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This hearty yet light pasta supper is full of colour and texture, and is perfect for a midweek meal. Easily vegan and gluten-free too.

This hearty yet light pasta supper is full of colour and texture, and is perfect for a midweek meal. Easily vegan and gluten-free too.For the past wee while I’ve been daring to cook with the kitchen door open. This may not seem a big deal to you, but as Edinburgh winters tend to be of the cold, low, steel-sky variety, punctuated by not infrequent temper tantrums of bracing, leaf swirling wind, door propping in March is of note.

I do open it out on occasion, despite howling , tree-bending gales, and still, stubborn mizzle (our word for the Very British combination of mist and drizzle), but this is mainly due to my habit of leaving the grill unattended: our smoke alarm gets a workout, and our neighbours possibly wish we were paleo.

Andrew and I are probably the only people around who eschew the fripperies of a toaster, preferring to toast bread under an oven grill/broiler – with the added thrill of cheating the smoke alarm. But still, it is an excuse for fresh air, and spying on the birds coming down for the little treats I leave. Not burnt bread, you understand.

I had the door open whilst making up this colourful, easy supper dish a a couple of weeks ago. The pasta was roaring away in salted boiling water, and the oven was exhaling the last of its heat – post-squash and flower sprout roasting – when I spied my two favourite visitors, a pair of crows. Walking around rather imperiously, these two were pecking the drive for seeds I had left. What surprised me was – and this is why crows are just about my favourite birds – one had a scrap of sturdy paper and was using it as a shovel to push the tiny sesame and millet seeds into a pile for both coal-black birds to better enjoy. I was utterly enchanted. 

This hearty yet light pasta supper is full of colour and texture, and is perfect for a midweek meal. Easily vegan and gluten-free too.I love having the company of others while I cook – but not human company;  or not often. With humans you need to tidy as you go, keep up a steady flow of lucid, polite conversation (i.e. not swearing as you slice your finger yet again on your adults-only, Zwilling chef’s knife), share your wine, and not stop every five seconds to snap a picture. Fellow bloggers will know what I mean. 🙂

No, I prefer my cat sleeping companionably nearby on ‘his’ Lloyd Loom chair, or seeing the blue tits, blackbirds and crows peck around on the drive for tidbits, with the occasional heron on the neighbour’s roof, spying on the fish in her meshed – but still tempting – pond. I also keep an eye out for bees that need reviving (I am a bee whisperer). Radio is okay, but the chatter of birds and the sound of the breeze in the trees is quite enough company for me.

What or who do you like to keep you company while you cook? Do you use a grill instead of a toaster (please, someone else tell me they do too!)

This hearty yet light pasta supper is full of colour and texture, and is perfect for a midweek meal. Easily vegan and gluten-free too.

Black Bean, Flower Sprout and Squash Pasta

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: easy
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I have used brown rice noodles but I also like black bean pasta (roasted cauliflower and white beans would be good here), quinoa pasta and good old durum wheat pasta too. Use what you like and in the amounts that suit you. Same goes for the veg. I like to stir in the torn mozzarella balls so that they melt into the pasta but use homemade cashew ricotta or a bought vegan cheese if you like. 

This is more of an assembly job than recipe, so don’t take too much care fussing with precise measurements. xx

150g pasta of choice

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided use + extra for serving if you like (smoked olive oil is great for a finishing touch)

200g flower sprouts, ends nipped off and halved lengthways if large OR broccoli florets and stem

1/2 small-medium butternut squash or other winter squash, peeled and cubed

200g cooked, rinsed black beans OR any other beans you fancy

50g pumpkin seeds

1 red chilli

Handful of basil leaves

6-9 mozzarella pearls (very small balls) – two for each person

1 lime

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F.

2. Toss the kale flowers or broccoli in 1 tablespoon of the oil and lay on a baking tray. Do the same with the squash cubes and lay on a separate tray. Pop the squash in the heated oven and bake for 25 minutes; add the tray of flower sprouts when there is 15 minutes remaining. When there are eight minutes remaining, scoot the squash over a bit to give a little room then  sprinkle the pumpkin seeds onto the tray.

3. While the vegetables are nearly finished roasting, boil the pasta and, in a separate small pan, heat the black beans through, adding a little oil if necessary. Shred the basil, halve the lime and chop the chilli.

4. Drain the pasta – saving a little pasta water – pop it back into the pan, tear in the mozzarella and add in all of the ingredients plus 2 tablespoons of hot cooking water, giving it all a good squoosh of lime juice to brighten the flavours. Season as you wish and eat immediately.





34 thoughts on “Black Bean, Flower Sprout & Squash Pasta Supper Recipe

  1. Maryana says:

    I just love your writing style. And that story with crows is quite impressive. Smart birds! This delicious and healthy recipe is definitely going to my worth to try list. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thanks Maryana! I just write what pops into my head at the time so I’m glad you appreciate it. 🙂 Do you like company while cooking, or do you prefer to be in the kitchen on your own mostly?

      1. Maryana says:

        Certainly, on my own. I am not good in multitasking. So I am either talking or cooking) There are exceptions, like holidays, for example. Then, the kitchen is full of people 🙂 and I really enjoy it.

  2. Oh wow! This looks amazing, I love all those colors!

    1. That’s so kind of you. Thanks so much. 🙂

  3. srividhya says:

    never used kale flowers. Interesting recipe.

