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Eat Healthy Recipe: Pasta (De)Light

Posted Apr 15 2008 12:00am

By Adria Saracino

Confession: we at “What the Health” are total carbivores. If you are like us, the notion of limiting your intake of carbohydrates seems impossible. However, by eating in moderation and making smart choices, there’s no need to regret eating carbs. Our healthy pasta recipe, which substitutes regular pasta for whole-wheat, will leave you feeling guiltless and satisfied.

Photo by Adria Saracino

-Whole Wheat Pasta: This heart-healthy alternative to the Italian favorite is high in fiber and selenium, a vitamin that is believed to reduce the risks of cancer in various organs. One cup is 174 calories and one gram of fat.

-Spinach: Pop-Eye’s favorite veggie offers enough beta-carotene to surpass the recommended daily dose of Vitamin A, a vitamin that helps your eyes in numerous ways. Plus, it has more than half the daily recommended dose of folic acid, which is thought to decrease risks in pregnancy, cancer, and heart disease. One cup of cooked spinach is 41 calories and zero grams of fat.

-Mushrooms: These fungi are high in protein, vitamins, and minerals, including vitamin B and selenium. They are low in calorie and contain antibodies that fight bacteria in the body. Five medium button or white mushrooms contain 20 calories, zero grams of fat, and two grams of protein.

-Almonds: Almonds not only offer protein, but studies show 3.5 ounces daily may reduce LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by 14 percent. Eleven nuts (half an ounce) equal 83 calories and 7 grams of fat.

Garlic: This “Italian penicillin” is known to prevent heart disease. In addition, it contains cholesterol-fighting organosulfur compounds. One clove equals five calories and zero grams of fat.

Olive Oil: Another form of “Italian penicillin” — like garlic, olive oil is a main component of the Mediterranean diet and is known to eliminate risks associated with heart disease. And extra virgin olive oil reeks of antioxidants, especially vitamin E. One tablespoon consists of 119 calories and 13.5 grams of fat. Don’t fret, olive oil is a good fat that helps raise HDL (“good”) cholesterol.

Ingredients: (Serves 4-6 people)
½ lb spinach
1 lb whole wheat penne (or pasta of choice)
½ carton whole white mushrooms, chopped
2 cloves garlic, diced
½ ounce sliced almonds
Approximately 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (eyeball it so fully coats skillet)
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Pinch of parsley flakes

Directions In a pot, boil water for the pasta. In a separate skillet, add the extra virgin olive oil and put on low heat. Next, add the sliced almonds and diced garlic into the skillet, stir occasionally. When they begin to simmer, add the mushrooms, spinach, parsley flakes, salt, and paper and stir. Once the leaves begin to wilt and mushrooms, garlic, and almonds brown, bring to a very low heat and put a cover over the skillet. When the water boils, add the pasta to the other pot. When it is finished to your liking, strain the pasta, put it back into its original pot, and poor in the sauce from the skillet. Stir thoroughly and add some more olive oil to coat the pasta. Salt may need to be added, depending on your taste. If desired, add grated Parmesan cheese and enjoy!

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