My husband would be a pretty happy man if we added pasta into the weekly rotation of our dinner items. Me on the other hand…well, I’ve always just found pasta to be kind of boring and not worth it, calorically. Plus, I really like my dinners to be pretty veggie-rich and a good balance of protein and produce. This does not scream pasta….until now. This bowl of pasta packs nearly three servings of vegetables for each portion of pasta. Now that I can get behind.
Let me also take a moment to talk about peas. Listen, I know a bunch of people who don’t usually eat peas because they’re on the sweeter and starchier spectrum. Well, first of all…it’s a plant, I highly doubt it will kill you if consumed on occasion (unless you’re allergic, then by all means steer clear!). I think peas are technically a legume, but the USDA classifies green peas as a starchy vegetable. As a starchy vegetable, they pack a decent amount of protein (roughly eight grams per one cup). They’re full of phytonutrients that provide antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits. I also recently read that they may be a good source of alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3s), with 30mg per one cup.
The other great thing about peas? They puree beautifully, which in this case leads to a rich, creamy sauce that has absolutely zero cream or dairy. I blended in some steamed spinach for an extra veggie kick, along with some Greek cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil, a pinch of red pepper flakes for warmth, and some lemon to brighten the flavors. This covered some organic brown rice pasta (gluten free for me, but you can feel free to use whole wheat pasta or whatever else you want to use!), slow cooked sliced mushrooms for more veggies and texture, and was all topped off with a little bit of crispy prosciutto. Even I, the perpetual pasta naysayer, really can’t complain here! And my husband, well he’s just happy there’s finally a pasta dish we both like. Cheers!
Spinach Pea Pasta
Yields: 4 servings
- 4 portions of your pasta of choice
- 2 slices of prosciutto, diced (optional)
- 1 (8 oz) package of baby bella mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
- 2 cups of frozen peas
- 1 bag (6 oz.) baby spinach
- ½ cup of the pasta cooking water
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- pinch of red pepper flaks
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring the water for the pasta to a boil. When boiling, add the pasta and follow the package’s cooking instructions for preparing the pasta.
- While the water is boiling, heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and add the prosciutto, stirring occasionally until prosciutto is crispy. If skillet is not non-stick, you may want to add a small amount of olive oil prior to adding the prosciutto.
- Remove the prosciutto from the pan and add the sliced mushrooms, stirring occasionally until mushrooms are tender and cooked through. Remove mushrooms from pan.
- Place peas (it’s okay if they’re still frozen) and spinach in pan, covering and cooking until peas are warm and tender and spinach is wilted. If your skillet is a little smaller, you may need to do this in several steps to avoid overflow. But no worries – it wilts down and shrinks quickly!
- Combine peas, spinach, lemon juice, olive oil, and seasonings in a blender and puree until smooth.
- Drain the pasta, reserving about a half cup of the cooking water to add to the sauce to thin it slightly.
- Combine the water, sauce, pasta, and mushrooms and stir until evenly incorporated.
- Top with the crispy prosciutto and serve!