vegetables, I decided to build a pasta salad featuring broccoli and my new favorite homemade salad dressing. This Broccoli Pasta Salad features a tangy homemade tomato vinaigrette, nutty sunflower seeds, savory red onions, and pops of creamy-salty feta. This flavor-texture combo is just magic!

Overhead of an oval serving tray full of broccoli pasta salad with black utensils in the side

Pasta Options

I used a rotini pasta for this salad because all the little twisty crevices are great at grabbing onto the salad dressing, making sure there’s tons of flavor in every bite. That being said, you could definitely do something like a penne, bowtie, or orecchiette instead. I think the nutty flavor of whole wheat pasta would actually go really well with the flavors in this salad, too.

Salad Dressing Options

I’ve included a homemade tomato vinaigrette with this recipe, but if you’re not a fan of tomato you could do a basic Italian dressing in its place, or something like a champagne vinaigrette. I’d stick to dressings that are light and tangy.

Is the Broccoli Raw??

The last time I posted a salad recipe with raw broccoli, there were quite a few people who were surprised that you could (or that you would want to) eat raw broccoli. Yes, the broccoli in this salad is raw. Raw broccoli is deliciously crunchy but does have a very different flavor from cooked broccoli. If you prefer cooked broccoli, I suggest using roasted broccoli to give an extra flavor boost to the salad.

Close up side view of broccoli pasta salad with tomato vinaigrette on a platter
Close up side view of broccoli pasta salad with tomato vinaigrette on a platter

Broccoli Pasta Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

This Broccoli Pasta Salad features a tangy homemade vinaigrette, nutty sunflower seeds, and creamy-salty feta.
Total Cost $4.67 recipe / $1.17 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 4 1.5 cups each
Calories 576.05kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Tomato Basil Vinaigrette

  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste $0.05
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.20
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp sugar $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil $0.96

Salad

  • 1/2 lb. rotini pasta $0.38
  • 1 lb. broccoli $0.89
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion $0.16
  • 1/4 cup unsalted sunflower seeds $0.25
  • 4 oz. feta $1.65

Instructions

  • Prepare the vinaigrette first. Whisk together the tomato paste, red wine vinegar, basil, garlic powder, sugar, salt, and pepper in a bowl until smooth. Begin to whisk in the olive oil, one tablespooon at a time, until fully incorporated. Set the vinaigrette aside.
  • Cook the rotini pasta according to the package directions (boil for 7-10 minutes, or until tender). Drain the pasta in a colander. Rinse briefly with cool water to cool off the pasta. Drain well.
  • While the pasta is cooking, cut the broccoli florets off the stems, then roughly chop the florets into small, bite-sized pieces. Finely dice the red onion.
  • Once the pasta has drained, transfer it to a large bowl. Add the chopped broccoli, red onion, and sunflower seeds. Crumble the feta over top. Drizzle the dressing into the bowl and then gently toss the ingredients until they are evenly combined and everything is coated in dressing. Serve immediately or refrigerate until ready to eat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 576.05kcal | Carbohydrates: 56.45g | Protein: 16.78g | Fat: 32.9g | Sodium: 575.15mg | Fiber: 6.38g
Overhead of broccoli pasta salad on a platter with a bowl of sunflower seeds and broccoli florets on the side

How to Make Broccoli Pasta Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette – Step by Step Photos

tomato paste, vinegar, and herbs in a bowl

Begin the tomato vinaigrette first. Whisk together 1 Tbsp tomato paste, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, ½ tsp dried basil, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp sugar, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper until smooth.

One tablespoon oil being added to tomato paste mixture in the bowl

Begin to whisk in olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, until you’ve incorporated 6 Tbsps. Set the dressing aside.

Cooked rotini in a colander

Next, cook ½ lb. rotini according to the package directions (boil 7-10 minutes, or until tender). Drain the pasta in a colander. Give it a brief rinse to cool it off, then let it drain well.

