For World Pasta Day: Taking The Guilt Out Of This Food
Today is World Pasta Day, and even though the holiday has only been around since the mid nineties—when several pasta producers held the first World Pasta Congress—humans have been consuming this comforting, nutritious food since roughly 5,000 B. C. Yup, our love of noodles, macaroni, spaghetti, rotini, lasagna—you name it—has been enduring. That probably doesn’t surprise you. Pasta goes well with so many things. It’s tasty hot or cold. You can have it in a soup. You can have it simply with melted butter. It’s almost impossible for pasta to not be good. There’s something about the food that nourishes the soul. That being said, it’s no secret that it’s a carb and typically not a complex one, so there can be some guilt associated with this food. For World Pasta Day, here are ways to take the guilt out of this classic comfort food.
Make this skinny lasagna
Lasagna is the perfect fall dish, but it has quite a bit of carbs and cheese. Alternate each “noodle” layer with a layer of thinly sliced zucchini and eggplant. You’ll increase your veggie intake without even noticing a flavor difference.
Make your own sauce
Skip the jarred sauces, as these are full of sugar and preservatives. Make your own sauce. It’s so simple. All you need is a can of stewed tomatoes, garlic, onions, olive oil, water, salt, pepper, basil, and oregano. Sautee the onions and garlic in olive oil at the bottom of a pot. Do roughly two parts stewed tomatoes to one part water and a couple tablespoons of olive oil. Blend together with your spices. Bring everything to a boil and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
Stick to red sauces
Red sauce will be your healthier option than the creamy stuff. If you don’t feel like making sauce, you can always just drizzle your pasta with olive oil, salt, pepper, and some crushed chili flakes.
Adjust the ratios
Making your dish healthy is all about the ratios. So make your plate equal parts pasta, protein, and veggies. If you have six ounces of pasta, have six ounces of shrimp and six ounces of veggies in there.
Sneak veggies into your sauce
It’s easy to sneak veggies into your sauce. If you’re making Bolognese sauce, finely chop mushrooms and carrots and add those. If you’re making pesto, blend up broccoli and mix it in.
Try turkey Bolognese
Any time you want to use ground meat, ground turkey will be just as good. Turkey lasagna. Turkey meatballs. Turkey Bolognese. Stuffed shells. It’s a simple way to cut back on red meat without sacrificing flavor.
Pump up the protein
Find ways to pump up the protein, so you become full on less. It doesn’t have to be animal protein. Try adding chickpeas to a pesto dish, or try tuna with olives, capers, and tomatoes.
Make it a little hot
Adding a little spice can help you feel full sooner, as studies have found that spicy food can speed up that sensation of being satisfied after a meal. So add crushed chili or maybe even jalapenos.
Blend in zucchini noodles
Sneak in some zucchini noodles with your regular noodles. If you’re making a spaghetti dish, this is a simple way to add vegetables without ruining the overall vision for the recipe.
Try chickpea pasta
There are several companies out there now making pasta from chickpeas. It’s incredibly high in protein, and still has the perfect dense but chewy consistency you want from pasta.
Or brown rice pasta
Brown rice pasta is not only a great option for those who cannot eat gluten, but it’s also packed with more fiber or protein than white pasta is. That being said, it tastes just as good with all the classic sauces as white pasta.
Add olive oil
Whatever else you’re cooking to add to your pasta—like chicken or veggies—cook it in olive oil. The healthy fats in olive oil actually help your body to metabolize stored fat quicker.
Make dairy-free Alfredo sauce
If you really want the creamy stuff, you can make a rather light vegan Alfredo sauce. There are dozens of recipes for cashew-based vegan Alfredo that will bring in fewer calories than the cheesy variety.
Put it in veggie soup
Add some noodles to your veggie soup. Simply add your pasta to your soup for the last five to ten minutes it is simmering, sampling the pasta to check when it is ready.
Make it a salad
Make a delicious pasta salad. Try a sweet fall variety with Farfalle, raspberry balsamic, pine nuts, dried cranberries, apples, and goat cheese.