Avocado Mint Alfredo Pasta

Avocados are god-sent. As healthy as they are, they mimic the decadence of many a favorite creamy salad dressing, pasta sauce or dip. And all that fat? Don’t worry ’bout it – your body knows what to do with it!

The mint adds a refreshing zest and the lemon cuts the avocado-ey taste, leaving behind a rich, fragrant pasta dish ready under 10 minutes.

Avocado Mint Alfredo Pasta

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Ingredients:

– 2 servings of pasta cooked according to package instructions

– 1 avocado

– 1 tsp sea salt

– 1 tsp black pepper

– juice of 1 lemon

– handful of fresh mint

– 2 cloves garlic

Servings: 2

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to package instructions. I used a rice flour pasta that was gluten-free.

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Assemble the ingredients (lemon not pictured).

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Do the dirty and add them all to the food processor in no specific order.

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Blend until smooth. Stuff starts to smell good right about now.

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Drain the pasta of choice, stopping the cooking process by rinsing it thoroughly.

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Fold the avocado alfredo into the pasta until evenly coated.

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Serve and garnish with fresh mint.

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The pasta is still warm and the sauce just the right balance of savory, zesty and light.

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There should have been leftovers, but would I honestly let that happen?

Bon Appetit!

 

xo Aylin

Chunky Marinara Spaghetti

Nothing like a kick-butt spaghetti with a chunky homemade tomato sauce.

This is as simple as it gets, but it still bears the density, the flavor and the comfort we all love and need.

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Ingredients:

– whole-wheat/grain/etc. pasta, cooked according to instructions on package (make sure to add about 1 tbsp salt to boiling water)

– 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

– 1 large white onion, diced

– 2 cloves garlic, chopped finely

– 1 tsp salt and pepper, each

– 1 heaping tbsp of tomato paste

– 2 large tomatoes, chopped (don’t drain its juices!)

– sprig of basil for garnish (I used parsley, cuz I can)

Directions:

Salt the water you plan to cook the pasta in. This is super important for flavor! I also sometimes add a good jooj of olive oil. A little trick for some even more flavor is to use garlic salt instead of normal salt.

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Whole-wheat spaghetti, wassup.

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Place the spaghetti in the boiling water, wait til it softens enough so you can bend it all in there. Then close the lid and when the water begins to boil, reduce the temperature to low, with the lid closed.

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Now time for the chunky oh-so-delicious sauce. Chop the onions.

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My garlic cloves were insanely small, so I had to use 4 or 5 where only 2 normal sized cloves would suffice. The trick with chopping garlic to a mash is to add a little salt after you chop it and begin smearing the edge of the knife back and forth over the mixture, pressing the edge of the knife against the cutting board. The salt helps release the garlic’s juices and make it more mashable.

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Begin to cook the garlic and onions in 1 tbsp of oil over medium heat.

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Add the salt & peppa and give a good stir.

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While the onions and garlic soften to transparency, chop the tomatoes.

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When the onions are transparent (this picture was taken a bit prematurely, but the onions will be a bit more obviously cooked on your end), stir in the tomato paste.

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…then the tomatoes.

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Let simmer on medium-low heat until the tomatoes reduce and the mixture resembles a sauce with chunky galore.

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Remove the finished pasta from the hot water, drain it, rinse it to stop the cooking process, then return it to the now empty pot to warm up again before servings.

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And plate.

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Green garnish obligatory.

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Bon apetit!

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Enjoy!

 

xo Aylin

Pepper & Lemon Kamut Twists

There isn’t much pasta can’t fix–a cold day, a hungry belly and a long day at work.

I recently saw this in my local health food store:

The ingredients? 70% kamut, 30% quinoa. That’s it.

I wanted the unique flavors of kamut and quinoa to come out, so I tried not to mask the taste with an overload of tomato sauce and cheese.

Instead, I paired the grain with sharp aromas of crushed red pepper flakes, lemon zest, garlic and parsley.

