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10 Tasty & Healthy Ways to Enjoy Pasta

10 Tasty & Healthy Ways to Enjoy Pasta

Pasta is perhaps the world’s favorite comfort food.  And yet, those watching their weight or guarding their heart are warned off it, for fear of the calories it packs and the carb-overload it gives you. But because it’s nearly impossible to give up, good chefs, nutrition experts and homemakers have found ways to shave off the calories and enjoy pasta in delicious and healthy ways. Here are some of my favorite ideas for using pasta. Do suggest your own!

  • One big reason for the bad press pasta gets is it’s usually served in a large portion. Serve it as a side dish, and you’re suddenly eating less without depriving yourself. One cup of cooked pasta gives you 200 calories or  less, depending on how you prepare it.
  • Use cheese as an accent, rather than dousing your pasta in a cheese sauce.  A touch of parmesan or pecorino adds character to a simple pasta, minus the guilt.
  • For a protein boost and heart-healthy benefits, toss your pasta in walnut sauce. Simply combine walnuts with basil leaves, olive oil, salt and freshly crushed black pepper. The nutty taste is irresistible.
  • Ditch the bechamel sauce and opt for marinara for a vitamin and antioxidant boost: add a veggie or two, such as carrots, to your sauce for extra benefits.
  • Pasta loves to bathe in a sea of cream. So do the smart thing: combine low fat milk with low fat cream cheese. Add a little nutmeg (extra minerals!), salt and pepper. You won’t miss the heavy cream.
  • Go high on veggies and low on the quantity of  pasta: toss your spaghetti or fusilli with lots of roasted vegetables. In fact, pasta can be your excuse to enjoy a variety of nutritious vegetables, such as broccoli, spinach, mushroom,  zucchini, asparagus and such.
  • Enjoy it as a salad: ricotta or cottage cheese, cherry tomatoes, arugula leaves. It’s fresh, delicious and full of goodness. Add in some beans or chickpeas for more taste and a protein punch.
  • One of my favorite pasta sauces is the olive-pesto combo: pitted olives blended with pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, parsley leaves, garlic and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Allow the sauce to sit at room temperature so that the flavors mature. Toss with pasta and reap the incredible health benefits of olives.
  • Try pasta made from grains other than wheat: spelt and buckwheat pasta, for instance, are healthier options and exciting to work with.

Related:
Very Veggie Spaghetti Sauce
Pasta with Ricotta and Fresh Spinach

Read more: All recipes, Diet & Nutrition, Food, General Health, Health, Life, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Shubhra Krishan

Writer, editor and journalist Shubhra Krishan is the author of Essential Ayurveda: What it is and what it can do for you (New World Library, 2003), Radiant Body, Restful Mind: A Woman's book of comfort (New World Library, 2004), and The 9 to 5 Yogi: How to feel like a sage while working like a dog (Hay House India, 2011).

52 comments

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7:47AM PST on Jan 27, 2014

Love pasta!

1:24PM PDT on Apr 7, 2013

Thanks for sharing!

Another one of my favorite ways to eat pasta is to take bell peppers, garlic and almonds and roast them, then mix them in a blender with olive oil, fresh basil, oregano, chili flakes and salt and pepper to taste. You could add olives, capers, artichokes and green onions too.

Mix with pasta while still warm, or use as dip or sandwich spread. Leave it in the 'fridge and it gets better the next day. Really delicious and vegan too.

12:04AM PDT on Apr 7, 2013

Thanks for sharing :)

10:48AM PDT on Apr 1, 2013

I'm sorry, but I beg to differ on suggesting "low fat" milk, cheese, cream, etc. What they replace the fat with is often much worse than the offending fat. Sugar, HFCS, thickeners, yuck.

Use less, eat less of high fat foods; don't try to substitute with that awful crap that is out there.

6:57AM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

thank you!

2:35AM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

12:33AM PDT on Mar 31, 2013

thanks for your suggestions

9:53PM PDT on Mar 30, 2013

Thanks for the healthy suggestions for us pasta lovers,my favorite food.

4:27PM PDT on Mar 30, 2013

ty

3:15PM PDT on Mar 30, 2013

Thanks so much Shubhra for sharing these excellent suggestions.

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