Pasta with Roasted Cauliflower and Arugula

Here’s today’s recipe, again from Fine Cooking.  And it’s by Pamela Anderson, so it’s got that going for it.  You’ll notice that the recipe uses prosciutto, which is really good if you’re into that sort of thing, but of course we made it without.  The other deviations we made:  substituting a canola/olive oil blend for the olive oil to get more omega-3‘s, using whole-wheat pasta (chiocciole since I can never find orecchiete), and omitting the delicious Parmigiano-Reggiano from mine since I’m still on this blasted 10-Day Challenge where I can’t have any dairy.  If you are going to use cheese but don’t feel like shelling out $18 per pound for Parmigiano-Reggiano, just get a wedge of regular parmesan cheese.  Although it doesn’t have the nuttiness and depth of flavor that Reggiano does, it is much better than the pre-grated Kraft stuff in a green cylinder that we all grew up with.

If you’re going to use whole-wheat pasta, which you should if you eat pasta at all regularly, make sure you get 100-percent whole wheat, not a 51-49 whole-grain blend.  We bought those blue Barilla Whole Grain boxes for a long time before realizing that they are blends.  100-percent whole-wheat pastas are a little more expensive, since they’re often organic as well, but the taste is really not much different from that of regular pasta.  If you tried it five years ago and still can’t get the cardboard taste out of your mouth, try it again because it’s much better than it used to be.

Another alternative, of particular interest to readers of this blog, is Barilla Plus.  Barilla Plus is a multigrain pasta with much more protein and omega-3 than regular or whole-wheat pasta.  Seems ideal for vegetarian endurance athletes, who are always after more protein, and to be honest I totally forgot about Barilla Plus until I started writing this post.  In the past I have tended not to buy Barilla Plus because it’s not 100-percent whole-wheat, but now that good protein sources are more scarce in my diet the tradeoff seems worth it. Plus, pun very much intended (and emphasized!), it looks like the added nutrients are the result of natural ingredients rather than fortification, which means they can be assimilated easily into the body.  In Michael Pollan’s book In Defense of Food, Pollan argues that a good rule of thumb is to avoid foods that make health claims, since often the extra nutrients are unnatural additions, disrupting the wholeness of the food source and resulting in little absorption into the body.  This, by the way, is a fantastic book to read if you are at all interested in nutrition and the travesty that is the Western diet, and I’ll write a post about it one of these days.

But back to the meal.  Erin did most of the cooking, and when I tried to help I knocked a cup of reserved pasta water off of the counter, so she got to hold the plate today:

[Erin photo]

And the money shot:

[Pasta photo]

Erin and I agreed that this meal was good but not great.  She liked it better than I did, probably because hers had parmesan cheese on it.  We both agreed that more tomatoes would have been nice to balance the bitterness of the arugula.  But my biggest complaint is that it was not substantial enough for marathon training, and I was hungry again later in the night.  Maybe Barilla Plus would have helped with that.  So we give it a generous 3 cows out of 5.

One last thing; here’s another article from Yahoo! news about the unhealthiest restaurants in the county.  It doesn’t tell us much that we don’t already know, but sometimes it feels good to read about this stuff and know that you haven’t gone near it in years (or months, or at least weeks, I hope).

If you aren’t eating healthily yet, there’s no better day than today to start!



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  1. Christine says:

    Have you ever cooked with TVP (textured vegetable protein)? You might try it to replace the prosciutto in this recipe and in your tacos too. I’ve seen it used like bacon bits for potatoes, ham in omelets, and in vegetarian sloppy joes. (I hear they use it in prison meals a lot too, but that’s probably not a good advertisement for it.) You need to rehydrate it and in the process can have it take on whatever flavor you want.

    Anyway not sure if it fits into your regulations, but it’s made from soy flour and can be really yummy.

  2. Christine says:

    I picked up some TVP recently in the bulk section of David’s Natural Market, but haven’t tried cooking it myself yet. I also got some quinoa, millet, whole wheat couscous, and barley. I have heard that those “ancient grains” are higher in protein, especially the quinoa. I just have bags of each grain, but no cooking directions or nutritional content, so I’m looking forward to that non-meat protein source post!

  3. I, too would like to see a post regarding some non-meat protein sources. I still am having trouble feeling satisfied after my meals and snacks. I used to think that a meal without meat wasn’t really a meal… and I must still believe that somewhere deep in my stomach. I’ve had no red meat or chicken in three weeks, but I’ve noticed that I’m eating a lot more bread and white pasta :-( to try and feel that nice, mildly-full, satisfied feeling. Maybe I’ll see if I can find textured vegetable protein in Ocean City… We had four local restaurants win top prestigious honors at the Maryland’s Restaurant Association Industry Gala Awards held in Baltimore last week. They serve scrumptious dishes, but not much tofu or whole wheat pastas. And surprisingly, after the Tony Robbins healthy eating and energy day, those are the foods I find myself craving. That’s one of the reasons I like this blog. The discussion of the recipes’ ingredients makes me want to put forth the effort to find the best foods to prepare.

  4. margaret says:

    The tortilla is called Tam-X-ico’s Premium Gourmet Mexican. I should clarify that although the first ingredient (after water) is whole wheat flour it does also have some enriched bleach flour It has 5g protein and 4g fiber. It’s not the perfect healthy tortilla. For me it’s a good choice b/c I’ve tried some others that had more whole wheat flour and I just couldn’t eat them.

  5. Thanks! Sounds better than the 100% enriched white flour so it’s good enough for me!

  6. LOVE your blog and all of your recipes. Just added you to my google reader :) Keep up the good work.

  7. No I haven’t; I don’t think I’ve even heard of it before this. But that would be good for adding texture. I’m looking for ways to get more protein in my diet, so I’ll look into this. I’m assuming since it’s called TVP that it does have a decent amount of protein. I’m going to write a post about non-meat protein sources soon because that’s probably the biggest issue for vegetarian athletes.

  8. margaret says:

    I try to maintain a low carb diet w/o meat and I’m not much of a cook and I’m always pressed for time. So I eat a lot of dark green lettuce (and I’m adding spinach salad back into the rotation). It’s really easy to make a salad different every day and easy for me to take to work. It’s also filling. Making your own dressing greatly enhances a green salad. Possible bread subs that you may find equally satisfying: I finally found a low carb, whole wheat burrito I actually like. You can fill it with a variety of healthy options for a quick (and filling) dinner. Also, there is a Thomas English muffin that is high fiber and only 100 calories and a slightly higher protein content. It’s great toasted with just about any spread you like (including hummus). I keep a bag in the freezer at work.
    Here’s an article you may find interesting. It talks about protein combining.

  9. Thanks for the article link. Who makes the whole wheat burrito that you like?

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