Healthy Recipes | Walnut Cauliflower Pasta

To the majority of Americans, a pasta dinner means a comforting plate full of refined spaghetti noodles,  drenched in tomato sauce and topped with processed Parmesan cheese. Simple, delicious, and inexpensive, it's the classic standby meal. Unfortunately, it doesn't provide much nutritional value, other than the lycopene in tomato sauce and the minimal fiber and vitamins found in the noodles.

Rest assured, pasta can be a nutritious meal if you only make a few adjustments to your normal recipe. Start off by making small changes to your next pasta dinner. Try adding some diced onions, peppers, mushrooms, or zucchini to your next spaghetti meal. Once you get a little more adventurous, start experimenting with new pasta dishes with a larger variety of ingredients.

The following recipe is one I highly recommend if you are looking to expand your pasta dinner repertoire.

Walnut Cauliflower Pasta
1 head cauliflower
1/2 onion
4 cloves garlic, minced (alternatively you can use jarred minced garlic)
4 servings pasta (I suggest penne, rotini, or farfalle)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 pinch red pepper flakes
White wine vinegar
Juice from 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup toasted walnuts
4 oz Feta cheese

1. Place enough water to cook desired amount of pasta in a large pot. Salt to taste. Bring to boil. While waiting for water to boil, slice onion, cut cauliflower into florets, and mince garlic
2. Once water is boiling, add pasta and stir until boiling
3. Heat large skillet to medium high heat. Add olive oil and saute cauliflower. Once cauliflower beings to soften, season with salt and pepper. Add onions and red pepper flakes. Cauliflower should begin to brown a bit
4. Add garlic once cauliflower is slightly more cooked, but still crunchy
5. Add a few drops of vinegar and lemon juice and stir
6. Add the toasted walnuts
7. Once pasta is fully cooked, drain and add to skillet. Drizzle olive oil on top of pasta, enough to fully coat pasta. Stir ingredients. Sprinkle crumbled Feta on top and serve

Serves 4
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen


Nutritional Highlights

Walnuts- loaded with omega-3s which have been shown to act as anti-inflammatories, reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, and arthritis

Cauliflower- packed with antioxidants to prevent cancer, this low-calorie cruciferous vegetables also provides plenty of fiber and folic acid

Feta Cheese- lower in fat and calories than many other varieties of cheese, feta is high in calcium and may aid in weight loss

Whole wheat pasta- complete with bran, germ, and endosperm, whole wheat pasta boasts three times the fiber of refined pasta and incalculably more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants

Olive Oil- monounsatured fatty acids found in this oil have been found to reduce levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) and raise good cholesterol (HDL)

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