Pasta has been getting a bad rap in the past few years ever since the diet fads of Atkins, Paleo and Gluten Free have swept the nation. But can pasta.. gasp!.. be… healthy? Yes of course! Pasta (in correct portion) can be high in fiber and a great source of energy.
Pasta is a great week night menu option because a) It’s cheap! And b) It’s quick! Two things I love for weeknight dinners! Below are some ways to whip up a quick, HEALTHY pasta meal!
Pasta: Whole grain pasta (I like Barilla Plus, Ronzoni among others. There are vegetable pastas now, gluten free options, etc…)
Sauce: Jar of pasta sauce (Aim to buy the one with the least amount of sugar or use a pesto sauce
Veggie side: I often add broccoli to my pasta but adding a side salad or fresh green beans works too!
Meat: Go meatless for a cheaper meal, or add ground sirloin or turkey meat to sauce, or Jenny-O Sweet Italian turkey sausage. (I brown it the night before with some green peppers and onions for a quicker meal the next day after work!)
One pot recipes are PERFECT for week night. Less clean up and they are delish. Here is one I found that my whole family enjoyed.
One Pan Lemon Chicken Pasta with Tomatoes
Adapted from Martha Stewart
• 1 pound chicken breasts (can omit if wanted)
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• ½ cup diced yellow onion
• 1 Tbsp minced garlic
• 8 oz (about 2½ cups) small, dry pasta
• 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
• 2 cups chicken broth
• Juice from one large or two small lemons
• 1 cup water
• 1 tsp dried basil
• 1 tsp salt
• ¼ tsp red pepper flakes (omit if you don’t like spicy foods)
• ½ tsp pepper
• 1 cup shredded Mozzarella
1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
2. Add onion and stir, cooking until soft and nearly translucent.
3. Stir in garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
4. Add chicken and cook until just browned.
5. Stir in the pasta, tomatoes, chicken broth, lemon juice, water, basil, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
6. Bring to a boil and continue to stir often, uncovered, for about nine minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated.
7. Remove from heat, sprinkle cheese on top, and cover for ten minutes or until cheese is melted and remaining liquid is absorbed.
(Halve the recipe if you don’t need as much or jar the leftovers !)
Kelly Devine Rickert MS RDN CSSD LDN