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5 Pasta Recipes to Make the Most Out Of Your Veggies 0

pasta recipes
Photo by Engin Akyurt from Pexels

Between the carbs and cheesy toppings, pasta has gotten a bad rap in the health community. But, here at Mother Earth Products Headquarters, we believe that spaghetti isn't the danger food everyone thinks it is – with the right tweaks, of course. That's why we rounded up our five favorite pasta recipes that are not only tasty but contain a bunch of healthy ingredients, such as veggies and legumes. Besides, October 17th is National Pasta Day(1), which means you should make something noodly to celebrate. Let it be something healthy-ish this time.

1. Bacon & Pea Mac-n-Cheese

Bacon may not sound like the healthiest option in the book, but this version swaps the greasy pork strips with spoonfuls of TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein). That means you'll get the full taste with just a fraction of the fat. Plus, peas will add some fiber to the mix, creating a balanced ensemble of macronutrients.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • ½ cup freeze dried peas
  • ½ cup TVP bacon bits
  • 2/3 cup Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1/3 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • ¼ tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Add the bacon bits and the peas to two separate bowls and fill with warm water. Soak the contents for 15 minutes until hydrated. Transfer to a towel to remove excess water.
  2. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to the package's instructions. Add the peas to the pasta pot in the last couple of minutes of cooking. Strain the pasta and set it aside.
  3. In a small skillet, sauté the bacon bits for a few minutes until they turn slightly brown. Set aside.
  4. In a pot, add ¼ cup of hot water, the yogurt, and cheddar cheese and cook until the cheese has melted. Stir in the Parmesan one handful at a time to avoid clumps. Add more water if the sauce is too thick—season with paprika, salt, and pepper.
  5. Add the sauce and bacon to the pasta pot and mix well to combine.

2. Vegetable Baked Ziti

Baked ziti is one of those dishes that are usually laden with cheese. But, this pasta recipe begs to differ. Using ricotta and mozzarella for the creamy factor, it steers clear of fatty add-ins without compromising flavor. The veggies also add a nutrient boost, making the dish an excellent choice for weekday meals.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Add the mushrooms, onion, and zucchini to a bowl full of warm water and soak for 15 minutes. Once hydrated, remove from water, squeeze away excess liquid, and place on a towel.
  2. Cook the pasta according to the package's instructions and set aside. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350oF and grease a baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Sautee the mushrooms, onion, and zucchini until most liquid has boiled off. Once they are fork-tender, add the sauce, ricotta, and spices to the skillet, stir, and cook for 2-3 minutes. Then, add the pasta and stir.
  4. Pour the mixture into the baking dish, top with shredded mozzarella, and bake for 30 minutes.

3. Pasta e Fagioli

Translating into "pasta and beans," this dish comes in the form of soup. Sure, slurping your pasta may sound weird. And sure, beans and pasta aren't your typical "match made in heaven." But, before you shut this combo down, know that this dish is full of nutrients, from protein to calcium.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Add the beans to a bowl with warm water and soak overnight. The next day, transfer to a pot and cook until slightly tender.
  2. While the beans are cooking, soak the onion, carrots, and celery in a bowl with warm water for 15 minutes. Remove and squeeze away excess liquids.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a pot over low heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté for another 5 minutes or until most liquid has evaporated.
  4. Add the tomatoes and keep cooking until the mixture starts to bubble. Then, add the broth, water, and spices. Raise the heat to medium and let the soup simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Now, fold in the pasta, beans, and spinach and cook for 20-25 minutes or until everything is fork-tender.
  6. A few minutes before you remove it from heat, stir in one tablespoon of olive oil and two tablespoons of lemon juice.
  7. Serve with warm bread and a green salad.

4. Beef Goulash

A medley of herbs and a thick tomato base makes this goulash as hearty as it gets. The TVP beef also makes the dish satisfying, posing as an excellent choice for both kids and adults. PS: For an even healthier take, sneak in your favorite veggies, whether that's broccoli or peas.

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cup TVP beef bits
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni, uncooked
  • ½ cup dried onions
  • ½ cup dried bell peppers (mixed)
  • 2 cans tomato sauce
  • 2 cans diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp dried garlic (sliced or granulated)
  • ½ tsp dried oregano
  • ¼ tsp dried thyme
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Fill a large bowl with water and add the TVP beef bits, bell pepper, and onion. Soak for 15 minutes and remove excess water by squeezing.
  2. In a pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the beef bits, bell pepper, onion, garlic, and sauté for 10 minutes or until everything softens.
  3. Pour in the sauce, diced tomatoes, broth, spices, and pasta and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.
  4. Stir in the cheese just before serving.

5. Potato Gnocchi

Gnocchi is one of those dishes that looks elaborate but is pretty easy to make. This recipe calls for some basic ingredients you probably already have in your pantry and takes less than 15 minutes to prep. Let's roll this dough!

Ingredients:

  • 2 ½ cups dried potato dices
  • 1 ½ cups all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ cup butter
  • ¾ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Add the potato dices to a pot along with 5 cups of warm water. Soak for 15 minutes. Then, transfer the pot to a stovetop and bring the water to a boil. Cook until potatoes are fork-tender.
  2. Transfer to a bowl, mash, and stir in the remaining ingredients one at a time until you form a dough.
  3. Transfer to a floured surface and knead for a couple of minutes. Dive in 4 pieces and roll each of them until you form a long string. Cut each line into bite sized pieces and using a fork, create ridges along each gnocchi.
  4. Fill a pot with water and bring to a boil. Cook the gnocchi until they start floating. Remove from water and top with melted butter and the Parmesan.

Are you a pasta lover? If so, would you give these healthier pasta recipes a shot? Let us know in the comments below!

References:

  1. https://www.nationalpastaday.com/
  2. http://www.thebrewerandthebaker.com/archives/14350
  3. https://ohmyveggies.com/vegetarian-vegetable-baked-ziti/
  4. https://cookieandkate.com/pasta-e-fagioli-recipe/
  5. https://iwashyoudry.com/easy-goulash-recipe/
  6. https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a28576135/potato-gnocchi-recipe/