This quick and easy Gluten Free Mushroom and Eggplant Balsamic Pasta is tossed in a tangy balsamic glaze is a 30 minute vegetarian meal. Add sweet peas for extra flavor and color.
So many of you may already know this, but I have an official announcement to make:
We are MOVING…
Say what?! Yeah, I felt the exact same way when Ben called me from across the country in Florida on business to give me the news that he had been promoted, but it required a move “out of state”.
Yes, I know that Hawaii is still technically part of the United States of America…but really, when you think you’re being relocated to a territory within the states, Hawaii is the last state on your mind.
After lots of debating (Ben had another job offer in Phoenix as well) and many many many changing of minds, Ben ultimately made the decision that he would like to stick with his current employer and take the promotion, even if it meant moving our family to Hawaii.
Now before you get all mad at me for not showing a little more excitement about moving to PARADISE, transferring to Hawaii is not all fun and games. As many pros and adventures as there might be, there are a long list of sacrifices/challenges that come with it:
- We won’t be able to see family as frequently. Even though we are loners here in Arizona, we are at least within driving distance or a short plane flight away from seeing grandparents. What used to be 7-8 visits a year will be more around 1, maybe 2.
- Hawaii is not known for the greatest education. I have been spending endless hours researching and calling acquaintances that have or still live in Hawaii to figure out where the best schools are. I don’t want Braelyn falling behind when we return back to the mainland.
- Housing is EXPENSIVE! There is no way we could afford to buy a house and to even rent a house much smaller than our current home, we are looking at paying almost double. DOUBLE!
- Traffic is horrendous. Every person I’ve talked to said that it pretty much doesn’t matter where you live, traffic is a beast. Luckily Ben makes his own schedule, so he will be able to avoid the monstrous rush hour.
- Food is EXPENSIVE too! A gallon of milk costs at least $6 in Hawaii. Our family (or should I say Ben) goes through 3 GALLONS a week. I’m going to have to start rationing his milk intake.
- We have to sell our brand new home. WAHHHH! I love our house! I’ve got it decorated just the way I like it. Every picture is hung. And, most importantly, we have the BEST neighbors that we will be so sad to leave.
See, so you may still not feel sorry for me at all, but this will be a difficult move for us. However, we will face this adventure head on with big fat Hawaiian smiles on our faces. ALOHA!
And now on to the food part of this post. You know what also stresses me out about moving? Wasting all the perfectly good food in our pantry, fridge, and freezer.
Hahaha! I must be a food blogger if that is really one of my top issues with moving.
But seriously, I HATE wasting money, and food = money around here. So, I have been on a mission to clean out our pantry, fridge, and freezer.
And without further ado, I bring you the “Cleaning Out Your Pantry Series” here on the blog. Each week, up until we move, I will be posting at least one recipe that uses ingredients out of our pantry/freezer/fridge to help get rid of all those food items that just sit around for months waiting to be eaten.
What’s on the menu this week???
Gluten Free Mushroom and Eggplant Balsamic Pasta.
Here are the items I was able to use for this meal:
- Box of Barilla brand Gluten Free Penne Pasta
- Frozen peas
- Vegetable broth
- Balsamic vinegar
I usually stock up on pasta when it goes on sale, so I had just bought a few varieties of Barilla brand gluten free pastas. It was nice to be able to clear out a box with this meal.
Even though I usually use fresh veggies, I buy a few frozen bags to have on hand when I can’t make it to the grocery store. I used up the last of my peas for this pasta.
I seem to always have vegetable broth and honey on hand since I buy them in bulk from Costco. So it was nice to use a recipe that required both of them at the same time.
I also have a bottle of balsamic vinegar that just sits in the fridge waiting to be used here and there for extra flavoring or salad dressings. This recipe calls for a substantial 1/3 cup for a real balsamic taste, which got rid of a majority of the bottle.
So using up the ingredients in my house is not the only advantage of making this vegetarian pasta dish. I’ll tell you the main reason you should make it: It’s DELICIOUS!!!
I’m always a fan of Barilla brand gluten free pasta. It tastes so close to the real deal, that I don’t miss out on eating regular pasta at all. That’s always a plus.
But then having this yummy pasta coated in a sweet and tangy balsamic glaze with hints of rosemary and garlic??? Now that’s dinner!
Eggplant, onions, and mushrooms are the perfect vegetables for this dish because they absorb the flavors of the balsamic glaze and become these exploding bites of goodness. But my favorite veggie in this pasta is actually the frozen peas. You guys, I LOVE peas! Ever since I was a little kid…PEAS PLEASE!
The peas scattered throughout the pasta give a subtle neutral flavor against the bold balsamic sauce and add a nice smooth texture to the dish. Who knew a cup full of frozen peas could be so magnificently perfect?!
Really, there is just no downside to this meal. My kids loved it (eggplant and all), it used up some stray ingredients around the house, and it was finished in 30 minutes. Sounds like a winner to me!
What pantry ingredients do you need to use up?
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- ½ large onion, sliced into thin strips
- 1 eggplant, diced into bite sized pieces
- 1 (8 oz.) carton mushrooms, quartered
- ⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup honey
- ¾ cup vegetable broth*
- 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup frozen sweet peas, thawed
- 1 box (12 oz.) of Barilla brand Gluten Free Penne Pasta
- In a large sauté/saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over slightly more than medium heat. Once oil is hot enough to sizzle with drop of water, add onions and stir to coat with oil. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and sauté for 10 minutes until onions are almost caramelized, stirring occasionally to avoid burning..
- Once onions are tender, push them away from center of pan and add 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Allow oil to become hot and add eggplant and mushrooms. Stir vegetables until coated in oil. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté vegetables for 7 minutes.
- Bring pot of water to boiling to cook pasta according to package directions.
- While veggies are cooking, whisk together balsamic vinegar, honey, broth, rosemary, basil, and garlic powder in a small mixing bowl. Pour over veggies and increase heat to bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and allow to boil with veggies for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- While mixture is boiling, add pasta to boiling water and cook until desired tenderness, according to package directions.
- Strain pasta and shake off excess water. Immediately pour into veggie mixture along with peas and toss to coat with sauce.*
- Serve immediately.