Jan 16, 2013 11:51 AM WV Food
WV LIVING shares their favorite foods
Guilt-Free Comfort Food: Veggie-Centered Pasta Dishes
Now that the endless sweets and buffet-style family dinners of the holiday season are over, most of us are dedicated to bringing in the New Year with healthier choices in the food department. More fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein. Less fat, sugar, and alcohol. We all know what we have to do.
But let's face it, life's stresses don't ease up after the holidays, and comfort food can make all the difference in a day of deadlines, appointments, and obligations. Sometimes all you want is to put on some yoga pants, pour a glass of wine, and settle in front of the television with a bowl of creamy alfredo pasta.
Who wants the guilt that follows all of that butter, heavy cream, and cheese? Here are a few options that combine the best of both worlds—the comfort of pasta and the healthy benefits of veggies.
Avocado Cream Sauce
Avocado is the perfect substitute for heavy cream in this alfredo-inspired sauce (pictured above), which is still thick and creamy but laden with healthy fats and nearly twenty essential nutrients. Even better, this sauce comes together in 15 minutes with minimal clean-up.
6 ounces of pasta
1–3 garlic cloves, to taste
½ lemon, juiced, with zest for garnish
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium avocado, pitted
¼ cup fresh herbs, chopped (basil and parsley work well)
Salt and black pepper, to taste
Bring water to boil in a medium-sized pot, and cook pasta until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce by placing the garlic, lemon juice, and olive oil into a food processor and processing until smooth. Then add the avocado and herbs. Process until smooth.
When pasta is done cooking, drain and rinse in a colander, then transfer pasta to a large bowl. Pour on the sauce and toss until fully combined. Garnish with lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Serve immediately.
Yield: 2 servings
Instead of whole grain pasta, substitute veggies for the base. Spaghetti squash is a well-known alternative, but the food blogosphere is buzzing with a more creative alternative: using a julienne peeler to make veggie spirals from zucchini, squash, carrots, or any other vegetable for a colorful twist.
The julienne peeler is cheap (starting at less than $10 on Amazon), and is incredibly easy to use—simply peel it down the raw vegetable like you would with a normal peeler.
The sauce will warm up the veggie pasta when tossed together, but you can toss the spirals in a pan for a minute or two before adding the sauce, if you would like the pasta to be warmer.
You could even combine both options for an ultra-healthy yet comforting pasta dish to be enjoyed with a glass of your favorite white wine, or even a sprinkle of parmesan cheese — you've earned it, with all your guilt-free veggie consumption!