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Healthy Pasta Recipes & Grains

Healthy pasta recipes are truly about all the goodness you add to them. We heap as many vegetables and healthy sauces and toppings as we can and then unload all kinds of flavors and methods to create the following dishes. Going gluten free has only stepped up our game to invent healthy pasta recipes with all the zest of traditional favorites (thank goodness for Tinkyada pastas) while branching out how we use rices and other grains. Healthy pasta recipes and grains sprinkled in a diet of mostly whole foods can help change things up and stretch our fresh vegetables, greens, meats and fish so we get the most of of them and our budget.


Pasta with Garlic & Eggs

Hands down, this is our current go-to meal and definitely an all-time favorite that originated from Mark Bittman's recipe. It can be as simple as you want or dressed up with any number of add-ins. An elegantly minimalist dish that's super rich and flavorful!! For us, it's all about the garlic and the way the eggs perfectly coat the pasta with the ingredients' goodness. 
Mavenjoy Note: We roast mushrooms, squash and kale in a 400 oven for 20 minutes while preparing the pasta and eggs--works out beautifully. You want to try and choreograph the dish so that the garlic doesn't brown and pasta is ready to add to eggs once they just barely set. Beautiful!


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Pasta with Garlic and Eggs

Ingredients:
6-8 ounces gluten free pasta (our favorite picks are Jovial's Capellini or Spaghetti)
1-2 tablespoons butter 
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, sliced
3 eggs
Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese, to taste
Lemon zest, to taste
Fresh basil, to taste 
Black pepper, to taste
Salt, to taste

Optional Add In's:
- Mushrooms: roast or saute 1-2 cups sliced mushrooms with olive oil/butter and garlic
- Roasted diced zucchini or squash 
- Roasted, cubed butternut or kabocha squash
- Organic green peas, cooked
Shrimp: sauté a 1/2 lb. of shrimp, peeled and halved, with mushrooms above or by themselves with a little garlic and olive oil
- Greens: Add some organic kale to mushrooms or shrimp towards the end of cooking, sauté on their own with a little garlic and olive oil until just wilted, or roast in oven (see note above). Or simply stir in fresh organic spinach or arugula.
- Crispy fried pancetta or bacon

Preparation:
Cook pasta according to instructions.
Combine garlic, butter and oil in large sauté pan over medium-low heat to sweat and soften garlic but not browning it (see note above).
Crack eggs into skillet and wait until whites are just barely set and yolks are still runny.
Drain and add pasta to pan and toss/combine with eggs and garlic. Turn off heat (hot pasta will continue to cook eggs and eggs will coat the pasta). Stir in cheese, zest, basil, salt and pepper and any add-ins, if using. Serve immediately.
Servings: (2 large servings or 4 small-medium servings)
Inspired by Mark Bittman's Pasta with Fried Eggs at NYT Cooking

Baked Risotto

A bit "faux-foodie" perhaps, but this is so the way to do risotto at home. It's amazingly simple, quick and absolutely delicious.


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Baked Risotto

Ingredients:
3/4 cup organic arborio rice
2 cups organic chicken broth
Mavenjoy Pick: Organic Chicken Bone Broth ~
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup grated hard cheese like Parmesan or Aged Manchego
1 tablespoon of olive oil or butter
Salt and pepper to taste
Truffle oil (optional)
~
Mavenjoy Pick: Susan Rice Black Truffle Oil ~

Add In's:
- Mushrooms: roast or saute 2 cups quartered mushrooms with olive oil, garlic and chopped onion;
- Roasted, cubed butternut or kabocha squash;
- Organic green peas, cooked;
- Organic greens: either add to mushrooms or shrimp towards the end of cooking or saute on their own with a little garlic and olive oil until just wilted; or simply stir in fresh organic spinach or arugula.
- Shrimp: saute a 1/2 lb. of shrimp, peeled and halved, with mushrooms above or by themselves with a little garlic and olive oil.

Pizza anyone? Try this creative gluten free pizza crust recipe.

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350.
Combine rice and broth in a 2.5 liter baking dish with lid. Cover and bake 35-40 minutes (until liquid is absorbed). Prepare any additions you wish to add. Remove rice from oven, add cheese, wine, oil/butter, salt and pepper; stir until creamy. Stir in any additions (with some of their cooking liquids) until just combined. Serve while hot. Drizzle each serving with just a tad of truffle oil.
2-4 main dish servings

Summer Fresh Pasta, Arrabbiata-style

I always find it hard to actually cook the all-perfect fresh off the vine, summer tomato, but this healthy pasta recipe intensifies their flavor and keeps freshness intact. It's ideal for that bumper crop of summer tomatoes, especially those super sweet, juicy small ones.

