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Non Dairy/Non Tomato based pasta dishes

With a new baby at home, the boards have already given me great ideas for food while I figure out the whole new parent thing. And although I could eat marinara every day, for the next few months I need to limit my dairy and acidic foods while nursing. What's your favorite pasta meal that doesn't involve a lot of dairy (like mac and cheese) or tomato? Bonus if it doesn't involve more than 10 minutes of prep.

My favorite is to saute an onion, toss it with about 1/2 cup of chopped parsley, 1 beaten egg and parmesean cheese and toss with the hot pasta. But would love other options too. Thanks!

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  1. If you start by sauteeing thinly sliced garlic in olive oil you can go almost anywhere. Add sausage and brocolli and cooked penne, spinach and pancetta with shells, eggs and spinach with thick spaghetti, or just romano, pepper and pasta water with thin spaghetti. So good and there are dozens of combinations like that--choose a veggie, add some protein and go............if you can't do cheese, just leave it out.

    3 Replies
    1. re: escondido123

      +1 on the garlic and olive oil. You can take it in so many directions with that basic flavor profile. A favorite in my house is a white wine sauce that starts with garlic, shallots, and vegetable stock. The white wine can obviously be omitted in your case and it won't affect the taste too much. Throw in some veggies and toss with pasta!

      I also love to use other vegetables/aromatics to flavor pasta. Some of my favorites are lemon and leek pasta and southwestern orzo pasta (both are also loaded with veggies!).

      1. re: Veggie Liv

        Alcohol cooks out, plus such a small amount of wine won't harm a baby if they get it through breast milk.

      2. re: escondido123

        When I lived with Italiens, some of the simplest but best-tasting pasta dishes were in olive oil + garlic base. Add panchetta, mushrooms and peas. Add red pepper strips and red pepper flakes. These two dishes were staples! And enjoy the time nursing and don't stress too much on what might affect your milk. I ate everything I wanted last year while nursing (save for those few fish they want you to avoid) and never had my son turn his nose up at the milk.

      3. Try this. I've been making a similar recipe for years (though I've never seen the lemon juice addition and haven't tried it). It's very good and easy to make. Probably no more than ten minutes of prep not counting the time it takes the water to boil.

        Can't remember where I originally found the idea, but this recipe comes pretty close.


        1. You can turn pretty much any vegetable into some kind of sauce. My mom makes this awesome sauce by sautéeing thinly sliced zucchini until it basically dissolves into a chunky purée. She seasons it with garlic (sautéed with the zucchini), salt, fresh herbs (whatever's on hand, but you can use dried) and coarsely ground pepper. Toss with sort pasta or wide noodles.

          I also love pasta with beans -- chickpeas, limas and white beans are my faves. Cook them with garlic in a little broth, add some greens and mix with cooked pasta. Season to taste. I like to add some spice, but I don't know if that will work with your restrictions.

          1. Are you totally wedded to Italian flavors, and can you eat peanuts? If not and if so, this is a staple in our house. It's pretty authentic-tasting, and can basically be assembled in the amount of time it takes to cook the pasta. If you're eating soy, throw some frozen edamame in with the pasta for the last five minutes or so of cooking time. (As a bonus prize, my toddler snarfs it down like there's no tomorrow.)


            1. Congrats on the new baby! (Watch out: lots of marinara can make your breastmilk look orange/pink... freaked me out when it happened to me!)

              Try tossing shaped pasta (e.g., bowties) with diced cooked ham (leftover or deli ham), toasted walnuts, some chopped parsley, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Top with grated Parmesan or Asiago. This is basically one of Rachael Ray's recipes, but could easily be improvised.

              I also saw this hummus-based sauce recipe recently but haven't tried it: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

              1. One of our favorite pasta dishes is Marcella Hazan's pasta with brocolli and anchovy. Here's a report on it from someone's blog that includes ingredients and method http://blog.kathrynmcgowan.com/2009/1...

                1 Reply
                1. re: ziggylu

                  I do a similar dish, but no anchovies... I use garlic and hot pepper flakes, and finish with lemon juice. Then top with some toasted pine nuts.

