Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Skinny Veggie Pasta with Basil and Spinach Pesto

Despite what you might think, we do eat real meals, and those that might suggest we are trying to stay healthy.

Among the Biscoff Rice Krispies, Chocolate Ganache Doughnuts and the Chicken-Marinated-in-Bacon-Fat-BBQ-Pizza, that is.

It's all about balance in life.

I believe that you need to enjoy life, and that life is WAYYY to short to not enjoy your food.

That is why even when I make things that are on the healthier side, I refuse to substitute flavor for health.

But you don't have to here!

I found a healthier eating magazine a few months back (you know, one of those times when you get on a kick of I-am-gonna-eat-good-and-exercise-all-the-time that lasts all of about one meal??)

I wanted to cook out of it, but I was slightly hesitant to.

Do you find that cooking out of certain magazines don't get you the results you want?

Or is that just me?

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaanyway, I got off my high horse, made the pasta and BAM! It was good.

So much so, that I made it a second time. I made a few modifications the second time around, such as the pesto addition, but I mean, who doesn't love pesto on a pasta (sorry I'm bringing back more alliterations...)

If you make this pasta, just make sure to use the freshest ingredients you can, and use good quality whole wheat/whole grain pasta. No cardboard pasta here ok?? Also, add Parmesan cheese to garnish with. I only thought of adding it after I took photos, but you are going to want it :)

Now go make this Skinny Veggie Pasta while I watch and eat cookies.

Skinny Veggie Pasta with Basil and Spinach Pesto | Printable Recipe
serves 4


for the pesto:
  • 1 1/2 c loosely packed spinach leaves
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, skin removed
  • 1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • freshly ground salt and pepper
  • up to 1/3 cup olive oil 
for the pasta:
  • 8 oz (225 grams) preferred whole wheat/whole grain pasta
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 of a large red onion, chopped roughly
  • 2 cloves garlic, skin removed
  • 2 cups heirloom grape tomatoes (multi-colored), halved
  • 2 cups fresh spinach leaves
  • handful of fresh basil leaves, whole
  • Parmesan cheese, to garnish
  • freshly ground salt and pepper, if desired
  1. To make the pesto, start by toasting the pine nuts over medium heat, for about 5 minutes, until slightly golden and giving off some fragrance.
  2. Add pine nuts, basil, spinach, salt and pepper to a food processor with standard blade attachment. Grate the garlic cloves into the food processor, and turn it on to HIGH. While it is running, stream in the olive oil until the pesto reaches the desired consistency.
  3. Set aside.
  4. Cook the pasta to package directions, removing just shy of al dente
  5. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. When hot, add the red onion and cook, stirring around, until slightly translucent and soft. Grate the garlic directly into the skillet and cook only for a minute. Don't let burn
  6. Add in the tomatoes, and cook until starting to soften. Add in all of the basil and spinach leaves and cook until wilted, about another 2 minutes or so.
  7. Combine pasta, veggie mixture, and pesto in a serving bowl (feel free to add as much or as little of the pesto as desired).
  8. Garnish with Parmesan cheese and salt and pepper if desired.
NOTE: Feel free to make this non-vegetarian by adding baked, shredded chicken cooked with garlic, salt, pepper and paprika if desired!

adapted from Eat Well Lose Weight (BHG special) 2013 edition

Looking for more HEALTHY RECIPES? Look no further!


Heart Healthy Quinoa Granola


Mixed Fruit Smoothie with Kale and Chia Seeds


Sunflower and Pumpkin Seed No-Bake Energy Balls


Kale and Broccoli Quinoa


3 ingredient Natural Strawberry Banana Ice Cream (yep that's right! Here's your excuse to have extra ice cream for dinner! ;) )

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    1. This looks truly amazing, Carla! I always love sharing the food we really eat to contrast all the sweets. I would totally eat a big bowl of this!

    2. So gorgeous!!! Perfect for Summer days (and nights!).

    3. Love it! Thanks for recipe :)

    4. This salad looks so wholesome and fresh. I can't wait to try it.

    5. I could use a lightened up meal like this. I've been treating mysel way too much this week. Lots of cinnamon rolls and cookies! I just made a salad for dinner but wish I had this instead. So colorful and fresh!

    6. But you know that healthier doesn't have to equal not as delicious, right? :)

      You can hide the whole grains. It's not too difficult! I need to get my hands on you to do some... um, re-educating. ;)

      (that sounds a little more scary than I meant)


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