Semi-macerating your tomatoes breaks them down a bit but keeps them fresh, then you hit them with the hot skillet and just warm. Similarly, by roasting the vegetables instead of simmering on the stove, they retain nice texture and flavors are heightened and sweetened.
The sausage adds a layer of spice, add as much or little or none as you like. Makes a nice light and fresh dinner, even on a hot summer's evening.

Mavenjoy Ingredient Picks
 ~Applegate Organic Andouille Sausage or find 
your local meat sources~
~Tinkyada Organic Brown Rice Spaghetti ~
~ Jovial Gluten Free Capellini ~


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Summer Fresh Pasta, Arrabbiata-style

Ingredients:
Olive oil
2-3 cups diced fresh organic grape, cherry or baby romas tomatoes
2 heaping teaspoons minced garlic
1/4 cup fresh organic basil leaves, slivered
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar + more for drizzling
1/2 teaspoon pure sea salt
1/2 large sweet onion, large diced
2-3 organic summer squash, cut into large chunks or thick slices
3-4 mild or medium organic peppers, large diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 lb. organic, grass-fed hot sausage or 2 links of sausage, ground or diced 
6-8 oz. organic pasta, cooked
Mavenjoy Gluten Free Picks: Gluten Free Capellini or Spaghetti  ~
Hard Cheese, finely grated

Mavenjoy Note
You can skip the meat but add some crushed pepper to the hot pan before adding the tomatoes for some kick.

Preparation:
Preheat oven to 450.
Combine first 4 ingredients and drizzle with olive oil. Let sit at room temperature while preparing remaining ingredients.
Combine onions, squash and peppers. Generously drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Splash with balsamic vinegar and stir. Transfer to greased jelly roll pan. Roast for 15-20 minutes -- you want them still vibrant and just beginning to caramelize, not cooked to death. While vegetables are roasting, heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Splash with olive oil and add sausage to brown. With skillet hot, add tomatoes mixture and reduce heat to low. The goal is just to gently soften, warm the sauce through but not to really cook the tomatoes, keeping it fresh. Add roasted vegetables, stir to combine. Add cooked pasta, lightly dust with cheese and combine.
Plate using deep bowls, lightly dusting each serving with cheese -- a microplane is tops for this.
Servings: (2 extra large servings or 4 medium servings)

Creamy Polenta

Polenta and grits are great multi-taskers. They make a great breakfast or dinner side dish recipes and really shine as a base to complete a simple, convenient one bowl meal. Try them with our Appalachian Gumbo, Farm-style Huevos Con Tomate or Sausage & Vegetable Ragu. See recipe variations for each below too.


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Creamy Polenta

Ingredients:
2 cups water
2 cups organic broth
1/2 teaspoon pure sea salt
1 cup organic cornmeal  (why Bob's?)
1/4 - 1/3 cup organic Neufchatel cream cheese or chévre cheese
Mavenjoy Pick: Belle Chevre Goat Cheeses ~
Splash of milk beverage (unsweetened almond milk or goat milk work really well) -- optional

Preparation:
Bring water and broth to boil in medium saucepan. Slowly whisk in cornmeal. Cook at high heat 1-2 minutes whisking continuously. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer approximately 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese and milk until desire consistency -- heat through.
Recipe Variation:
For Creamy Corn Polenta: Stir in 1-2 cups of organic corn when heat is reduced to low, cover and follow above instructions.
See also Creamy Polenta Quick-Pick Method

Savory Grits


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Savory Grits

Ingredients:
1 cup organic broth
1 cup milk beverage (unsweetened almond milk or goat milk works well)
1 cup water or broth
1/4 teaspoon pure sea salt
1 cup organic grits
1 tablespoon grass-fed butter

Preparation:
Bring liquids and salt to boil in medium saucepan. Stir in grits and reduce heat. Simmer 5 minutes and serve.
Recipe Variation:
For Creamy-Cheesy Savory Grits: Just before serving, add 2-4oz. of cheese and splashes of milk or cream until desired consistency, heat through and serve. Try artisan cheddars, chevres or a gorgonzola. A cup of organic corn is a nice addition too!


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