Dye-Free Pink Pasta for Valentines Day – Your Family Will LOVE It!

how to make dye free pink pasta for valentines day

I just made the cutest pink pasta for my kids as an early Valentine’s Dinner! My daughter is attending a “Galentine’s Day” party with her bible study group tonight and needed to take a pink side dish. I made a charcuterie board incase the pink pasta didn’t work out – but it totally did – so she took both to her party.

We are 100% against Red Dye 40 here (and for good reason), so coloring our pasta naturally was a must. We did so using purple cabbage and a Lemon Garlic Olive Oil sauce. The kids thought it was a pretty cool homeschool edible science experiment!

How-To Make Pink Pasta

  • 1/2 head purple cabbage, cut into large chunks
  • 1/2 lb bow-tie or fettuccini pasta
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 3 cloved garlic, minced
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • pasta water
  • Fill a large pot 3/4 full with water, add cabbage and bring to a boil. Cover with lid, reduce heat to medium and cook for about 20 minutes until your water becomes very purple.
  • Carefully remove cabbage (or strain liquid into another pot). You can either discard the cabbage or save it to sauté later.
  • Bring purple water to a boil again and add a good pinch of salt. Add your pasta and cook according to package instructions.
  • While pasta is cooking, start making the sauce: Heat a large skillet (one big enough to hold your pasta in) over medium heat. Add olive oil and shallot and sauté for a minute. Add garlic and continue sauteing. Add lemon juice, season with salt and pepper then remove from heat.
  • Once pasta is ready, use a slatted spoon to add pasta to the sauce pan. A little bit of pasta water will end up in the skillet which will help thicken the sauce. Toss your pasta in the sauce and watch it turn pink!
  • You can top with whatever toppings your hearts desire (parm, parsley, red pepper flakes or even a radish flower). ENJOY!
  • *This tastes great served warm or cold!

Incase you want to incorporate a little science lesson into your pink pasta making, here’s an explanation of how the pasta turns pink (it’s super nerdy, I know)!

When pasta is cooked in purple water derived from purple cabbage, it undergoes a fascinating transformation upon the addition of lemon juice. The underlying reason for this colorful change lies in the chemistry of the purple cabbage water. Purple cabbage contains a natural pigment called anthocyanin, which possesses the ability to change color with variations in pH. Initially, the water is purple because it has a neutral pH. As an alkaline substance, the cabbage water turns greenish at high pH and reddish at low pH. The addition of lemon juice, which is acidic, lowers the pH of the solution. This acidification shifts the anthocyanin molecule into a form that absorbs different wavelengths of light, thus reflecting pink color instead. This edible experiment not only demonstrates chemical indicators in a visually appealing way but also introduces basic concepts of acids and bases, pH levels, and the impact they have on molecular structures.

If you make this pink pasta for your valentine’s day, tag @FreedomForestFarm so we can see how it turned out and show you some LOVE!!!

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