Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Creamy Spinach Fusilli: Upgrade your cream sauce to make it healthy (it isn't hard)

Your personal fitness trainer (whether it is a person or an app) would approve of you digging your fork into a plateful of this Creamy Spinach Fusilli to accomplish your fitness related goals.

Creamy Spinach Fusilli as part of a healthy weeknight meal

Carbohydrates slathered in a creamy sauce may not look very healthy, but it's really not so fattening when you prepare the sauce using low fat ingredients.

Low-fat milk, flour, and a willingness to whisk, completely cancels out any need for heavy cream. And the spinach adds a healthy serving of vegetables to fuel your next 10,000 steps!

And get this, you don't even need to bother washing or chopping the spinach because clever food companies now sell frozen spinach in nugget-sized portions.

adding frozen nugget-sized spinach to creamy pasta sauce

Sink one or two of these nutrient rich nuggets in the creamy sauce, whisk away (count that as extra cardio), and the spinach blends right in!

Fusilli tossed with a healthy cream sauce

Feels good to know the cream sauce for this luxurious and classic pasta dish supports your day's 10,000 step effort - and doesn't diminish it in one sitting. Enjoy!

Creamy Spinach Fusilli

Makes: 4 Servings
Hands-on Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes

  • 10 oz / 283 g fusilli pasta (3 cups)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp dried mustard or 1 Tbsp yellow mustard
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese 
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. dried basil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ½ cup chopped baby spinach (or use 2 frozen spinach nuggets)
  • ¼ tsp each salt and black pepper
In a large pot, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

While pasta is cooking, in a small saucepan, whisk together milk, flour and mustard until smooth. Cook, and whisk constantly, over medium-high heat until sauce bubbles and begins to thicken. Reduce heat to low. Stir in cheese, vinegar, oregano, basil, garlic and spinach. Stir until spinach wilts. Stir in salt and pepper. Remove from heat.

In a large pot or serving bowl, toss cooked pasta with sauce. Serve.

TIP: Serve this saucy pasta dish immediately after cooking. I let this sit for a few hours after taking the pictures and noticed the pasta absorbed the sauce. Made it dry and not as good as when it first came out of the pot.


Creamy Spinach Fusilli: Upgrade your cream sauce to make it healthy (it isn't hard)

Brent Garell from Cookapalooza

Brent Garell is the author of The Cook-a-Palooza Experience and 15-Minute Money Saving Meals for Students. When he is not enjoying the outdoors, he is on the look-out for simple #mealprep solutions to fit healthy and responsible meals into his family's busy schedule. Let's see what works!

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