Before going vegan, my go-to comfort food was cheesy pasta, a cheap homemade version of macaroni and cheese that basically involved melting a ton of cheddar over some elbows and throwing in my favorite combination of spices, then stirring it all up with some butter or a little milk. Since going vegan, finding a substitute has been hard — while I enjoy vegan cheese substitutes, they just don’t melt quite the right way to make my classic cheesy pasta.
Yesterday, I had a sudden craving for a dish my stepdad makes: browned butter noodles. I decided to take his concept and twist it a little (in addition to making it vegan). I ended up with a new favorite comfort food that’s quick, easy, and absolutely delicious. We’ve had it two nights in a row for dinner and honestly, I could continue to eat it for the rest of the weekend without complaining.
This dish is savory and fresh with a texture that will make your mouth water. The breadcrumbs add a flavor and crunch that can’t be denied and the tomatoes bring a nice pop of color that brightens the whole dish. It also works as a great starting point for someone who isn’t super comfortable in the kitchen, and it’s basic enough that you can add your own twist to it. If tomatoes aren’t your thing, try zucchini or mushrooms for a different flavor!
Buttery Breadcrumb Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes
Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: ~15 minutes | Total Time: ~25 minutes
Makes 2 servings
What you’ll need:
- 1/2 pound elbow macaroni
- 1/2 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
- 4 tbsp. Earth Balance
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium tomato, diced
- 2-3 tsp. paprika
- 2 tsp. nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tbsp. dried basil or 9-10 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
What you’ll do:
- In a smallsauce pan, melt 2 tbsp. of Earth Balance, then add breadcrumbs. Toss until breadcrumbs are coated with the butter, then add garlic, paprika, nutritional yeast flakes, and hefty pinches of salt and pepper. Stir until combined, letting the breadcrumbs toast on low heat for 3-4 minutes. Watch them carefully so that they don’t burn! Once the breadcrumbs are toasted, remove pan from heat and set aside.
- Fill a large pot with water. Salt and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package instructions. Once pasta is al dente, strain it and let it sit so excess water can drip off.
- While pasta is straining, add remaining 2 tbsp. of Earth Balance to pasta pot and stir. Add pasta slowly, while stirring, until pasta is lightly coated with Earth Balance. Add basil, breadcrumbs, and tomato. Mix everything together, serve, and enjoy!