National Spaghetti Day: 6 Healthy Dishes

Holy macaroni, it’s National Spaghetti Day!

It’s not too surprising that our country celebrates this slurp-tastic meal, since the U.S. is the world’s second largest pasta producer. While pasta has been eaten here for hundreds of years, (it was brought to America by the English), it’s been around for much longer.

There are multiple theories regarding the origins of pasta. One theory is that Marco Polo got the recipe from China. Another theory is that the Romans got the idea from a food called itriyya, which was brought to the island of Sicily when Arabs occupied it around the 9th century.

No matter where it came from, pasta is a beloved dish all over the world, especially the United States. An American, on average, consumes around 20 pounds of pasta every year! Is there such thing as enjoying pasta too much? I guess the answer depends on what type of pasta dish is eaten. Healthy, well-balanced pasta dishes are great for your body.

So here are six healthy pasta and vegetable dishes that you can whip up to celebrate National Spaghetti Day:

  1. Zucchini Noodles with Avocado Pesto and Shrimp

    Use low-carb zucchini noodles, nutrition-packed avocado, along with cajun shrimp to put a healthy spin on a classic Italian meal of pasta with the protein-packed shellfish.

  2. Pasta Primavera

    The more vegetables, the better! Combine your favorite roasted veggies with whole grain pasta, olive oil and herbs to create a flavorful, healthy meal everyone will love.

  3. Sweet Potato Carbonara with Spinach and Mushrooms

    Use large sweet potatoes to cook up this gluten-free carbonara dish. The additional spinach and mushrooms will give your body a wide range of vitamins and minerals it needs.

  4. Vegan Lemon Pasta with Pine Nuts and Broccoli

    Something about lemon sauce with the crunch of roasted pine nuts is nothing short of delicious. This is a quick, easy recipe, and the added nutrients from the broccoli and pine nuts makes this a meal you can make again and again.

  5. Spaghetti Squash with Roasted Tomatoes, Beans and Almond Pesto

    This low-calorie, low-carb pasta alternative will fill your body with vitamins and minerals, while exciting your taste buds with flavors from the almond pesto and roasted tomatoes.

  6. Tuscan Vegetarian Pasta

    Packed with vegetables, this is one mouth-watering meal that also provides nutritional benefits. Use whole wheat pasta and go easy on the cheese to keep this recipe as healthy as possible.

Tips when eating pasta:

  • Only eat 1 to 1.5 cups of pasta per meal
  • Always use whole grain pasta, which has more fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals in it than refined, white flour pasta
  • Tomato sauce can be rough on your stomach and can cause heartburn or acid reflux, so consider replacing tomato sauce with olive oil, pesto or a homemade wine sauce
  • Enhance flavors in your pasta by adding garlic, basil, oregano, thyme or chili pepper flakes
  • Don’t add salt or cheese to pasta while you’re cooking it – wait until the food is on your plate (this will greatly reduce the amount of salt and cheese added)
  • Skip the garlic bread! Eat a yummy salad or roasted vegetable dish along with the pasta, instead. Read more: What to Eat this Season — Winter’s Top 10 Veggies

Eating right will make your body feel better and function better. For more healthy recipes, check out Scripps Affiliated Medical Groups’ articles.

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