Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spinach and Avocado Greens Pasta with Roasted Grape Tomatoes

I am obsessed with this recipe. It's by far my new favorite dinner. I've made it twice in the past few weeks, and I've had to restrain myself from making it more often...for variety's sake. But I can easily say that I'd be happy to eat this at least once a week, if not more! It's that good.

A couple things in particular that I love about this dish are how healthy it is and how filling it is! And, in the grand scheme of dinner recipes, it's fairly easy too. There are several steps to make this meal, but they're all easy; I promise. Also, the dish is meatless, which is another added bonus (for me personally - I don't always love cooking meat!). And also because it's meatless, it's perfect for the Lenten season if you are someone who happens to be observing the practice of not eating meat on Fridays.

The recipe is from Annie's Eats. I only adapted the original recipe slightly. I did not add the greek yogurt to the green "sauce," although I'm sure it would be yummy. The first time I made the dish, I tasted the sauce before adding the yogurt and liked it as is, so I decided to omit the yogurt. But definitely add it if you'd like! And also, both times I've made this I've used feta cheese in lieu of parmesan cheese. Below are the ingredients I used both times I made the dish.


For the tomatoes:
-1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes (halved or whole - your call)
-1 to 2 Tbsp. olive oil
-salt and pepper to taste

For the pasta:
-12 to 16 oz. whole wheat pasta (I recommend linguine)
-2 Tbsp. olive oil
-1 medium yellow onion, chopped
-3 to 4 garlic cloves, minced
-1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes (add more if you want a bigger spice kick)
-approx. 5 to 6 cups of loosely packed baby spinach leaves
-1 and 1/2 to 2 avocados, split and pitted
-6 Tbsp. fresh basil leaves, packed
-1/2 cup feta cheese


To roast the tomatoes, preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a rimmed baking sheet, combine tomatoes, olive oil, salt and pepper, tossing well to coat tomatoes. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, tossing once halfway through. Remove from oven and let cool.

In a large pot, bring water to a boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, and then drain pasta. While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil over medium heat in a large saute pan over medium-high heat. Add chopped onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flakes, and cook 1 minute more. Add spinach to pan, cover, and reduce heat to medium-low (it's okay to add spinach in batches if it doesn't all fit at once). Stir occasionally until all the spinach has fully wilted.

In a food processor or blender, combine the spinach mixture with the avocado, basil, and feta. Adding a splash of reserved pasta water at a time, processing mixture until smooth, adding more water as needed along the way. You will likely end up needing 1/4 to 3/4 cup of water total, depending on your other ingredients and your preferred sauce thickness. Toss the sauce with noodles, and if necessary, return to stovetop to reheat the mixture over low heat. Top with roasted tomatoes and more cheese (feta, parmesan, or any other kind!), if desired. Enjoy! Makes 5 to 6 servings.

Did I mention that I love this recipe? I love this recipe. :) The second time I made this, I roasted red peppers with the tomatoes, and they were a great addition. Roast any other veggies you think might be yummy with this! Also, another great thing about this recipe? It tastes awesome as leftovers. The flavors really come together nicely on the second or third day... So it's a great recipe to make for dinner one night and then enjoy for lunch the next day!

I highly, highly recommend you give this recipe a try. It might even be fun around Christmas time with its green and red colors. :) Or, it might be a fun dinner (without the tomatoes ;)) for St. Patty's! If you have kids and are looking for new ways to incorporate veggies into their dinners, this would be a great recipe to try!

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