Beginners Series: Quick & Dirty Green Pasta

Apparently, writing a food blog makes you an expert on cooking. I now get lots of questions from family and friends about healthy eating. It’s cool, I kinda like giving advice, especially about something I know a little bit about. For example, a friend, who, well, eats roller dogs from 7-11 for lunch, wanted to know how to eat more vegetables. “I know I should be eating them, but they just don’t taste good.” Well my friend, I’ve got advice for that!

In general, I’m not a huge fan of vegetables either. The way they taste, I mean. Especially when someone else (over)cooks them, then serves them on the side, saying “Here, I made you some vegetables!” Being a vegetarian, I get that a lot. It’s an awkward situation, where I have to gracefully decline the slightly brown, wilted lump of broccoli and fill up on bread and pasta until I can get home. However, there is a silver lining. When I do get home, I take my veggies (the fresher and more local the better) cut them up small, and mix them with all kinds of wonderful flavors that I do like. That’s the trick. Take a little broccoli (or in the case of this recipe, some leafy greens) on your fork, along with food you do like, such as pasta, cheese, etc. It really makes all the difference.

This particular “recipe” is one I use when it’s just me and I’m hungry and I need food fast. All the measurements are for one person, so if you’re cooking for more, just up the numbers. All’s you really need is pasta, some light leafy greens (baby spinach, baby arugula), olive oil and salt. Everything else is up for interpretation. I make this all the time, but it’s never the same dish twice. I love to add in toasted almonds or pumpkin seeds, avocado (great sub for cheese for those of you not partaking in dairy) leftover cooked vegetables, fresh herbs, or whatever spices I’m feeling (spice blends are really great for this kind of thing – when I’m lazy!). Raid the fridge for the extra dressing or sauce from dinner the other night, it’s always welcome here.

So, in the beginner’s series way, read on for the step-by-step breakdown.

First, gather all your ingredients. Remember, these here are just ideas, rummage around the kitchen a bit and see what else you’ve got.

Next, put on a pot of water to boil. Once it’s boiling, add the pasta. Keep it boiling, stirring it every once and a while, until tender, 10-12 minutes usually. Taste it to make sure before you drain in.

While the pasta is cooking, mince the garlic:

 Then chop up the greens. The smaller you chop them, the more they will distribute evenly throughout the pasta, and the quicker they will wilt when you stir them in.

All’s you have left to do is put it together. In the same pot you boiled the pasta, add the oil, salt, spices and garlic. Cook for about a minute over medium heat, then turn off the heat. Throw the drained pasta back in, then the greens, and mix it all together. Garnish with cheese, or chopped fresh herbs, or toasted seeds.

Quick and Dirty Green Pasta

 enough pasta for 1 person
a splash of olive oil (maybe a tsp. or 2)
a few pinches of sea salt
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy)
1 garlic clove, minced
a handful of tender baby greens, chopped small
cheese (I used a raw white cheddar) grated, for garnish

other garnish ideas: toasted almonds, pumpkin seeds, fresh herbs, avocado, etc.

Bring water to boil in a large pot. Add pasta and cook until tender, 10-12 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, prep the rest of your ingredients.

When the pasta is done, pour a little oil into the same pot, over medium heat. Add the salt, red pepper and garlic, and cook for about a minute. Turn off the heat and stir in the pasta and greens. Give it a good toss or two to coat everything in the oil and wilt the greens.

Serve, topped with cheese and other garnishes.

serves 1

One Response to “Beginners Series: Quick & Dirty Green Pasta”

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  1. Lena says:

    I make something similar with just about any vegetable I happen to have on hand at the moment. Love these kind of “recipes”. I think I need to give the avocado idea a try the next time I need something quick and easy, sounds delicious.

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