World Pasta Day: Pasta with Spinach and White Beans

 

International Pasta Organisation

Today is World Pasta Day – a time to celebrate a delicious and nutritious favourite food. The day  also marks the kick-off of the global pasta industry’s “The Power of Pasta” initiative. More than 3 million plates of pasta have been donated to various charities fighting hunger around the world thanks to the support of worldwide pasta producers through the International Pasta Organisation.

So join in the celebrations and cook up some pasta for lunch or dinner today.

But there is one myth about pasta that needs to be put to rest once and for all: pasta, even those that are not whole grain, if properly cooked and that’s a big IF, does not have a high glycemic index (GI). Properly cooked pasta means it’s cooked al dente – to the tooth. White pasta actually has a lower GI than do whole grain pastas.

Portion size is also key. All too often, when I talk portion size to clients and suggest about 1 cup of cooked pasta, they balk. But consider pasta to be a vehicle to deliver other nutritious goodies. Serve it with sautéed onions and peppers or mushrooms and you’ve doubled the amount of food. Go meatless and combine it with pulses and dark leafy greens as in the recipe below and you’ve really boosted your nutrition quotient.

Pasta with Spinach and White Beans

Makes 6 servings

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 19-oz./540-mL cans cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
1 10-oz./ 250 g package baby spinach
12 ounces short pasta, preferably whole wheat (such as fusilli or farfalle)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to package instructions.

In the meantime, heat oil in heavy large nonstick skillet over medium heat; add onion and garlic and sauté until tender, about 10 minutes. Add beans and spinach and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, about 5 to 7 minutes until spinach is wilted. Transfer drained pasta to skillet and toss with spinach mixture and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with remaining Parmesan cheese.

Per serving nutritional information:
Calories: 321
Protein: 14 grams
Fat: 7 grams
Saturated Fat: 2 grams
Carbohydrate: 42 grams
Dietary Fibre: 9 grams
Sodium: 140 mg

Tags: , , , , , ,

Categories: Recipes, Whole Foods

Author:Rosie Schwartz

Rosie Schwartz is a Toronto-based consulting dietitian and writer.

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