Quinoa PastaThis gluten-free pasta is often made with a blend of quinoa and corn flour, which improves the texture and makes it taste similar to traditional white pasta. Native to South America, quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse with impressive amounts of several minerals, including manganese. This mineral is needed for proper protein and carbohydrate metabolism and for increasing bone-mineral density, says Jeffrey-Lunn.
Great Grain Ancient Harvest Quinoa Linguini has four grams of protein per two-ounce serving, making it a light, easily digestible prerace choice (quinoa.net).
Pastas labeled "multigrain" usually contain refined flours. For the most nutrients, stick to those made of 100 percent whole grain.
Secret's in the SauceTry these healthy, delicious recipes that complement any pasta.
Quick and Easy Marinara In a food processor, combine 1 pound plum tomatoes, 4 garlic cloves, 2 table-spoons balsamic vinegar, and oregano, salt, and pepper to taste; process until smooth. Transfer to a saucepan; stir in 3 tablespoons olive oil. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until thickened, about 30 minutes.
Cilantro Pumpkin Pesto Place 2 cups cilantro, 1/3 cup roasted pumpkin seeds, 1/3 cup Parmesan, 2 garlic cloves, juice of 1/2 a lemon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a food processor. Pulse until coarsely minced. With the machine running, pour in 1/4 cup olive oil and process until well combined.
Fire-Roasted Meat Sauce Brown 1 pound ground beef in a pan. Add 1 chopped onion, 1 chopped bell pepper, and 3 minced garlic cloves; cook 3 minutes. Add a 28-ounce can fire-roasted tomatoes and 5-ounce can tomato paste. Season with oregano, basil, chile flakes, salt, and pepper. Add 1/3 cup red wine and 1 tablespoon sugar. Simmer, reduce heat, and cook 1 hour.
Creamy Cashew Mushroom Place 1 cup unsalted raw cashews in a bowl; cover with water and soak 2 hours. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a pan over medium heat. Add 1 chopped onion, 3 cups sliced mushrooms, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, and salt and pepper. Cook for 7 minutes. Add to a blender with 1 cup low-fat milk and drained cashews; blend till smooth.
Cooked to PerfectionFollow these tips for preparing whole-grain pasta:
- Use a big pot. The pasta will cook more evenly.
- Add salt. Salting the water improves flavor.
- Don't add oil. Oil in the water prevents sauces from clinging.
- Stir the pasta. Whole-grain pastas tend to stick; stirring minimizes that problem.
- Taste often. It's done when you bite it and it's slightly resistant.
- Don't rinse. It removes starch that helps sauces cling. But do rinse soba, which turn gummy otherwise.
- Finish cooking in the sauce. This helps pasta absorb the sauce.