Some of our favorite healthy pasta recipes contain a surprising combination of flavors, and this Spiral Pasta with Dried Cranberries and Asparagus is no exception. Start your sauce with a bunch of earthy, green asparagus for a veggie crunch that can’t be beat. Layer on the flavor with tart cranberries for a stark contrast that will surprise your taste buds, and your dinner guests! Almonds add a satisfying crunch, and mint gives this healthy pasta dish a refreshing twist.
Whole wheat pasta provides a healthy dose of fiber, and is a great substitute for refined white pasta. A complex carbohydrate, it’s filling and sustaining, and has a nutty taste and chewy texture that even the most stubborn of pasta eaters have embraced! Asparagus adds a whopping amount of fiber as well, and contains numerous antioxidants. Cranberries provide cardiovascular benefits as well as immune boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. Almonds add a dose of protein, and cooking with extra virgin olive oil ensures that you’re getting healthy fats, and in moderate quantities.
Throw this dish together on a frantic weeknight, because it doesn’t take more than a few minutes to simmer the sauce and prepare the pasta. But because of its colorful presentation and rich array of gourmet flavors, you’ll be proud to serve it to guests at a festive lunch or dinner party!
Yields: 6 servings | Serving Size: 1-1/2 cup pasta | Calories: 296 | Total Fat: 6 g | Saturated Fat: 1 g | Trans Fat: 0 g | Cholesterol: 0 mg | Sodium: 175 mg | Carbohydrates: 54 g | Dietary Fiber: 8 g | Sugars: 5 g | Protein: 7 g | SmartPoints: 9
- 12 ounces (about 3-1/2 cups) whole wheat spiral pasta or penne
- 12 ounces (about 1 small bunch) asparagus, tough bottom stems removed
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1/4 cup sliced almond or almond slivers
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped fresh basil or mint leaves
- 1/4 teaspoon salt plus 1/2 teaspoon for pasta water
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- Bring a pot of water to a boil for the pasta. When the water is boiling, add some salt. Put the pasta then cook following the number of minutes indicated in the package.
- While waiting for the water for the pasta to boil, prepare the sauce. Over medium heat, in a saucepan with extra virgin olive oil, sautè the asparagus then toss in the pan for about 10 minutes.
- Pour the wine then put up the flame to high until it evaporates.
- Add the cranberries then season with salt and pepper.
- Add the mint (leave some for garnishing) and the almonds. Cook for about 1 minute. Cover.
- When pasta is cooked and drained, combine with the sauce in the saucepan on low heat then mix well.
- Before serving, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil then garnish with the remaining mint leaves. Serve hot.
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