Pairing pasta with lots of vegetables is an easy way to keep mealtime healthy during the holidays.
I was asked to participate in the #PastaFits campaign as a member of the Healthy Aperture Blogger Network. I was compensated for my time, but as always, all opinions are my own.
Are you feeling it yet? The stress of the holidays is creeping up, and it's time to start thinking about all things turkey and stuffing, and cookies and sweets. And let's not forget about black Friday, and the love and joyousness that occurs in the mall parking lots. I know we all say this every year, but how is it possible that it's November already? Giant gulp and panic attack.
Because this time of year is already way too short on time and far too loaded with food, I think it's especially nice to have a few days here and there when you don't have to worry about what to make dinner and whether or not it's good for you. For me, that means 2 things: one pan meals, and vegetables. And I think the best way to pull off a delicious and satisfying one pan meal that's full of healthy vegetables is to rely on one of my favorite kitchen staples - pasta.
I know you're thinking, "Pasta? All those carbs can't be good for you!" right? Well, actually, pasta is a great source of complex carbs which keep you fueled throughout the day, whether your day involves hours of holiday shopping, or not. Many brands of pasta also come in a whole wheat version, which can satisfy up to 25% of your daily fiber requirement (if you haven't tried them in a while, give them another taste). It's also low in sodium, cholesterol-free, and a good source of folic acid. The thing I love best about pasta, is how easily it can pair with lean proteins and lots of vegetables to make a quick and satisfying meal.
I used Orecchiette pasta for this dish. Orecchiette means "little ear" in Italian, which is kind of cute in a slightly creepy sort of way. I love they way they're shaped like tiny bowls, which is so totally perfect for catching bits of the light cream sauce. This dish also has 5 different types of vegetables in it. Yep - I dare you to think that pasta isn't healthy!
Do you know there's a trick to making one pan pasta? It's so ridiculously easy, I want the entire world to start doing it. Just sauté any vegetables first, and then add 8 ounces dry pasta plus 2 ½ cups of broth to the pan. Bring it to a boil, and then reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Add a bit more broth, or my personal favorite, a drizzle of cream, and dinner's ready! Easy peasy!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion diced
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 1 medium zucchini quartered lengthwise and then sliced into ½ inch thick slices
- ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes packed in oil and herbs, sliced into julienne slices
- 1 tablespoon Italian Seasoning herb mix
- 2 ½ cups orecchiette pasta or other small shaped pasta
- 2 ½ cups low sodium chicken broth
- ¾ pound thin asparagus tough ends snapped off and tips and stems cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 cups baby spinach lightly packed
- salt and pepper to taste
- optional ½ cup cream, parmesan cheese to pass at the table
- Heat oil in a large sauté pan on medium high heat, and sauté onion, garlic and zucchini until light golden. Add sun dried tomatoes and Italian herb mix. Stir to combine.
- Add dried pasta and chicken broth, stirring to combine everything. Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
- When pasta is just about tender, place asparagus and spinach on the top of the pasta and cover to let the spinach wilt and asparagus cook until just tender, about 2 more minutes.
- Stir the mixture and if desired, add the cream, or if the sauce seems too thick, add a bit more chicken broth or water.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste
- Serve immediately, passing parmesan cheese at the table if desired.
Have you ever made one pan pasta? What's your favorite flavor combo?