I really admire people who eat a raw food diet. It sounds so cleansing and refreshing. I’d love to do it myself, even if just for a few days at a time, or for just a percentage of my intake. I have a few major problems, though. First of all, I hate leafy greens. That probably dooms me right there. Secondly, I don’t really like raw vegetables. I just don’t enjoy…the crunch (weird, I know). I prefer them warm and cooked. Last of all, there’s just no way I could let go of my precious beans and whole grains. I love them too much.
This dish combines, for me, the best of both worlds. (By the way, I got the idea from the unlikeliest of places—Rachael Ray’s magazine!) The pasta satisfies my complex-carb appetite, and the raw “sauce” is packed with flavor, a delightful combination of salty, savory, and sweet. This recipe is, in fact, one of the only ways I’ll eat raw tomatoes. Use your best oil and vinegar for this; since it’s a raw sauce, you’ll be able to taste all the subtle nuances in each.
1 lb whole wheat spaghetti
2 pints grape or cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup olive oil
3T balsamic vinegar
2T soy sauce
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch green onions, finely chopped
1/4 cup (packed) Italian parsley, minced
Cook the spaghetti according to package directions. Reserve at least 1 cup of pasta water (important!) when draining. Meanwhile, in a medium-size bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, soy sauce, and garlic.
Stir in the green onions and parsley.
Add the halved tomatoes and toss to coat.
Put the drained spaghetti back in the pot, and pour in the tomato mixture.
Toss everything together gently with tongs, adding pasta water a little bit at a time. You want it to thin the sauce just enough that it coats all the pasta, but not so much that it waters it down. I ended up using somewhere between 3/4 and 1 cup.
I like to top this with a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and a healthy dash of fresh-ground pepper. By the time you sit down to eat, the sauce and tomatoes will have cooled off the spaghetti, and the spaghetti will have just barely warmed up the sauce and tomatoes. The result is a room-temperature dish, which is the perfect way to showcase all the fresh ingredients. I love how the deeper flavors of the oil, vinegar, and soy sauce are brightened up by the springy green onions, lemony parsley, and sweet, juicy tomatoes. Try and get a little bit of everything in each forkful, and savor the way every bite bursts across your palate.
This makes six normal-size servings, but I like to stretch it out for the week’s lunches, so I divide it into eight. To bulk up the leftovers, I drain a can of (what else?) chickpeas and divide them among the containers. I also add a dash more pasta water to each, because the spaghetti will drink up the sauce as it sits. Feel free to add a drizzle more olive oil as well. I’ve eaten this cold straight out of the fridge and hot from the microwave, and it’s delicious both ways.
Yield: 6-8 servings. Per serving (6): 400 calories, 13g fat (2.2g sat), 63g carbs, 7.3g fiber, 12.1g protein.
Per serving (8): 300 calories, 9.8g fat (1.1g sat), 47.7 g carbs, 5.7g fiber, 9.3g protein.