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Baked Broccoli and Greens Pasta

Makes 4-6 servings
Baked Broccoli and Greens Pasta

While common in other parts of the world, most of North America keeps yogurt firmly in the sweet category. Let’s change that shit. The pasta and greens in here are tossed in a light yogurt and garlic sauce then baked together for an iron-rich entrée that is as unusual as it is addictive. Give it a try and see if savory yogurt is your hot new obsession too.

1 pound dry rigatoni, cooked according to the package directions
4 cups finely chopped spinach, chard, or a mixture
4 cups chopped broccoli or broccolini
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup each, minced: dill, parsley, and green onions or some combination to equal approximately 1 ½ cups
1 ½ cups unsweetened, plain nondairy yogurt
1 cup vegetable broth
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup nutritional yeast or your favorite vegan cheese
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon ume plum vinegar or ½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground white pepper

Warm up your oven to 400 degrees and grease a 9 by 13-inch baking dish. Get a large pot of water on the stove and use it to cook the pasta according to the package instructions. They know best. Drain the pasta when it’s just al dente so that it won’t get soft and mushy after we throw it in the oven.

While the pasta is cooking, grab a large bowl. Mix together the greens and broccoli in the bowl and sprinkle in the salt and sugar. Using your hands, reach in there and massage the greens and broccoli with the salt and sugar.This helps the greens start to break down a little. Just a few seconds of this is fine. Since we aren’t cooking the greens and broccoli before we put them in the oven, this helps them soften up. Toss in the herbs in and mix the whole bowl up so everything looks all incorporated.

In a large glass mix together the yogurt, vegetable broth, olive oil, nutritional yeast, garlic, vinegar, and white pepper. When the pasta is done and drained, add all it to the large bowl of greens and toss until everything looks well mixed. Drizzle over the sauce and mix again until everything looks coated. Pour all of this into your prepared pan, cover the pan with foil, and place it in the oven for 15 minutes. After the 15 minutes is up, remove the foil, spray the top of the noodles with a little oil, and place it back in the oven for 10 more minutes, until the broccoli is tender. The pasta might look a little dry here, but just stir the pan, and you’ll find lots of flavor and sauce hiding at the bottom.

Serve warm with some fresh pepper on top.

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