If you’ve got about 15 minutes, make this veggie pasta bowl! That’s what I often do when I’m short on time for dinner! But vegetarian pasta dishes don’t always provide enough protein for a complete meal. So, here’s what I like to do: Use a pasta made from red lentils. I love, love, love lentils for so many reasons, including that the little pulses are packed with plant protein and can help play a role in regulating blood cholesterol and blood sugar levels! (By the way, I chose Tolerant Organic Red Lentil Pasta here, which I picked up at Whole Foods Market.) Hope you try this meal-in-one pasta bowl on Meatless Monday–and beyond. It’s not fancy, but it’s flavorful! Enjoy!
Calories Saved: 380
Why it’s better for you? The pasta itself is “superfood-y” to start with since it’s made from lentils!
veggie & red lentil rotini pasta bowl
Yield: 1 serving
Serving size: 1 bowl
- 2 ounces red lentil rotini
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large zucchini, thinly sliced (or 1 1/2 cups seasonal veggies of choice)
- 1/2 medium red onion, sliced
- 1 large garlic clove, extra-thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
- 2 teaspoons raw shelled hemp seeds
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (optional)
- Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 8 minutes.*
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large cast iron or other stick-resistant skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini, onion, and salt, increase heat to medium-high, and sauté until lightly browned, about 6 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes more. Add salt.
- Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid. Add the drained pasta and the 1/4 cup cooking liquid to the skillet with the veggies; toss to combine. Adjust seasoning.
- Transfer to a bowl, sprinkle with the hemp seeds and (if using) parmesan cheese, and serve.
Per serving: 440 calories, 19g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 620mg sodium, 52g total carbohydrate, 12g dietary fiber, 10g sugars, 21g protein
Per serving (with optional parmesan cheese): 480 calories, 21g total fat, 4g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 10mg cholesterol. 800mg sodium, 54g total carbohydrate, 12 dietary fiber, 10g sugars, 24g protein
*Hint: Try my “lid-cooked” pasta technique to save energy: Stir the pasta into the boiling water, bring back to a boil, cover with a lid, remove from heat, and let stand (“lid cook”) until al dente, about 8 minutes!
The “Before” Version
Inspired by Angel Hair Vegetable Primavera
Per serving: 820 calories, 37g total fat, 15g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 105mg cholesterol, 2750mg sodium, 98g total carbohydrate, 11 dietary fiber, 17g sugars, 27g protein
- Save a little pasta liquid; it creates sauciness for your pasta dish without adding extra calories from a separate sauce
- Choose a nutrient-rich pasta to start with, such as red lentil rotini (it’s colorful, too!)
- Go heavy on veggies (ideally using slightly more veggies than pasta!) to make portion size satisfying
- It’s OK to keep it simple; highlight just one veggie if you like, such as zucchini (you can showcase a different vegetable next time!)