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DAILY BYTE: Mama Mia! Plant-Forward Pasta Makeover, Part 2


This “Winning Wednesday“ we’re going to explore how to decrease some of the saturated fats from meat, cream and cheese in your pasta entrees, while still getting the protein you need and also sneaking more veggies onto your plate.

Based on accumulated studies on cancer rates and outcomes, the American Institute for Cancer Research recommends for 2/3 of your plate to come from plants. It's a little different from the meat-centered meals many of us grew up with. In this post, we'll explore a couple of easy and delicious ways to help you make the transition. Your health, and the planet, will thank you.


For a quick, plant-forward family dinner that doesn't require a lot of thought (or chopping vegetables), I was very impressed with this product:

Here are the simple ingredients: organic turkey, organic yellow lentils, organic feta cheese, organic spinach, sea salt, organic rice starch, organic dill, organic dehydrated garlic, organic black pepper, organic olive oil.


In three "meatballs" only 1 out of 7 total grams of fat is saturated. The rest is the heart-healthy variety. Compare that with 17g total fat (7g saturated fat) for the same serving size of traditional Italian meatballs. They also contain about half the calories and double the "make your gut happy" fiber with nearly the same amount of protein. They come frozen, and I was short on time one day so I tossed them into a crock pot with some of my homemade red sauce and went about my day. The kids gobbled them up later for dinner. They had no idea they were eating vegetables. Add on a salad, and you've got a very veggie-prominent meal with zero stress.


If you want to get a little more fancy and/or go vegan, here is a beautiful recipe for Vegan Garlic "Alfredo" sauce from The Vegan 8 (features 8 ingredient vegan recipes): https://thevegan8.com/wprm_print/34276

Ingredients:

  • White Onion

  • Low-sodium Vegetable Broth

  • Salt

  • Black proper

  • Minced Garlic

  • Raw Unsalted Cashews

  • Lemon Juice

  • Nutritional Yeast

If you don't have a powerful blender, I recommend soaking the cashews in water first for 3-4 hours to soften and ensure a smooth-textured sauce.


Also, I didn't use nutritional yeast when I tried this recipe. I actually veered from vegan and added a bit of feta. I was surprised at just how good the flavor was, but without the heavy feeling that you get from eating standard Alfredo made from butter and cream, and often thickened with flour. It goes very nicely over broccoli, chicken, and/or plant-based pasta (see last week's post). Mangia!

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