Healthy Pasta Recipes

Healthy Pasta Recipes

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  1. Pasta is an inexpensive, low fat food which combines beautifully with a wide variety of ingredients and sauces. A pasta dish exists to suit just about every taste. Enriched or whole grain pastas provide protein and nutrients such as thiamine, folate, and iron. Garlic, which adds immune-boosting qualities, is a welcome addition to many pasta dishes. Vegetables such as tomatoes, carrots and broccoli add vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, and other nutrients. These easy, healthy pasta recipes use ingredients that may already be in your kitchen.

     

    Angel Hair Pasta with Quick Tomato Sauce

    Serves 4 to 6

     

    Ingredients

    1 pound angel hair pasta

    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    3 cloves garlic, minced

    Dash of salt

    28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes, drained

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Grated Parmesan cheese

     

    Directions

    Pour the drained tomatoes into a bowl. Remove the stem areas from the tomatoes, and using a fork—or your fingers—crush the tomatoes into bite size pieces.

    Fill a large pot with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil, add the pasta, and cook according to package directions. Angel hair pasta usually cooks for about 4 minutes. In a colander, drain the cooked pasta and return it to the pot.

    Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a small skillet. Add the minced garlic, lower the heat, and cook for one or two minutes, until the garlic becomes fragrant.

    With the heat still at low setting, add the tomatoes to the garlic. Add a dash of salt and black pepper. For additional flavor, you may add crushed red pepper with the tomatoes. Stirring constantly, cook at low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add to the drained pasta. Toss to combine ingredients, and serve with or without grated cheese.

     

    Chicken and Broccoli Pasta Salad

    Serves 6 to 8

     

    Ingredients

    1 pound whole grain penne rigate

    2 cups cooked chicken, diced

    2 cups frozen or fresh broccoli florets

    1 cup low fat creamy Caesar salad dressing

    2 tablespoons lemon juice

    Salt to taste

     

    Directions

    In a large pot, boil lightly salted water. Add pasta and cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until pasta has reached al dente—tender but chewy—stage. In a colander, drain the pasta and place it in a large bowl. Toss with lemon juice and allow the pasta to cool to room temperature before you add the remaining ingredients.

    As the pasta cools, boil 2 cups of water in a small saucepan. Add the broccoli florets and lower the heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 6 to 8 minutes or until broccoli is slightly tender. For ease of combining ingredients, do not overcook. In a colander, drain and cool the broccoli by rinsing with cold water.

    Add the broccoli, diced cooked chicken, and Caesar dressing to the pasta. Add salt to taste. Combine and refrigerate until ready to serve. Just before serving, you may need to toss the pasta salad with a bit more dressing.

    This dish is also delicious served warm. Combine the chicken, broccoli, and dressing to the pasta before it cools, and serve sprinkled with grated Parmesan cheese.

     

    Diced Tomato and Basil Pasta

    Serves 4 to 6

     

    Ingredients

    1 pound whole grain pasta

    2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    4 garlic cloves, minced

    ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

    2 fresh roma tomatoes, diced

    2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil leaves

     

    Directions

    Fill a large pot with lightly salted water. Bring to a boil, add pasta, and cook pasta according to package directions. Before you drain the cooked pasta, reserve ½ cup of the pasta water. Place the drained pasta in a large bowl.

    Meanwhile, place the diced tomatoes, basil, and salt in a medium bowl. Allow this mixture to marinate on the counter while you prepare the rest of the dish.  

    In a small skillet, heat the extra virgin olive oil. Add the minced garlic and lower the heat. Cook the garlic 3 or 4 minutes, or until it is a light golden color. Add the reserved pasta water and cheese; stir until combined, and remove from heat.

    Add the tomato and basil mixture to the garlic and cheese mixture. Stir until thoroughly combined.  Add to the pasta and toss until ingredients are combined.

    If you wish, you may add or substitute other ingredients to the tomato mixture, such as ½ cup chopped black olives, 1 tablespoon capers, or a dash of crushed red pepper. Pecorino Romano cheese is a delicious substitute for the Parmesan cheese.

     

    Sesame Udon Noodles with Mixed Vegetables

    Serves 4

     

    Ingredients

    1 package (8 or 9 ounces) whole grain udon noodles

    2 carrots, chopped

    1 cup frozen or raw broccoli florets

    2 tablespoons sesame seeds

    1/2 cup soy sauce

    1 tablespoon sesame oil

    1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

    1 tablespoon honey

    1 fresh scallion, finely chopped

     

    Directions

    In a small skillet, toast the sesame seeds at low heat for 3 or 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. The seeds are sufficiently toasted as soon as they become fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.

    Fill a large pot with water and bring water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender. Drain cooked noodles in a colander and return noodles to the pot.

    Meanwhile, cook the carrots and broccoli. In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add the chopped carrots. Cook 7 or 8 minutes, just until tender. Drain and add carrots to the pasta. In the saucepan, boil 1 cup of water. Add the broccoli and lower the heat to simmer. Cover and cook the broccoli just until tender, for 6 to 8 minutes. Drain and add to the pasta.

    In a small saucepan, combine the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, sesame seeds, honey, and chopped scallion. Whisk ingredients together over low heat and pour over the noodles. Toss to combine the ingredients and serve.

    For this dish, feel free to use whatever vegetables you have. Pineapple chunks are also a refreshing substitute.  

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