The L-Plate Vegetarian
Pasta is cheap, delicious, healthy, very easy to cook and
transformed into many different dishes depending on the sauce
you add! There are loads of different types of pasta. To cook
basic pasta see the ‘How
to Cook the Basics’ section.
Dried pasta: spaghetti, tagliatelle, macaroni, bows, twists
or shells etc. They all taste very similar, they are just made
into different shapes! Some come in different colours which
are made by adding tomato or spinach etc – they still
taste much the same but just look pretty.
Fresh pasta: the same as dried pasta except it hasn’t
been dried and takes less time to cook. This sort of pasta
is available in the chilled cabinets of your supermarket and
it’s more expensive than dried, but it’s more tasty
as you can buy it stuffed with different fillings.
As usual always check on the packet that the one you’ve
chosen is suitable for vegetarians.
The following are definitely worth trying:
- Duetto: Red & White – tomato
and plain pasta, stuffed with Sundried Tomatoes, Ricotta
Cheese and Herbs, or Sweet Peppers and cheese.
- Tesco: Sundried
Tomato & Basil Pappardelle.
- Safeway: Cheese, Garlic & Herb
Ravioli or Cheese & Sun-dried
- Waitrose: Porcini Mushroom Raviolini – filled
with mushroom, ricotta cheese and parmesan, or their Fresh
How to Serve Pasta
Stuffed pasta is delicious served simply with fried garlic,
virgin olive oil or plain butter, and lots of freshly ground
black pepper (toss
butter into the pasta immediately after it has been drained).
It is also lovely with one of the many sauces for pasta available
supermarkets (see section below). For a more substantial
meal, serve with lots of salad and crusty bread (warm in
the oven for 10 mins at gas mark 7/210??qC/425??qF).
Ready made garlic bread is great with pasta dishes (or anything
else actually!). You can buy it in the chilled and freezer
cabinets and just cook it in its packet in the oven then slice
up. It is cheaper to make your own: cut a small French loaf
(white or brown) in half lengthways, mash a crushed clove of
garlic into 50g/2oz marg (or any spread
suitable for veggies) and spread on the bread – you could
add some fresh chopped parsley or a sprinkle of dried parsley,
or herbs as well. Wrap in tin foil and heat up as for hot bread
above but cook for about 15 mins, until the bread is hot and
all the marg has melted.
The easiest way to serve plain or stuffed pasta is with one
of the ready made sauces in jars or tubs. They need to be
gently heated in a pan until bubbling before pouring over
cooked pasta. Try sprinkling over grated vegetarian Cheddar
cheese, vegan Parmesan ‘cheese’ (from health
shops), or perhaps top with nuts or olives.
Also try adding roasted vegetables to fresh pasta, they’re
delicious. Simply marinate a selection of fresh vegetables
overnight in some seasoned olive oil and roast in a medium-hot
oven for around 45 minutes. Peppers are particularly delicious
cooked in this way and if you prefer the idea of picking them
up from the supermarket already prepared try the selection
of ‘marinated and grilled
vegetables’ from Waitrose including artichokes, aubergines
and red/yellow peppers.
Some of the best tomato based sauces are made by Dolmio or
Ragu and come in several varieties with different combinations
of vegetables, garlic and chilli. All the supermarkets do
their own brands which are just as nice and usually a bit
cheaper! Always check the ingredients label and if you see
meat stock or meat
bouillon listed, look for a different sauce! Fresh sauces from
the chilled cabinet are usually the nicest although they are
usually more expensive, but all supermarkets do a good range
There are also some lovely pastes made with nuts, sun dried
tomatoes, olives and herbs etc. which you just warm through
and mix in with the pasta. Pesto is made with pine nuts, olive
oil and basil and has to be the easiest sauce to serve with
pasta as it doesn’t need to be heated – you just
pop a few spoonfuls of the sauce into hot pasta and stir.
There are absolutely loads of different sauces available,
are a few to give you an idea, don’t forget to always
follow the instructions on the tub/jar:
- Somerfield Fresh Sauces: Tomato & Mascarpone,
Mushroom or Four Cheeses.
- Safeway Fresh Sauces: Red
Wine & Mushroom or Sweet & Sour
- Asda Fresh Sauces:
Leek & Gruyere or Arrabiata.
- Dolmio Two-Step: Sweet
Peppers (the vegetables are on top of the sauce and are
cooked first before adding the tomato sauce). Pasta Bake:
Creamy Mushroom or Creamy Tomato.
- Loyd Grossman: Tomato & Wild
Mushroom; Sweet Red Peppers; Tomato & Chargrilled Vegetables
or Tomato & Basil.
- Seeds of Change: (All organic) Spicy
Roasted Garlic; Roast Pepper; Sundried Tomato
- Sacla Pesto & Sauces:
Char-grilled Aubergine; Roasted Red & Yellow Peppers;
Whole Cherry Tomato & Chili
or Mushroom & Marsala Wine.
- Co-op: Hot Chilli or Organic
Sweet & Sour.
- Waitrose: Fresh Sauces: Include Arrabiata
(tomato & chilli)
and Napoletana (fresh tomato & basil).
- Homepride Pasta
Stir ‘n’ Serve: Tomato & Basil;
Tomato & Mascarpone and Sundried Tomato.
Ready Made Pasta Meals
Supermarkets have now realised we don’t all want to eat
meat and there are veggie alternatives to some of the traditional
ready made pasta dishes (they are much nicer than the meat
They are all in the chilled or frozen cabinets and you just
pop them in the oven following the instructions on the packet.
They are so nice it’s hardly worth going to all the effort
of making your own – and they can usually all be frozen.
Most supermarkets stock
macaroni cheese, vegetable lasagne and spinach & ricotta
cheese cannelloni, but there are an enormous amount of more
exciting pasta meals available now. Some of our favourites
are listed below for you to sample:
- Sainsburys: Pasta Penne Niciose (pasta quills in
a tomato sauce with olives); Mozzarella & Tomato Penne.
- Tesco: Cheese & Garlic Mushroom Tagliatelle
Creamy Mushroom Penne; Quick Bites Vegetable Pasta Bake.
McCartney: Spaghetti Bolognese; Lasagne (made with a minced
beef-style substitute) and Kitchen Garden Roasted Vegetable
- Marks & Spencer: Four Cheese Ravioli;
Cheese & Tomato
Tortellini and Asparagus Lasagne.
- Safeway: Roasted
Vegetable Pasta Bake; Spinach & Ricotta
Cannelloni; Halloumi Coriander & Chilli Fusilli.
Garlic and Herb Tagliatelle with cheesy sauce.
Next Section: Rice and Noodles
| If you’re feeling really lazy, some packets of dried
pasta come with
the sauce already included – you just add water and
margarine and boil. These are okay but not usually as nice
as making your own pasta and adding the sauce of your choice.
All supermarkets make their own range, but you can get Batchelor’s
Pasta ‘n’ Sauce everywhere. The flavours include:
Mild Cheese & Broccoli; Creamy Tomato and Mushroom; Italian
Herbs & Garlic; Mushroom & Wine; Tomato, Onion & Herb
or good old Macaroni Cheese.