Chopped broccoli on a cutting board

Chop about 1 lb. of fresh broccoli into small, bite-sized pieces. They don’t have to be pretty florets, just chop away until the pieces are fairly small. Also finely dice about ½ cup red onion.

Broccoli pasta salad ingredients in a bowl

Once cooled, transfer the pasta to a bowl and add the chopped broccoli, diced red onion, ¼ cup unsalted sunflower seeds, and about 4oz. feta.

Tomato vinaigrette being poured over the pasta salad ingredients

Pour the tomato vinaigrette over top…

Finished broccoli pasta salad in a bowl with a red spatula

Then gently toss everything together until well combined and everything is coated in dressing. Enjoy immediately or refrigerate for later!

The post Broccoli Pasta Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Tomato Basil Vinaigrette

This tangy and slightly sweet tomato basil vinaigrette only requires a few simple ingredients and tastes great over salad and pasta alike.

The post Tomato Basil Vinaigrette appeared first on Budget Bytes.

If you know me, then you know I always have some tomato paste stashed in my freezer. Haha. So today I have another great way you can use the odds and ends of one of those little cans of tomato paste. This tangy Tomato Basil Vinaigrette is super simple, has incredible flavor, and is great poured over salad and pasta alike.

Overhead view of a bowl full of tomato basil vinaigrette with tomatoes, dry pasta, and spinach on the side

Adjust the Oil to Your Liking

The cool thing about making your own salad dressing is that you can adjust the flavor to your particular taste buds. And since for this dressing you are going to add the oil a little at a time, you can stop before you get to the full six tablespoons if you prefer. You can also add a little more red wine vinegar if you want your vinaigrette even more tangy.

Can I Use Fresh Basil?

Yes, absolutely! Dried basil is obviously the more budget-friendly option, but if you have access to fresh basil I would absolutely use that in this salad dressing. Just finely chop your basil and stir it on it. I’d probably use about a tablespoon chopped fresh basil.

How Long Does it Last?

Make sure to store your tomato basil vinaigrette in the refrigerator. I generally don’t suggest keeping homemade vinaigrettes more than five days in the refrigerator, although your mileage may vary.

What to Serve with Tomato Basil Vinaigrette

This tomato basil vinaigrette is going to be good on just about any basic green salad, but it would also be good poured over a mix of fresh tomato slices and fresh mozzarella slices. In addition to fresh vegetable salads, this dressing would be great over a pasta salad. And, to be honest, I liked this dressing so much I wouldn’t mind using it a dip for a nice piece of crusty French bread!

Side view of a bowl of tomato basil vinaigrette with a spoon dripping the dressing into a bowl
Side view of a bowl of tomato basil vinaigrette with a spoon dripping the dressing into a bowl

Tomato Basil Vinaigrette

This tangy and slightly sweet tomato basil vinaigrette only requires a few simple ingredients and tastes great over salad and pasta alike.
Total Cost $1.34 recipe / $0.34 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 4 2 Tbsp each
Calories 191.33kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste $0.05
  • 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.20
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp sugar $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.02
  • 6 Tbsp olive oil $0.96

Instructions

  • Combine the tomato paste, red wine vinegar, basil, garlic powder, sugar, salt, and pepper in a bowl or a blender. Whisk or blend until smooth.
  • Begin whisking in the olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, making sure it's fully incorporated before adding more. This allows the oil to emulsify into the tomato mixture, creating a smooth dressing. The dressing may separate slowly as it sits, but a quick whisk before drizzling over your salad will bring it back to a thick mixture.

Nutrition

Serving: 2Tbsp | Calories: 191.33kcal | Carbohydrates: 1.23g | Protein: 0.25g | Fat: 21.03g | Sodium: 210.53mg | Fiber: 0.28g

How to Make Tomato Basil Vinaigrette – Step by Step Photos

tomato paste, vinegar, and herbs in a bowl

Start by combining 1 Tbsp tomato paste, 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar, ½ tsp dried basil, ¼ tsp garlic powder, ¼ tsp sugar, ¼ tsp salt, and ¼ tsp freshly cracked pepper in a bowl or blender. Whisk until smooth.

