Robin’s Healthy Take: Pasta Primavera 3 Ways

by in Robin's Healthy Take, April 14, 2011
Pasta Primavera: Simple Ingredients, Endless Possibilities

Primavera is a pasta dish loaded with vegetables, but that’s where the rules end: The noodles can be long, short, twisted or tubular and the vegetables can be anything from broccoli rabe and bell peppers to yellow squash and wild mushrooms. Today I’ve given you three of my favorite pasta-and-veggie combinations — something for every craving.

Shopping Tip: Improvise!
Enjoy them all and feel free improvise by choosing any pasta shape/variety (including whole wheat and gluten-free) and any vegetable (fresh or frozen).

Cellophane Noodles with Shredded Carrots, Cabbage and Yellow Squash
This Asian-inspired version  boasts clear noodles swathed in a sesame-infused, soy-ginger sauce. Cellophane (mung bean) noodles don’t need boiling water; they tenderize when soaked in hot water for 10 minutes; they’re sold with the Asian ingredients in the grocery store.

7-8 ounces cellophane noodles
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 cups shredded purple cabbage
2 cups shredded carrots
1 medium yellow squash, diced
2 tablespoons minced pickled ginger (sold with the sushi items)
3 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
2-3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Place noodles in a large bowl; pour over hot water to cover (water can be from tap, just as hot as you can get it); let stand 10 minutes. Heat oils together in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add cabbage, carrots, yellow squash, and ginger; cook 3-5 minutes, until soft.  Drain noodles; add to vegetables with soy sauce; cook 1 minute to heat through.  Remove from heat, stir in cilantro; season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Serves 4

Nutrition Info Per Serving
Calories: 283
Total Fat: 6 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Total Carbohydrate: 55 grams
Protein: 2 grams
Sodium: 553 milligrams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Fiber: 3 grams

Mini Bowties with Red Peppers, Mushrooms and Honey
I perked up bowties with sweet honey, tangy red peppers and earthy mushrooms. Substitute eggplant for the mushrooms if desired.

12 ounces mini bowtie pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped red onion
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
8 ounces sliced cremini (baby bella) mushrooms
1 cup diced roasted red peppers, plus 2 tablespoons liquid from the jar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add onion and garlic; cook 2 minutes; add mushrooms; cook 5 minutes, until mushrooms are tender and release liquid.  Add cooked pasta, roasted peppers, liquid from jar, vinegar, and honey; cook 1 minute to heat through.  Remove from heat; stir in parsley; season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Serves 4

Nutrition Info Per Serving
Calories: 455
Total Fat: 8.5 grams
Saturated Fat: 1 gram
Total Carbohydrate: 80 grams
Protein: 14 grams
Sodium: 219 milligrams
Cholesterol: 0 milligrams
Fiber: 4 grams

Rigatoni With Artichokes, Broccoli and Sundried Tomatoes
This more traditional take on primavera gets Italian inspiration from basil, zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes and artichoke hearts, and gets added low-calorie bulk from fresh broccoli florets.

12 ounces rigatoni
3 cups broccoli florets
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup chopped white onion
12-ounce jar quartered marinated artichoke hearts, undrained
1 cup sliced oil-packed sundried tomatoes, drained
1 medium zucchini, diced
1/3 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Cook rigatoni according to package directions, adding broccoli for the last 30 seconds of cooking; drain and set aside. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add onion; cook 2 minutes, until soft.  Add artichoke hearts with liquid from jar, sundried tomatoes and zucchini; bring to a simmer.  Add rigatoni and broccoli; cook 1 minute to heat through.  Remove from heat; stir in Parmesan and basil; season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Serves 4

Nutrition Info Per Serving
Calories: 524
Total Fat: 15 grams
Saturated Fat: 2.5 grams
Total Carbohydrate: 83 grams
Protein: 20 grams
Sodium: 512 milligrams
Cholesterol: 6 milligrams
Fiber: 9 grams

Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at

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