So you’re trying to avoid meat. I know the whole story. The nitrates, the calories, your three-year-old New Year’s resolution, your cholesterol level and your family’s history of cancer. Can’t we just live in the moment? Apparently not. Most of us know it’s best to avoid meat, especially red meat, and preferably animal products, if you can help it.
In the meantime, you may prefer to enjoy that same satisfying combination of flavor and bulk. Comfort food. But maybe it’s time to look to other foods for comfort, rather than the comfort full of empty calories.
I’m here to tell you it’s not hard to accomplish. But you have to like greens. Arugula, for instance, is so packed with nutrients, and the squash and pine nuts such a flavor burst that meat will not even cross your mind.
But back to arugula, which is often called salad rocket or garden rocket, and protects against cancer like other cruciferous vegetables, and has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral effects. That could explain why I don’t get the illnesses my children bring home from school. I don’t go too many days without eating a huge arugula salad.
You may spend less money on counseling if you eat foods like this packed with folate and B vitamins, which improve your outlook and ward off depression, as well as heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
- 4 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt, divided
- Cooking spray
- 8 ounces uncooked pappardelle (wide ribbon pasta) or fettuccine
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 tablespoons pine nuts
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 cups trimmed arugula
- ½ cup (2 ounces) grated Asiago cheese
- ½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
- Preheat oven to 475.
- Combine butternut squash, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and ¼ teaspoon salt in a large bowl; toss well to coat.
- Arrange squash mixture in a single layer on a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray.
- Bake at 475 for 25 minutes or until squash is tender and lightly browned, stirring occasionally.
- While the squash bakes, cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat.
- Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1 tablespoon cooking liquid.
- Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Add pine nuts, 1 tablespoon sage, and garlic to pan; cook for 3 minutes or just until the pine nuts begin to brown, stirring occasionally.
- Place the pasta, reserved 1 tablespoon cooking liquid, pine nut mixture, and squash mixture in a large bowl, toss gently to combine.
- Add remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, arugula, Asiago cheese, and ½ teaspoon black pepper; toss gently to combine.
Serve warm. Yield: 6 servings (serving size: about 2 cups).
Source: Cooking Light.