Food Porn: Pasta and Broccoli With “Cheese” Sauce

I’ve been lax about posting recipes and cooking tips, which is strange because the No. 1 recovery-process question I get remains, “What does Martin eat?” Many people still find it hard to fathom, in this day, a diet of minimally processed foods; focused on fresh and organic; free from gluten, dairy, corn, soy, refined sugar, and most grains or starchy vegetables; that includes daily bone broth and probiotic/fermented foods; with meat (other than broth) limited to one serving daily; and that is prepared 90% from scratch. I don’t blame them. Before I started this journey, I wouldn’t have known how to manage it at all.

Time to post a few examples of how breakfast, lunch, and dinner look for Martin. Exhibit One shall be this relatively simple vegetarian dinner, which our whole family, including pescatarian Adrian and vegan me, can enjoy: pasta with broccoli and “cheese” sauce:


The “cheese” sauce—you won’t believe me until you try it—is delicious. The recipe does call for potato, which we generally try to avoid; fortunately, the overall potato content ends up being low, on a per-serving basis. I happened upon the “cheese” sauce recipe when a friend posted the link on her Facebook page.

Of course, I make alterations. I generally try to soak and dehydrate the cashews before I use them, though I may not always manage. I like to replace the garlic powder with a clove or two of raw garlic. I also usually add an inch or two of peeled, fresh turmeric, throwing that root into the cooking water at the same time as the potato. (If you read several of these posts, you’re going to uncover a sort of turmeric leitmotif. I add fresh turmeric to almost everything—including (some) desserts and snacks.)

The pasta is Tolerant brand penne, which lists, as its only ingredient, red lentils. I love the idea of one-ingredient pasta, especially when the ingredient is organic red lentils. That being said, I do have questions about Tolerant, especially how exactly the lentils are processed into pasta, i.e., what the lentils undergo and how they eventually stick together. My friend Stacey and I once found Tolerant’s representatives at a food trade show and peppered them with questions about their processing methods; citing trade secrets, they wouldn’t reveal anything, so I still have concerns. Sometimes the best you’ve got is the best you’ve got, and right now, for pasta, I think Tolerant is the best I’ve got.

(Monday afternoons, Martin and I visit the organic grocery. He loves to run to the Tolerant aisle and yell, “Mommy, do we have enough pasta?”, then dump four or five boxes of the penne into my cart.)

Sometimes I add slivered almonds or pine nuts to this dish. In the version pictured above, the final ingredient was steamed broccoli. I cooked the broccoli before the pasta, saved the leftover steaming water, which absorbs some broccoli nutrients, and cooked the pasta in that water, hope to transfer those nutrients to the pasta. Long shot? Probably.

A tasty entrée that paired well with salad? Definitely.