This easy, veggie-packed pasta dish is the solution to your busy weeknight dinner dilemma. It's a delicious and healthy meal that is ready in about 30 minutes.
How To Make a Healthier Pasta Dish
Not all pasta dishes are created equal. There are a few ways to spice up a plain bowl of pasta so that it's not only tasty, but nourishing as well. These tips will help give your dish a serious boost of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals not to mention fiber and protein, which is key to slowing down glucose absorption and keep you feeling full for longer.
Toss in greens.
Mixing in greens like kale, spinach, collard greens and arugula can significantly boost the nutrient content of your pasta dish by supplying key antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Use beans and legumes.
Pasta and beans are a match made in heaven. I love using cannellini beans, like I did in this week's featured recipe. They are super creamy and add a nice texture to any pasta dish. If you're looking for a way to get the kids to eat more legumes, toss some red lentils into your marinara sauce while it's simmering. They soften up and become almost undetectable in the sauce, yet still provide all the iron, fiber and other nutrients kids may be lacking in their diets.
Add in your favorite vegetables.
Think roasted cauliflower, artichokes (canned works really well), mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli and shredded Brussels sprouts. Those are some of my favorites!
Use fresh or dried herbs.
Herbs are more than just aromatic and flavorful. They are full of antioxidants, essential vitamins and nutrients. Herbs like basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme and sage add a burst of fresh flavor and can make many dishes more visually appealing and elegant.
Sprinkle on some nuts.
I'm a big fan of sprinkling a handful nuts such as walnuts or pine nuts onto vegetable based pasta dishes. Adding different types of nuts into homemade pesto can also add unique flavor. Pine nuts are light and lemony, while walnuts and almonds are more earthy and rich. It's a great way help meet your daily dose of healthy fats while adding some extra texture and flavor.
For this dish, I use canned artichokes (but defrosted frozen artichokes would work just as well), cannellini beans, baby spinach and some kalamata olives to add a burst of salty flavor. The ingredients are simply warmed in a saute pan with some garlic and oil, before tossing in the cooked farfalle. The spinach is added to the pan off the heat at the very end as as it wilts easily into the pasta. So easy!
You can top it all with your favorite grated cheese!
If you like this recipe you may also like my Gnocchi with Sundried Tomato Pesto.
Farfalle with Artichokes, White Beans and Spinach
- 1 lb farfalle pasta
- 2 15 oz artichoke hearts drained
- 1 bag baby spinach
- 1 15 oz cannellini beans rinsed and drained
- 3 garlic cloves chopped
- ½ cup kalamata olives pitted and chopped
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup reserved pasta water
- ½ tsp fresh thyme leaves
- Boil water for pasta and cook according to package directions
- In meantime, heat olive oil in a large saute pan.
- Add the garlic and saute until fragrant.
- Toss in the artichokes, beans and season with salt and pepper and saute only until heated through.
- Add the cooked and drained pasta to the pan (don't forget to reserve some of the pasta water).
- Toss in the spinach and olives.
- Ladle the reserved pasta water into the pan and gently toss to combine pasta and vegetables.
- Top with fresh thyme, and an extra drizzle of olive oil or favortie grated cheese if desired.
- Season with additional freshly ground pepper if desired.