Life Update + [Pepperoni] Pizza Pasta

When I first started this blog, it was a way to keep myself accountable after nearing the end of a weight loss journey, I had spent nearly a year and a half on.  I lost weight using Weight Watchers, and by adapting recipes I’d see on blogs and TV, with the Recipe Builder feature on the App, it was a fun way I could still enjoy “regular” food, just in a more healthful manner.  In this process, I discovered I preferred meatless meals to ones with, and it was so fun to explore a whole new world of recipes.  I reached my weight loss goal and shortly after, I became pregnant with my first child.  In the year after he was born, we discovered he has multiple food allergies.  Because I was nursing at the time, this meant my diet also had to be tweaked to accommodate him.  While frustrating at first, over time, years of my own stomach problems labeled as IBS, nearly all went away.  For the sake of my health and our son’s, we adapted to a kitchen free of wheat, dairy, and soy – also including anything made in facilities with these ingredients.  B is now 4 years old and has a new little sister.  As we’re trying to figure out her allergies, I’m back in a similar situation, accommodating my diet to help identify the culprit.  I can now add nuts, eggs, corn, and a few other items to the list of foods my cooking is free of.  B, can eat them, but my current list has set me on a new path, yet again, of finding some great resources to help me eat healthy, while also making meals our whole family can enjoy – what this means is I’m back to eating chicken and turkey, and very occasionally red meat (though I still don’t cook that at home).  We’ve always enjoyed fish (sans shellfish), so nothing has changed there.  I have found some really amazing recipes and chefs who cook pretty close to the way I am eating right now.  The other fun thing is I’m finally finding a way to cut down on our weekly food costs, while still making delicious and nutritious meals. (Ask anyone who needs to be mindful of food allergies, and they’ll tell you just how costly it can be – article).

All of this brings me to one of our new favorite recipes – Pepperoni Pizza Pasta.  I don’t have my own picture of it because we’ve eaten it too fast, the past two times we had this.  It is SO good and very easy to adapt – you can sub your favorite pasta noodles for the squash noodles, and you can leave out the pepperoni and use mushrooms and garlic instead.  What really makes this taste like pizza is the tomato sauce, oregano and nutritional yeast.  It’s also incredibly easy to prep the night before, so the whole meal can go from stove to table in less than 30 minutes.  I keep the spiralized noodles in a large ziplock, airtight in the fridge, and get the mushrooms pre sliced.

Danielle Walker is the author of this recipe, and she herself, has a wonderful blog (and cookbooks) called Against All Grain.  Her recipes are super creative, and you’d hardly know they were grain free and mostly dairy free.  My mom and I have looked through all three of her cookbooks and there’s enough that appeals to both of us.  She even inspired me to purchase a Spiralizer, which I’m LOVING!

Pepperoni Pizza Pasta

serves 3-5

adapted from Danielle Walker’s Against All Grain: Meals Made Simple: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, and Paleo Recipes to Make Anytime

INGREDIENTS

3-5 yellow squashes, spiralized like noodles (OR your favorite pasta)

2 cloves garlic, minced

12 oz. sliced mushrooms

4 oz. kosher salami or turkey pepperoni, diced

3/4 cup tomato paste

2 tsp dried oregano

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

If using pepperoni or salami, heat in a large pot (I used a enameled cast iron one like this) until crispy. Remove from pan when crisped.

If making vegetarian, add mushrooms and garlic until mushrooms have reduced and are soft and you can smell the garlic.  If making with pepperoni, do this step after the pepperoni has been removed.

Take squash noodles and add to garlic and mushrooms.  Cook for a few minutes until noodles are softened.  Add tomato paste, oregano, and nutritional yeast.  Heat until all combined  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Cook a few more minutes.

Mix in pepperoni and serve warm.

NOTES: To make Kosher, use Kosher salami; to make vegetarian/vegan, omit pepperoni and use double mushrooms; to make Gluten-free with out squash noodles, use your favorite brown rice noodles – we love the Tinkeyada brand.  If you run out of tomato paste, your favorite tomato sauce also works fine here.

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