Sneaking Veggies In

I’m always trying to sneak veggies into everything my kiddos eat. They’re powerful antioxidants, they have excellent fiber and many of them have anti-cancer properties. My kids will eat broccoli, peas, carrots and beans. I’d really like them to eat some of the more powerful veggies, like spinach and beets. Veggie pasta to the rescue!

It’s so easy to make vegetable pasta that is a fun color and has a nutritional boost. You can make it one of two ways: you can buy the vegetable powder. It’s a specialty item so you need to buy it mail order. Or, you can pre-blend the vegetable in a blender and then mix it with the eggs prior to mixing up the dough.

Pasta has a pretty bad rep for being unhealthy. There’s a reason for this. Most store bought, dry, pasta is white flour mixed with water and then dried. Not only is this chock full of gluten that some people have sensitivities to, but that dried extruded flour just doesn’t taste great. Any sauce that goes onto this dried flour stuff needs to be massively pumped up to make a delicious dish. Anything that pumped up is usually loaded with fat and salt (I’m talking to you fettuccini sauce).

That’s not the case with freshly made pasta. There’s protein, vitamins A & D  and healthy omega-3s from the eggs. The recipe I favor uses a full 3 eggs. Depending with the type of flour that you use, you can get a large amount of fiber as well as essential nutrients like thiamin, folate, manganese and selenium.

Because of the delightful taste with a freshly made egg pasta, the sauce should always be a light one to let the pasta shine. I made pasta with beet powder and served it to a raucous Pictionary game night crowd. I had two options for sauces; a light basil pesto sauce or a garlic-infused olive oil with chunks of cambozola cheese (cambozola is a creamier, less aggressive type of gorgonzola cheese). Both versions were delicious, satisfying and filling. The basil pesto was of course, the more healthy choice but compared to a heavy cream based sauce, both were fantastic. They were also extremely filling and fulfilling. A little serving went a long way towards making happy taste buds. I can see why the famed Mediterranean diet contains pasta. When it’s done right and is a beautiful accompaniment to vegetables and healthy fats, it’s a flavorful, satisfying bite.

Best of all? The kids were psyched about the pink-hued homemade pasta. They had theirs plain with a little butter and parmesan cheese and, of course, a healthy dose of beets.