Baking & cooking with an enthusiastic amateur

Chile Lime Penne

Fresh avocado provides a creamy, cool contrast to this tart and spicy pasta dish.

Fresh avocado provides a creamy, cool contrast to this tart and spicy pasta dish.

In the summer, stovetop dishes are a welcome change from my usual love of baked foods. Using the oven warms up an apartment wonderfully in the winter, but it only makes the sweltering heat unbearable in the summer. As such, I’ve been looking to make recipes with a short cooking time and no baking required.

When I made this, it had been a few weeks since I had pasta. While pasta isn’t the most nutritious staple, it’s perfectly fine in moderation. It’s cheap, delicious, and versatile, so when prepared with some veggies, it’s a solid meal choice. I had some onions and bell peppers on hand, as well as an avocado and can of crushed tomatoes. Looking for a way to use those up, I decided some sort of southwestern pasta dish would be the way to go. In under half an hour, I whipped this up.

My friends loved the tart lime flavor of this dish along with the spicy chile flavors from the chile powder, paprika, and crushed red pepper. The only complaint was that my roommate found it a tad too spicy. I found that the avocado provided a nice balance for the bit of heat in this dish, but I’ve included tips on how to make it less spicy below.

A delightful juxtaposition of textures.

A delightful juxtaposition of textures.

Chile Lime Penne

1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil

One orange bell pepper, cut into strips

One small yellow onion, cut into quarter-circle strips

8 oz penne pasta (1/2 bag or box)

One can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon paprika

Salt as desired

Juice of 1/2 lime

1 avocado, peel and pit discarded, sliced

Heat the oil in a large, nonstick frying pan over medium heat.  Meanwhile, boil water and begin cooking the pasta.

Saute the pepper and onion for 10 minutes, stirring frequently, until softened and starting to brown. Drain the pasta and add to the frying pan. Add the can of tomatoes (not drained) and spices. Increase the heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes or until much of the liquid has evaporated. Remove from heat and pour in lime juice. Stir.

Serve with sliced avocado on top for garnish.

Makes four servings.

Nutrition per serving: 340 calories, 9g fat, 1g saturated fat, 56g carbohydrates, 8g fiber, 10g protein

Cost per serving: $1.56

On Tweaking:

  • If you like your dishes mild, halve or omit the crushed red pepper
  • To reduce the calories and fat content, omit the avocado
  • I used a orange bell pepper, but red or yellow would work

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This entry was posted on August 13, 2013 by in Dinners, Everything Vegetarian, Meat-Free, Vegan Fare, Vegetarian Main Courses and tagged .
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