Meal Idea: 3 ways we have made this Mediterranean Pasta Bake a little bit better for you

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Hungry for a healthy meal idea that is family-friendly and good for YOU  too?

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This recipe for a Mediterranean Pasta Bake is a family-friendly meal idea that is consistent with the Mediterranean Diet! With all the flavour of lasagne, with a whole lot less fuss, this meal idea promises to satisfy hungry mouths! We have made this meal idea a little bit better for you in 3 ways.

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3 ways we have made this meal idea a little bit better for you:

  • We’ve upped the plant-based protein – We have swapped in whole grain pasta in place of the refined white pasta. The nutty taste of the whole grain pasta fits right in with the bold flavour in this recipe and meal idea. This food swap also adds in additional plant protein and fiber, contributing to a satisfying healthy meal idea. If you wanted to make this healthy meal idea even more plant-based, we could have added in a can of drained and rinsed cannelinni beans for additional soluble fiber and plant-protein.

 

  • We’ve layered in additional vegetables – We have added in additional chopped mushrooms, leafy green vegetables and canned diced tomatoes, adding in additional micronutrients and antioxidants to this meal idea. Having a bag of pre-chopped kale allowed me to just drop in a few large handfuls of this leafy green veggie into the pasta bake. As you can see, the leafy green cooks down into manageable mouthfuls. We could have added in chopped up zucchini, pureed pumpkin or shredded carrots, for additional veggies. Serve this healthy meal idea with a crunchy side of sliced up cucumbers or quick pickles for an extra layer of veggies.

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  • We’ve cranked up the satisfaction factor – When you create a meal that it full of flavour and has a balance of protein, fiber-rich carbohydrates and fat, you feel satisfied after eating the meal.

This meal idea makes a lot, which is great for freezer meals, planned leftovers and a hot lunch.

 

Is this meal idea consistent with the Mediterranean Diet?

Yes! With the addition of whole grain pasta plus lots of veggies, this meal idea helps to transform the everyday pasta recipe into something that tastes great and is good for you too.

Are you drooling yet for this yummy meal idea?

 

Here is the recipe for this tasty and satisfying meal idea:


5 from 1 reviews
Mediterranean Pasta Bake (a family-friendly meal idea)
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
This meal idea reminds me of a lasagne, with all the flavour and a lot less fuss.
Author:
Serves: 8-10
Ingredients
  • 375 g box of whole grain pasta rotini noodles (ex: Catelli Healthy Harvest)
  • 1.5 pounds (681 g) extra-lean ground beef
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cups mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups chopped leafy greens (ex kale or spinach)
  • 1 cup cottage cheese (1% MF)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
  3. In a large pan or pot, over medium-high heat, cook the ground beef for 10-15 minutes, breaking into small chunks with spoon or spatula, until browned. Drain fat and excess moisture.
  4. To the browned ground beef, add in onion, mushrooms and garlic. Cook for another 5 minutes.
  5. To the beef and vegetable mixture, add in crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, spices and leafy greens. Heat through.
  6. Stir in cottage cheese, mozzarella cheese and reserved, cooked pasta. If in a hurry, you can serve your pasta bake right from here. For extra flavour, transfer hot mixture to a 9X13 baking dish that has been lightly misted with vegetable oil spray. Bake for 10 minutes or until bubbly.
  7. Serve with quick pickles or sliced cucumbers.

 

Kristyn Hall
Kristyn Hall
Kristyn Hall MSc, RD Nutritionist and Registered Dietitian Calgary, AB.

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