Where to begin with this meal?
It’s the epitome of simple + comforting. It’s perfect for a Monday. I could pretty much eat it every single day.
It has carbs on top of carbs.
Are you sold yet?
This meal goes back to my middle school days. It was something my friend Melissa and I would make after school. You know, after belting out Macy Gray and Christina Aguilera tunes in her bedroom. It was easy enough we could make it on our own and then continue to stuff our faces with a mug full of cookie dough ice cream. Ohhh, middle school.
Melissa showed me how to make it and it’s something I’ve consistently made ever since.
So, for like 17 years.
It’s about time I turn this into an actual recipe.
Because I think you’re going to love it.
I’ve gussied it up ever so slightly with shallots and garlic and figured out the best way to make gluten-free breadcrumbs.
It’s all about the breadcrumbs.
In the the past I’ve always used butter for the “sauce” but switched to olive oil to make this version vegan. The olive oil was fantastic but the butter adds a bit of extra richness if you want to try that out. And you get 2 extra points if you use browned butter.
It’s not so much a sauce but just a light coating to moisten the breadcrumbs and bring it all together. I find the simple flavors and slight crunchy but doughy textures to be completely addicting.
Try it out for yourself and you’ll see what I mean.
If you’re curious about the bread I used it’s from a local bakery—Outside the Breadbox—in Colorado Springs. They make a gluten-free, vegan oat bread that has the absolute best texture and flavor I’ve ever had for GF bread. If you’re in the area you can find it at Natural Grocers/Vitamin Cottage.
Olive Oil + Breadcrumb Macaroni
gluten-free, vegan // yields 3-4 servings
- 4 slices gluten-free/vegan bread, or 3 slices non GF
- 8oz gluten-free quinoa elbow noodles, or other macaroni or shell noodles
- 1/4 – 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/3 cup thinly sliced shallot
- 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3/4 – 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- red pepper flakes, optional
Preheat your oven to 350* F. Place bread in a food processor and turn on until evenly ground into breadcrumbs [about pebble size]. Spread breadcrumbs evenly on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 12-15 minutes, turning 3 times until golden brown and crispy. Set aside and let fully cool. They’ll crisp more as they cool.
Cook pasta according to package directions in a large pot. Drain in a colander and set aside. Rinse if desired.
In the same pot heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat. Add the shallot, garlic, and 1/2 teaspoon salt, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes [until starting to brown]. Add the pepper, oregano, and basil and stir for another 30 seconds. Add 3 more tablespoons of olive oil and stir.
Add the pasta into the pot, stirring gently until heated through. Stir in 1 1/2 cups of breadcrumbs and let cook for another minute or so. Taste and add more salt if desired. If the pasta seems dry add another 1-2 tablespoons of oil. [It should be lightly oiled, not swimming in oil.]
Serve immediately. Top with a pinch of red pepper flakes and sprinkle of salt + pepper.
notes: Because there is not really a sauce to this dish, the pasta and breadcrumbs do soak the oil when stored in the fridge. For leftovers I recommend adding more oil and reheating in a pan vs. the microwave, or stir in marinara and re=heat. I recommend using gluten-free bread that is not too dense. This is a pretty easy to find gf/vegan loaf that should work well.
Now this makes for a happy Monday.