High Protein, High Fiber, Low Carb Pasta!
I found it – the golden ticket! The solution to any (okay – most) problems. Creamy. Pumpkin. Pasta. Sauce.
Fall classic? Check.
Quick and easy to cook? Double check.
Everyone will love because it resembles mac and cheese? Check!!!!
I love eating seasonally, and pumpkin-enhanced foods feels like the epitome of Fall. At restaurants, I see pumpkin commonly used for only a few items: pumpkin soup, pumpkin ravioli, and some sort of pumpkin spice dessert. When I come home at the end of the day, especially after exercising, the last meal I want is something too heavy and leaving me feeling bloated or something that will take over 30 minutes to cook. Enter: my creamy, 2-ingredient pumpkin sauce, 15-minute pasta dinner.
I use a high-fiber, high-protein, low-carb pasta option. Chickpea or lentil pasta is perfect to sneak in some extra veggies and health benefits. For my meat-loving fiancé, I cook up ground turkey to make a meat-sauce style pasta dish. Feel free to omit the extra meat; if you use a chickpea, lentil, or black bean based pasta, you are getting loads of protein anyway.
The secret, is all in the sauce and the seasoning. Be sure to buy pureed pumpkin with no added ingredients or preservatives. And don’t be afraid of the FULL FAT coconut milk. Coconut (milk, oil, water, etc.) offers a healthy fat that is absorbed by the body and used for energy, lowers cholesterol levels, lowers blood pressure, and lowers the risk for heart attacks, strokes, and other diseases. Seasoning the whole dish with black pepper not only enhances the flavor, but packs on the health benefits. These include:
- Fights Cancer. The piperine in black pepper has Vitamin C, Vitamin A, flavonoids, carotenes and other anti-oxidants that help remove harmful free radicals and protect the body from cancers and diseases. The best way to eat pepper to harness maximum benefits is to eat freshly ground pepper, and not cook it along with food.
- Stimulates Digestion. Again, the piperine in black pepper eases digestion and stimulates the stomach, which then secretes more hydrochloric acid that helps to digest proteins in food. So a bit of pepper in food will actually help you to digest it faster.
- Relieves Cold and Cough. Black pepper is antibacterial in nature, and therefore helps to cure colds and cough. It also helps to alleviate chest congestion, often caused due to pollution, flu, or a viral infection. Create a soothing facial steam by adding black pepper and eucalyptus oil to hot water.
- Enables Weight Loss. Black pepper extracts nutrients from food. It’s outermost layer contains phytonutrients, which helps to break down fat cells, and also increases metabolism. If you eat fresh pepper, and begin to perspire, that’s the pepper helping your body to get rid of excess water and toxins. But you need to control consumption – a pinch with your food (one meal) is enough.
- Boosts Sad Mood. It’s said that the piperine in black pepper helps to address depression. It stimulates the brain, and helps it to function properly by making it more active.
With holidays just around the corner, you’re sure to be invited to a potluck or two. This dish is almost too easy to whip up and will be a major crowd pleaser. Just tell me people it’s healthy mac-and-cheese and watch them go for seconds (and thirds).
Happy (almost) Thanksgiving!
- Prep Time: 5m
- Cook Time: 15m
- Total Time: 20m
- 1 box pasta, of your choice (I like Banza Chickpea Pasta)
- 1 c pure pumpkin puree
- 1 c full fat coconut milk (with cream from top of the can)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 shallot, diced
- 1 lb ground turkey (optional)
- black pepper (to season)
- salt (to season pasta water)
- parmesan cheese (optional)
- optional toppings: sage, roasted pumpkin seeds
For the Creamy Pumpkin Sauce
- Mix 1 cup pumpkin puree and 1 cup coconut milk (make sure to use the cream that's on the top of the can) in a bowl. Stir together well and set aside.
For the Pasta and Turkey
- In a pot, bring water to a boil and season generously with salt.
- Add pasta to boiling water and cook following instructions on the pasta box.
- In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add diced shallot and garlic cloves and lightly sauté. Once fragrant (about 2-3 minutes), add ground turkey meat and cook through.
- Once turkey meat is cooked through, add pumpkin sauce and combine well. Turn heat down to low and cover.
- Once pasta is cooked, drain and combine in large pan with turkey and sauce. Stir well, season with black pepper, and top with parmesan cheese and/or other tasty toppings.
- (Optional) Serve over dark, leafy greens, such as spinach or arugula. Enjoy while hot!