Absolutely! Research shows that eating pasta is associated with higher intakes of total vegetables and red vegetables in particular – think tomatoes. One reason for this is that pasta is the perfect vehicle for adding healthier vegetables into your diet. Pasta is well-loved by children and adults alike, easy to prepare and eat, inexpensive and a renowned comfort food, plus it naturally pairs with high-fiber, nutritious and colorful vegetables like broccoli, red pepper, eggplant, cauliflower and spinach.
Consider favorite pasta dishes like lasagna vegetable roll ups, summer tortellini soup and creamy pasta with cherry tomatoes. Looking to up the vegetable ante? Here are three ways pasta can help you add more vegetables to your daily diet:
- Use Pasta to Introduce New Vegetables to Your Family – Pasta is ideal for introducing new vegetables to your family, particularly when you have picky eaters. It is also a great way to get your family to eat vegetables they wouldn’t normally eat alone. For example, your family may not like peas but they won’t mind them in Stove Top Mac n’ Cheese with Sausage and Peas or how about a Rigatoni with Cauliflower. Have fun and experiment with different shapes and sizes to give old favorites a new twist.
- Try Light Vegetable-Based Sauces – Pureed vegetable sauces are a snap to prepare and are a great replacement for heavy cream-based sauces. Take for example this Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Tomato Pasta just puree roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes together, toss with chickpeas, pasta and ricotta cheese and the dish comes together in minutes. For an even simpler option simply, toss cooked vegetables with your favorite and herb and drizzle with olive oil like in this Cavatappi Primavera.
- Consider Pasta Salad as Your Main Dish – Pasta salads are easy to make and come together quickly. They can be hot or cold, use a any produce you have in the house and can be tossed with a store-bought salad dressing or homemade. Best of all they can often be made ahead of time, saving precious time. Consider this easy, Summer Picnic Pasta Salad made with whole wheat pasta, sun-dried tomatoes and peas.