realistic recipes for a nutritious kitchen

Golden Beet & Beet Greens Pasta W/ Ricotta and Feta Cheese

Golden Beet & Greens Pasta

Golden Beet & Greens Pasta – Clean & Delicious®

Growing up, there was always a fifty-fifty shot that “macaroni” (as my parents like to call it) would be on the dinner menu.

We easily had pasta three times a week.

Spaghetti and Meatballs, Linguini and Clam Sauce, Pasta Fagioli, Cheese Raviolis, Lasagna, and Fusilli with Meat Sauce were just some of our childhood staples.

And as a mother who wants to get a simple meal on the table rather quickly, I get it.  Pasta is a fast, easy, and delicious solution for busy, weeknight dinners, but how can we ensure that that we are not sitting down to a nutritionally void meal?

It’s actually very easy.

Here are my 5-top ways to bulk up the nutritional value of your pasta dish:

1.  Use a whole wheat or whole grain pasta

This is by far one of the easiest ways to bump up your pasta’s nutritional profile.  By choosing a whole wheat or whole grain pasta (even a whole grain blend) you automatically increase the protein and the fiber content which in and of itself creates a more nutritious and balanced meal.

2.  Cook your pasta al dente
It takes our bodies a longer time to break down and digest al dente pasta which results in more stable blood sugar levels (this is a good thing).  If you are still not ready to give up your white pasta then this just may be your saving grace!

3.  Add some form of protein
I know, I know, I’ve talked about this a thousand times but that’s because it is important!  Again, you add more nutrients and balance out the meal so you don’t end up with blood sugar that resembles The Six Flags “Steamin’ Demon”.   And this doesn’t mean you have to add meat.  You can bulk up the protein by including beans, tossing in some nuts, or stirring in a little cheese.

4.  Veggies, Veggies, Veggies!!!
Need I say more?  I try to make my plate more veggies than pasta – this is an easy way to ensure that you are not over doing the pasta serving size, too!

5.  Skip the take-out and make it yourself
It’s true.  The more love that goes into a dish, the more nutritious it will be.  Taking the time to make your food will always result in a more nutritious meal.  Wanna double the dose of home-made nutrition??  Cook with someone you love (or at the very least, someone you like a lot :)

For those of you who have been reading for a while, you know this is a topic I have covered before both here and here.  I can’t help myself…  pasta is just one of those things that gets SO much slack and I really want to show you guys that it doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing.  We really can find ways to make pasta a part of a clean and delicious lifestyle!

Hope you guys enjoy this one!  If you have any questions regarding the recipe, feel free to ask.

Golden Beet & Beet Greens Pasta W/ Ricotta and Feta Cheese

Yield: 2 servings

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 1hour 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of golden beets with the greens attached
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • ½ of a medium onion
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 ounces of whole grain spaghetti
  • ¼ cup part skim ricotta cheese
  • A handful of fresh chopped basil
  • 2 tbsp feta cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

Pre heat oven to 400.

Remove the beets greens from the beets and give both a really good rinse.

Place the beets on a rimmed baking sheet and pop them right into the oven.  They will take any where from 25-45 minutes to cook, depending on their size.  Ultimately you want to be able to easily pierce them with a fork.

Once the beets have cooked and cooled a bit, you can rub the skins right off and cut them into small bite sized pieces.

Stem the greens, and cut them into thin ribbons.

Cook your pasta according to the package and be sure to reserve some of the pasta water.

Heat the oil in large non-stick sauté over a medium high heat. Add in the onions and garlic and cook for about five minutes until the onions are translucent.  Add in the beet greens and season with some salt and pepper. If you need a little extra liquid, stir in some of the pasta water.

Once the greens have wilted, stir in the chopped beets, fresh basil, pasta, and ricotta cheese.  Gently mix until everything is combined and the cheese has coated all the pasta.  Adjust your seasonings.

Plate into two big bowls and top each with a tablespoon of feta cheese.  Enjoy!

Serves 2.

Nutritional Analysis

Nutrients per 1/2 recipe: Calories: 395; Total Fat: 11.3g; Saturated Fat: 3.9g; Cholesterol: 20mg; Sodium: 442mg; Carbohydrate: 61.9g; Dietary Fiber: 10.9g; Sugars: 14.9g; Protein: 15.9g

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8 Responses to “Golden Beet & Beet Greens Pasta W/ Ricotta and Feta Cheese”

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    1
    Cara — May 12, 2010 @ 7:20 am

    I admit that I don’t cook a ton of pasta, because like you I grew up eating a LOT of pasta. And in my family of 5, there were usually 2 boxes of pasta prepared and little leftovers, to give you sense of our (lack of) portion control. So now when I cook pasta I am really careful to weigh out just 2oz per person, and add lots of veggies and protein to bulk it up! Because like you say, it can be a part of a nutritious diet if you do it right! I love beets so this pasta dish sounds delicious!

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    2
    Kalynskitchen — May 12, 2010 @ 11:04 am

    Wow, does that ever look good. The beets are just beautiful.

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    Monique — May 12, 2010 @ 7:25 pm

    I started Al Dente Pasta company almost 30 years ago and wholeheartedly agree with your advice. It is exactly how I eat-Lots of veggies with my pasta. Our Whole Wheat Fettuccine cooks in just 3-4 minutes and even people who don’t usually like Whole Wheat, like ours.
    check out http://www.aldentepasta.com.

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    4
    Jenna Hinkley — May 12, 2010 @ 10:45 pm

    love this recipe! Anything with feta and I’m there!

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    Jennifer — May 13, 2010 @ 5:10 am

    I give the same advice! I’m italian and my husbands parents are off the boat italian. We would honestly die without pasta. I think this country’s perception of carbs always being a bad thing is terrible. Sure the white stuff’s not so good, but there are amazing whole grains out there that can really do a body good!Thanks for posting this and debunking the pasta is always bad for you myth!

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    Leyla — May 13, 2010 @ 8:08 am

    I completely agree with all your points! Eating healthy isn’t about avoiding foods, it’s about having a balance in place. I also try to add lots of veggies and always have some sort of protein added to my pasta dishes. Thanks for this recipe, I love beets, so this looks divine! :)

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    Jaya — May 13, 2010 @ 5:40 pm

    Dani, do you ever make your own pasta? We find that ever since we got used to eating it fresh, we just can’t go back! I’ve made it with all kinds of flours from whole wheat to buckwheat and even with spinach added. This recipe looks delicious and I love your use of the beet greens too. Another great one! Thanks!

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    8
    Christina — May 15, 2010 @ 6:20 am

    I love your blog and have been reading it for awhile now. I just started my own so come check it out, I could use all the motivation possible

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