Using a pasta made out of chickpea flour and few simple ingredients, I made a satisfying, simple, and delicious gluten-free vegetarian dinner for four people for just $25. Bargain entertaining at its finest.
I love cooking for my friends, but I can easily go overboard on both the amount I cook and the amount I spend for a “chilled out” night in. So I approached it challenge-style: Make a satisfying $25 dinner for four people.
First, I decided on a pasta dish because a.) it’s super affordable and b.) pasta makes people happy (especially grain-free, protein-packed pasta that even the gluten-freers can enjoy). Next I settled on a mushroom and Parmesan combo because they pack big flavor, are perfect for the season. And I was able to make double use of my “splurge ingredient” — the Parmesan — in the simple kale salad I was putting together for some side green.
My three friends brought the wine and I provided food, music, and a semi-clean house. Prepping ahead of time, I made and dressed the salad (kale salads are great to make ahead) and sliced the mushrooms, garlic, and parsley to get my mise en place all set up. Right before we were ready to eat, I cooked the pasta and seared the mushrooms then tossed it all together.
It was the perfect laid-back night in that’s all about catching up and enjoying a cozy meal together.
Murshroom Chickpea Pasta
A gluten-free vegetarian pasta dinner for four made for just $25.
- 10-12 ounces chickpea or gluten-free pasta (I used Banza)
- ¾ pound cremini mushrooms , slices
- 1 garlic clove , roughly chopped
- Olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese , plus more to serve
- 2-3 tablespoon fresh parsley , roughly chopped
- 1 medium bunch of carrots , roughly chopped
- 1 bunch of kale , thinly sliced
- 1 Pink Lady apple , cut into small chunks
- Olive oil
- 1 lemon
- Salt & Pepper
For the pasta:
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add pasta. Cook according to the package instructions and drain, reserving about a cup of pasta water.
Meanwhile, heat a large pan over a medium-high heat. Add enough oil to cover the base of the pan and let that heat through. Then add mushrooms, garlic, and salt to taste. Cook for about 4 minutes, stirring a couple of times until the mushrooms are browning. Add 2 tablespoons of butter, or to taste, and stir to combine and butter is melted.
Add drained pasta to the pan with the mushrooms and stir. Add ¼ cup parmesan or more, to taste. If the pasta is a little dry, stir in some of the pasta water to loosen the sauce a little.
Remove from heat and serve with parsley, pepper, and more parmesan, if desired.
For the salad:
Heat oven to 415°F. Combine carrots with olive oil and salt to taste and arrange on a baking tray. Place in the oven and cook for 20-25 minutes until golden.
In a bowl combine sliced kale, a drizzle of olive oil, juice of half a lemon, salt, and pepper and massage the kale for about 30 seconds until wilted slightly. When you’re ready to serve, top with roasted carrot, apple, another spritz of lemon juice, and parmesan.