Crushed Red Pepper Lemon Zested Kamut & Quinoa Twists

Ingredients:

– 1 cup uncooked pasta (any kind ya like, but try a healthier version of your favorite!)
– 1/4 tsp garlic powder
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1 tbsp butter or extra virgin olive oil
– 1 clove garlic
– 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
– 1/4 tsp black pepper
– 1 tsp lemon zest
– 1 small tomato, diced
– 1 small bunch parsley, chopped
– Salt & pepper to taste

Serves 2-3

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to the box’s directions, but add the garlic powder and salt to the water. This allows the pasta to absorb the flavors!

Cover and let cook for 5-7 minutes.

When finished, drain the pasta and rinse with cool water. By rinsing, you are getting rid of any excessive starch and stopping the cooking process.

Set the pasta aside.

To the now empty pot, add the butter, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, garlic and lemon zest.

All the flavors of the lemon, garlic and peppers will be enhanced. It’ll smell amazing in your kitchen!

Next add the pasta back into the pot and stir in the remaining ingredients: parsley and tomato.

Tossed. And now ready to serve…

Enjoy!

xoxo

Raw Zucchini Pasta w/ Marinara

My favorite raw dish by far is zucchini pasta. It’s just so damn fun to make. Very few people have tried zucchini in its raw state, and it’s actually quite soft and slightly sweet–not crunchy or uncomfortable to eat in the least!  Sure, it’s no white flour pasta, but it’s delicious in its own right and leaves you with a whole lot more energy than, say, macaroni and cheese.

The marinara sauce is raw in this recipe, but you could easily heat it up. The fun part about zucchini pasta is the variety of sauces you can come up with.  I’ve stuck to this marinara recipe, but will change it up slightly depending on what I have on hand. Sometimes I’ll add basil, sometimes I’ll omit the olives, etc.  Because the olives contribute saltiness to this dish, I did not add salt or pepper. You can adjust that to your liking. Have fun with it!

Raw Zucchini Pasta w/ Marinara Sauce

Ingredients:

– 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, soaked for approx 30 minutes in water
– 1/4 cup assorted black olives, pitted
– 1 large tomato (or 2 medium sized)
– Small bunch of parsley
– 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
– 1/4 cup water
– 1-2 zucchinis, spiralized

Directions:

Soak 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes in water to soften them up.

Cut them into chunks so they will blend easily.

Assemble the olives.

Depending on how juicy your tomatoes are, you’ll need 1 or 2. My tomatoes aren’t very juicy, so I began with blending one, but later added about 1/2 of another.

Gather your chopped ingredients, including the parsley, and add them to the blender.

Pulse the mixture, adding 1/4 cup of olive oil slowly as it blends. You may need to add up to 1/4 cup of warm water to help get it going. You may also have to stop blending to toss it around so it mixes more effectively.

The sauce should be thick.

Set the sauce aside (or begin to warm it up in a saucepan if you want it hot). In the meantime, cut off the ends of the zucchini to begin spiralizing.

See how it fits?  You simply rotate the right-hand side of this gadget so that the left-hand side pops out pasta-shaped zucchini babies!!

All that’s left of the zucchini are these mushroom-like tops. Pop them in your mouth, or let them lounge on the edge of a glass of cold water with mint leaves for an aromatic and entertaining beverage.

The rest of the zucchini is now pasta!

So easy to make with a spiralizer (which runs for $25, but it comes in handy and worth the buck).  Pour on the marinara…

I only spiralized one of the zucchini for this dish, because I realized I wanted more sauce than pasta tonight.  You can shave some cheese on top (unfortunately, I didn’t have any on hand).

Such a feast for the eyes and absolutely delicious.  The sauce is creamy and dense by virtue of the sun-dried tomatoes and olives, but it is not overpowered by either.  The pasta itself is light, easy to chew, and complements the sauce perfectly.

xoxo