Penne with Spicy Tomato Sauce

Weekdays can get pretty hectic at our house. In most houses, really. It's rare that I get through the front door anytime before 6:30 and by that point I'm usually hungry enough that I'm seeing spots. I need dinners that can be done quickly, because if I have to stand around chopping and baking for any longer than an hour my consumption of an undisclosed number of Peanut Butter Spoons is all but inevitable.

At the same time, the food we have for weekday dinners can't be crap. I am very adamant about this and you should be too.

A nice whole grain pasta is usually a weeknight front runner, mostly because it's quick but also because it's one of my favourite foods. Pasta dinners can turn into a nutritional nightmare very easily, though, so I when I can I try to make my own simple, vegetable-based sauces as opposed to the jarred varieties that certainly do lack effort and expense but also quite often barely even resemble food.

The nice thing about homemade pasta sauce is that as long as you've got tomatoes, you can put pretty much whatever else you want in there and it takes only a little more time than unscrewing the lid off of a jar.

For this one, I used spinach, zucchini, poblano pepper, onions, garlic and carrots. If I really want to be thrifty with my post-work hours and I have the time, I like to chop up all the vegetables for my sauces the morning before the dinner in question, thereby cutting down the number of 6:30pm Peanut Butter Spoons considerably.

And for added fiber and protein, I also included my favourite bean - the red kidney!

There is one infallible truth when it comes to making your own pasta sauce, though. And that is that there will be red everywhere. The stovetop, the cupboards, the dog, the television remote. And especially you. It's best to just embrace it. Lucky for me, my outfit of choice when I'm at home is my ratty old pajamas and the sauce stains are actually a bit of an improvement.

And one final dose of Yummy for this particular pasta is a sprinkling of nutritional yeast and red pepper flakes, just before serving. This combo makes weeknight pasta dinners feel just a little bit fancier, even if you are eating them while wearing sauce-stained, ratty old pajamas.

For a more general recipe check out Show Me Vegan but feel free to play with it, like I did!


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