Confession: I love pasta. I could eat pasta twice a day, every day. I could prepare a decadent bolognese or creamy alfredo sauce. But the truth is–these are neither very healthy choices for an already high-carb/low-protein meal. So, with spring (and summer!) around the corner, I set out to find a healthier, guilt-free option.
I started with my favorite pasta, orecchiette — which means “ear” in Italian and is shaped as such. I found this recipe from the New York Times inspiring me to choose Swiss chard as the base ingredient. It is a wonderful, if overlooked, vegetable with loads of calcium (so that down the line, you’re ready to take in some Vitamin D from the sun!) as well as Vitamin A and beta-carotene.
Otherwise, I improvised by throwing in mushrooms and sausage for protein, then choosing an olive oil “sauce” to save calories. If you add goat cheese to an olive oil mix, it helps add some texture and taste without costing you in the nutritional department.
- 1 bunch Swiss chard
- 3/4 lb orecchiette pasta
- 1 or 1 1/2 lbs Italian sausage, diced
- 1/2 cup goat cheese, sprinkled in pieces
- 1/2 lb crimini mushrooms cut; as the weather becomes warmer, opt for cherry tomatoes, cut in half with the seeds
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- salt/pepper to taste; add red pepper flakes if you desire (I love spicy food so I opt for a lot)
1. Boil a large pot of water. After stemming and washing the chard, steam it in the boiling water.
2. In a skillet, saute the diced sausage pieces and mushrooms in olive oil and garlic clove. Add in the chard and season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Separately, boil another pot of water to cook the pasta in. When it’s cooked and drained, mix pasta with steamed chard, sausages, mushrooms. Finally, add the crumbled goat cheese and red pepper flakes.
Serves four! Enjoy!