I don’t cook a lot with nuts: 1) because they are often crazily expensive right now, and 2) because most local schools are nut-free zones so anything made with nuts can’t be sent as lunch leftovers with the kids.
It’s a shame, because nuts are a good source of protein, healthful oils, and a range of micronutrients (and – I keep my finger crossed on this one – walnuts in particular seem to have components that may make them valuable in protecting the brain against the damage of Alzheimer’s).
If nuts aren’t an issue for you, then this Walnut Feta Pasta is an easy meatless main dish made with readily available ingredients.
You can have it on the table in the time it takes to chop the veg and cook the pasta.
Depending on the type of feta you use, you may want to add a 2-3 tablespoons / 30-45 ml of vegetable stock, or a bit of reserved cooking water from the pasta. Some feta is drier than others and doesn’t soften as much with the heat of the pasta. A ‘melty’ feta will help make a creamier dish.
A curly pasta like rotini will help hold the ingredients so that you can get the flavor combinations in one bite.
And I don’t recommend substituting another type of nut for the walnuts. There is something earthy about walnuts that just works with the other ingredients.
I serve this with mixed greens tossed in Sweet Chili Salad Dressing.
- 2 tablespoons / 30 ml olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup / 250 ml)
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup / 250 ml roughly chopped walnuts
- ½ cup / 125 ml chopped fresh parsley
- Black pepper to taste
- 1 cup / 250 ml crumbled feta cheese
- 4 cups / 1 liter uncooked pasta (use a curly kind like rotini)
- Put a pot of water with one teaspoon of salt added on to boil for the pasta while you are preparing the other ingredients.
- When pasta water is boiling, add the pasta and cook until tender, about 7-8 minutes.
- While the water is getting ready, heat a frypan over medium heat. When the pan has heated, add the olive oil and swirl to coat the pan.
- Add onions and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and walnuts and continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes. Stir to keep the vegetables and nuts from sticking and burning.
- Add pepper to taste.
- Add parsley and cook for 1 minute until it has softened slightly. Remove the pan from the heat until the pasta has cooked.
- Drain pasta and toss with feta cheese and the onion-walnut mixture. Serve immediately.