There is something so tasty about homemade pasta. We (Mark and Jenna, partners in crime of 4 years) had never even fathomed making my own pasta until our combined interest in omitting processed foods began when Jenna’s family adopted a vegan diet three years ago (though, truthfully, she did not get over her cheese obsession until about a year and a half ago). Jenna’s love for the Food Network and her tendency to watch cooking videos on YouTube for hours have worked together in such a way that she now believes that she can make anything from scratch — mind you, we are both 17 years old and the babies of our families. Having to make our own meals has never been a requirement and thus, our cooking skills are downright underdeveloped. Regardless, we managed to create beautiful yam ravioli that were just fantastic. We did happen to buy a little ravioli cutter from Williams-Sonoma which made the process very quick and will allow us to replicate the style and technique of this dish again. For the record, We cut out individual pieces of pasta, added dollops of the yummy filling, and then placed another layer of pasta on top of each ravioli, which were sealed with water on the sheets’ edges… We later learned that most people simply make sheets of pasta, add multiple dollops, place another sheet of pasta on top and then cut and seal the ravioli all at once with the cutter. Even though our technique was likely more time consuming, it still worked perfectly well and was quite simple!
Our favorite part about these ravioli is the fact that they are completely guilt free. This recipe is virtually fat free with no added oil and is packed with vegetables and flavor. We have been searching around for pasta recipes ever since we realized that Jenna’s family owns a pasta machine. So many of the posts we found included eggs in their pasta, but we have found that a combination of only water, semolina (pasta) flour and whole wheat pastry flour makes a perfect, strong pasta that can hold up to thick sauces and creamy fillings like in this dish. Even the small splash of olive oil that we have added in the past is completely unnecessary. This fat-free method is just delicious! By all means, we know that fats are essential to the diet, but as we strive to eliminate oil and eat more fats from whole food sources (like avocados… mmmm!) we are constantly on the lookout for areas of our diet where oil is added in without much purpose. Olive oil in a pasta recipe, for example, is not needed one bit in this version — the pasta still sticks together, has a nice consistency, and cooks perfectly. By simply adding more water, it retains a rich, hearty texture that is absolutely delicious. The sauce that we added to the top is Jenna’s family’s go-to cream when we are craving mac-and-“cheese” or linguine alfredo, only it’s made with cauliflower and white beans. A general rule to go by is to a judge a natural food’s nutrient value by its color — a fruit or vegetable that is vibrant with color is very likely filled with components that are extremely kind to the body. Yams are no exception. With antioxidants, vitamin-C, and an ability to lower LDL (“lethal” or bad cholesterol), we have absolutely no qualms allowing these to be the center of our meal! Providing our tummies with satisfying and healthy foods is one of the best feelings in the world. If you are beginning to fear that these ravioli may just be a little too “out there” for your, or your friends’/family’s, taste, have no fear! Jenna has been deemed the pickiest eater known by all who meet me. However, this recipe is 100%-Jenna-Approved. If she can scarf these ravioli down within 5 minutes, we guarantee that you and others will feel the same. So, spend a night with your friends or family making some pasta and enjoy, because we’re telling you, homemade pasta is a treat that always has a special bite to it, which is unequal to any dry pasta you could possibly buy at a store! Plus, you have the power to control what goes into all of the ingredients, so that there are no questionable preservatives or chemicals stripping away the wholesome goodness of the ingredients in your meal. We see this meal as a win-win for all!
Creamy Yam Ravioli (Serves 4 — or 2 hungries who enjoy seconds!)
(Vegan, Soy Free, Oil Free, Nut Free)
- 2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
- 2 cups semolina flour
- 1 cup water (and an additional cup or two of water to be added as needed while kneading)
- 2 yams
- Salt and pepper (to be added according to taste)
- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 can of white beans (low sodium)
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 2 teaspoons onion powder
- Salt and pepper (to be added according to taste)
- Using a medium sized bowl, mix together the whole wheat pastry flour and the semolina flour.
- Add the water to the bowl and begin to knead the mixture together.
- It will become necessary to add more water to the mixture — the dough will be ready when it forms as a ball in the middle of the bowl and is free of any clumps of flour. The amount of water that must be added will vary but once it is all truly sticking together, it is ready.
- Using any preferred method, flatten the dough into sheets of pasta that are medium-thin (We used a pasta machine — we separated the dough into about 8 sections of dough and individually sent them through the machine until they were a little more than 1/8 inches thick)
- After scrubbing and peeling the yams, chop them into cubes (Our yams each yielded about 6-8 cubes)
- Place the yams in a pot and add enough water so that the cubes are fully covered
- Once the water has began to boil, bring it to a simmer and cover the pot for about 10 minutes. They will be ready when you can easily stick a fork into one of the cubes
- Once they have been drained, place the cubes in a bowl and mash completely with a fork
- Add salt and pepper to taste
- Place one head of cauliflower florets into a pot and add enough water (or low sodium vegetable broth) to cover the cauliflower completely
- Bring cauliflower to a boil, then cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until the cauliflower is very soft
- Once the cauliflower is soft, transfer it and the water (or vegetable broth) that it was cooked in into a blender (We used a Vitamix). Add the nutritional yeast, spices, and drained white beans and blend until creamy.
- If needed, add more liquid after initially blending
- Using any preferred method, add small dollops of the mashed yams to a sheet of pasta
- Once the ravioli have been created, place about 3-5 raviolis into a pot of boiling water at a time. They will initially fall to the bottom of the pot but once they are complete (which can be as quick as 5-10 seconds!) they will begin to rise to the top, at which point you should fish them out so that they aren’t overcooked
- Finally, plate the ravioli, add as much creamy sauce on top as desired and enjoy!