A generic quick pasta recipe should be a welcome addition to your healthy recipes collection, especially if you are into seasonal cooking. Many new recipes can be developed from this main recipe, depending on the season, and what is in your produce drawer! Lots of room for creativity!
Your aim should be to follow the half plate rule. So in applying healthy diet habits, you would expect to see half of the dish vegetables, 1/4 of the dish meat, and 1/4 of the dish pasta! In other words, the dish should look very colorful, and not just whitish because it is mostly pasta! It should be a vegetable dish!
Grains of Choice: 8 to 16 oz. cooked hot pasta choice (1 to 2 oz per serving) Choices are unlimited. There are whole wheat, corn, brown rice, and gluten free choices available in any shape or size that you can imagine.
Fresh Chopped Vegetables of choice: Zucchini, Asparagus, Celery, Yellow Squash, Broccoli, Green peppers, Kale, Red peppers, Cauliflower, Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Green beans, Peas, or any seasonal vegetable.
Fresh herbs of choice: Basil, Cilantro, Parsley, Thyme, Oregano, or your choice.
Topping of choice: Parmesan cheese grated, any Tapenade, Olives, Artichokes, Capers, or combination, and salt and pepper to taste.
Top the pasta vegetable dish with anything that sounds good! I often use Trader Joe’s Red pepper/Artichoke Tapenade and Fresh grated Parmesan cheese and it has a nice tang.
I have literally made hundreds of different pasta dishes using this generic pasta recipe. You can simply use the process over and over, using different meats, seasonal vegetables, herbs, and beans. A simple topping of olive oil and lemon is very tasty and inexpensive. As the seasons change, so does this recipe. From sliced asparagus paired with artichokes and garbanzo beans in the spring, to winter vegetables, you are only limited by your creativity.
I have found that the quality of the meal is enhanced by the quality of the ingredients. I try to buy the freshest ingredients at my local farmer’s market. I have also found that leaving out fresh herbs from the mix will usually garner a “Something’s missing," comment from one of my family! Fresh herbs make the difference between a good meal, and an outstanding one!