Vegan Recipe: Rasta Pasta

Rasta Pasta

Photo credit: Matthew Benson

By Taymer Mason

I had been curious about Rasta pasta for years because I did not know what it was. It was a dish that popped up on menus across the Caribbean, but I never seemed to be at a restaurant that served it. I was having trouble meeting Rasta pasta. Was it pasta with fresh vegetables? Was it a tricolored pasta containing different peppers? I finally gave up and created my own vegan version of the dish with tender jerk-seasoned walnut balls and a creamy coconut curry sauce. This is really good for a Caribbean-themed dinner party. While it is not traditional, it has an authentic flavor profile. Serves 4

WALNUT BALLS

• 3 tablespoons olive or coconut oil, for sautéing
• 2 cups (220 g) chopped button mushrooms
• 2 small onions, sliced
• 1 cup walnut halves (100 g), soaked in 3 cups (720 ml) of water for at least 30 minutes
• 5 garlic cloves crushed
• 3 dates, pitted
• 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
• 1 tablespoon Bragg Liquid Aminos
• 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
• 1 tablespoon flax meal (page 000), soaked in 2 tablespoons of hot water for 3 minutes
• 1 tablespoon curry powder
• 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
• 1 teaspoon black pepper
• ¼ cup plus two tablespoons (34 g) oat flour (page 000)
• ¼ cup (23 g) fine bread crumbs
• 2 tablespoons Jamaican Jerk Seasoning (page 000)
• 2 teaspoons seasoning salt
• 1/2 cup (125 ml) neutral oil, for frying

SAUCE

• 1 tablespoon coconut oil
• 1 tablespoon Thai curry paste, any color, or Madras curry powder
• One 14-ounce (400 ml) can coconut milk
• 1 small onion, diced
• 2 garlic cloves, pressed
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos
• 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
• 1 teaspoon ground allspice
• 1 teaspoon sugar
• 1 teaspoon onion powder
• Pink or sea salt, to taste

PASTA

• Wok
• 4 tablespoons olive or coconut oil, for sautéing
• 1/2 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
• ½ yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced
• 1/2 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
• One 1-pound (454g) package linguini, cooked al dente according to package directions

Instructions

1. To make the walnut balls, heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and onions and sauté until the onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.

2. Transfer the mixture to a food processor. Add the drained walnuts, garlic, dates, nutritional yeast, liquid aminos, thyme, flax meal mixed with hot water, curry powder, smoked paprika, and black pepper. Pulse until the nuts have been chopped fine
but you still have texture.

3. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and add the oat flour, bread crumbs, jerk
seasoning, and seasoning salt. Form the mixture into twenty 1.5-inch (3.8 cm) balls.

4. Preheat the oven to 350?F (180?C) and line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or
parchment paper.

5. Heat the neutral oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the walnut balls, until a thin brown crust is formed, 5 minutes.

6. Transfer the balls to the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes, or until the form an
outer brown crust.

7. Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat the oil in a medium-sized pot heat. Add
the curry and heat through, about 1 minute. Add the coconut milk, onion, garlic, soy sauce, cilantro, allspice, sugar, and onion powder and stir to combine. Taste and adjust for salt. Bring to a boil and stir until the mixture is fairly creamy.

8. To finish the pasta, heat olive oil in a wok over high heat. Sauté the bell peppers until slightly tender, about 2 minutes. Add the pasta and heat through, tossing to combine, about 4 minutes. Add the sauce, to taste, and top with the walnut balls.

9. To serve, layer the balls over pasta and top off with sauce.

ISLAND TIP
The walnut balls can be formed into burgers. Coat them with oat flour and shallow fry over medium-high heat.

Recipe from Caribbean Vegan: Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Authentic Island Cuisine for Every Occasion, Expanded Second Edition © Taymer Mason, 2016. Reprinted by permission of the publisher, The Experiment. Available wherever books are sold.  theexperimentpublishing.com

Buy book on Amazon.com: Caribbean Vegan: Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free, Authentic Island Cuisine

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