Veggie “Pasta” with Peas & Prosciutto

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I found this recipe in one of my regular go-to spots for Fat Loss Foodie inspiration:

Tastespotting.com 

“A community-driven visual potluck”

A foodie website may not be the first place you’d think to look for healthy recipes, but trust me – there are some real gems hidden among the rows of French macarons, bigger-than-life cheeseburgers, and yes, styled-just-so cupcakes.

People are still making, styling and photographing cupcakes?

Bookmark Tastespotting and browse it for inspiration whenever you get bored with your food.  And hey – the cupcakes are cute to look at I suppose.  I’ll give them that…

This faux-pasta recipe from Natural Comfort Kitchen caught my eye because it’s a veggie-based pasta dish, and the more vegetables, the BETTER as far I’m concerned.

Is this going to trick you into thinking you’re eating pasta?

Verdict: unlikely.

But the cheese sauce, the flavors – you will swear you’re at a swanky Italian joint, blowing your diet to bits and pieces by digging into a big bowl of cheesy, meaty goodness.

You aren’t:)


 

A cup of cauliflower alone has a measly 27 calories, less than a gram of fat, and only 5 g of carbs, 2 of them from fiber.  It has 2 g. of protein per cup as well.  There is no pasta that can come close to that!

I used to eat big bowls of whole wheat pasta thinking, “I’m eating clean!  I’m being so good eating healthy!  This will help me get leaner!”

Wrong.  And I hated how lethargic and full I felt afterwards.

While whole wheat MAY be slightly higher in fiber and considered healthier by some when compared to regular pasta, it is still far too high in carbohydrates if you’re looking to lean out and see those muscles you’ve worked so hard for!

This is where pasta made from vegetables becomes such a game-changer!

We can slash the carbs, increase the fiber, increase the AMOUNT of food we’re eating, AND get leaner by tossing the pasta and using veggies that mimic the texture and appearance of pasta.

Spiralized zucchini noodles would be great with this sauce, but I opted to follow the recipe and use chunks of cauliflower.

Cruciferous veggies like cauliflower, broccoli, and brussels sprouts are all Fat Loss Foodie staples.

This particular family of vegetables –  named because of their flowers with 4 petals that resemble a crucifix – is loaded with water and fiber (like all veggies) AND help the body detox excess estrogen.

Cruciferous veggies are also non-starchy vegetables, which means you can eat them in unlimited amounts.  (That’s great for those of us who require lots of food to feel and stay full!)

If you’re a woman trying to lean out your lower body (i.e. burn that stubborn fat that likes to hang around your hips, butt, and thighs), then eat cruciferous vegetables like it’s your job.  This will help your body balance the estrogen:progesterone ratio, creating a more favorable environment for fat loss.

There isn’t lots of meat in this dish, and it isn’t entirely necessary, so all you vegetarians can have a go at this one, too.

 


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Adapted from Natural Comfort Kitchen

Changes made to the original recipe: I used a whole head of cauliflower instead of half, and the ratio of veggies:sauce was perfect for me.  I reduced the amount of mint by half as I didn’t want it overpowering the dish, and omitted the pine nuts because I’m not a huge fan of them.

Veggie Pasta with Peas & Prosciutto

INGREDIENTS

One head of cauliflower, chopped into bite-sized pieces

2 c. frozen peas

1 c. ricotta cheese

2-3 oz. parmesan cheese, grated or shredded

5 thin slices of prosciutto (about 1/3 lb.)

1/2 c. whole basil leaves, loosely packed, then finely chopped

1/4 c. whole mint leaves, loosely packed, then finely chopped

1 Tbs. olive oil

Sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS

Heat a large pot of water over high heat.  Once it comes to a boil, season generously with salt and add cauliflower florets.  Cook for 5-6 minutes until florets are al dente – softened but still holding their shape and not mushy.

Remove from heat.  Using a slotted spoon, remove the florets into a colander to drain, reserving some of the cauliflower water for the sauce.

In a skillet over medium-low heat, lay the prosciutto slices flat.  Cook until most of the fat has rendered, turning with tongs occasionally.  Remove the prosciutto once the slices start to crisp and brown slightly.  Set aside.

Turn the heat up to medium and to the same skillet, add the tablespoon of olive oil and the frozen peas.  Cook for 3-5 minutes or until thawed and warmed through.

Add the ricotta, parmesan, fresh herbs (reserve a little for garnish), 2-3 Tbs. of cauliflower water, 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. black pepper.  Stir until combined and warmed; the cheeses will start to melt and coat everything.

If the ricotta and parmesan look “clumpy,” add more water a tablespoon at a time to smooth it out.

Add the cauliflower and stir for a few more minutes until the sauce coats the cauliflower.

Coarsely chop the prosciutto and sprinkle over your “pasta,” tossing with tongs or turning with a wooden spoon to incorporate.

You will notice the cheese sauce is still melting and starting to coat everything nicely.  If it seems dry, add a splash more of the cauliflower water and keep turning and stirring everything until it is the consistency you like.

Serve in bowls and sprinkle with herbs.

I ate mine sitting on the living room floor because – well, I’m classy like that.

Seven Jeans with Dinner

1 Comment on Veggie “Pasta” with Peas & Prosciutto

  1. So glad you discovered this recipe through Tastespotting–thanks for the added nutritional breakdown here! Hope you keep coming back to this dish as much as I do :)

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