Not all calories are created equally when determined by nutritional value, and one sneaky culprit of calories vs. low nutritional value is pasta. I’m not saying ‘don’t ever eat the stuff’ but there are other (more nutritious) foods to douse in tomato sauce and garlic once in a while, maybe even often.
Spiralize Some Zoodles
I know Vegetti sounds like a dirty word but do yourself a favor and try one. If you haven’t seen these, a spiralizer is a device that ribbons vegetables, like zucchini. Hence, the word zoodles, which I first heard on Food Network and went ‘oh, that’s what you call them!’
Zoodles don’t take long to cook, so add them at the end of cooking…just toss them right in the sauce! If you’re looking for a sauce you don’t have to doctor, try my Fire-Roasted Pepper and Garden Tomato Blender Sauce. The prep is almost entirely hands-off and the only clean up is your blender.
Roast Some Spaghetti Squash
Spaghetti squash is great because you can roast a batch, then refrigerate portions for later. Need a quick lunch? Toss in some sauce or shake up a combination of oil, vinegar, garlic, spices and herbs for drizzling.
Roasting a spaghetti squash is simple:
- Preheat your oven to 450 degrees
- Cut each squash in half length-ways and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds
- Season the exposed squash with olive oil, salt and pepper
- Place flesh-side down on a rimmed baking sheet
- Bake for 40-60 minutes or until flesh pierces easily with a fork
- Once cool enough to handle, use a large spoon to scrape the strands from the skin
Black Bean Pasta (because even I’m not brave enough for shiratake noodles)
Black bean pasta may not be the color you’re used to but it’s still a vehicle for sauce, is surprisingly palatable and is full of fiber. If you haven’t tried it yet, you may be missing out on an opportunity here! After all, you won’t know if you like it if you’ve never tried it.
Since you probably won’t find black bean pasta at your local Wal-Mart, you can scout your local specialty stores or order a box online. The Explore Asian brand from Thrive Market has only two ingredients: black beans and water.
These three swaps are the tip of the culinary iceberg but in my opinion, the tastiest. I’d love to hear about others you’ve tried…whether you loved them or damn-near gagged. Is there something else you top with your favorite pasta sauce? Let me know- I want to try it!