Sinnergy Wellness Group &
SWEAT Nutrition Partner
Poor pasta. It brings so much to the table by being inexpensive, fast, and easy, yet most of us have been sucked into the lie that it is an unhealthy food. If you learn one new thing today, I hope it is this: if you enjoy eating pasta, it belongs on your plate.
So, why do we constantly hear the negative talk about pasta? There is no denying that pasta is a food high in carbohydrates, but why is that a bad thing? Our bodies run off of carbs! Whether it’s fruit, bread, starchy vegetables, or candy, carbs are used as energy for our bodies and brain. When selecting pasta, the options are endless for shape and use but let’s talk about two of the main ones: whole wheat and refined. If a pasta label says “whole wheat,” it means the flour used comes from the whole grain of wheat and has not been stripped of the nutrients. Refined flour is used in regular pasta, but is enriched with a ton of vitamins to replace some of that nutrition lost during processing. In the end, they are both good carb choices so choose the one that you enjoy eating!
This recipe uses orzo, a pasta that looks more like a grain of rice than standard pasta. Its tiny shape makes it a great choice to add to salad, soups, or in a creamy dish like this one. The butternut squash and kale (or green of choice) bring tons of nutrients and flavor to this dish, along with texture and beautiful color. This can easily be made ahead and kept for lunches or dinner throughout the week. Try adding some salmon or grilled chicken to round out this balanced meal.
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 butternut squash Large, approximately 2 lbs.
Salt and pepper to taste
2 – 3 cloves garlic
10 leaves sage, divided or 0.5 tsp dried sage
2.5 cups orzo
5 cups vegetable stock plus 0.5 cup if needed
1 cup kale, chopped (I used cavolo nero)
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 F. Peel, de-seed and cut butternut squash into bite-sized cubes, season with salt, pepper and 1 Tbsp of olive oil or low calorie spray. Arrange on a shallow pan, scatter 4 – 5 sage leaves throughout and roast at 400F for 45 minutes or until golden.
20 minutes before the squash is done, heat 1 Tbsp of olive oil in a deep pan and sauté chopped shallots, garlic and remaining minced sage leaves over low heat for 2 – 3 minutes.
Add vegetables stock, salt and kale, bring to a boil, add orzo and cook according to package instructions for approximately 7 – 8 minutes until tender but al dente. Stir the orzo throughout the cooking process to release starch and to avoid it sticking to the bottom of a pan. If the mixture looks too thick add 1/2 cup of vegetable stock or water to maintain creamy, risotto like consistency. Take off the heat and stir in Parmesan cheese, salt to taste and top with roasted butternut squash.