                2. Scores of Asian noodle dishes fit your criteria. Or saute garlic in olive oil, with tinned anchovies or anchovy paste and a few red pepper flakes, and sauce your pasta with that - parmesan is good with this but not essential. You said you wanted non-dairy, but then cited an egg-parmesan sauce so it's unclear how strict that restriction is. I was a doubter for a long time, but eventualy tried it - it's true, there is no fishy taste and this became a new favorite.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: greygarious

                    I wish I could agree about no fishy taste. I love anchovy in Caesar dressing, but once it gets heated I find the taste unpleasant. I try it again each year, but no luck yet. Too bad for me.

                    1. re: greygarious

                      I can do a little dairy, it's more of avoiding full cream based sauces then small amounts of cheese or butter. I've never cooked with anchovies, so that sounds like a good thing to try. (or make my husband try)

                    2. baba ganoush makes a great pasta sauce

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: magiesmom

                        As does a good hummus with some EVOO.

                      2. I think pesto would be an obvious choice - you could buy it in jars, or make it in batches to freeze for later. Once the sauce is made it's really quick. For a really quick veggie one, you can toss the vegetables in at the end of the pasta cooking to steam, plus a clove of crushed garlic if you want, drain and toss with the pesto. You can do this with other herb bases too - cilantro or parsley, for example.

                        Another option in to dress the pasta (plus meat and/or veggies) with garlic olive oil. When the pasta is cooking heat a bit of olive oil and fry chopped garlic in it until it starts to brown. Toss the drained pasta with the oil. Aa squeeze of lemon juice is good with it, as is some hot pepper flakes.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: tastesgoodwhatisit

                          You can also make an easy pesto using parsley instead of basil and the usual suspects. Use walnuts instead of pine nuts to keep cost reasonable and make sure to turn the pesto into a sauce by thinning it with pasta water.

                          1. congrats!

                            -Scampi - are you allowed shrimp? if so, use Earth Balance instead of butter...
                            -Butternut squash with caramelized onions, earth balance and sage (or olive oil)
                            -Salmon - cook pasta, sear salmon, remove from pan, add some basil, capers, finely sliced leeks (optional), lemon juice and olive oil, and cook for a couple of minutes. stir in some fresh spinach til just wilted. serve over pasta. or toss with pasta.
                            -Sauteed wild mushrooms, caramelized onions, walnut pesto and parsley
                            -Eggplant, zucchini, onions, artichoke hearts, olives (optional), olive oil, tahini and parsley
                            -Seafood _ if you can have it, saute shallots and garlic, add in some julienned sundried tomatoes (just a few), then add a sweeter white wine and seafood of your choosing (shrimp, clams, scallops, etc. but add scallops last), bring to a boil and then simmer til fish is done. stir in some spinach or arugula, serve with fresh parsley

                            happy infanthood!

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Emme

                              Feel free to do scampi with olive oil instead of Earth Balance.

                            2. roasted cauliflower & toasted pine nuts
                              peanut noodles with red peppers & shrimp
                              fettuccine with roasted or sautéed mushrooms
                              shrimp, scallop & fresh basil

                              pretty much all of these (save for the peanut noodles - i can give you a recipe if you like) really just have extra virgin olive oil, garlic, and red pepper flakes as a 'sauce', maybe a sploosh of white wine. no tomatoes or dairy needed.

                              1. Some of my favorites:

                                Linguine with Clam Sauce
                                Spaghetti with Browned Butter, Mizithra and Mushrooms
                                Linguine with Pesto Shrimp and Asparagus
                                Lemon Pepper Orzo

                                1. I cook pasta + vegatables + (maybe) meat at least once a week, with "whatever" I happen to have on hand: http://blog.firecooked.com/2007/03/04...

                                  Another favorite (and really quick) recipe: http://simplyrecipes.com/recipes/past...

                                  1. Thai Style Peanut Dipping Sauce

                                    4 tablespoons peanut butter
                                    2 tablespoons salad oil
                                    4 tablespoons soy sauce
                                    4 tablespoons granulated sugar
                                    4 tablespoons distilled vinegar
                                    1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
                                    2 teaspoons hot chili sauce, Sriracha
                                    1/8 teaspoon ground coriander

                                    Combine ingredients. Mix well with whisk.

