we’ve had a wonderful time eating our favorite foods during the holidays. Now reality has set in and guess what? It’s all about good food that’s healthy, to boot. Here’s a standby at our house.
RITA’S HEART HEALTHY PASTA WITH BEANS AND CHARD
In the time it takes to boil the pasta, the sauce will be finished, too.Even kids like this - if you have picky eaters who don’t like greens, just chop them up extra fine. (I won’t tell!).If you like a spicy kick, sub one of the cans of regular tomatoes with tomatoes with chilies.This is a good dish for busy families with kids in sports, and leftovers make great totable lunches.
1 pound any short whole wheat pasta, cooked according to package directions
While pasta is boiling, make sauce:
1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 cans 14.5 oz ea., diced tomatoes, low sodium
2-3 teaspoons dried oregano
3 cans beans, drained: Cannellini, red beans and chick peas (or your favorite beans)
Several handfuls, as much as you like, any fresh green, like Swiss chard, etc.
Romano or Parmesan cheese for sprinkling on top (opt but good)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Heat oil and add garlic. Cook for a minute over low heat.Add everything but greens and cheese.Bring to a boil.Lower to a simmer and cook until pasta is done, about 15 minutes. As sauce is cooking, mash some of the beans with a potato masher for a creamier texture.Add fresh greens.Stir until just wilted.Pour over pasta.Sprinkle with cheese.
And here's why this dish is so good for you:
Beans offer protein and fiber without the cholesterol and fat that meats have. Add more veggies and a can of drained beans to your pasta and you’ll lessen the carb load but increase fiber, protein, calcium, etc.
Canellini beans give you energy and are good for your skin. Red beans are rich in resistant starch, again allowing your body to absorb them slowly.
Chick peas help cleanse the liver, and the soluble fiber in them helps lower heart disease and can detoxify sulfite compounds from food products that may cause rapid heart beat.
Whole wheat products have only the chaff removed. Your body absorbs whole wheat products slowly for a fuller feeling and you won't get a spike in carbs. Plus by taking longer to digest, you burn more calories, helping you regulate weight.
Tomatoes -contain lycopene which helps keep arteries flexible.
Greens: Chard is a powerhouse of nutrients for heart health. It contains more vitamin C and calcium than spinach and is fat free. And it tastes like spinach!
Garlic: A member of the allium family, garlic is great for heart health.
Oregano: Good for joint health and upper respiratory system.
Olive oil: A heart healthy oil. Use extra virgin for the most polyphenols.