Like everyone else January is that time to reset your clock #NewYearNewYou and while I like the old me just fine there are things to improve on! One of those things I am working on is incorporating as many meatless meals into the week as I can to improve not only my family’s over health but also support the environment as well. According to Mayo Clinic “A plant-based diet, which emphasizes fruits, vegetables, grains, beans, legumes and nuts, is rich in fiber, vitamins and other nutrients. And people who eat only plant-based foods — aka vegetarians — generally eat fewer calories and less fat, weigh less, and have a lower risk of heart disease than non vegetarians do.” While I do not know if I am ready to cut out meat completely in my diet I know I am ready to drastically reduce it and incorporate healthy veggie packed options.
I have been following a lot of You Tubers & Bloggers currently that have a focus in Vegetarian and Vegan options and came across Liezl Jayne on you tube recently. She has an amazing way of breaking down her daily meal plans and has videos to go along with this. The tag What I eat in a day to lose 40 pounds really sang to me because that is my 2017 goal! She has 5 days worth of examples and her Oatmeal recipes are a MUST READ! I found this mushroom tomato pasta in one of her videos and have adapted it a little to my taste and it turned out to be heaven so I am sharing with you!
I have been watching Food Network and cooking shows longer then I can tell you and cooking has always been my passion, so taking comforting meals and making them healthy for my family is something I love to do and share with my friends.
My daughter was my assistant in the kitchen last night, any time she gets to get out her kid friendly knife and chop something she is into it! She cut the mushrooms for me and I placed them into a hot pan with a little sea salt, once softened I added 1 Tbsp Ghee (or clarified butter) this is a nice healthy fat and adds some delicious flavor to the mushrooms. (Skip this and add olive oil if making Vegan friendly). While this was going I boiled water in my favorite pot to use for Spaghetti or any long pasta Rachel Ray Pasta Pot (you can get it here). It helps because you get to skip the step where you have to break your pasta or wait for it to start cooking to fold into the pot. (Anyone else been there?! I always watched my Italian grandma do that).
A tip I have learned when making a chunky sauce for pasta is once the pasta is cooked, reserve some of the starchy pasta liquid and add it into the sauce. This allows it to adhere to the pasta better and is already seasoned with salt so it is a win win! In this recipe I saved a half cup and that thinned out the sauce perfectly to coat my pasta. I used Quinoa and brown rice pasta which took about 8 minutes to cook. The sauce was ready to go from the time the water was put on to the pasta being ready. That’s a weeknight win for me!
Another option if you not thinking of bulking up the veggies like me or you have a no mushroom eater in your house is adding some chicken to the dish, you can cook it first or you can use my technique in meal prep and cook up a ton of grilled chicken at once and have it in your freezer ready to go for meals.
Mushroom and Tomato Pasta
-1/2 package or 8 ounces pasta (Try a Gluten free option like Quinoa or Brown Rice)
-1 16 ounce package baby bello mushrooms
-2 large vine tomatoes diced
-1 8 ounce package cheery tomatoes halved
-1 can tomato paste
-3 cups baby spinach
-2 tsp dried basil
-1 large clove garlic
-1 Tbsp Ghee (sub Olive oil if Vegan)
-salt and pepper to taste
-1/2 cup pasta water once pasta is drained
-5 chopped raw walnuts per serving (for a good healthy fat)
I topped with Nutritional Yeast and Crushed red pepper flakes as well as my walnuts.
Add chopped mushrooms to a hot pan sprinkle with a little sea salt. In the mean time boil your pasta water. Once softened add ghee to the mushrooms cook for 1 more minute & then add your tomatoes. Cook those for 4 minutes and add garlic and basil to the mix, then your can of tomato paste. Allow to cook for 3 minutes and then wilt your baby spinach and add your pasta water to the pan. Mix with your drained pasta and portion into bowls. For 1 full cup of pasta along with Walnuts, & Nutritional Yeast my calorie count was 393. Not bad for a veggie and protein packed dinner!
Let me know what you think if you try it!