Pasta happens to be a wholesome, filling and easy to cook dish. A healthy pasta dish made from my favourite penne pasta with avocado pesto, is the comfort food I could eat for all my meals AND as a snack!
I use lentil or whole-wheat or brown rice pasta. It may be ever so slightly different in taste (and maybe consistency); but with all the goodness added to it, this doesn’t alter the overall taste at all.
Ask husband to buy:
These ingredients make roughly 10 servings of pasta.
– All ingredients for avocado pesto as posted here
– Lentil/whole-wheat/brown rice penne pasta like this one (read the box)
(I use about 750-800 gms for making 10 serves. You could also use other shapes of pasta if you like. Key to making a healthy pasta dish is to choose a healthy base pasta in the first place!)
– 1 large onion
– About 4 large sticks of Celery
(This is an absolute must because celery goes beautifully with this pasta)
– 1 Capsicum in any colour(s) that your prefer
– 1 bunch of Asparagus
– Baby corn, zucchini, broccolini, baby tomatoes/sundried tomatoes, baby spinach, pitted black or green olives, mushrooms
(You can mix and match any of these popular pasta veggies or you could add your preferred pasta meat. However, I am completely unaware of what meat goes well with pasta)
– mixed Italian herbs seasoning as per taste
– Parmesan cheese, cilantro, basil and fresh ground pepper to garnish
– Feta cheese to stir through or sprinkle as per preference
(if you enjoy the taste, it goes quite nicely with this)
– Salt as per taste
– Olive oil 1-1.5 tbsp
For Garlic bread:
– used in photos, is fresh sourdough bread from local bakery
– shredded cheddar cheese
– fine chopped garlic
– mixed Italian herbs seasoning
– onion powder
(this one is optional. If you have it at hand, then it would impart good flavour)
This is how we do it:
- Just throw all the ingredients for garlic bread on top of each slice
- You can choose to put it in the oven at about 150 C or alternatively make it like a sandwich and put it in the sandwich press machine.
- You could also use the trusted frying pan method with lid to melt the cheese and cook the toast
(Meaning you take a frying pan and over medium heat, place this toast with cheese side up obviously. Cover it with a lid so that the cheese melts while the bread gets lightly toasted as well)
- In a pinch if you don’t have garlic or don’t want to take the efforts to chop the garlic, just use garlic paste. The taste would be slightly different but it still makes a good accompaniment to the pasta.
- Boil the pasta as per instructions.
(Do not forget to add salt and a little olive oil when boiling! Once the pasta is soft and cooked to a level where there is only a slight bite to it, al-dente. Then strain it in a colander and run cold water through it quickly. This helps the pasta not stick together.)
- Do not throw away the water that the pasta was boiled in. It can be used to cook the veggies or to thin down the sauce if you prefer thinner consistency.
- Cut all the veggies in shapes you prefer. I prefer thick slice-type shapes for all veggies.
(Separate florets of broccoli/broccolini. Do not use too much asparagus; for this amount, 5-6 big sticks that usually come in a bunch are sufficient)
- Chop the celery by its width into 1 cm slices.
(This way it takes the taste well and gives just the right joy!)
- Heat a heavy bottomed pan and add olive oil. Once the oil is hot enough, add the onions and saute them a little for 5-10 mins.
- You may also choose to stir fry the veggies on higher heat to maintain their crunch. I like the stir fried veggies.
(this basically means quickly stirring everything to saute it fast)
- Turn the heat low and add the home-made healthy pesto made from avocados, as shown in my last post here.
- Quickly and gently mix the pesto with the veggies and add salt as per taste
(Avocados and heat are not the best combination, so it is advisable to not let the avocado pesto be on heat for more than 2-3 mins or so)
- Put in the pasta and gently mix the whole thing so that the pasta doesn’t break.
- Take off the flame and garnish with some parmesan, basil, cilantro and fresh ground pepper along with a side of the garlic bread.
This recipe does well in meal prep plans; and actually, the pasta always tastes better the next day, after all the ingredients have had time to impart their taste to the pasta. What makes the pasta healthy is the range of veggies that go into it.
Where’s the hygge?
Store bought pasta sauce is handy; and so is the ready to eat packet for pasta. But adding veggies and whipping up this sauce is extremely easy. The goodness that it provides makes it a great comfort food for me any time. And as always, the crunch is my ultimate bliss.