We are excited by the warmer weather and feeling great with all the fresh spring foods that are now around - we hope you are too! The recipe we are sharing with you today is one of our and our clients favourites - Ricotta, Zucchini & Basil Pasta Salad.
Three reasons why we love this recipe:
1. High in calcium: the ricotta cheese provides some highly bioavailable calcium and the broccoli adds a plant source of calcium! Important for growing bones/teeth and maintaining bone mass especially in ladies over the age of 55 or after menopause due to a drop in the protective hormone estrogen.
2. High in fibre: wholewheat pasta, chickpeas and the insoluble fibre from vegetables delivers prebiotics to the gut. This helps feed the healthy bacteria that live in our intestines, promoting a healthier immune system, helping ease constipation and lowering cholesterol.
3. Low in glycaemic index: padding out the pasta with lots of vegetables and beans means the carbohydrates from the pasta will be delivered in a nice slow way, giving sustaining energy and limited spikes in blood sugar.
IT IS FAMILY FRIENDLY! (Tried and tested on kids - of all ages!)
RICOTTA ZUCCHINI BASIL PASTA
Makes: 4 servings
Prep time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins
- 1 cup of dry spiral pasta
- 1 x tin chickpeas, drained
- 1 tbls olive oil
- 3 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
- 2 large broccoli heads, cut into florets
- 3 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
- ¾ cup reduced fat smooth ricotta cheese
- 3 tbls pine nuts
- 1 bunch basil leaves
What to do:
1 Bring 2 cups of water to the boil, add pasta and cook until al dente (approx. 15 mins). Drain and set aside.
2 In a large frying pan add 2 tsp olive oil and cook zucchini, broccoli until tender. Add the cherry tomatoes and cook for another 2 minutes or so.
3 Add pasta, chickpeas & ricotta to the pan, adding 2 – 3 tbls water to form a smooth textured sauce.
4 Serve each plate ¼ of the pasta mixture, top with pine nuts & basil leaves.
*TIP: Cook a double portion and have as a cold salad the next day !