One tablespoon oil being added to tomato paste mixture in the bowl

Begin whisking in olive oil, one tablespoon at a time, making sure the oil is fully incorporated before adding more. This allows the oil to emulsify into the dressing, creating a smooth, thick vinaigrette. Add up to 6 Tbsp olive oil.

Tomato Basil Vinaigrette being whisked in the bowl

If you try to add all the oil at once the dressing will separate quickly with a thick layer of oil on top. If you add it slowly and allow it to emulsify, it will still separate a little, but very slowly and a quick whisk will return it to its nice smooth texture.

Overhead view of a bowl full of tomato basil vinaigrette with tomatoes, pasta, salt, and basil on the side of the bowl

Serve immediately or refrigerate until you’re ready to eat (up to five days).

The post Tomato Basil Vinaigrette appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Easy Homemade Sriracha (15 Minutes!)

If you’ve ever run out of sriracha or wondered if there was a quick and easy way to make it at home, good news: There is!
Today we’re sharing our quick, go-to recipe that produces sriracha that tastes just like the real thing in 15 minutes! No ferment…

Easy Homemade Sriracha (15 Minutes!)

If you’ve ever run out of sriracha or wondered if there was a quick and easy way to make it at home, good news: There is!

Today we’re sharing our quick, go-to recipe that produces sriracha that tastes just like the real thing in 15 minutes! No fermenting required and BIG spicy flavor! Your stir fries are never going to be the same. Let us show you how it’s done!

Easy Homemade Sriracha (15 Minutes!) from Minimalist Baker →

Tamale Pie

Tamale Pie
Comforting, filling, and oh so flavorful, this tamale pie recipe is everything you want in a weeknight dinner and more! A slightly sweet cornbread topping bakes over a cheesy, spicy ground beef filling cooked with bell peppers, onions, and t…

A square photo of tamale pie on a brown plate topped with sour cream.

Tamale Pie

Comforting, filling, and oh so flavorful, this tamale pie recipe is everything you want in a weeknight dinner and more! A slightly sweet cornbread topping bakes over a cheesy, spicy ground beef filling cooked with bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes. This easy-to-make tamale pie packs in all the tamale flavor with much less work. A […]

READ: Tamale Pie

Easy Pizza Sauce

Homemade Pizza Sauce We love making homemade pizza. Sure, it takes a little effort to make pizza dough from scratch, but it is well worth it. And if you are going to take the time to make homemade pizza dough, PLEASE make homemade pizza sauce. To make …

Homemade Pizza Sauce We love making homemade pizza. Sure, it takes a little effort to make pizza dough from scratch, but it is well worth it. And if you are going to take the time to make homemade pizza dough, PLEASE make homemade pizza sauce. To make a really good pizza you need to start…

The post Easy Pizza Sauce appeared first on Two Peas & Their Pod.

Easy Vegetarian Minestrone

This easy Vegetarian Minestrone Soup is hearty, chock full of vegetables, budget friendly, meal prep ready, and super flexible!

The post Easy Vegetarian Minestrone appeared first on Budget Bytes.

As we move from colder weather to warmer days, a good soup like Minestrone is a must. This hearty, vegetable-filled soup is warm and soothing, but light enough to not make you feel weighed down as you’re out enjoying these beautiful days. Plus, this Vegetarian Minestrone ticks all of my Budget Bytes boxes: easy, inexpensive, flexible, and meal prep friendly!

Close up overhead shot of vegetarian minestrone in the pot with a ladle

Isn’t All Minestrone Soup Vegetarian?

There are a LOT of interpretations of Minestrone out there, but they often include a Parmesan rind to infuse more umami flavor into the broth. Parmesan is one of the few cheeses that is not considered vegetarian because it contains animal rennet. And since I didn’t have a Parmesan rind on hand, this particular recipe is a vegetarian minestrone. But by all means, if you have a Parmesan rind on hand and aren’t concerned about keeping the soup vegetarian, add it to the soup before it simmers! You won’t be disappointed.

