Friday, July 1, 2011


Whole Wheat Pasta with Spinach, Cheese & Mushrooms

Summer is here and many of us are still trying to get bikini ready. Since I know I'm not alone in this weight loss journey, I figured I'd share some of the healthier meals I prepare for my family. This dish in particular has been a staple of my regimen for years now, as I once explained how my husband and I try to go meatless at least two days out the week (Okay well, I go two days, and he's forced to go meatless when I do. What can I say, he's a meat and potatoes kind of guy ;-)). To see the benefits of doing so, check out the following post: Meatless Mondays Work!

Okay, so to prepare this tasty dish, you'll need:

  • Whole wheat pasta (I alternate between the penne and rotini, but the shape doesn't really matter. Just make sure you get whole wheat because it contains more fiber and is therefore healthier than white pasta. I always get the organic variety from Trader Joe's.)
  • Spinach (You can use fresh spinach, but I just get frozen, chopped spinach because it lasts longer. I also get the organic variety.)
  • Mozarella cheese
  • Marinara sauce (I get Tomato Basil Marinara sauce from Trader Joe's)
  • White mushrooms (You can buy them whole or sliced to save time)
  • Sea salt
  • Garlic salt
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Optional: Fresh cilantro (Unfortunately, I didn't have any on hand this time around, but adding fresh cilantro leaves to this dish just gives it an extra boost of flavor)
**Note: I didn't provide any measurements because I've been cooking since I was twelve, so I just use portions that I think will serve enough peeps and simply season to taste. Sorry!

    1. Boil the pasta in enough water to fully cover it. Boil for approx. 10-15 minutes on medium heat. Stir periodically to make sure pasta cooks evenly and doesn't stick. Don't overcook! Pasta should be firm when done (mushy pasta is yucky!)
    2. While the pasta is boiling, start cooking the spinach. Place a small amount of water in the skillet like so:
    3. Add the spinach and sprinkle a small amount of sea salt on top. Cook the spinach until it goes from looking like the pic on the left to the pic on the right.

      Basically, you don't want to cook all the water out of the spinach. It should not be dry, but moist. If you use fresh spinach, you can simply sautee it in butter flavored cook spray and a little bit of olive oil if you wish.
    4. Once the pasta is done, place it in a colander/strainer to drain the water.
    5. Next, add the pasta to the spinach, and pour in the pasta sauce. Toss in some cheese (Not too much or else this dish will go from being healthy to decadent real quick!), mushrooms, and your seasonings.
    6. Stir it all together, then cover and let simmer...
    7. Once the cheese is all melted and everything looks delish, uncover and serve. This dish tastes great when served alongside a grean leafy salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing.
This dish is not only tasty, but super healthy. Be careful not to eat too much of it though (which may be hard because it's really good :-)) because the fiber content is so high that it will clean you out for sure, LOL! This dish is great because you get a serving of greens, and according to a recent article on, dark green leafy vegetables such as spinach is listed as one of the Ten Best Foods for Babies. And as you can see, my lil' man loves it:

And his papa does too! In fact, he loves it so much that he decided to share some with you ;-)


Ms. Harmony said...

Tell hubbs "thanks for the bite". LOL!!

DPrincess28 said...

@Ms. Harmony: Hahaha, will do! :-P

MsGA30 said...

I really enjoyed this recipe... please do more of these posts when you can!! Take care!! =)

DPrincess28 said...

@MsGA30: Thanks, will do!

Tee Eee said...

I love doing dishes like these. Although I don't use mushrooms. I haven't done it with a tomato sauce before, I tend to use a light alfredo sauce or, recently, the Philidelphia herb and garlic cooking creme. I'll add this to my menu for next week thoguh...sans the mushrooms.

Tiffany said...

Looks good, I'm going to try this.

Tiffany said...

I tried this the same day and it was delicious. I didn't have mushrooms so that was the only thing missing. Oh and I used spaghetti sauce I already leftover in the fridge. Thanks for the idea!