                                    Serve over warm or cold pasta, rice, hot or cold noodles,
                                    pot stickers or as a spring roll dipping sauce.


                                    This tastes like a peanut sauce but contains no peanut products:

                                    Mandarin Dressing:

                                    1 cup mayonnaise
                                    1 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
                                    1 1/2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
                                    3 Tablespoons hoisin sauce
                                    2 1/2 teaspoons sesame oil
                                    1 teaspoon soy sauce

                                    Combine ingredients. Mix well with whisk.

                                    Serve over warm or cold pasta, rice, hot or cold noodles,
                                    pot stickers or as a spring roll dipping sauce. Or over
                                    a chicken salad.

                                    1. Cauliflower and eggplant (not together) are good bases for pasta sauce, as is zucchini. I like to add either anchovy and raisins to the eggplant or go with a curry vinaigrette. Eggplant I just cook down until it's mushy, then add parsley. You can also make ratatouille without the tomatoes for pasta. All of these take a longer than ten minutes.

                                      One of my favorite quick meals when I worked full time and then some, was to place a bowl large enough to hold the cooked pasta over the pot of boiling water I'd cook it in, add some minced garlic, a jar of unctuous cannellini beans, a good glug of flavorful olive oil or a big pat of butter, and minced parsley. This warmed while the pasta water heated, and then the hot drained pasta was added to the bowl once cooked. It's divine with an ounce of blue cheese per person, if that's not too much dairy for you. It's good without the cheese, too. If you like, you can add torn greens like kale or escarole to the boiling pasta water in the last minute, for extra nutrition. Squeeze half a lemon's juice over all and toss. Quick and delicious!

                                      1. In a similar vein as many of the recommendations above -- olive oil, garlic, rapini and crumbled italian sausage. Really, really good, especially if you can stand a little spice and add chile flakes with the garlic or use a hot italian sauage.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: TorontoJo

                                          Still the same vibe, but here's an actual recipe that showed up in my inbox this morning; haven't tried it yet, of course, but it looks tasty.


                                        2. You can blend together roasted garlic. roasted red peppers, herbs (like parsley, thyme, oregano)and nuts (like almonds or walnuts) into a creamy and delicious sauce.

                                          If you're into runny eggs, I LOVE to saute greens in olive oil with garlic slices and red pepper flakes, then toss with hot cooked pasta and top with an over-easy egg. Grate fresh Parmesan on top if you'd like, but it's not necessary.

                                          Another way to switch up pasta + vegetables is to add chunks of olive-oil packed tuna (or sardines if you are concerned about mercury intake). This works well with zucchini, broccoli, greens....

                                          Also, you can make a really chunky pasta e fagoli.....or mix pasta into "beans and greens" (kind of like what piccola and amyzan suggested above!). It's extending the definition of what constitutes a "pasta dish", but I've seen both result in tasty, easy dishes.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: 4Snisl

                                            Yeah, i actually like close to a 1:1:1 ratio for the pasta, beans and greens. It's hearty but not heavy.

                                          2. Peas are a good base. Mix in some light protein, like cod, shrimp, or lobster, and you're set. Pasta + Peas + x will give you wonderful results, as long as you stay with light/subtle flavors, since peas can't stand up to stronger ones like the mighty tomato.

                                            Another base I like is avocado, since it does complement strong proteins. But, that of course results in an extremely heavy/fatty meal.

                                            1. Thanks everyone, these are great - and even easy enough that my husband can do it while I'm off my feet in the beggining (I'm already tired of take out). I'm sure lots will flow into my regular rotation even after the next few months.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: mickeygee

                                                Enjoy that time with your little one and keep lots of snacks on hand! Mine just turned 1 and I miss the closeness of breastfeeding him...though I love the giggles now.