    1. If you fancy the recipe but don’t seed flower sprouts (I think it is mainly a colder climate crop – i.e. Scotland, England!), any sturdy, minerally greens will do.

  4. Made in Rome says:

    Really wild pasta recipe you’ve got going on here. Lime! Squash! Man, this is so different from pastas I make, but you’ve got my mind exploring a universe of new possibilities. Cool post!

    1. I bet this goes against everything you grew up with! I’d be interested to know how you would try this. 🙂

  5. How funny! I don’t like company either, I like to create and photograph and potter around in my own space, with just Bob for company and my view of the wonderful naturescape out of my window…and with the door open as often as possible 🙂
    Lovely colourful dish x

    1. My driveway is on the side of my house so faces the neighbour’s house and my driveway, so I don’t have quite the nice outlook you do. But I have some deep wooden vegetable boxes that Andrew made and hanging baskets to keep an eye on – in addition to the birds of course. Does Bob like spicy food??

      1. It’s beautiful down here today, I’ve got the sun streaming in 🙂
        We gave Bob a few pieces leftover chicken with his breakfast once, which had been marinated in spices and grilled; he scoffed it all up then proceeded to go crazy for the next couple of hours…I think it might have been the nutmeg!!! Such a tiny amount obviously affected his tiny system! So we haven’t repeated it…in fact, he doesn’t get any of our food nowadays as he’d started begging a bit, so we stopped giving him any leftovers. He’s still happy 🙂
        Ben however, my son, loves spices, which makes me very happy! I’m sure I’m aiding their health with all of the garlic and spices I feed them 🙂

      2. You most definitely are, Elaine. It will pay you back – all of you back – in the years to come. You’ve set Ben up with some mighty good habits that even if they fall by the wayside for awhile in the later teen years, will come back shortly. He’s a lucky lucky lad. 🙂

      3. Thank you, I hope so! He only drinks water and I send him to school with a bag of home roasted nuts, seeds and dried fruit, and he only has homemade bread..he does also eat crisps and the odd chocolate bar, but he is a kid after all!
        They’ve just had chicken marinated in a shawarma spice mix (which my Mum brought from Abu Dhabi) which they’ve scoffed 🙂

      4. You would be a popular AirBnB hostess. I would book in!

      5. Ha ha! I thank you 😉

  6. Delicious…I love the presentation!

  7. What a creative combination of flavors in this light but hearty perfect-for-spring meal. Always looking for more ways to use the beloved flower sprouts. And I’m like you when in the kitchen. Although leading cooking classes has helped me become a little better at talking and cooking at the same time.

    1. I think teaching cooking classes is fun too, a kind of performance. But in my own kitchen I like it to be just me or, if it is for a dinner party, have Andrew with me doing some chopping (and dish washing!). He’s a fantastic cook so I “let” him take over sometimes as he is very good with Indian-type food. 🙂

  8. Just look at the colors of this?! I didn’t know about Kale flowers, what an interesting take, looks delicious 😉

    1. Thank you Cher. I’m glad I let you know about something new too. 🙂

  9. superfitbabe says:

    I’d probably dress up like I was in Mammoth if I had to keep the door open at night! If during the day = a bikini! XD

  10. Thanks for the wonderful recipe. I am always on the look out for new things to try with kale so this is perfect. I confess to using a toaster but I do cook with the back door open as much as possible, I love it! I also have a busy garden full of a variety of birds so there’s always something going on out there. My absolute favourite, however, is to cook as the light drains from a winter’s day and it is pouring with rain. There is something very cosy and comforting about preparing great food when it’s like that. Thanks for the post.

    1. I am with you on cooking as the light fades and the weather is closing in. It also makes me feel lucky, safe and cosy. We are blessed, aren’t we?

  11. You are completely barmy my dear but yes, I often use the grill to toast. I think it does it differently and my mum always did too (plus Delia always says use the grill!!). Nice bowl of veg there my dear x

    1. I’m not that barmy, really, just easily distracted. 🙂 I didn’t know that about Delia. If it’s good enough for Saint Delia…

  12. thatgirlcath says:

    Radio 6 Music (and wine). All the company a home cook needs.

    1. My daughter has got me onto Radio 6! I listen in when I am not distracted by birds and things burning under the grill 😉

  13. Lovely colourful food, bet the flavours pack a punch too.
    When Im cooking at Christmas, I always listen to jazz but I really enjoy listening to Radio Scotland’s Janice Forsyth show while cooking as she often plays great local bands. I watch the birds too – I have names for some of our regular bird visitors 🙂

    1. Aww, I will have to name my visitors too. The heron is named Harry though. 🙂

  14. Lovely sounding recipie….and more of those yummy sprout flowers. Thanks for the introduction a few months ago! Like you the back door is once again open…and in fact I shared lunch with a friend in my garden on Monday…..and for Edinburgh in March that’s not too bad😆💕

    1. Thanks so much, Seonaid. Are you going to try and grow some? They are so pretty as well as delicious, aren’t they? I haven’t dared eat outside for longer than ten minutes (a cloud came and chilled the air right down). You must have been sitting in a sun trap. 🙂

      1. Lol….I was…I have the perfect little sheltered spot at my back door, with a sandstone wall behind which gathers up the Suns heat beautifully😊
        I yes I might give these tasty flowers a shot in the veg beds this year! You’re suggestion of kale has been a wonderful success and will be repeated this year!

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