Spring is finally arriving. After several long months of winter hibernation for us all, we're starting to get some sunshine and warmer weather in NYC.
During the wintertime, it can be easy to gravitate towards heavier dishes like creamy, hearty soups and cozy comfort food that may not exactly align with healthy eating goals. As the seasons change though, we humans tend to naturally lean toward seasonal produce as it is always more flavorful during peak season and also more nutritious.
I've been developing recipes with Banza to create healthy and fun dishes made with their awesome chickpea noodles.
Primavera is the Italian word for “spring,” so what better way to celebrate the colorful new season than a bright and healthy pasta dish? Exploding with colors and flavors, this primavera dish is the perfect thing for a springtime picnic in the park. Gluten-free, vegan, and vegetarian, this Primavera still feels creamy and indulgent somehow even without heavy creams and cheese.
This recipe has all of my favorite spring veggies: asparagus, peas, broccoli, and then some additional ones like red bell pepper, tomato, and yellow squash to throw in some extra color and phytonutrients.
A serving of Banza has double the protein of regular pasta (14g opposed to 7 g), and almost half of the carb content (24g opposed to 40g). 14g protein/24g carb is just about that 1:2 protein/carb ratio us trainers like for a post-workout meal to help jumpstart your body's recovery. Trust me, it's even startling to me that it's coming from a simple pasta. And major bonus- it takes only 4-6 minutes to cook, which is way less time than normal boxed pasta and it's so easy.
The team over at Banza have been nice enough to give my readers a discount to try out their pasta- just use the code: MINNALY25
This dish is silly easy to throw together in a pinch, and the flavors blend together so nicely. The simple lemony olive oil and red pepper sauce is all the dish needs for flavor, while letting the spring ingredients shine.
You can also play around with the presentation of the ingredients. I used a julienne peeler on the squash, and peeled the asparagus into ribbons for some fun plating.
Onto the recipe now!
2 cups Banza Penne Pasta
1 crown of Broccoli, broken apart
1 large or 2-3 small Carrots, sliced
½ cup of Peas, cooked (frozen, canned, or fresh)
1 dozen stalks of Asparagus, cut into 2 in. pieces
1 medium Red Bell Pepper, sliced
1 small Yellow Squash, julienned or sliced
~6 Grape Tomatoes, halved
1 handful of Parsley leaves
2 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 tbsp Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
4-5 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp Lemon Juice
Salt and Pepper to taste
1. Wash and prepare all vegetables according to ingredient list above, if not already prepared.
2. Over medium-high heat, pour 3-4 tablespoons of the olive oil into a pan or skillet. Add in crushed garlic and stir. Add asparagus, carrots, and broccoli to the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3. On a separate burner, bring a large pot of salted water (about 2 quarts) to a rolling boil over high heat.
4. Add in tomatoes, peas, and yellow squash to vegetable mixture in the pan and stir to combine. Sprinkle half of the red pepper flakes, half of the parsley leaves, and the lemon juice into vegetable mixture. Cook for another 4-5 minutes or until vegetables are tender and cooked to desired texture. Remove pan from heat and set aside.
5. Add 2 cups of Banza Penne pasta to the boiling water in the pot, and reduce heat to create a low boil. Cook for 4-6 minutes until al dente texture. Drain and immediately rinse pasta under running lukewarm water.
6. Drain well, and then add pasta back into large pot and toss to coat pasta with remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add in vegetable medley from pan into the pasta pot, and stir to combine well. Bring pot to very low heat and add remaining red pepper flakes, parsley, and salt and pepper to taste, and mix well. Remove from heat, and serve!