Creamy Fusilli with Beets, Kale, and Toasted Pine Nuts
December 15, 2011

Creamy Fusilli with Beets, Kale, and Toasted Pine Nuts | The Full Helping

This creamy fusilli with beets, kale, and toasted pine nuts is my kinda pasta. It’s brightly colored, bursting with healthful vegetables (including some leafy greens), and it shows off a creamy, dreamy, cashew-based sauce.

The pasta was originally going to be even more minimalist: sauteed kale, roasted beets, toasted pine nuts, and olive oil—maybe a spot of pesto. But it was a drizzly, cold early winter day, and I was craving something a little heartier and creamier. All purpose cashew cream to the rescue! A tiny bit of cashew cream goes a long way in dishes. So the idea was to use just a thin coating of cashew cream and let the veggies do the rest of the talking.

It worked. This pasta bowl hits the perfect sweet spot between hearty and light. You’ll feel satisfied, warm, and content, but you won’t feel as though your creamy pasta dinner has pushed you into a coma. It’s an ideal weeknight supper as the weather gets colder, and best of all, it harnesses the health properties of a few of nature’s most nutritious plants!

Look at all of the texture and color here. Wouldn’t be a bad choice for the holiday season, by the by–Christmas colors!

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Creamy Fusilli with Beets, Kale, and Toasted Pine Nuts
Recipe Type: entree, main dish
Cuisine: vegan, gluten free option, soy free
Author: Gena Hamshaw
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • 8 ounces fusilli pasta of choice (substitute penne or rotini)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 large (or 4 small) red beets, trimmed of stems and roots
  • 4 cups tightly packed, washed and chopped kale
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil, separated
  • 3/4 cup [url href=”http://www.thefullhelping.com/purpose-cashew-cream-recipe/” target=”_blank”]cashew cream[/url]
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
Instructions
  1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Wrap each beet in foil. Roast for 40-45 minutes, or until beets are fork tender. Remove beets from oven.
  2. Run the beets under very cold water and slip off their skins (this should be easy, but use a peeler to get any stubborn pieces). Chop them and set them aside.
  3. Place pine nuts in a small frying pan and toast for a few minutes, or until they’re just barely golden (they’ll keep cooking after you remove them from heat, so you have to watch this carefully). Set the pine nuts aside.
  4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package instructions. Drain pasta, toss with 1 teaspoon olive oil, and set aside momentarily, while your greens finish cooking.
  5. While pasta is cooking, heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large sauté pan. When it’s hot, add the garlic and let it sizzle for a minute. Add the kale, along with a few tablespoons of water and a nice pinch of salt, and allow the greens to cook and steam, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes. The kale should be soft and bright green.
  6. Place cooked pasta, kale, and roast beets in a large serving bowl. Pour the cashew cream over the pasta and veggies, add the nutritional yeast, and mix well. Season to taste with extra salt and pepper. Top with toasted pine nuts and serve.

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Brown rice and quinoa pasta are my personal favorites, and that’s what I used here. I find them a lot more tender than whole wheat pasta, but they still add a bit of whole grain goodness to the dish. You’re welcome to use any pasta of choice here!

This recipe sounds a little complex, but believe me when I say that it’s very easy if you roast the beets ahead of time, or even skip toasting your pine nuts. If you’re really pressed for time, you can use canned beets, or some of the cool vacuumed packed and pre-cooked ones they sell at health stores now. And the nutrition here makes cooking all of the veggies well worth it: kale is packed with iron, protein, and vitamins A & K, while beets offer phytonutrients with anti-inflammatory properties. Even pine nuts, tiny though they are, are nutritionally fascinating: they contain some of the same compounds that regulate appetite and satiety in human beings, which means that some have postulated that they’re useful for hunger management.

Regardless of what drives you to this colorful supper—the Christmas tones, the nutrition, or the creamy taste—I hope you enjoy it.

I’ll probably be taking tomorrow off, as my giant biology final is on Saturday at 8 am. So I’ll see you back here after my test!

xo

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    36 Comments
  1. Just made this last night for dinner. It was really tasty and I cannot wait to eat on the leftovers this week! The pink color just makes me so happy! Love having beet greens to my smoothie this morning, too.

  2. I changed this recipe a bit but oh my god it was good! My husband and I immediately deemed it worthy of our repeat list, and to be placed near the top too! I used a whole bunch of beets including the greens instead of kale. I used 8 oz whole wheat spaghetti and 1/2 of your recipe cashew Alfredo. I steamed my beets in chunks because its faster than roasting and a bit healthier, I think. I also steamed the beet stems and greens. Happy belly! Thanks for a keeper!

  3. OK, quibble on the roasting technique aside, this dish is ridiculously delicious. I highly recommend using the beat greens if you can.

  4. Can someone enlighten me on the reasoning behind wrapping the beets whole when roasting? My experience has been that it is much faster to chop them and roast them like any other root veggie.

  5. Trader Joe’s makes a great organic brown rice pasta – two ingredients: organic brown rice and water. I think it cooks up better than the Tinkyada brand. It comes in spaghetti, penne and fusilli. Yum! Your pasta dish looks amazing, Gena!

  6. 3 of my favorite things: Kale, Pasta and Beets! This recipe looks amazing- thanks for sharing, Gena!
    Best of luck on your biology final 🙂

  7. When I looked at that, I thought of pretty pink Disney princesses. I’d love to try this, and I think I’ll call it “Princess Pasta.” I know a few little girls who would love this!

  8. This looks so good and I loves me some beets! And I agree about brown rice pasta. Another reason I prefer it is because, even though I don’t have any gluten issues, I feel like there’s already wheat in so many other things I eat, that it must be better for me to have pasta made from something else.. just to add a bit more variety to my diet 🙂

  9. wow that looks so yummy, I was just thinking that i need to incorportate more beets into my diet yesterday, now i have to perfect recipe to make, I love how the beets turned the pasta red and it does look very christmas like. Thanks!!

  10. I LOVE the bright pink color of this dish. It’s been far too long since I bought beets.

    Good luck on your test tomorrow!

  11. I love that the pasta us bright magenta! Makes me smile and want to make it even more. And I agree with you about Brown Rice pasta. I love that stuff fir the taste and texture actually, more than it being wheat or gluten free (not a huge concern for me) Good luck on your tests! Remember: you’re a rock star!

  12. This bowl doesn’t only scream “healthy”, but also “pink”! Very pretty!
    Hm, I think you listed the pasta twice in your ingredients. That’s not intended, is it?
    Anyway, good luck on your test!

  13. Oh what lovely colors! Kale is my favorite. You could try sautéing the kale in coconut oil–it’s even more scrumptious!

    • Kale in coconut oil is scrumptious indeed! But I didn’t really want coconut taste in this recipe, which I find the oil always leaves behind, at least a little.

  14. I got some girls (age 8-9) I used to teach to eat beets just for the color they made on their lips. You’d be proud I actually ate some shredded raw beet today after a long hiatus. Way to spread the love about Tinkayada! We suspect Trader Joe’s brown rice pasta is the really that because it cooks the same way. We also only cook it for 9 minutes despite what the package says.

  15. My house mates were JUST asking me what they should do with a can of beets they found at the back of their pantry. BOOM!

  16. Good luck with your test and this is the prettiest bowl of pasta I have EVER seen! This needs to be served at a wedding or a bridal shower or someplace fancy because it’s just too beautiful.

    I just posted the yellowest pictures of my life (coconut oil plantains) and you just posted the pinkest ones…yours are prettier. I want to eat this JUST because it’s pink and gorgeous. And because I love beets, too! 🙂