Comfort Food for the Chilly Season: Spinach and Roasted Red Pepper Baked Pasta

Comfort Food for the Chilly Season: Spinach and Roasted Red Pepper Baked Pasta

 By: Samantha Goren, RD

 This spinach and pepper pasta bake is a healthier version of the traditional cream based pasta bake, using vegetable broth instead of cream and light cream cheese for extra “creaminess”. Pair this dish with a fresh green salad to make it a complete meal!

 Serves: 4

 Ingredients:

  •  250 grams of any pasta noodle (I recommend penne rigate)
  • 3 generous cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers or sun-dried tomatoes, drained and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 125 grams light cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

 Directions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 400 °F.
  2. Cook pasta until al dente, drain and set aside (Tip: follow instructions on pasta box).
  3. Add olive oil to a large frying pan (medium heat). Add garlic and cook until lightly golden brown. Add green onions, cook for an addition 30 seconds. Then add spinach and roasted red peppers (or sun-dried tomatoes), cook for approximately 1 minute.
  4. Stir in vegetable broth, ¾ of parmesan, cream cheese, lemon juice, and red pepper flakes. Stir until cheese is melted.
  5. Add pasta and stir gently until combined.
  6. Transfer pasta mixture into baking dish.
  7. Sprinkle with remaining parmesan.
  8. Bake uncovered for approximately 15 minutes.

 Tip: Double up recipe and divide pasta mixture between two baking dishes. Freeze one for later use and simply bake from frozen.

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About Jav Girl

1) Background: - Originally from Guelph, ONT, - Honours Bachelor of Kinesiology from McMaster University, - Workplace Wellness & Health Promotion (WWHP) Post-Graduate Certificate from Centennial College - Completed my WWHP placement at UHN - Hired at UHN August 2008 2) Passions: - I love to run! Nothing beats a runner's high! =) 3) Achievements: - Competed at the National Track & Field Champions for Javelin [I named my javelin 'Orville' after the Wright brothers who invited the airplane - as I wanted my javelin to 'fly'] 4) "I love what I do because . . . it allows me to help others incorporate aspects of a healthy lifestyle into their lives. I've always wanted to help people get active and live better lives; I just never knew it could be my day job.' 5) Book Recommendation: 'Mindless Eating' by Brian Wansink and 'The Happiness Project' by Gretchen Rubin

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