Some people also add a little bit of meat to their Minestrone. Pancetta or bacon are great options (brown in the pot before adding the vegetables) for adding a touch more flavor.

Where’s the Pasta??

Minestrone soup often has some sort of pasta or grain to make the soup extra hearty. Since pasta can get mushy when it swims around in soup for too long, I decided to avoid that issue and just sub some extra beans (chickpeas) to add that extra heartiness without having to deal with soggy pasta.

If you want to add some pasta to your minestrone, just choose any small shaped pasta like ditalini, small shells, or orzo. Add about 1 cup of the uncooked pasta and an extra 2 cups of water to the soup, then boil until the pasta is tender.

What Other Vegetables Can I Add to Minestrone?

My favorite thing about Minestrone is that it is SUPER flexible. If you don’t like one or more of the vegetables in my recipe below, feel free to use one of these instead:

  • Celery
  • Sweet Potato
  • Russet Potato
  • Fennel
  • Turnips
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Butternut Squash
  • Peas
Overhead view of a bowl of vegetarian minestrone with a spoon in the middle
Overhead view of a bowl of vegetarian minestrone with a spoon in the middle

Vegetarian Minestrone

This easy Vegetarian Minestrone Soup is hearty, chock full of vegetables, budget friendly, meal prep ready, and super flexible! 
Total Cost $5.96 recipe / $0.99 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 6 about 1.5 cups each
Calories 313.55kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 4 carrots $0.32
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste $0.10
  • 1 28oz. can diced tomatoes $1.00
  • 1 15oz. can kidney beans $0.75
  • 1 15oz. can chickpeas $1.00
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning $0.30
  • 4 cups vegetable broth $0.52
  • 1 zucchini (about 1/2 lb.) $0.71
  • 1 cup frozen green beans $0.30
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.06
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley (optional) $0.10

Instructions

  • Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and slice the carrots. Add the olive oil, onion, garlic, and carrots to a large soup pot. Sauté over medium heat until the onions become soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).
  • Add the tomato paste to the pot and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes more, or until the tomato paste begins to coat the bottom of the pot (do not let it burn).
  • Rinse and drain the kidney beans and chickpeas, and then add them to the pot along with the diced tomatoes (with juices), Italian Seasoning, and vegetable broth. Give everything a good stir, place a lid on top, and allow it to come up to a simmer. Allow the soup to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • While the soup is simmering, slice the zucchini into quarter-rounds. After the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, add the sliced zucchini and frozen green beans (no need to thaw first). Stir and simmer the soup for an additional 5-10 minutes, or until the zucchini just begin to soften.
  • Finish the soup by adding lemon juice and chopped parsley. Give it a taste and add extra salt if needed (my soup did not need any extra salt, but it may depending on the type of broth used). Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping!

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 313.55kcal | Carbohydrates: 48.08g | Protein: 14.1g | Fat: 8.55g | Sodium: 1008.55mg | Fiber: 11.32g
Overhead view of a pot full of vegetarian minestrone

How to Make Vegetarian Minestrone – Step by Step Photos

Chopped onion, carrots, and garlic in a soup pot with olive oil

Dice one yellow onion, mince two cloves of garlic, and slice four carrots. Add the onion, garlic, and carrots to a large soup pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil and sauté over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent (about 5 minutes).

Tomato paste in the pot with vegetables

Add 2 Tbsp tomato paste to the pot and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes more, or just until the tomato paste begins to coat the bottom of the pot.

Beans, herbs, tomatoes, and broth added to the soup pot

Rinse and drain one 15oz. can of kidney beans and one 15oz. can of chickpeas. Add the beans to the pot along with one 28oz. can diced tomatoes (with juices), 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning, and 4 cups vegetable broth. Give everything a stir, place a lid on top, and allow it to come up to a simmer. Simmer the soup for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Sliced zucchini on a cutting board

While the soup is simmering, slice one zucchini (about ½ lb.) into quarter-rounds.

