This post is sponsored by Dreamfields, healthy pasta that tastes like regular pasta!
Warning: it’s extremely delicious.
After creating (and eating) 100+ Italian inspired recipes for my upcoming cookbook, I promised BL that we would take a pasta break for the month of January. A pledge to create more of his favorite foods, like tacos, salads and stir-fry and take a break from our almost nightly pasta routine.
Ha. Um, no. In all sincerity, when I told him OK back in December, I honestly thought I could do it. But then temperatures crept into the single digits last week and all I wanted was a simple bowl of hearty pasta topped with a spicy tomato sauce.
If you’re looking for a quick and easy weeknight dinner, this is it. Spicy penne with a few servings of vegetables that comes together in less than 30 minutes.
Since it’s the second week of January, I’m betting that most of you are focused on eating healthy. While I don’t believe in making unrealistic resolutions, I completely understand the feeling of wanting to get back on track after an indulgent holiday season. Or maybe that’s just me. Considering my New Zealand holiday diet consisted of wine, cheese and more wine, I’m now craving simple and nourishing.
What I love most about this dinner option is that it’s both crave-worthy and filling. A single 350 calorie serving contains 10g of fiber and 12g of protein; two satiating nutrients that will keep you satisfied for hours.
When it comes to healthy eating, I teach my clients to aim for satisfaction, not fullness. Since I subscribe to the happy weight philosophy of dieting, I know that food not only has to be nutrient rich, it also has to taste good. Since pasta is one of my favorite foods, I make sure I can have it often by adding in nutrient-dense vegetables to up my intake of extra vitamins, minerals and fiber.
As an added bonus, I almost always choose whole-wheat or high-fiber pasta, like Dreamfields. I’ve talked about this brand a few times before; I love that it contains 5 grams of fiber and 7g of protein per serving but tastes just like white flour pasta. If you’ve been on the fence about whole grain pastas, try this one. I’m not a fan of some of the dense, super chewy whole grain pasta options out there, but Dreamfields is different. (see for yourself! I’ve got a giveaway at the end of the recipe!)
Lastly, let’s chat about serving size. It’s the other piece to the “all foods fit” concept; a slice of bread is fine, a loaf is probably too much. This is true with all the foods you love (pasta included). In fact, the more satisfied you are with your meal, the less likely you are to overeat.
I know that’s true for me; when I savor my meal, not only do I enjoy it more but I often end up eating less than I planned on. This observation was my first “aha” moment into giving up calorie counting forever and getting into Mindful Eating. When I don’t obsess over the numbers, it’s easier to find a weight I’m happy with.
This meal is my ultimate win. It’s exactly what I crave on most days with enough protein, fiber and vegetables to keep both my hunger and appetite satisfied for hours. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
- 1 box Dreamfields Penne Rigate
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup minced yellow onion
- 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 8 ounces mushrooms, chopped
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ½ cup red wine
- 1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes with juice
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
- ¼ cup freshly chopped basil leaves, plus more for garnish
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve ½ cup cooking liquid before draining; set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add onion, carrots and mushrooms; cook 8 to 10 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add salt, oregano, red pepper flakes and pepper. Stir in wine; cook about 5 to 8 minutes or until liquid is reduced by half, scraping up any browned vegetable bits on bottom of pan.
- Crush tomatoes with hands and add them along with juice to skillet. Simmer 10 minutes, stirring often.
- Remove skillet from heat. Add cooked pasta and ¼ cup of the reserved cooking liquid, the Parmesan cheese and basil; toss to combine. If sauce is too thick, thin with a little more of reserved cooking liquid.
- Transfer to large serving dish. Garnish with additional Parmesan cheese and basil, if desired.
Let’s eat pasta! I’m giving away a case of Dreamfields pasta to one DK reader! Enter below, I’ll announce the winner next week.
a Rafflecopter giveaway