8 Ways to Cook Healthy with Pasta
October 23, 2012
Tip #1: Whole Grain Pasta
Purchase 100 percent whole-grain pasta, high in fiber. It is less processed, has less chemicals, and is a healthier choice. It may contain about 200 calories per serving, while low in fat, sodium, and cholesterol, and rich in B vitamins to improve metabolism.
Carmine's Pasta Giardiniera
While giardiniera is traditionally a pickled Italian dish, chef Glenn Rolnick chooses to use it to describe his signature pasta dish that is a favorite at his New York City restaurant Carmine's.
Health Tip: Skip the heavy cream and only use a ½ cup of cheese, whether in the sauce or for serving.
Tip #2: Add Healthy Ingredients
Chop up some broccoli, peppers, spinach, and sweet onions and toss them on top of your plain pasta and mix in with a tablespoon of olive oil for a yummy, healthy side dish with your meal.
Orecchiette with Duck Sausage, Escarole, and Cannellini Beans
Starch from the cannellini beans helps to create a creamy, thick sauce with the chicken stock in this recipe from Chef Zamora, and will make you think as if you're enjoying something indulgent.
Health Tip: instead of the sausage, make it a vegetarian meal with an addition of broccoli or bell pepper.
Tip #3: Tri-Color Pasta, Mushrooms, and Chickpeas
Look for the tri-color pastas for a different and fun way to eat. Mix in some chickpeas and mushrooms for some added flavor, and stir in with a spoonful of olive oil. Sprinkle a small amount of fresh Parmesan cheese on top for more flavor. Chickpeas are low in fat, rich in dietary fiber, and full of vitamins and minerals. Mushrooms are rich in potassium, which can help lower elevated cholesterol.
A true testament to the simple beauties of Italian cooking, this pasta dish is one of chef Steve Martorano's favorite late-night snacks.
Health Tip: While great by itself, this recipe can easily be use the addition of meat or vegetables to make it a more rounded out meal.
Take #4: Make The Cheesiness Healthy
Melt a slim slice of 100 percent all natural Cheddar cheese on top of your pasta for some added flavor, rich in calcium and protein.
Randy's Lemon Capellini
Randy Feloni brings his expertise out of the wardrobe and into your kitchen with this lemon cappellini recipe. Easy and simple to make, it's also good for you too.
Health Tip: While the recipe is already pretty healthy, you could swap in whole grain pasta for the ultimate guilt-free pasta.
Another Reason to Eat Whole Grain
Whole-grain pasta is a great source of dietary fiber, and it also aids in digestion and lowers your risk for heart disease and diabetes. It is also a great source of anti-oxidants, helping your immune system maintain healthy cells.
Homemade Ravioli with Swiss Chard
The great thing about this pasta dish is that you can easily take one of the components and serve it on its own: the pasta for another pasta dish, the mushroom ragù as a side to steak. Together in the ravioli dish, though, the flavors meld together beautifully and prove that homemade ravioli is worth the effort.
Health Tip: For a lighter version, use whole wheat pasta instead of making homemade ravioli. Toss the ravioli filling with the finished pasta at the end for the same great flavors.
Tip #5: Make a Healthy Lasagna
Try creating homemade vegetable lasagna. Use light sauce between each layer, but fill each layer with your favorite vegetables for a healthy meal rich in vitamins and minerals.
Tip #6: Always Use Olive Oil
Avoid saturating the pasta in rich, thick, and high-calories fats. This is obvious for Italians, but always try to use olive oil, an unsaturated fat, which assists in maintaining hormonal and temperature levels, insulates the body, protects organs, and assists with the absorption of vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Tip #7: Portion Control
It is excessive calories, not pasta, that causes individuals to gain weight. So, remember portion control is important while ingesting pasta at meals.
A seasoned chef and Wolfgang Puck Worldwide alum with more than 17 years of culinary experience, chef Taylor Boudreaux displays a straightforward approach with all his recipes, with an emphasis on local and seasonal. While always keeping in mind composition and the interplay of flavors on the plate, this hearty lamb ragù intertwines rustic flavors revamping a conventional dish with unconventional wild game.
Health Tip: While we hate to say leave out the braised lamb, you could also substitute it with ground turkey meat for a lower-calorie protein.
Yet Another Reason You Should Eat Whole Grain Pasta
Whole-grain pasta is a great source for complex carbohydrates. It gives you long-lasting energy throughout the day opposed to simple carbohydrates (refined or processed), which give you a quick energy spike followed by an energy dive.
Tip #8: Healthy = Guilt Free
Always eat pasta "guilt-free" — whether at home or at a restaurant. If prepared and purchased with thought, pasta will be beneficial to your health.