Quinoa Pasta with Carmelized Onions, Cabbage and Walnuts

Day 1 of my 21 day cleanse!  Over the weekend I prepped my pantry and refrigerator with lots of fun ingredients to get me started.  I shopped at my local grocery store, my Italian deli and Whole Foods to gather up my supplies for the week.  Creating vegan meals is not new to me and cooking for others in the past with dietary restrictions is also not new to me.  This detox cleanse is vegan but also eliminates gluten.  I have baked desserts for a gluten free client but was able to incorporate dairy.  So having very limited key ingredients to work with, this can be a challenge.   In addition, I did not purchase any prepared gluten-free breads as I thought I would.  When I read the ingredients on some of these packages, I simply decided I would rather make wholesome foods from simple ingredients and forego those breads.  Besides, once all those ingredients were pulled together to make, I assume, a tasty bread without flour, the fat content and calorie content was way high!  I do not normally read calorie or fat but rather ingredients, looking for real, readable ingredients. 

I did, however, purchase gluten-free waffles that contained basic ingredients and toasted up two for my breakfast.  I topped the waffles with almond butter which I had mixed with some pumpkin puree and drizzled on agave as a mock syrup.  The almond buter mixed with the pumpkin cut down on the amount of almond butter used as well as softened up the texture.  I was very satisfied with my breakfast!  And if you note in my picture, I did have my morning espresso.  Yes, I will be drinking espresso in the morning and cutting out any additional cups during the day.  Besides, there are some benefits to caffeine 🙂

For lunch I had a chopped salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, artichokes, garbanzo beans and Kalamata olives.  I drizzed on an oil and vinegar dressing.  A mid morning and mid afternoon snack of fruit and almonds kept me quite satisfied!

Monday’s almost always lead me to wanting comfort food for dinner.  I normally like to prepare a frittata or a meatless pasta dish.  I purchased Quinoa pasta made from simply corn flour and organic Quinoa flour and had a head of napa cabbage.  Carmelized onion and walnuts (and gorgonzola cheese) was a quick pasta dish I was familiar with.  Obviously, I left out the cheese and to my pleasant surprise, I did not miss the cheese.  The pasta blended very well with the dish, almost adding a nuttier taste blending well with the chopped walnuts I sprinkled on top.  Comforting, filling and very good!

Quinoa Pasta with Carmelized Onions, Cabbage and Walnuts

Adapted from Vegan Italiano

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 small head cabbage, thinly sliced

2 medium onions, thinly sliced

½ teaspoon salt or to taste

2 large cloves garlic finely chopped

4 oz Quinoa pasta, cooked al dente

½ cup vegetable broth

1/3 cup chopped fresh basil

3 tablespoons chopped walnuts

Freshly ground black pepper to taste

 In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the onions, cabbage and salt and cook stirring until softened, about 5 minutes.  Cover, reduce the heat to medium low and cook approximately 15 minutes longer, stirring occassionally.  Uncover and continue to cook until onions and cabbage turn a deep golden brown, adding the garlic the last few minutes of cooking. 

 Add the pasta, broth, basil,walnuts and peppper to the skillet; toss well to combine.  Serve immediately.

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