Plant-based comfort food

At the beginning of the year the Canada Food Guide released some new recommendations to give Canadians the best chance of staying healthy and disease free. One major change that became a hot topic for discussion was the recommendation that “among protein foods, consume plant-based protein more often”.  Well this is a little vague for most of us since the media has taught us that the word ‘protein’ is synonymous with ‘meat’. So what exactly does “plant-based protein” look like on the dinner table? Below is a family favourite that include plenty of plant-based protein.    

chickpea spaghetti

I chose this recipe to share because it’s important to make familiar yet nutritious food for not only the kids but also adults that are interested in making some changes.  Making dietary changes to improve your health and the health of your loved ones doesn’t need to take away the comfort of food. This meal contains leafy greens to provide the valuable vitamins and minerals that we need, chickpeas are an excellent source of protein and the onions, garlic and nutritional yeast not only create anti-inflammatory reactions within the body but are also a great boost to your immune system.  


Prep: 10 mins Cook: 30 mins

Ingredients: tomato sauce, spices (oregano, thyme, basil, nutritional yeast, chilli peppers, paprika, turmeric, black pepper, cinnamon, clove), garlic, onions, red peppers, canned chickpeas (drained and rinsed), fresh parsley, spaghetti 

Directions: Boil the spaghetti in water with about 3 bay leafs to give the pasta nice flavour – I also put about a tablespoon of a basil, thyme, oregano spice mix into the water – while the pasta is boiling. Between boiling water and waiting for pasta to cook this should be enough time to make your sauce.

Sauce – chop onions and garlic and start frying them on low heat, add a small splash of water and then add your spices:

  • a healthy tbsp each of oregano, thyme, basil, turmeric and paprika
  • a dash of black pepper (you only need about 1/8 of a tsp to ensure proper absorption of the turmeric) 
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp clove

Let these fry up over low heat until you see the onions starting to become clear, add your sliced red peppers, tomato sauce and chickpeas.  These should have time to simmer together while the pasta cooks.

Taste it – if you like your pasta sauce a bit on the sweet side I recommend a splash of maple syrup! 

Serve it with some fresh parsley (or herbs of your choice) and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast on top (like parmesan!)

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