Switching to whole-grain pasta

February 10, 2010

Remember when I said I’m not an obsessive health nut? Well, I like my regular refined pasta too much to completely switch over to the whole-grain variety — I feel kind of guilty admitting that in a blog that includes “health” in its name. I mean, I totally agree with dietitian Liz Pearson it’s important to be patient when trying whole-grain pasta — that it takes awhile to come around to liking the nuttier denseness of it — and believe me, I’ve given it a shot and it’s okaaaay…but I much prefer the good old refined kind. 

But, given that Pearson, co-author of  Ultimate Foods for Ultimate Health, names whole grains as a central part of an eating plan designed for disease prevention, I’m willing to make the switch, say, half of the time I make pasta.

And I loved the sound of her recipe for Rotini with Artichoke Hearts and Dried Cranberries — artichokes rank almost as high as bacon does in terms of my favourite ingredients. So when I came home starving after a yoga class this Sunday, it was the perfect super-quick meal to pull together.

And it was definitely yummy — sweet but also spicy at the same time (thanks to the combo of dried cranberries and red pepper flakes).

But here’s the thing: The recipe apparently makes six servings…and G. and I polished off almost all of the dish ourselves. Which means we probably inhaled about 2.5 servings each. I’ve never thought my portions were so far off — this is something I’ll definitely be paying attention to. Stay tuned.

Here’s the recipe (let me know if you’re full after a 1 3/4 cup serving btw because we sure weren’t!):

375 grams whole grain rotini, such as Catelli® Healthy Harvest® Whole Wheat Rotini

3 Tbsp (45 mL) extra virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, diced

¼ cup (60 mL) pine nuts

1 can (170 mL/6 oz fl) marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped

2/3 cup (227g/160 mL) dried cranberries

1 bag (227g/8 oz) baby spinach

½ tsp (2 mL) crushed red pepper flakes

¼ tsp (1 mL) ground black pepper

4 cloves of garlic, minced

Grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Cook pasta in boiling water according to package directions. 
  2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat.  Add the olive oil, diced onion and pine nuts and sauté for about three to five minutes or until the onion is cooked. 
  3. Add the chopped artichoke hearts, dried cranberries, spinach, red pepper flakes and pepper.  Sauté for another two to three minutes or until the spinach just starts to wilt. 
  4. Add the garlic and sauté the entire mixture for about one more minute. 
  5. When the pasta is ready, drain and toss with the skillet ingredients.
  6. Serve sprinkled with freshly grated, Parmesan cheese.  Garnish with slices of fresh lemon. 


Makes 6 servings (each serving is about 1 3/4 cups)

Nutritional Analysis (per serving):

418 calories

12 grams fat

2 grams saturated fat

0 grams trans fat

65 grams carbohydrate

11 grams fibre

13 grams sugars

258 milligrams sodium

14 grams protein

Filed under: Diet,Healthy Swellness

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