This giveaway has ended. Congrats to Bonnie and Judy, who won Barilla Pasta Gift Packs!
You can still read the post and the comments for some yummy healthy pasta recipes!
When I started counting calories, I mostly gave up the joy of pasta because it didn’t seem to be a good bang for my caloric buck. When Barilla came out with their Pasta Plus, I began keeping it on hand, mostly for last minute meals. I like the taste of it, and it’s a good source of protein, fiber, and Omega 3’s (via flaxseed). Again, though, I haven’t had it too often due to those pesky calories. More on that in a minute.
Earlier this month, Barilla PR contacted me asking if I would review a few of their products and–get ready for it–“create a unique, healthy pasta recipe”. Since I had tried and liked the Pasta Plus, I agreed to the project. It had absolutely nothing to do with being asked to create a recipe. (I might not be much of a cook, but I seem to be getting quite a few requests for recipes. Just sayin’.)
Oh.My.Word. Who knew there were so many types of pasta? I had no idea which one to use to create my unique recipe! (Later I found a quiz on Barilla’s website to help narrow it down.)
Me being me, I flipped the boxes to compare calorie/protein counts. One thing lead to another and I eventually figured out an embarrassing misconception I’d been operating under, namely: Am I the only person on the planet who didn’t realize that the calorie counts on the package were for uncooked pasta? No wonder I didn’t feel satisfied after eating pasta–I’ve been eating half portions for the past five years! LOL I happily stand corrected and will be enjoying pasta more frequently in the future!
On to the cooking. As a warm up, I tried the Whole Grain with my Lentil Pasta Sauce. That worked out well. The Barilla Whole Grain Spaghetti has 7g of protein and 6g of fiber, which meant that the pasta and sauce combined for 20g of protein and 13g of fiber. Decent nutritionals and quite tasty. I didn’t really pick up on the “wheatiness” (which I like) of whole wheat pasta, because this variety only has a little over 50% whole wheat flour. That could be a good thing for parents whose kids are resistant to the 100% whole wheat pasta.
That’s all fine and good, but I was supposed to be creating something “unique” for this review. Not being much of a cook, this caused a bit of a brain strain until I remembered an idea I’d had while eating a muffaletta salad one day and wishing it was a muffaletta sandwich on sesame bread.
You see where this is going, don’t you? Okay, without further ado, I give you….
A traditional muffaletta has ham, salami, provolone, mozzarella (or swiss), and olive salad and is served on sesame bread. I don’t like salami, and I usually skip one of the cheeses, but for this recipe, I wanted to go more for the original. So I improvised a little.
For the pasta, I chose the Barilla Veggie Penne made with Pureed Carrots and Tomatoes. According to the PR, this pasta is made up of 25% pureed vegetables and each 3.5-oz. serving equals one serving of vegetables. This leads to my one and only quibble: 3.5 oz. of penne pasta is A LOT of freaking pasta. Most of us are going to go with the 2-oz. serving (or, in my case, even smaller), so the “one serving of vegetables” doesn’t work out. But so be it. That’s why we read labels.
Recipe is for one Cammy-sized serving
- 1-1/2 oz.-2 oz. Barilla Veggie Penne Pasta
- 2 tbsp. olive salad (I used Delallo Olive Bruschetta*)
- 2 oz. cubed ham
- 1.2 oz. pepperoni
- 3/4 oz. Provolone cheese
- 1 tsp. Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp. sesame seeds
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Cook pasta according to pkg. directions (al dente in about 10 minutes. I took it off the heat and let it sit for another minute or so.)
3. Drain pasta well before tossing it into a small casserole dish with the olive mix. Stir, stir, stir.
4. Layer on the ham and pepperoni, followed by the Provolone.
5. Sprinkle the Parmesan and sesame seeds on top.
6. Bake until cheese gets all melty, about 10 minutes or so.
Note: I was so sure I had come up with a unique and original concept, but a quick Google just now says otherwise. There’s even a restaurant in Bowling Green, KY that serves Pastaletta.
But it’s not my Pastaletta. This one’s unique to me!
Even at 2/3 or 3/5 or whatever serving of vegetables it is, the veggie pasta is delicious! I could really taste the tomatoes, and it worked really well with the olives and the cheese. This is a product I will definitely continue to use!
For this recipe, in the future I’ll just skip the pepperoni. Considering how little I used, it didn’t really add much flavor. But the ham, cheese, olive, sesame mix worked really, really well with the Veggie Penne. I might try it with capicola, or spiced ham, instead of leftover Christmas ham from the freezer.
As for the other pastas, I haven’t had time to try those yet. Moderation, you know. And my dad has appropriated the Rotini with Zucchini and Spinach pasta to use in his homemade tomato soup. That sounds pretty good, actually, and I’m not even a spinach fan.
The point of all this is that pasta, in proper portions and with nutritious ingredients, can be a healthy addition to any eating plan. To celebrate that, Barilla is giving two lucky U.S. readers a pasta pack of their very own AND a Barilla apron.
All you have to do for an entry is share your favorite healthy, pasta recipe in the comments. Give us details, describe it in general, link to a post on your blog or another website–whatever. International readers: If you want to play along, you’ll win our gratitude!
I’ll pick a winner on Saturday noon (Central US Time), so you have until then to share your healthy pasta recipe. C’mon, I showed you mine! (Hint for my fellow non-cooks: pasta + veggies = healthy pasta recipe.)
Note: If you’re curious about my muffaletta salad recipe, just replace the pasta with lettuce.
Disclosure: Barilla provided the pasta for my review and is providing the prize packs to two readers. Opinions and quibbles (and pastaletta recipe) are my own.
I have finally gotten around to publishing a Tippy Toe Diet page on Facebook! I’ve been receiving requests for it for a while now, from people who prefer to get new post updates and such in their FB news feeds, and I’d played around with it a bit, but I’d been lazy about finishing. Now it’s done, and you’re welcome to Like the page for updates, or you can just hang around here.
Of course, you’re also welcome to follow ME on Facebook, but I don’t really update much given the mixing of business & personal contacts in my friends list.