Photo by Michelle Bebber

Crowd Pleasing Pasta

by | November 22, 2017

Photo by Michelle Bebber
This pasta recipe is perfect for a group of hungry teenagers, especially if it includes those who normally turn their noses up at the word “vegan.” What you have here is a perfectly “normal” recipe that no one will guess is free of animal products—and one that they’ll probably want seconds of!
  • 16 oz. penne pasta
  • 2 ½ cups grape or cherry tomatoes
  • ½ cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
  • 5 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • ¼ cup olive oil (regular or extra-virgin)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt (or less if you prefer)
  • Lots of freshly ground black pepper (to taste)
  • ¼ cup pine nuts
  • ½ cup (packed) fresh basil, cut into thin ribbons or chopped
  1. Cook the pasta according to the directions on the package.
  2. While the penne is cooking, you can toss the sauce together. First, wash the tomatoes and cut them in half. Place them in the largest bowl you have. No bowl is too big.
  3. Add the chopped kalamatas, garlic, oil, lemon juice, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper to the giant bowl. Gently toss well to combine.
  4. Toast the pine nuts in a dry pan over medium-low heat until they’re aromatic and lightly browned, shaking the pan often so that they cook evenly. Watch them closely, as this process will take well under five minutes. As soon as they’re done, remove them from the hot pan and set aside.
  5. When the pasta is al dente, drain it well. Add to the big bowl and toss gently with the sauce. Add the pine nuts and basil.
  6. Toss lightly and serve immediately.
Serves 6-8
A Note From The Staff At ‘Raise Vegan’ 
*For anyone in the home that might be gluten-free, as our house is. there are a wealth of gluten free pastas on the market now. It’s much easier to shop gluten-free these days, than a few years ago. Any pasta that you pick will work here. If you are going to get a chick-pea pasta, follow the directions for cooking on the box as carefully as possible. I know first hand that assuming that all pastas were equal, was a disaster. We ended up with a mushy mess of something that was certainly not as pretty and delicious looking as this recipe. Yet, our disasters are your gains! Happy Vegan Eating, and don’t forget to check us out on the Facebook Group, where we discuss toddlers and food. There are over thirty thousand vegan parents there, all raising little vegans.
If Facebook isn’t your go to social media, we can usually be found liking far too many amazing dishes on Instagram. If you’re raising a vegan family, be sure to tag us on there, and we’ll have a chance to feature your vegan family, or amazing vegan dishes on our main page!

I’m a vegan chef, five-time cookbook author, and wellness coach. I live in southwest Colorado with my fabulous 14-year-old daughter, Alethea, who makes the best ever vegan pizza and peach pie. She’s been vegan since birth, and I’ve been vegan since 1991—and we both love it! When I’m not writing for VPP, you can find me at Tess Challis


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