How can you “eat your veggies” and also enjoy a bowl of pasta? Just make this florentine pasta recipe where fresh garden meets whole grains in a very generous amount of flavourful Greek yogurt based sauce. Because what pasta is good without sauce unless you are a 5 year old?!
I won’t lie, there was a period of time when carbs were my enemy. I cooked spaghetti squash mac and cheese and baked cauliflower biscuits. And don’t get me wrong, these dishes are delicious but I am way more happy now to eat a huge bowl of healthy pasta followed by half a pint of coconut ice cream with spaghetti squash bowls in between. Balance, ladies, balance (I won’t lie when I say that curbing my love for wine has been huge in search of clean eating lifestyle balance).
So, what have we got in our vegetable florentine? An array of juicy fresh vegetables from the garden or a store (farmer’s market, can’t wait for you) if you are like me. Do you know what “florentine” means? A dish rich in spinach, Italian of course. And not steamed or cooked until wilted but rather simmered in butter. Yes, butter. It is good for you. Remember, balance?!
I gave all vegetables a quick sear on high heat working in batches, with olive oil and garlic. Of course, garlic. What Ukrainian makes Italian dishes without garlic?! Brown mushrooms, bell peppers, grape tomatoes and of course spinach simmered in butter. A quick blast of heat (not too much because no one likes mushy peas) adds flavour and makes veggies “bleed” juices that become part of a delicious healthy sauce later soaked up by pasta.
Pasta. My choice was TruRoots organic ancient grain penne made from quinoa, amaranth, brown rice and corn. All ingredients are non-GMO, grown sustainably and are naturally gluten free (I am not sensitive or intolerant but remember balance?!). In 2017, it is “a sin” not to eat pasta when nutrient dense, delicious and sustainable pasta choices are all around us. Something as simple as Target lamp shopping can turn into cooking a delicious healthy florentine pasta dinner. Because who shops according to the shopping list when at Target?! Exactly my point.
Isn’t 2017 amazing?! You can eat pasta made from green peas and lentils (essentially more vegetables), make fiber rich mac and cheese or quinoa spaghetti with butter for your inner self 5 year old. For florentine pasta I chose penne because of its ability to hold a large amount of sauce, and there was a lot of sauce to hold, trust me. Which can’t be a bad thing because it is light and contains a lot of vegetables.
Now sauce. At first I thought we would be eating pasta florentine soup. However, my experience told me to cover the pot and let the florentine sit for 10 minutes. I tested my recipe the week before and while it was good, the sauce was virtually soaked up by “thirsty” pasta when we went for seconds. Oh, and everyone will go for seconds because you know my recipes keep leftovers and seconds in mind. Pasta lesson learnt – there can never be too much sauce, especially when it’s made the way we make it. Because you will make it, right!?
You do know that complex carbs and healthy fats do not make you fat?! And you do know that a six pack is not a thing we are supposed to have, right?! I thought so. Eat your wholesome pasta and live a happy healthy life!
Have a great weekend!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of truRoots. The opinions and text are all mine.
- 8 oz TruRoots penne or elbows pasta
- 1 lb brown mushrooms, sliced
- 1 lb grape tomatoes, cut in half
- 3 large bell peppers, roughly chopped
- 1 lb snap peas or green beans (cut in half)
- 1 box (11 oz) baby spinach
- 3 garlic cloves, grated & divided
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 tbsp butter
- 3 tbsp whole wheat or spelt flour
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp maple syrup or raw honey
- 1 cup Greek yogurt (with 3+% fat - I used 6.5%)
- Ground black pepper, to taste
- Any hard cheese, grated (optional for serving)
- Cook pasta as per package instructions undercooking by 3 minutes.
- Now, it is a bunch of quick steps using the same pot and blasting veggies with high heat for maximum flavour. Preheat large dutch oven or soup pot on high heat and swirl 1 tbsp oil to coat. Add 1 garlic clove and cook for 10 seconds, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. As soon as you see water coming out transfer to a large bowl and set aside.
- Return pot to high heat and swirl remaining 1 tbsp of oil. Add 1 garlic clove and cook for 10 seconds, stirring frequently. Add tomatoes, bell peppers and snap peas (green beans), cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to the bowl with mushrooms along with any juices.
- Return pot to medium heat and melt butter. Add 1 garlic clove and cook for 10 seconds, stirring frequently. Add spinach and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a bowl with vegetables along with all the butter.
- Return pot to medium heat and add 1 cup broth. Slowly add flour while constantly whisking (otherwise slurry will be lumpy). Add remaining stock, salt, maple syrup and whisk; bring to a boil and let cook for a few minutes to thicken. Turn off the heat and add Greek yogurt whisking constantly to prevent curdling.
- Add veggies along with all juices, pasta and ground black pepper; stir gently, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Serve warm with grated cheese and more black pepper if desired.