Classic baked pasta gets a healthy makeover in my Skinny Spinach Parmesan and Lemon Vegetarian Baked Penne.
I forgot to mention yesterday that I did see Star Wars this weekend and I kind of loved it. I can't believe I got so wrapped up in those movies. Now I'm waiting like the rest of the world for the next episode. It was a lot of fun to hunker down and watch the entire series. It was the perfect cold, January activity.
You know what else is perfect for cold weather? Pasta. As the weather cools, I find myself wanting creamy comfort food and pasta. It can be quite dangerous.
I don't believe in depriving yourself of food, instead creating healthier versions or eating the real deal in moderation.
Vegetarian Baked Pasta is one of my all time favorites... but creamy sauce can also be a crazy source of calories...
My version, while still pretty sinful, uses low fat milk that thickens with flour to create the creaminess without actually adding any cream.
I season it with lemon and nutmeg to brighten the flavors and bring a little bit of richness.
To health-ify it more I use whole wheat pasta and tons of iron-packed spinach.
The result is totally crave-worthy pasty goodness.
This is a great dish that actually gets better for leftovers the next time. I like making a big batch on Monday and eating off of it for several days. And luckily my pasta cravings are curbed for at least a little while!
It will give you enough energy to fly the entire galaxy... OR a nice long run the next day. 🙂 Enjoy!
Skinny Vegetarian Baked Penne
- 13 ounces whole wheat penne
- 9 ounces fresh spinach
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small sweet onion, chopped
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 4 cloves
- ¼ cup flour
- 2 ½ cups 1% milk
- ½ cup vegetable broth
- 1 ¼ cup shredded parmesan, divided
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¾ teaspoon salt, divided
- ¾ teaspoon pepper divided
- 1 lemon, juiced
- ½ cup panko
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a large casserole dish.
- Cook pasta one minute short of package instructions. It will continue to cook in the pasta bake so you want it under cooked.
- Two minutes before pasta is scheduled to finish cooking, add the spinach to the pasta water to wilt. Cook along with pasta. Drain the pasta and spinach.
- Meanwhile, in a large pot, saute the onion in the olive oil over medium heat. Season with ¼ teaspoon of the salt and pepper. Cook until starting to brown.
- Add the flour and garlic. Stir and coat the onion evenly with the flour. Cook for one minute.
- Gradually add the broth and milk stirring frequently. Allow the sauce to come to a low boil to thicken. Stir for several minutes or until thick.
- Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the cheese. Season with nutmeg. Add the rest of the salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in the pasta, spinach and add the lemon juice. MIx well.
- Put in a ** casserole dish and sprinkle the panko and remaining ¼ cup of cheese on the top.
- Bake for 20 minutes or until the top is bubbly and brown.
Thanks for stopping by! See you tomorrow for a crazy story about time time I hiked through an old lava field on purpose!
I'm linking up with: Meatless Monday with Sarah and Deborah, Meatless Monday with Annmarie, Delicious Dish Tuesday, What’s Cookin’ Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday with Miz Helen, FoodFriDIY, Foodie Friday, and the Weekend Potluck. Thanks so much ladies for the link up parties!
How do you like to eat pasta? Or do you never eat pasta?
What did you think of Star Wars?