Zucchini and green beans added to the soup

Once the soup has simmered for 20 minutes, add the sliced zucchini and 1 cup frozen green beans (no need to thaw first). Stir everything together and let it continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes more, or until the zucchini just begins to soften.

Chopped parsley and lemon juice added to the soup

Finish the soup off with 1 Tbsp lemon juice and about a tablespoon of chopped parsley. Give the soup a taste and add salt if needed. I did not add any extra salt to my soup, but you may need some depending on the salt content of your broth.

Front view of a bowl full of vegetarian minestrone with a spoon lifting a bite

So much vegetable goodness!!

The post Easy Vegetarian Minestrone appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Easy Baked Beans on Toast (British-Inspired)

Beans for breakfast? It’s a thing and it’s delicious! This British-inspired meal is plant-based and easy to make, without sacrificing on flavor. 
And unlike store-bought baked beans that tend to be heavily sweetened and fairly bland, this homemade…

Easy Baked Beans on Toast (British-Inspired)

Beans for breakfast? It’s a thing and it’s delicious! This British-inspired meal is plant-based and easy to make, without sacrificing on flavor. 

And unlike store-bought baked beans that tend to be heavily sweetened and fairly bland, this homemade version is lightly (and naturally) sweetened yet full of flavor! Just 1 pot and 30 minutes required. Let us show you how it’s done!

Easy Baked Beans on Toast (British-Inspired) from Minimalist Baker →

Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage

A few simple add-ins make this Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage a level up from your usual weeknight spaghetti dinner.

The post Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage appeared first on Budget Bytes.

I’m all about making sure the last little odds and ends of ingredients in my fridge or freezer get used up. So this week, instead of making just another batch of plain pasta and red sauce, I jazzed it up with a little leftover heavy cream, the last of a bag of spinach, and some Italian sausage instead of ground beef. Simple swaps and add-ins make this Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage a level up from your usual weeknight pasta!

Overhead view of a pan full of Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage with a spoon in the side

What’s in the Creamy Tomato Sauce?

This red sauce is basically the same as the sauce for my Baked Ziti, which is super rich and tomatoey. To calm the acidity a bit and make it extra lush, I added a little heavy cream. The addition of the cream is absolutely magic.

Can I Substitute the Heavy Cream?

I sometimes melt a little cream cheese into my pasta sauces, which creates a creamy and tangy finish, so that’s one option (use 2-4 ounces). The other option is to just leave it out and keep it as a basic red sauce. You do not want to use milk or another lower-fat dairy product because the combination of the heat and the acid from the tomatoes will likely cause it to curdle. Another reason why the heavy cream is magic.

Can I Use a Different Pasta?

Absolutely! Since the pasta is cooked separately, unlike one pot pastas, you can use any type or shape of pasta that you like. And you don’t have to worry too much about measuring, just use approximately half of a one pound package.

What Other Vegetables Can I Use?

I think kale would be especially good with this combo, but since it’s quite a bit more sturdy than spinach you’ll want to sauté it in the skillet for a couple of minutes (after the sausage is browned) to soften it up. You could also try tossing in some thawed frozen broccoli florets.

A bowl full of Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage with garlic bread and a fork
Pictured with Homemade Garlic Bread.
front view of a bowl full of creamy tomato pasta with sausage, a bit lifted on the fork

Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage

A few simple add-ins make this Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage a level up from your usual weeknight spaghetti dinner.
Total Cost $5.75 recipe / $1.44 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4
Calories 542.08kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb. Italian sausage (hot, mild or sweet) $2.25
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste $0.10
  • 1 28oz. can crushed tomatoes $0.85
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend $0.10
  • 1/2 cup water $0.00
  • 1/2 lb. pasta* $1.25
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream $0.19
  • 4 oz. fresh spinach $0.85

