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QUICK VEGAN MEALS: Introducing Mung Pasta

Whenever you need to make a quick vegan meal, pasta with vegetables is a good choice—and even better if you use a pasta that’s high in protein content. Today’s new recipe, Gluten-Free Pasta with Broccoli and Vegan Cream Sauce, features mung pasta so I can introduce readers to this healthy gluten-free option. Of course, if you don’t have mung pasta on hand, you can also use red lentil, chickpea, or your pasta of choice.

I know that mung pasta does not make for the prettiest photo, but as my readers know by now, Ayurveda is all about ease of digestion, and pasta made from mung bean flour fits the Ayurvedic way.

I wrote about a mung pasta about five years ago, but that product was changed to a mixture of mung and edamame, so I quit buying it. The whole point of eating a mung pasta is that it’s easily digestible vegan protein—but edamame, not so much! Just recently, Whole Foods introduced its 365 brand of 100 percent mung pasta, and I like it!

Mung pasta, like mung beans, tofu, or even traditional wheat pasta, has a neutral flavor that comes alive only with lots of herbs, spices, or sauce. I made this dish with a simple “cream” sauce from almond milk and leftover soup stock, along with fresh garlic, ginger, rosemary, and—for another layer of flavor—a few ground spices.

All the benefits of whole cooked mung beans—high in nutrients, high in antioxidents, high in fiber—are associated with mung pasta. And, like mung soup, the pasta is excellent for getting things moving, if you get my meaning.

Enjoy this Mung Pasta with Broccoli and Vegan Cream Sauce any time you want a quick meal that is easy, satisfying, and delicious!




Preparation Time: about 30 minutes
Serves 4 to 6


1 leek bulb plus an inch of
the light-green shank
2 broccoli stalks with florets
¼ cup or more olive oil, divided
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup fresh vegetable stock (if available)
8 to 12 ounces mung pasta
or other gluten-free pasta
6 to 8 ounces arugula or spinach
¼ cup pine nuts or pistachios (optional)


Vegan Cream Sauce
1 cup almond milk (or 1½ cups if stock unavailable)
1 tablespoon arrowroot
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary or thyme
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger or garlic
or 1 teaspoon of each
1½ teaspoons mineral salt, or more, to taste


Time Saver: Just use the florets and save the stalks to use with a mixed vegetable dish another day.


Cook’s Tip: If you have extra time and want to add some extra color to this dish, add some chopped red pepper to the pan in step 2 after the leeks. Or prior to starting the recipe as written, roast a couple of carrots and parsnips or cubed butternut squash or sweet potato, which will also add more bulk.


1. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil in a large soup pot in which you will later cook the pasta.


2. Prepare the vegetables: Clean and slice the leek. Cut the broccoli head into small florets. Peel the broccoli stems and cut into bite-sized pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium heat. When the oil is warm, add leeks and sauté them for about 5 minutes until they turn uniformly golden. (If using diced red peppers, add them now and sauté 5 minutes.) Add cumin, coriander, and nutmeg and stir.


3. Add the stock and broccoli to the leeks (and red pepper). If you don’t have stock, add ½ cup of water. Cover, let the broccoli steam 5 to 7 minutes until just tender. While the broccoli is cooking, add the pasta to the pot of boiling water and cook 9 to 10 minutes, until tender. (When foam forms, remove it with a spoon and throw the foam away.) Make the sauce during this time.


4. Make the sauce: Chop the rosemary or pull the thyme leaves off their stems. Pour the almond milk into a small bowl or measuring cup, and whisk in the arrowroot. Add the rosemary or thyme. Add ginger and/or garlic. Pour the sauce into the pan with the broccoli, and stir a couple minutes until the sauce is bubbling and thickening.


5. Combine all the ingredients: Place the arugula or spinach into a large mixing bowl. Add the broccoli and warm sauce directly onto the greens to wilt them. Strain the pasta. Pour the pasta back into the pot and cover with cold water, and quickly strain a second time. Combine the pasta with the greens, broccoli, and sauce. Add extra oil to coat the pasta. If using roasted vegetables, add them now. Toss the mixture and salt generously to taste. If you wish, add nuts of your choice, and serve immediately while warm.


Ayurvedic Note: Like all cruciferous vegetables, broccoli increases vata. However, ginger, garlic, and the ground spices in this recipe sooth vata, making this dish fine for people with a vata imbalance when eaten once a week.



One Response

  1. kumar says:

    Delicious recipe of mung pasta. very tasty and yummy.