If someone asked me my favorite food, I would probably answer popcorn. No, wait, probably ribs. Actually, hold that thought: mac 'n cheese. Mac 'n cheese is definitely my favorite food. Ah, hell, I'm perfectly happy with just a spoonful of plain peanut butter shoved into my mouth before anyone else can see.
So maybe I can't exactly answer the question of what is, hands down, my favorite food on Earth. But one of the frontrunners, surely, is a good ol' fashioned pasta dish. It's simple, it's filling, and usually is accompanied with lots of tasty veggies or meats slathered in a luscious sauce. The problem is, those luscious, creamy sauces I tend to favor are usually full of fat and calories. And when it comes to fat and calories, I'd rather take mine in brownie form, thank you very much.
I try to stay as health-conscious as I can while still enjoying my favorite foods, to combat the creamy pasta sauce problem, I started substituting one of my other favorite creamy foods: hummus.
Hummus is a perfect stand-in for a thick sauce on any dish. It's packed with protein, Omega 3s and plenty of other totally healthy things, but most importantly, it's just plain delicious.
Sabra's Supremely Spicy Hummus is my hands-down favorite. It's super smooth and actually has a pretty strong spiciness to it. I like spicy pastas, so it's perfect for me, but a garlic, pesto or even traditional hummus flavor would work really well in pasta, too.
Here's how I made my hummus pasta tonight:
First, I prepared my add-ins.
Chopped garlic, red onion, red pepper and fresh basil.
Then I boiled up my whole-wheat linguine nice and tender and, to-the-tooth, as the Italians would say (in their own language, that would be "al dente"). While the pasta was gettin' all floppy and cooked, I sauted the above ingredients in about a teaspoon or so of olive oil.
Before I drained my pasta water, I reserved about 1/4 cup of the water and set that aside. Then, drained the pasta and dumped it into the pan where my peppers, onion, garlic and basil were sauteing. after the pasta was added, I poured in my reserved pasta water, then stirred in about two tablespoons of hummus. The addition of pasta water is key here because without it, the hummus will remain a thick paste and it'll just clump all your noodles together in a big mess. The water thins out the hummus and makes it nice and saucy and smooth - just like a standard cream sauce!
I took everything from the saute pan and dumped it into my little bowl and topped with a little more chopped basil. Presto! A healthier pasta dish with all of the flavor.
This is definitely one of my favorite quick meals. It just goes to show you don't have to sacrifice your favorite foods and textures if you're trying to watch your waistline.
Or, you know, if you're just looking for an excuse to indulge in that brownie later.
What are your favorite ways to "healthify" some notoriously indulgent foods? I also love using applesauce in place of oil in baked goods and substituting mashed cauliflower with garlic for mashed potatoes!