When you have kids who are different in gender, age and personality it’s always hard to find ways to bond that everyone will enjoy (including the parent!) Our brood obviously comes together over food; I have long tried to get my kids involved by helping me pick out and cook our eats.
There have even been times I’ve put on my Super Mom cape and engaged them in fun foodie activities. We have staged our own Cupcake Wars, cooked only from kids’ cookbooks for a whole week, and prepared themed food for Harry Potter, Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean birthdays.
The aforementioned boy wizard is another interest in which we three all share. I have (selfishly? oh well) instilled a love of not only the Rowling series, but basically fantasy in general in both children. Percy Jackson is next on our list, and we’ve had fun family movie nights watching The Neverending Story and Edward Scissorhands. Both kids have a real grasp on the separation between fantasy and reality, so we’ve enjoyed all kinds of twisted tales and exotic adventures.
You might be wondering what on earth this all has to do with vegan lemon and basil spaghetti. Well, tonight we are geekily excited to hunker down and watch the season finale of Once Upon a Time together. I tape new episodes every Sunday night, and it’s become our tradition to watch them together on Monday.
If you’re unfamiliar with the show, it debuted this year on ABC. It’s done by the creators of LOST, so has all sorts of clever twists and turns on classic fairy tales. We were smitten from the pilot.
Since tonight marks the end of the season, I wanted to do a themed dinner to honor the occasion. An apple dessert to reference Snow White and the evil queen was a no-brainer. I baked up individual apple crisps (grain-free and vegan, naturally…) that were a hit.
I was a little flummoxed, though, about what to serve for an entree. Other than “magic” beans everything I came up with was more of a sweet treat than a healthy entree. I then got a little inspiration from my favorite character on the show: Rumpelstiltskin. He weaves gold from straw, so why couldn’t I make some “golden” spaghetti? A slight stretch, perhaps, but at least I knew if I made pasta my kids would be likely to be enthusiastic.
It’s also quite thematic to offer up a vegetarian meal on a Meatless Monday, and one that’s vegan to boot! The sauce is so light and easy to throw together; lemon and basil both capture spring so perfectly, and it’s always good to cook with the season. I threw in the zucchini just to add vegetables into the mix… I suppose they made the end result less “golden” but made this a more complete meal.
I will refrain from calling this one Rumpelstiltskin’s Pasta, for the benefit of those who are not fairy tale junkies like us. Whatever you call it, though, I hope you agree it’s tasty!
Lemon & Basil Spaghetti
1 lb. dried spaghetti or other long pasta (I used organic GF brown rice spaghetti)
1 tbs. non-dairy butter, olive oil or coconut oil
1.5 cups coconut milk
zest of 2 lemons
1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
handful of fresh basil, chopped
1/4 tsp. salt
Start cooking your pasta.
Place a large skillet over low heat and add butter or oil. Once melted, add garlic, cooking for one minute and stirring constantly to avoid scorching. Then add lemon zest, juice and coconut milk, stirring to combine. Season with basil, salt and black pepper, to taste.
Cook sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally. Once pasta is cooked, drain and add to skillet with sauce. Stir to thoroughly coat pasta with sauce.
Taste for seasoning and serve immediately, garnished with additional chopped basil.
I think this would taste AMAZING with some toasted pine nuts sprinkled on top as well. I had this brainstorm after I realized I had none on hand (sigh).