Instructions

  • Add the Italian sausage to a deep skillet or pot and cook over medium heat, breaking it up into pieces as it cooks. Mince two cloves of garlic, add it to the browned sausage, and sauté for 1 minute more.
  • Next, add the tomato paste, crushed tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and water. Stir to combine and dissolve the browned bits off the bottom of the skillet. Allow the sauce to come to a simmer. Once simmering, place a tilted lid on top (to allow steam to escape while blocking splatter) and turn the heat down to medium-low. Let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, while you cook the pasta.
  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add the pasta and continue to boil until the pasta is tender (7-10 minutes, depending on the variety). Drain the pasta in a colander.
  • After the pasta has cooked and the sauce has simmered a while, stir the heavy cream into the pasta sauce. Add the fresh spinach and stir it into the sauce just until wilted.
  • Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta to the sauce and stir to combine. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

*I used corkscrew pasta, or cavatappi, but you can use any shape you like.

Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 542.08kcal | Carbohydrates: 61.88g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 23.78g | Sodium: 843.95mg | Fiber: 6.55g
Close up side view of a skillet full of creamy tomato pasta with sausage

How to Make Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage – Step by Step Photos

Browned sausage and garlic in the skillet

Add ½ lb. Italian sausage (mild, hot, or sweet) to a deep skillet or pot and cook over medium heat until browned, breaking it up into pieces as you go. Mince two cloves of garlic, add them to the browned sausage and sauté for one minute more.

Tomatoes and herbs added to browned sausage

Add 2 Tbsp tomato paste, one 28oz. can of crushed tomatoes, 1 tsp Italian seasoning, and ½ cup water. Stir to combine and dissolve the browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Plate a tilted lid on top (so that steam can escape but it shields splattering sauce) and let the sauce come up to a simmer. Once it reaches a simmer, turn the heat down to medium-low, and let the sauce simmer, stirring occasionally, while you cook the pasta.

Cooked cavatappi pasta in a colander

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Once boiling, add ½ lb. pasta (I used cavatappi) and continue to boil until tender (7-10 minutes). Drain the pasta in a colander.

Cream being stirred into the sauce

After the sauce has simmered a while (the length of time it takes to cook the pasta), stir in ⅓ cup heavy cream. MAGIC!

fresh spinach added to the sauce

Next, add about 4oz. fresh spinach (half of an 8oz. bag) and stir it in until wilted.

drained pasta added to the sauce

Finally, add the cooked and drained pasta to the sauce and stir to combine.

Finished creamy tomato pasta with sausage in the skillet

Done and done!

front view of a bowl full of creamy tomato pasta with sausage, a bit lifted on the fork

I served it with some of my Homemade Garlic Bread because that crispy garlicky goodness is perfect with red sauce!

The post Creamy Tomato Pasta with Sausage appeared first on Budget Bytes.

Tomato Lentil Soup

There’s nothing quite like the smell of a pot of soup simmering away on the stove top when it’s cold and blustery outside. This tomato lentil soup is full of vegetables and herbs for a simple, flavorful, and warming winter soup.

The post Tomato Lentil Soup appeared first on Budget Bytes.

There’s nothing quite as comforting as a pot of soup simmering away on the stove top when it’s cold and wintry outside. The smell alone warms me from the inside out. This week I was craving a simple vegetable forward soup, so I whipped up this really easy Tomato Lentil Soup. I’ve been enjoying the leftovers for days, sometimes with a grilled cheese on the side. :)

Tomato lentil soup in the pot with bread and vegetables on the sides
Garnished with a little fresh parsley for visual appeal.

What Does Tomato Lentil Soup Taste Like?

This soup kind of tastes like a traditional vegetable soup, but with a slightly more tomato-y broth, plus a little earthiness from the lentils. It’s super hearty and comforting, which is exactly what I love about a good bowl of soup in the winter!

What Kind of Lentils Should I Use?

Lentils can be confusing, especially since there isn’t a lot of consistency in labeling in the United States. I used a basic brown lentil, which has a drab brown-olive color and cooks with about 20 minutes of simmering. Sometimes these lentils are labeled “green lentils” sometimes just “lentils” so to be sure you have the right kind, check the cooking instructions on the package. It should say to simmer for about 20 minutes, not 45 minutes.

