June 16, 2014

spinach, almond, and feta pasta

Yum
 I love spinach and here's why (well besides the wonderful taste and pretty green color)... spinach is loaded with flavonoids which act as antioxidants, protecting the body from free radicals. Researchers have discovered at least 13 different flavonoid compounds that act as anti-cancer substances. The various nutrients offer much in the way of disease protection.  This leafy green is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium, and vitamin B6. It’s a very good source of protein, phosphorus, vitamin E, zinc, dietary fiber, and copper. Plus, it’s a good source of selenium, niacin, and omega-3 fatty acids.

Next I could go on and on about the health benefits of almonds and garlic, but after all that spinach goodness you may just want to look it up on your own.  In a few words... they are also amazing!

On to the yummy side of things... this pasta is delicious!  I added the toasted almonds for crunch and feta because its tangy creaminess goes so well with the spinach and sprouts.  Last but not least... garlic which is always a plus and you can never go wrong!:) 

 Servings 4-6
Total Time 25

INGREDIENTS
  • 5-6 ounces spinach, chopped (I used half spinach, half arugula... I love the bitterness in the arugula!)
  • 1 pound small dried pasta (for gluten-free make sure to choose a gluten-free pasta)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 ounces toasted almond slices
  • 3 ounces onion, kale, or alfalfa sprouts
  • 4 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • sea salt (or kosher salt)

  
INSTRUCTIONS

In a large pot, boil water for the pasta adding salt to the water. This will help to replace the salt that is leached from the pasta while boiling.  Cook pasta according to package directions, until al dente. 
Drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the pasta water, and return back to the large pot.


While the pasta is cooking, in a small sauce pan over medium heat add the olive oil, garlic, and salt (roughly 1 teaspoon).  Cook for 2-3 minutes until garlic just begins to turn golden.  Remove from heat.


Add the greens, reserved pasta water, and hot olive oil to the large pot with the pasta.  Stir and cover the pot.  Let sit for 2-3 minutes while the greens wilt.    


Stir well and add most of the almonds and sprouts. Taste and add more salt if needed.   Serve topped with feta, the remaining almonds, and sprouts.  Enjoy!!

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