Sunday, April 25, 2010

Okara pasta

After my last post, the cannelloni with the crepes from Vegan Brunch, I got wondering why I couldn't make pasta out of okara. So I went searching for recipes, and found one!

It's over here at Okara Mountain (but that's not what you're looking at to the left; the recipe for that is below).

With trepidation in my heart, I dug out my old Pasta Queen pasta maker, so old that the plastic parts have begun to crack, and not exactly a daily fixture in my kitchen, and went to work. Well, well, the dough was nice and smooth and slid pleasantly through the rollers, unlike many a batch I've made in the past without okara. I was so confident that I quickly threw together some filling and ran it all through the ravioli attachment (that I simply had to have twenty years ago). After an initial failed batch (my fault, not enough flour on the dough) whoa, look at this! The filling, by the way, was just crumbled seitan (yes, okara seitan!), lightly fried with chopped onions, spinach, almonzano, and spices, the whole mess ground up fine in the same food processor in which I had made the pasta.

With ravioli, it's easier to get the ends off and the little packets separated if you put the whole thing in the freezer for about half an hour. I did that, and got this:

Coming soon to a casserole near here, the ugly bits (but of course the most delicious):

I also made fettucini in this batch, and had it for supper on Saturday with the walnut sauce from Bryanna Clark Grogan's Nonna's Italian Kitchen. It was the first time I'd tried walnut sauce, which is essentially a reduction of soymilk, roasted ground walnuts, garlic, and almonzano, and I liked it very much, but it's really rich and a little goes a long way.

Today I poked around a little more in different recipes, especially Nonna's Italian Kitchen, and came up with my own recipe for okara pasta, which incorporates, as Bryanna's pasta recipe does, chickpea flour, because isn't everything better with chickpea flour? Actually, it did seem to strengthen the pasta, and certainly gave it more flavour. Here's what I did. Bear in mind that proportions of okara and water may vary depending on how much water is in your okara:

Zoa's okara pasta

1 1/2 cups flour (I used durum atta)
1/2 cup chickpea flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup okara, well squeezed
2 tbsp olive oil
1/3 cup water

Add the flours and salt into the bowl of a food processor with the dough attachment, and pulse a few times to mix. Add the okara, the olive oil, and 1/4 cup of water, and process. You want to just get to the point where the dough forms a single ball. Add water just a teaspoon at a time until you get to that point, then process for 30 seconds. You should have a rather damp dough that still has some body to it. Let the dough rest for at least 10 minutes (while you prepare your filling, for instance).

I won't give directions for rolling out pasta, but if you don't have a pasta maker, there's absolutely no problem with rolling it out by hand; just make sure there's lots of flour under it so it won't stick to your counter. I made cannelloni by cutting the sheet of pasta into squares, and rolling each square up around a filling of tofu ricotta, steamed spinach, almonzano, and nutmeg:

If you're going to bake the pasta, you don't need to cook it first. To boil it, heat a big pot of salted water to boiling point, drop in some pasta, and basically by the time the water returns to a boil, or at most 10-15 seconds later for the heavier pasta, it will be done. Really!

Here they all are, ready for the final saucing and cooking. The sauce, incidentally, is my favorite easiest raw sauce, where you take a can of diced tomatoes, add chopped garlic, olive oil, salt, and pepper, all to taste, and puree with an immersion blender. Wunderbar!

They're done! At the top of this post are a couple of the cannelloni on a plate...

There was some pasta dough left over after the cannelloni, so I made pappardelle by folding long sheets of pasta dough over and over to make a shape about 4" x 6", and then slicing the dough lengthwise with a knife, and shaking out the long noodles and forming them into nests. I had my doubts that the nests would dry on their own, so I put them in the freezer and once they're frozen will transfer them to plastic bags for further freezer storage.

I was pretty pleased with this experiment, especially after I worked out a production protocol that didn't spew flour over the entire kitchen, and will definitely make this again, despite my mother's helpful, supportive remark that all I need around here is more pasta. But, Mom, it's okara pasta!


  1. Okay, I've been reading with great interest all of your okara seitan posts, but now I think you've outdone yourself. I just can't believe the amazing things you do with okara, but you've convinced me I've been doing all the WRONG things with it. Very, very impressive. Thanks for all the very detailed posts.

  2. Thanks, renae, I'm so glad you appreciate the okara posts. Today, after everything, I still had some okara left, so I dried it in the oven. Since my okara has some oatmeal and dates in it, the results tasted a little like cookies, really quite keep reading...I'm not out of ideas yet!

  3. Wow, the things you get up to with okara. It looks delicious...esp the canneloni...I wanted to jump into my monitor to take a bite! The pasta looks perfect.

  4. It's amazing ! Now I need a pasta maker...
    By the way, today I've made a pie crust with okara, it works !

  5. Thanks, Rose!

    Fourmi, please post your pie crust recipe! I am following your okara experiments with great interest...

  6. When there's just too much to use... chickens absolutely love it.