Pasta e Fagioli

Pasta e Fagioli is peasant food – or what my Italian grandmother simply calls “pasta and beans.” I made this version with onions, chard, fresh parsley & basil, elbow macaroni, pink beans, and cheese. I prefer a nice sharp pecorino Romano cheese, but any Italian type grating cheese will work and even cheddar will do in a pinch.


Pasta e Fagioli

  • 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1 bunch fresh chard, chopped
  • 1/2 lb. cooked elbow macaroni (I use gluten free)
  • 1 28-oz can chopped or crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tsp (or more) granulated garlic
  • 2 cups (or 1 can) cooked beans
  • 2 oz Romano, Parmesan or Asiago cheese
  • A handful of fresh basil and parsley, chopped (or a couple teaspoons of each dried)

Cook the macaroni. Saute the onion & chard in EVOO til soft. Add the chopped tomatoes and granulated garlic. Let it come to a bubble, then add herbs, cheese and cooked pasta. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until the ingredients heat through and meld into a saucy, delicious dish!

Dietary notes: a healthy dose of protein and fiber; ♥ Vegetarian ♥ Gluten Free Option

Cost: About $2.10 per serving with gluten free pasta (I use Tinkyada rice pasta) or $1.75 with conventional pasta.

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Flourless banana pancakes

YUM. I’m still reeling from the deliciousness of these amazing little banana pancakes! They were so delightful – moist on the inside and slightly crisp on the outside – that it’s hard to believe they’re both gluten AND grain free! And because they were so flavorful, already cooked in butter and textured just right, I didn’t have to butter them and used just a fraction of my usual amount of Vermont maple syrup.

The inspiration came from Grain-Free Foodies but, as I tend to do, I gave  it my own twist. This is a bit of a splurge in terms of fat content, but it’s from good quality sources with a healthy balance of monounsaturated, polyunsaturated and saturated fats (and some of that butter does get left behind in the griddle). Plus, it has a decent amount of protein (19g). The recipe below was just enough for a single serving, but can easily be multiplied. And, did I mention how EASY these were to prepare? I did all the mixing in my 2-c Pyrex glass measuring cup with a fork, then poured the batter from there right onto the griddle.

Banana pancakes

  • 1 jumbo egg, beaten
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 2 Tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1 Tbsp ground flax seed
  • 2 capfuls vanilla extract
  • Ground ginger & cinnamon (optional)
  • 1 Tbsp butter

Beat egg and work in peanut butter and banana (I broke it into small pieces first). Stir in flax and vanilla. Melt butter in cast iron skillet. Spoon batter into 4″ circles – these didn’t spread much. These don’t “bubble” like baking powder pancakes, so you’ll need to watch them for doneness. Plate them up, drizzle with real maple syrup & serve! Made five 4-inch pancakes (just right for one).

Dietary notes: Grain free, Gluten Free, Ovo-lacto vegetarian
Cost: $1.75 per serving, with real butter and 2 Tbsp. 100% maple syrup (WOW!)

Sweet potato pancakes: substitute 1 medium mashed sweet potato for the banana. You can increase eggs to two if the batter seems too dry.

The fritatta: delicious, nutritious egg-cellence!

The egg has been called a perfect food for years, but they’ve gained recent recognition for being even healthier than we thought! Throw in some fresh organic veggies & herbs and maybe a little cheese from grass-fed dairy cows and you’ve got delicious, nutritious Nirvana! Fritattas are a quick and super easy way to whip up a well-balanced meal – for one or for a crowd. Here are the basic ingredients:

Fritatta

  • Fresh local eggs (I use 2 per person)
  • Onions, veggies & herbs of choice
  • Crumbled or grated cheese (optional; 1/2 – 1 oz per person)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
  • Salt & pepper

Saute your veggies in some olive oil (starting with the onions) til soft, sprinkle on your fresh herbs and cheese, then top with your beaten eggs seasoned with salt and pepper. Cook on low heat until top is fairly firm, loosen around the edges, then give it a minute or two under the broiler to brown the top. Slice into wedges and serve. That’s it!

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And the beauty of this delightfully easy healthful dish is that in can be made for about $2 per serving with healthy real foods. What’s not to love?

Dietary notes: Grain Free, Gluten Free, Ovo-lacto Vegetarian
Cost: $2.00 per serving

Summer vegetable pasta

Here’s one from the Five Minute Foodie page on Facebook in a more traditional recipe format. I used Tinkyada brown rice elbows (gluten-free), but you can use any pasta you like and any vegetable that can be quickly blanched. Broccoli, cauliflower, spinach or chard would all work nicely too (greens will need less time in the water – perhaps just a minute). You can vary the cheese and herbs as well. A nice, easy summer meal that’s just as delicious as a cold pasta salad the next day!

  • 1/2 lb. pasta
  • a few cups of zucchini or other vegetable, cut in bite-sized pieces
  • a plump, fresh tomato, cut in bite-sized chunks
  • large handful of chopped scallion tops
  • handful of chopped basil (and/or other fresh herbs)
  • a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil (evoo)
  • splash of lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 oz crumbled feta cheese
Put the pasta on to boil. Add veggies during the last 2-3 min of pasta cooking time (less if using greens). Drain pasta and veggies, but leave a little wet. Throw them back in the pan or in a large bowl and add other ingredients. Toss well & serve warm. Serves 4.

Hints: Pre-cutting vegetables in batches is a huge time saver! Also, leaving a little pasta water after draining is a trick that “old school” Italian cooks like my grandma use to get a nice, light, sauce from all the melded ingredients. The bottom of the bowl will look something like this (and it will be delicious!) Grilled Italian or chicken sausages (I love Blinkski’s organic), grilled chicken, a salad and crusty wholegrain bread would all go nicely alongside.

Dietary notes: Gluten Free, Ovo-lacto vegetarian
Cost: $2.00 per serving (less if using conventional pasta)