Tomato & Zucchini Pasta Recipe

Being a grad student can make it really difficult to cook healthy meals on a time crunch. Here is one of my favorite recipes that I made up and tend to throw together on a weekly basis.  Since I love, love, love pasta…this is my healthy “go-to” when I don’t have alot of time.

One of the main reasons I love this dish is because it’s nutrient-packed with load of health benefits. Here are just a few of the benefits from the ingredients…

  • Barilla PLUS pasta – 1 box has the equivalence of the fiber in 35 leaves of swiss chard, the protein in 11 eggs, and the ALA omega-3 in 6 oz of walnuts.
  • Olive Oil – Olive oil is contains a type of healthy fat called monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA). MUFA’s have been shown to lower your total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels, normalize blood clotting, and may also benefit insulin levels and blood sugar control.
  • Tomatoes – Tomatoes are excellent sources of potassium, Vit A, Vit C, Vit E, folic acid, and lycopene.  Lycopene is a carotenoid that has been found to reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, and macular degeneration.
  • Zucchini – Zucchini is low in calories and high in fiber, making you feel fuller faster and aiding in digestion.  Zucchini is also high in the anti-oxidants, beta-carotene and Vit. C.
  • Chicken – Although some vegetarians may argue it’s health benefits, chicken is a good source of protein and niacin.  Niacin has been shown to have anti-cancer and anti-Alzheimer effects.
  • Garlic – Garlic may reduce the risk of heart disease by lowering blood pressure, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol levels. Garlic may also be anti-microbial due to a substance called allicin, a sulphur compound produced when garlic is crushed or chopped. Vit C and selenium in garlic may also decrease the risk of cancers.

Ingredients:

  • 2 small chicken breasts
  • 1 serving Barilla PLUS farfalle pasta, cooked according to box instructions
  • 4-5 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • ~1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 zucchini
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Onion powder, basil, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper (to taste)
  • grated parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Begin by placing the chicken in a greased pan over medium-high heat.  Cut chicken into bite-size cubes (appr. 1/2 inch).  Sprinkle onion powder, salt, and pepper.
  2. While the chicken is cooking, add olive oil in a small sauce pan and put over low heat.  Chop zucchini into bite-size pieces (appr 1/2 inch strips) and add to olive oil. Add minced garlic and onion powder, basil, thyme, oregano, salt, pepper (to taste).  Cook zucchini until tender.
  3. Cut grape tomatoes vertically into halves. When zucchini is halfway done cooking, add the tomatoes to the sauce pan.

      4.  Add olive oil, zucchini, and tomatoes to cooked pasta. Sprinkle with grated parmesan cheese, if desired.

      5.  Bon Appetit!

 

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