A quick & delicious way to enjoy a healthy pasta meal.
By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the National Pasta Association and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
The month of October (my personal favorite month BTW) seems to be a time to celebrate a lot of fun events with the coming of fall and Halloween. It's also an inspiring month as Americans around the nation join together to celebrate breast cancer awareness. It's also Domestic Violence Awareness Month and Health Literacy Month, two other very important causes. (When I worked in health promotion, we were really busy in October.)
But there are some other light-hearted celebrations that take place in this glorious month that you may not be aware of. For instance:
- Mad Hatter Day was October 6th. Why the 6th? The Mad Hatter had a slip of paper in his hat that read 10/6. Ha!
- International Moment of Frustration Scream Day is October 12th. If you just can't seem to shake off a weird noise following you around all day, this will explain it.
- Evaluate Your Life Day is October 19th. I probably need to do this on more than one day a year.
And lastly, October is National Pasta Month! Can you believe there is a whole month to celebrate the food pasta?!
Well then, let's celebrate then with a delicious pasta dish! The Recipe Redux challenged me and all the other Reduxers to come up with a pasta recipe that is healthy and satisfying. I had to jump in on this contest because we eat pasta frequently in our home. It's an affordable ingredient that, thanks to all the great whole wheat options, is nutritious too. I always try to pair pasta with LOTS of vegetables and a lean protein to balance it off an make a complete meal.
So the recipe I have for you is...
One of my FAVORITE pasta dishes I have ever created!
(Please say that in a Lost in Space kind of voice.)
I developed this recipe a long time ago as part of a 12 week lifestyle change program I co-wrote for the YMCA. I needed a quick, veggie-filled recipe that I could do as a cooking demo without a lot of equipment. I also need it to taste great and be kid friendly.
From these needs, my Spinach Walnut Pesto Pasta was born and it has convinced many a person that spinach can be delicious and pasta can be healthy. I think you'll be a believer too.
I personally find the flavor of this pasta addictive (in a good way). It also pairs well with any protein of choice but grilled chicken or shrimp would be my favorite.
Go break out that pasta pot and food processor (or blender) and try this simple and truly delicious pasta dinner. And make sure you scroll down to the bottom of my post to see all the other great entries to this pasta-fied contest. Enjoy!
Spinach Walnut Pesto Pasta
1/2 box whole wheat farfalle (bowtie) pasta
4 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup walnuts
Zest and juice from one lemon
1 garlic clove
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
reserved pasta water, if needed when using a blender
- Prepare pasta according to directions on box.
- Meanwhile, in a food processor, blender or magic bullet pulse together spinach, garlic, walnuts, and lemon juice until chopped into smaller pieces.
- With motor running (unless using a Magic Bullet), stream in oil until slightly creamy. Add 1-3 tablespoons of pasta water if needed to thin down if using a blender.
- Add salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese and lemon zest. Pulse 3-5 more times to combine.
- Drain pasta and return to cooking pot. Pour in spinach pesto and gentle fold in to warm pasta. Serve immediately.
Serving suggestions: Add sliced grilled chicken or cooked shrimp in step 5, also folding in to poasta. To freeze pesto for later use, pour into an ice cube tray.