In one of my previous posts I mentioned how my youngest absolutely adores pasta with a creamy zucchini sauce. However much I like that one too, some variation on the table is wished for, so inspired by a zucchini-curry spread I once bought, I came up with this ‘oriental’ take on it. Zucchini and curry are a good match, and the mango brings on a wonderful sweet complementary tang (and did I mention that my daughter is the major consumer of mangoes in our household?; she eats them before we even get a chance).
Other than ‘regular’ tomato- or cream-based pasta sauces, this curried zucchini one would be a totally off combination with vegan cheese, so I decided to use sunflower sprinkles instead. Toasted sunflower seeds are super tasty and very addictive (give me a bowl, and I’ll empty it in no time), and what’s more, they add a nice crunch and bite. Ever since I had Dreena Burton’s Roasty Toasty sunflower seeds (and that was like over a decade ago; Vive le Vegan! dates back to 2004), I every so often make this treat to have it on salads. But I assure you, these seeds work wonders on pasta too. For optimal flavour pairing, I swapped out the regular balsamic vinegar from the original recipe by apple cider vinegar.
Pasta with curried zucchini & mango.
- 1/2 mango, diced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 2,5 dl (= 1 cup) plant-based cream (I used soy cream)
- 2 TB curry
- 1 tsp mango powder (amchoor), optional
- 50 g spinach, fresh or frozen
- 300 g pasta of your choice
- salt and pepper
- sunflower sprinkles: 1 TB toasted sesame oil, 1 TB apple cider vinegar or white balsamic vinegar, and a handful of sunflower seeds
- optional: 150 – 200g chicken-style pieces (I used these from retailer Edeka, which I bought during a shopping trip to Germany, but in Belgian supermarket Delhaize you can find similar ones from Greenway and de Vegetarische Slager). I know some vegans are reluctant to food items that mimic the taste and/or texture of meat, but I do use them, as I don’t associate them with actual meat and its taste at ALL. To me, they are ‘soy pieces’, and that is also what we name them at home. Apart from that, my husband, who is not a vegan, likes these, and our kids who are raised vegan do too. Of course one could just use tofu here, but I’d then marinate the tofu in a tangy curry marinade first. Smoked tempeh would even work better than tofu, imho. Also in the tempeh-scenario, I’d marinate the whole batch (a tempeh bacon marinade would be great).
- Boil the pasta according to the directions on the package.
- Toast the sunflower seeds with sesame oil, vinegar, and a dash of salt, and set aside.
- If using them, fry the chicken-style pieces until golden and set aside.
- Fry the zucchini in some olive or coconut oil, until the cubes turn nicely golden and browned. Add the curry, mango powder, salt and pepper, mango, spinach and plant-based cream.
- When the spinach has wilted, taste the sauce and adjust seasoning to taste.
- Add the optional chicken-style pieces.
- Serve the sauce over pasta, and sprinkle with sunflower seeds.