Pasta, along with many other carbohydrate foods, tends to have a bad reputation. As the granddaughter of an Italian man, I tend to disagree. Whether it’s white or whole wheat, can be incorporated into a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Its bad reputation tends to revolve around how we typically see pasta served…a big bowl of pasta with sauce, probably with a side of bread. This leads to an unbalanced meal, low in protein and vegetables. This is why I love MyPlate. It is a great way to help visualize what a balanced meal should look like: Half of the plate being fruits and vegetables, a quarter of the plate being protein, and a quarter of the plate being your grain or starch.
In honor of this blog, I decided to make some fresh pasta, with the help of some Kitchenaid attachments. We made a mess and it was quite a bit of work, but a lot of fun! And in the end, made for a delicious helping of fettuccini.
Of course, you don’t have to make fresh pasta in order to enjoy it. A box of pasta can be easily transformed into a tasty meal. I like to experiment with different types and shapes yo keep things interesting. This time, I went with gemelli, whole wheat orzo, and manicotti.
I had never used gemelli before, and now I’m hooked! It’s funny how different shapes can be so different. I paired the pasta with shrimp and spinach, in a lemony butter sauce. Yum!
Orzo is a short-cut pasta that resembles rice. It is typically used in soups, but it makes a great addition to salads! I added it cucumbers, tomato, feta, and red onion to make a Greek-style salad. This made the perfect accompaniment to lamb meatballs and tzatziki.
Making your whole dish in one pot is another short-cut to keep in your back pocket! This recipe was my first time trying a one-pot meal, and now it’s a staple in my week-day routine!
Regardless of how you choose to use pasta in a meal, be assured that it can be incorporated healthfully into any meal. Pair with a good source of protein and plenty of vegetables, and you have a balanced, nutritious meal!
If you would like to learn more about how to incorporate pasta into a balanced diet, make an appointment with one of our dietitians by clicking here or calling 301-474-2499.
An award winning recipe developer, Dietitian Kaitlin’s mission is to empower others to reach their health goals by encouraging them to get back into the kitchen. Co-author of Nourished: 10 Ingredients to Happy, Healthy Eating and Cooking with Diabetes.