Alright, I know I’m not the only one out there whose partner isn’t vegan. It can be such a struggle sometimes to make meals that he and I will both enjoy. Oh, and did I mention that I’m the one who does All the cooking? Yup. And that means he expects me to cook meat for him. No thank you!
So lately I have been making him vegan meals without telling him they’re vegan until after he’s eaten them. This southwest pasta is one of those meals. He enjoyed it so much that now he frequently asks me to “make one of your vegan things”. His words exactly. He had no idea that the cheese sauce and chicken were both vegan and scarfed down every bite, then had seconds!
This pasta is creamy, cheesy, spicy, chock-full of delicious plant protein, and one of the best comfort foods for these cold nights. Oh, and did I mention how quick and easy it is to make? When I whipped this up for dinner last night it only took 20 minutes start to finish. It doesn’t get any better than that!
Easily serves a family of 5.
2 cups frozen corn or the corn from four ears
2 (8-9oz) packages Rotini ( I like Barilla’s red lentil Rotini the best!)
1 package Gardein Chickenless Strips, OR 1 package extra firm tofu
1 (14-15 oz) can vegan chili (I used Amy’s Black Bean Chili)
2 TBSP olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, diced
3 cups vegan queso
Cherry tomatoes and cilantro for garnish
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Boil a large pot of water and cook pasta according to the instructions
2. While the water is boiling, prepare queso sauce. Click here for the recipe. Set aside.
3. Once pasta is cooked, drain all the liquid and place noodles back in pot. Mix the entire can of chili in with the pasta noodles and set aside.
4. In a large saucepan hear 1 Tbsp of the oil over medium heat. Add the diced bell pepper, onion, corn, and garlic. Cook until they are soft, then remove from pan and set aside.
5. Add the remaining 1 TBSP of oil to the pan, and cook chickenless strips until thawed. (If using tofu, make sure to drain and press the liquid before cooking. Cook until golden brown). Add the corn mixture back into the pan. Fry until the chicken or tofu are crispy, then mix in with the pasta.
6. Stir in the queso sauce and add salt and pepper to taste.
7. Garnish with sliced cherry tomatoes and cilantro if desired.
If cooking for small children, omit the chilies from the queso and add to your own plate after serving.
Your family will be so distracted by how delicious this pasta is that they won’t even realize it’s 100% vegan. Throw it together whenever you’re craving something cheesy. Toss it all in a baking dish, cover it with vegan breadcrumbs, and pop in the oven for a little extra yumminess. This pasta can be made in advance and warmed in the oven for a quick meal.
I hope you enjoyed my southwest pasta recipe! Don’t forget to tag me in all your Instagram photos @theveganmom1