Light & Easy Weeknight Pasta

pasta & greens

Today I’m going to introduce you to one of my all-time favorite recipe sites*:

EatingWell

Why do I love it so much?

  • They do a really great job taking common recipe favorites & making them healthier. You might think that’s a simple feat: “Just take out the cheese.” or “Bake, instead of fry.” Yes, sometimes it is as simple as that, but most of the times, it’s not. That’s why a lot of people don’t like what they think of as “diet food.” Often times, attempts at a healthier version of recipes sacrifice on texture, or leave the revised dish bland & sub par. However, the chefs at EatingWell take the time to experiment with substituting healthier ingredients, while trying to preserve the soul of the original dish. If it’s supposed to be creamy or crispy, two food adjectives that usually imply high calorie counts, they make sure that it still is.
  • They’re also really talented at coming up with new & innovative recipes.
  • Each recipe lists the nutritional values of the dish, so you know even more about what you’re eating.
  • They give really great tips & notes with every dish, so you never have to worry about not understanding a technique or being able to find an unusual ingredient.
  • Most recipes have great suggestions for ideas on what to pair the dish with.
  • Their AMAZING Advanced Recipe Search. You can search by type of cuisine, main ingredient, meal, occasion, technique, ease of preparation, etc. Also, if you have any diet restrictions, or are cooking for anyone that does, I highly recommend this site for you, as you can always have your search bring up only recipes that fit any of your other search criteria AND are also vegetarian, gluten-free, diabetes appropriate, heart healthy, low sodium, etc.

For instance, it was a weeknight, so I wanted something easy. I was craving something Italian, maybe pasta, but I also wanted it to be light. So I searched using the following parameters:

  • Type of Dish: Main dish, vegetarian
  • Meal/Course: Dinner
  • Type of Cuisine: Italian
  • Ease of Preparation: Easy

From the results, I picked “Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons & Parsley Brown Butter.” It satisfied my craving for pasta, but it also had a light sauce & lots of vegetables. You will also learn that I have a hard time ignoring anything with the words “brown butter” in it.

While the pasta had zucchini & tomatoes in it, I realized I was also craving some greens. A lot of times with pasta, my easy go-to side is a salad, but I really wasn’t feeling it that night. EatingWell to the rescue! Under “Type of Dish,” I searched for “Side dish, vegetable,” and one of the first results was “Chard with Shallots, Pancetta & Walnuts.” (I was initially going for vegetarian that night, but figured 1.5 oz of pancetta to flavor 6 servings wasn’t exactly going heavy on the meat…)

I made a few minor adjustments to the recipes. The grocery store didn’t have any gnocchi (?!?), so I substituted some 4 cheese ravioli from the refrigerated pasta section, & left out the parmesan cheese originally in the recipe. I also added some yellow “summer” squash to the pasta, as I thought it would add a little more color & flavor to the dish. The store was also out of chard, but the mustard greens looked nice, so I used that, instead.

Overall, I think it came out really light & flavorful. I loved how refreshing all the vegetables were, & the brown butter sauce complimented them so well. The tiny bit of walnuts & pancetta added a lot of texture, & their flavor, along with the lemon juice & the thyme, added balance to the bitterness of the chard.

The whole meal had approximately 3 whole servings of vegetables, & had an approximate nutritional value, per serving, of:

486 Calories; 14 g Fat; 7 g Sat; 30 mg Cholesterol; 71 g Carbohydrates; 20 g Protein; 7 g Fiber; 1005  mg Sodium; 991 mg Potassium

Not too shabby. The carbs are expected in a  pasta dish, & I could have done with a little less sodium, but it was low in cholesterol & high in fiber.

Most importantly, though: when you saw the picture of this meal & read the names of the dishes, did you expect that the entire plate contained less than 500 calories & 20 grams of fat? I wouldn’t have. And that’s why I ♥ EatingWell.

dinner is servedRecipes:

Gnocchi with Zucchini Ribbons & Parsley Brown Butter

Chard with Shallots, Pancetta & Walnuts

Enjoy! ♥

* I just wanted to mention that I in no way receive any endorsement or compensation from EatingWell. I’m just a huge fan & wanted to share it with you!
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One Response to Light & Easy Weeknight Pasta

  1. Eftychia says:

    Light and easy indeed!!! This dish looks so tasty! Thanks for sharing!

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