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quinoa pasta and veggies in creamy tomato sauce: a quick and healthy alternative for pasta night
I recently brought this over to another Chai Momma’s house for dinner and it was a big hit, even with her 2 year old son! My husband and I have been substituting quinoa for white rice and other unhealthy grains for some time now, so when I saw Quinoa pasta at my local organic food store, it was no surprise that I picked it up and tried it that night for dinner. We loved it. It’s soft and doesn’t taste like ‘cardboard’ like many of the whole wheat and multi grain versions of pasta do and for a vegetarian like me, has some protein in it too because of the quinoa content. It’s also gluten free! It’s pretty popular now and the other day I saw it at a large supermarket/grocery store in the pasta aisle right next to the Rigatoni and it’s not that expensive either.
You can make it anyway you like, but here’s what I usually do, which is super easy for a quick prep dinner:
1 bottle organic tomato basil pasta sauce
1/2 a medium sized onion, chopped finely
2-3 garlic cloves, minced finely
Veggies you prefer: I use about 2-3 tbsp. each of: frozen peas, small thin slices of eggplant and zucchini, sliced portabella mushrooms, small broccollini florets and chopped red pepper. If you are cooking for kids, use ones your kids love.
3-4 tbsp. low fat organic sour cream
1 package ciliegine: “cherry size” fresh mozzarella balls
1 tsp. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. grapeseed oil (healthy like olive oil is but has heat stability/high smoke point)
about 12-14 fresh basil leaves
1 tsp. dried red pepper flakes (if you want to make it spicy)
Boil and rinse the pasta as per box instructions. Drain in collander and set aside.
In a medium sauce pan, add oil and sautee garlic on low heat. Once oil is absorbed in garlic, add onions and sautee on medium heat until the onions are translucent. Add in chopped veggies and dried oregeno, salt and pepper. My husband likes it spicy, so sometimes I add in a teaspoon of dried red pepper flakes here. Sautee vegetables for 4-5 minutes on medium heat.
Add sauce in and coat all the vegetables with the sauce. Transfer from heat to a large bowl and add in pasta. Mix in sour cream until creamy.
Mix in the ciliegine (amount of balls is depending on how cheesy you want it) and basil-(leave a few leaves for garnish). The mozzarella balls will melt slightly as you stir them into the pasta, and the fresh basil leaves will soften as you stir them in, which makes it taste fresh and delicious. Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with a fresh basil leaf in each bowl and serve it right away for best results (smiling faces while eating) 🙂
Makes 4-6 servings. Enjoy!