Last week I shared several slow cooker recipe, tips and ideas for my favorite way to get healthy food to our family’s table without a lot of stress and time. This week I focus on my second favorite convenient, healthy food genre: pasta.
Pasta has several things going for it: first, it is almost universally loved by children and adults alike. Second, even if you have special food needs, there are gluten-free versions and of course my favorite, whole wheat and whole grain blends. Third, pasta can be served in almost infinite flavor combinations: Italian, Southwestern, Asian and American flavors all are well-suited for pasta dishes. Fourth, and perhaps most important for our purposes this week: pasta cooks fast.
Pasta dishes can be as simple or complex as you wish, but for our purposes this week, I am going to keep the recipes quite simple, yet super tasty. Really, in a pinch, I’ve been known to open a jar of store bought marinara and serve it over cooked spaghetti with a touch of low-fat cheese. This is great, especially when I am just super short on time. Using whole wheat pasta, you have a really healthful meal! But here is an almost-as-easy recipe that gets rave reviews in our home.
Lemon Caper Pasta
1 pound penne or other small or medium size pasta, preferably whole wheat
1/2 cup drained and rinsed capers
1/2 cup chopped olives
1 - 14 ounce can artichoke hearts, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup olive oil
zest and juice of one lemon
1/4 cup crumbled feta
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
optional: steamed asparagus, sweet peas, green beans
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
Cook the penne or pasta according to the package instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, steam the asparagus, peas or beans, if using until crisp-tender.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the capers, olives, artichoke hearts, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, feta cheese and ground pepper.
If desired, toast the breadcrumbs under your broiler for a minute or two, or until slightly browned.
Drain the pasta, but allow a tablespoon or two of the cooking water to remain. Add the caper mixture to the pasta and toss lightly. Add the asparagus, peas or beans, if using and toss lightly.
Serve immediately, topping with 1-2 tablespoons breadcrumbs.
We love this pasta dish for something different, but still super easy!
Life is sweet,