Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Meatless Tuesday: How I tricked my husband into eating veggie pasta



My husband always says that the key to a good vegetarian meal is working with a recipe that is intended to be vegetarian. Nothing annoys him more than when I try to substitute tofu or beans in place of what would usually be chicken, pork or beef.

In fact, we recently got into an argument one Friday night when I told him I was fixing tacos - one of his childhood favorites - for dinner. He was practically giddy with excitement until I called him into the kitchen for dinner and he was faced with a smorgasbord of beans and sautéed vegetables instead of the mounds of seasoned ground beef he had been envisioning. With an audible groan, all joy dashed from his face and was replaced by complete irritation that I had “tricked” him into thinking he was getting “good” tacos. To which I’m sure I had some snarky remark that didn’t help my veggie trickster persona.

All that to say, he hates it when I try to fool him into eating vegetarian by converting his favorite carnivore-centric meals into meatless ones. That is, except for this meal. Back in my early days of attempting vegetarian trickery, I tried a recipe for Chicken Pasta Primavera from a Good Housekeeping magazine and realized I liked the bites without chicken more than the bites with it. So the next time I made it, I omitted the chicken, added a few additional ingredients and presented it as a “new” recipe to my husband. Not only did he ignore the lack of meat, he raved about my “new” recipe and asked me to make it again.

These days, my little Veggie Pasta Primavera switcheroo is still one of his all-time favorites and a main stay on my short list of quick, easy and tasty meatless meals for the week. Enjoy!


Veggie Pasta Primavera
Adapted from Good Housekeeping

Ingredients:

1 lb. bow tie pasta
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
2 green onions, sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red pepper, sliced
*¼ c. sundried tomatoes, oil packed
2 c. fresh spinach
*½ c. cream
¼ tsp. crushed red pepper
½ c. grated Parmesan
¼ c. fresh basil, sliced thin
Salt and pepper

Directions:

Cook pasta in salted water according to package directions. Reserve ½ c. pasta water.

Heat olive oil in large skillet on medium heat. Add green onions (reserve 2 tbsp.) and garlic, cook for 1 min. Add asparagus and red pepper, cook for 6-7 min. or until tender. Add sundried tomatoes, cook for  1 min. more. Stir in cream, crushed red pepper and season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat mixture to boiling, then remove from heat.

To skillet add spinach, pasta, cooking water, Parmesan and basil. Stir to combine and garnish with green onions.

*Recommendations:

Sundried tomatoes - Costco offers a 2 lb. jar of Bella Sun Luci sundried tomatoes for under $10, compared to the $2-$4 you’ll pay at the grocery store for just a few ounces. It’s a great deal and a great way to add extra color and flavor to pastas, salads, etc.

Cream – For a lighter version of this meal, substitute half and half for the cream. It still tastes rich and creamy, but with less fat and fewer calories. 
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