                                              2. caramelize some thinly sliced onions in olive oil with a little bit of raw sugar until they're basically a super-concentrated paste. add a few tablespoons of red wine or balsamic vinegar, a little more sugar, and salt to taste. add black pepper to taste and then mash in one or two chopped, oil-cured anchovies. mash it all together to make a thick, almost homogeneous paste (and add water a tbsp at a time until you achieve a thick but spreadable consistency, if necessary), add to pasta with whatever fresh herb is on hand (i used tarragon just because i had a ton of it, and it was amazing). caramelly, oniony, umami goodness!

                                                1. I've never been a mother (wicked step doesn't count in this case) and I've never breastfed. What's the issue with dairy and acidic foods? Sincerely asking.

                                                  9 Replies
                                                  1. re: c oliver

                                                    Everything you eat contributes to your milk production, so too much highly acidic food can create acidic milk that the baby may reject. Your milk can color from eating a lot of one color of food too; say green or orange. I didn't get any direction from my doc on dairy, so I'm not sure what that's about.

                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                      Since whatever mom eats will get to baby, some pediatricians advise that mom watch her diet for the first month or two, especially if food allergies or sensitivities run in the family. Some moms find that their babies are sensitive to lactose, and so they have to cut out dairy while they are breastfeeding (this happened to my cousin). Ditto wheat, shellfish, nuts, etc. I haven't heard anything specific about acidic foods, but I do remember early on that my stomach was more sensitive than usual to random things like onions, although they didn't seem to affect my son at all.
                                                      (Yeah, I know this isn't about home cooking... sorry for the digression!)

                                                      1. re: truman

                                                        Thanks for the explanations. I'd think things like garlic, onion, anchovies would be culprits in that case. Or maybe eating those things while breastfeeding is what made us all CHs :)

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          I ate a ton of garlic while pregnant with and breastfeeding my first child, and she has always been and still is a huge fan of garlic. Ate it also while expecting and breastfeeding my second child. She is not such a huge fan (won't ask for it on her own), but she'll eat it voraciously in anything.

                                                          1. re: Euonymous

                                                            Now how cool is that??? Thanks for the report.

                                                            1. re: Euonymous

                                                              The only thing I ever ate that bothered my breast feeding baby was very spicy Chinese food; it made her a little irritable after eating the one time I did that... I never avoided other foods and she was a very robust eater, both then and when she was growing up, always willing to try things. She started eating calamari and scungilli with her very first teeth.

                                                              1. re: Euonymous

                                                                there was a study published when I was breastfeeding that showed that the latch-on time for the infants of moms who ate a lot of garlic was significantly higher, and that infants generally would turn toward a breast that smelled of garlic.

                                                                I ate tomato sauce voraciously both while pregnant and breastfeeding (to the point that the little Sicilian lady who fed me copious quantities of her stellar red sauce during that time commented that my baby would be more Italian than her!) -- and never had any issues at all with my son.

                                                                Cabbage was an issue. But tomato sauce and dairy never were (and I drank gallons of milk while pregnant and nursing).

                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                  My experience really put the lie, anecdotally, to that finding. My baby had no trouble with crucifers or anything but that one very spicy meal... latched on as fast as she could and emptied me out fast, too.

                                                                  1. re: mcf

                                                                    the cabbage was MY anecdote -- the study was about the garlic.

                                                                    That's the hard part -- babies don't read studies...so the only way to find out what they like or don't like (or tolerate) is to try it.

                                                        2. My favorite weeknight fallback dinner is pasta with beans and greens. Basically, you just saute garlic in olive oil, add a BIG bunch of chopped greens (like chard, kale or broccoli rabe), cook for a bit then add a can or two of white beans and mash some of them up a bit. Add a cup or so of vegetable broth, along with salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for 10 minutes and you're done. Toss with whole wheat pasta. So healthy and so good!

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: cathyeats

                                                            This is a standby for me as well ... I add sundried tomatoes and cook the garlic and greens in the oil from the tomatoes. (Not sure if that would mean too much acidity for you.) Shrimp goes well in here too if you want some additional protein. You can use the broth from the beans instead of (or in addition to) the veg broth for a little more depth. Also, not sure if you usually make whole wheat pasta, but I'm with cathyeats -- this dish begs for it.

                                                            And congrats on your new little one!