Sunday, May 01, 2011

Vegan Fusilli With Artichoke Hearts And Great Northern Beans In Less Than 30 Minutes

Skip the take-out and prepare this healthy meal in minutes!

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When you Don't Have Time to Cook
You're busy and you're tired. Everyone is hungry and the refrigerator is pretty empty. It's late in the week and you've already gone through the fresh produce and haven't had time to shop for more. "Let's just go out to eat!"  Sounds easy. So you all get in the car and try to think about where to go. 
You name 10 local restaurants and try to pick one that has some tasty yet healthy dishes that doesn't cost a fortune. You finally agree on one and stress out looking at the menu. You select something and proceed to give the waiter the third degree. "Are you sure that's made with vegetable stock?". "Please leave out the cheese". "Are the vegetables organic?" "Can you make that with whole wheat pasta?" "Do you have a vegan salad dressing?" "Can you bring me Earth Balance with the bread? Actually, I'll skip the bread."
Luckily the owner of the restaurant doesn't throw you out but after you get the meal and the bill, you sort of wish he had. You think, "geez, for that much money, I could have made a lot better meal AND bought a great bottle of wine". You go home in disgust.

What to Keep in the Pantry
There are a few key ingredients that I always have in the pantry for times like this. 
* Whole grain pasta (especially fusilli and penne)
* Cans of beans like Great Northern, Cannellini and garbanzo
* Jars of prepared tomato sauce
* Dried Italian seasoning 
* Extra virgin olive oil

So when you are having a busy week and the only thing left in your refrigerator is one small onion, here's a recipe that you can whip up in less than the time it would take you to get your family into the car. And besides being quick, each delicious serving provides over half your daily requirement of dietary fiber and lots of high quality protein while having less than 1 gram of saturated fat and zero milligrams of cholesterol!

Vegan Fusilli with Artichokes and Great Northern Beans
[serves 4]
2 teaspoons sea salt for cooking water
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
8 ounces dry whole wheat fusilli
One 14 ounce can artichoke hearts in water, drained and quartered
2 cups of your favorite prepared tomato sauce
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
One 15 ounce can great northern beans with liquid
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Fill a 5 quart pot with water and bring to a boil. After it comes to a boil, add salt and cook pasta according to directions. Do not over cook.
While water is coming to a boil and you are preparing to cook the pasta, make the sauce.
Heat oil in a saucepan and sauté onion for 5 minutes or until soft.
Add quartered artichokes, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and great norther beans along with their liquid to the cooked onions. Stir and bring to a boil. Then lower to simmer and continue to cook until the pasta is ready. If the sauce is too thick, stir in a few tablespoons of the pasta cooking water.
When pasta is done, drain and rinse in hot water. Return to pot.
Gently stir in the tomato sauce until well combined.
Top with freshly ground black pepper, if desired, and serve immediately.

Per serving: 311.8 calories, 5.5 g fat, 0.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 17.6 g protein, 75.1 g carbohydrates and 14 g dietary fiber. 


Lori said...

This looks and sounds delicious. I'll be making it this week for sure.Since my husband hates any veggies except for corn, I'll be breaking it down to smaller portions and have it for lunch.

Debra said...

What a great looking meal. This looks very easy and healthy! I agree, skip the take-out and make this...