I do not suggest using a red, orange, or yellow lentil for this soup because they break down too easily and you’ll end up with something more along the lines of a lentil porridge than a lentil soup. :) (It would probably still taste good, though!)

How are the Leftovers?

One of the reasons I love soup is because they almost always make great leftovers, and this soup is no exception. The leftovers will stay good in the fridge for about 4-5 days, or you can freeze it for longer storage. I always suggest dividing the soup into single portions just after cooking so it cools down more quickly in the refrigerator, which will give you more longevity with the leftovers. Once cooled you can transfer some to the freezer for later!

A bowl of tomato lentil sup with bread on the side
A bowl of tomato lentil sup with bread on the side

Tomato Lentil Soup

This tomato lentil soup is full of vegetables and herbs for a simple, flavorful, and warming winter soup. Makes great leftovers!
Total Cost $4.74 recipe / $0.79 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 6 1.5 cups each
Calories 279.58kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 yellow onion $0.32
  • 3 carrots $0.42
  • 2 cloves garlic $0.16
  • 1 russet potato (about 1 lb.) $0.60
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste $0.10
  • 2 15oz. cans stewed tomatoes $1.18
  • 1 cup brown lentils $0.67
  • ½ tsp paprika $0.10
  • ½ tsp dried basil $0.10
  • ½ tsp dried oregano $0.10
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.03
  • 4 cups vegetable broth $0.52
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce $0.12

Instructions

  • Dice the onion, mince the garlic, and slice the carrots (I like smaller pieces for this recipe, so I do a quarter round slice). Add the onion, garlic, carrots, and olive oil to a large soup pot and sauté over medium heat until the oniosn are soft. While the vegetables are cooking, peel and dice the potato into ½-inch cubes.
  • Add the tomato paste and continue to sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until the tomato paste begins to coat the bottom of the pot.
  • Add the cubed potato, stewed tomatoes (with juices), paprika, basil, oregano, pepper, and vegetable broth to the pot. Stir to combine.
  • Place a lid on top and allow the soup to come up to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the soup simmer for about 40 minutes or until the lentils are super tender and have begun to break down slightly (this helps thicken the soup).
  • Add the soy sauce to the soup, then give it a taste and adjust the salt if needed (the total amount will depend on the salt content of your vegetable broth). Serve hot with crusty bread for dipping.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 279.58kcal | Carbohydrates: 48.58g | Protein: 12.17g | Fat: 5.65g | Sodium: 1148.67mg | Fiber: 7.48g
Close up side view of tomato lentil soup in the pot

How to Make Tomato Lentil Soup – Step by Step Photos

Onions carrots and garlic in a soup pot

Dice one onion, mince two cloves of garlic, and slice three carrots. I like to do smaller pieces of carrot for this soup, so I cut the slices into quarter rounds. Add the onion, carrot, and garlic to a large soup pot with 2 Tbsp olive oil. Sauté over medium until the onions are soft. While the carrot and onion are sautéing, peel and dice one russet potato into ½-inch cubes.

Tomato paste added to the soup pot

Add 2 Tbsp tomato paste and continue to sauté for a few more minutes, or until the tomato paste begins to coat the bottom of the pot.

Potatoes, lentils, tomatoes, seasoning, and broth added to the pot

Add the cubed potato, two 15oz. cans of stewed tomatoes (with juices), 1 cup lentils (not cooked), ½ tsp paprika, ½ tsp dried basil, ½ tsp dried oregano, ¼ tsp pepper, and 4 cups vegetable broth.

Soup in the pot before simmering

Stir everything to combine. Place a lid on top and bring the soup up to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 40 minutes, or until the lentils are very soft and have begun to break down a bit.

Finished tomato lentil soup

After simmering the soup, stir in 2 Tbsp soy sauce. Taste the soup and adjust the salt if needed (this will depend on the salt content of your broth. I did not add any in addition to the soy sauce).

front view of a bowl full of tomato lentil soup

Serve hot with some crusty bread for dipping! (I garnished with a little parsley for color, but it’s not needed to flavor this soup.)

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