Pesto Noodle Medley
White pastaMany people in America eat heaping plates of white pasta. Simple carbs, like white pasta, cause a spike in blood sugar because, without much fiber or protein, the body processes it very quickly. This can lead you to be hunger just a little while later, despite eating a full meal. White noodles are also hyper-palatable, which can lead you to eat too much before you really realize it. These are some of the reasons that the Mediterranean Diet emphasizes whole wheat and whole food options over white pasta. But all pasta is not bad or problematic. In fact, in the Mediterranean region, people do eat white pasta. They eat a small portion alongside other highly nutritious and filling foods. The pasta is normally not the star of the show, the way it is in America.
Other NoodlesToday, you have all kinds of different noodle options. Pretty much all of these are better for you than white pasta. These include: whole wheat, whole grain, brown rice, protein-rich, 100% bean, or 100% lentil. We encourage you to try out many different kinds and find one (or several) that you love! If you find yourself really missing the flavor or consistency of white pasta, you could try mixing half white pasta with something more nutritious. Then you can slowly change the portions.
Pesto NoodlesIn this recipe, you will be eating protein-rich bean or lentil pasta with an equal quantity of nutrient-rich vegetables. 100% Bean and lentil noodles are full of nutrition, including protein, fiber, and vitamins. Vegetables are one of the best foods you can eat, being equally low in calories and high in antioxidants and vitamins. Eating vegetables mixed into another dish, like this one, can be a way to encourage yourself to eat more vegetables without it feeling too much like work. (For more interesting tips on what to do if you don't like veggies, check out this post.) And then there's the pesto. This recipe works equally well with homemade pesto or a store-bought one. If you spring for a store-bought pesto, there are many on the market that do not contain added sugar or additives. We recommend you read your labels very well! If you make your own, you can try kale pesto, dairy-free pesto, or many other varieties. You are in control when you are the chef!
This Pesto Noodle RecipeThis recipe will allow you to feel great about the meat-free, veggie-rich, full-of-protein meal that you’ve crafted for yourself… and still enjoy some pasta! This makes a lot of pasta and should provide between 4 and 6 servings. It does keep well in the fridge and makes a yummy lunch the next day– or have it for back to back dinners and enjoy a night off from cooking! To make this vegan or dairy-free, you will need dairy-free pesto. Make sure to leave off the optional cheese sprinkle.
Pesto Noodle Medley
This recipe will allow you to feel great about the meat-free, veggie-rich, full-of-protein meal that you’ve crafted for yourself… and still enjoy some pasta! This makes a lot of pasta and should provide between 4 and 6 servings. It does keep well in the fridge and makes a yummy lunch the next day– or have it for back to back dinners and enjoy a night off from cooking! To make this vegan or dairy-free, you will need dairy-free pesto, make sure to leave off the optional cheese sprinkle.
- 8 ounce chickpea or lentil pasta (read the label!)
- 1 TBS olive oil
- 2 medium fresh zucchinis
- 2 medium yellow squash
- 1 can artichoke hearts
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 3/4 cup pesto (about 7 ounces) use store-bought without added sugar or preservatives or make your own
- optional: a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese for serving
- optional: lemon wedges for serving
- Cook pasta according to directions on the box. Bean and lentil pasta are more easily over-cooked than white pasta
- avoid this at all costs, as the noodles turn mushy and unappetizing! Drain pasta, reserving ¼ cup of pasta water.
- Put pasta back into a pot off the stove (or use a big bowl).
- While pasta is cooking, chop squash, zucchini, and artichoke hearts into roughly the same size pieces as your pasta noodles.
- Heat olive oil in a big pan over medium heat. Saute the squash and zucchini over medium heat for about 7 minutes until tender but not mushy. Add in the chopped artichoke hearts and let them cook until just heated through, about a minute. Sprinkle on the minced garlic and red pepper flakes (and salt, if preferred).
- Mix the veggies into the pot of pasta. Add in the pesto and stir well to incorporate. If pasta seems dry, add the extra pasta water, a few TBS at a time.
- Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on each bowl just before serving, alongside a lemon wedge. The pasta is great with a squeeze of lemon on top!