There are several tricks to make pasta meals healthier:
- Use tomato based sauces, not cream.
- Use wholegrain pasta, never white. There are so many different grains to choose from for your pasta these days. All of them are better for you and will keep you feeling fuller for longer than highly processed white pasta.
- Use a smaller amount of pasta than normal to keep the calories down.
- Substitute Spaghetti Squash for the pasta
- Eat like the Italians do and always serve your pasta meals with a side salad with lots of green leaves. This helps to fill you up with healthy fibre and nutrients and will reduce your portion size of the pasta dish.
Amazing Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Pasta
- ½ large eggplant - thinly sliced, longways
- 5 cherry tomatoes – cut in half
- 1 tblsp avocado oil (for brushing on the eggplant and tomatoes)
- 1 tblsp avocado oil (for sautéing onion and celery)
- 1 small onion - diced
- 1 clove garlic - minced
- 1 stalk celery – finely diced
- ⅓ cup pitted kalamata olives
- 1 tin BPA free diced tomatoes
- 1 cup good quality vegie stock
- ¼ cup red wine
- pinch of thyme
- pinch of oregano
- 4 fresh basil leaves - torn
- a handful of wholemeal pasta – I used fettuccine
- a handful of toasted pine nuts, to serve
What To Do
- Prepare the eggplant:
- Slice the eggplant longways, and sprinkle with a little salt, let sit in a colander for about 30mins to drain out the bitterness.
- Rinse the eggplant in filtered water and pat it dry with paper towel or tea towel.
- Preheat the oven to 180 deg C.
- Brush the eggplant and cherry tomatoes in olive oil and place on a shallow tray – cook in the oven until they char a little on the edges (about 15-20 mins) – don’t worry about the way the tomatoes wilt, they should caramelise nicely and look quite rustic.
- Set aside.
- (Time saving tip: you can buy roasted eggplant pieces from your deli that will work just fine, so you can just skip this step and just roast the cherry tomatoes if you like.)
- The Sauce:
- Add the onion, and celery into a medium sized pot on a medium heat and sauté until just soft, then add the olives and garlic and sauté for about 1 minute. Be careful not to burn the garlic as it can become bitter.
- Add the vegie stock and let it simmer with the lid off to reduce the liquid by about a third, to concentrate the flavours, say about 5 mins.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, herbs and the wine and simmer (still with the lid off) and let it reduce again until the liquid is a little thicker, about 10 mins this time.
- Now that the eggplant has cooled off, cut into 2cm squares.
- Meanwhile, bring a small pot of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta, as per the packet instructions.
- Once the pasta is cooked and you are happy with the consistency of the sauce, combine the eggplant, tomatoes and pasta together and mix gently.
- Serve with a sprig of basil and the toasted pine nuts. All pasta dishes should be served with a green salad.
- For an amazing flavour, cook the sauce the day before and let it simmer with the lid on for a good 30 mins. Pop it in the fridge once it’s cooled and use it the next day.