Who craves a big bowl of creamy pasta?!! I do!! This dish is a healthy one and will not leave you feeling the guilt after devouring this creamy delight. It happens to also be kidney friendly, a big plus for those watching their potassium levels. Most creamy noodle dishes are packed with saturated fats, sodium and calories. This dish is lightened up by using lemon, broth and a touch of cheese as the base instead of heavy cream and a heart stopping mass of cheese as found in most creamy pasta dishes. Yet this dish is still loaded with flavor and a satisfying creaminess!
With having family in California, this time of the year I have an abundance of lemons lying around. My kitchen has been packed with lemon dishes and this is one I will be making time and time again. Although lemon season is just about over, lemons are a staple in most kitchens and luckily can be found in most supermarkets year round. **Quick Tip** Lemons can be used to help brighten a dish and bring out other flavors, allowing for you to use less salt when cooking.
This is the base of flavors for this sauce. Using plenty of fresh and healthy ingredients make this sauce a healthy success! Getting all your ingredients chopped and ready prior to making the sauce is key as this sauce is not one you want to let simmer while you’re chopping all your ingredients. Make sure to chop ahead of time to allow for an easy cooking experience.
Zucchini and peppers are a lower potassium vegetable. However, they are packed with plenty of other nutrients such as Vitamin C, Vitamin A, and Vitamin B6. Did you know that red and orange bell peppers pack nearly twice as much Vitamin C as green bell peppers?
This sauce is thickened by using a little flour. Above is a picture of the vegetables after adding in the flour. You want to make sure to cook the flour till golden brown in color or else your dish will be left with a raw flour taste.
Make sure to stir the sauce frequently to prevent clumping. You can also use a whisk when making this sauce to break up the flour and help it dissolve more easily.
This pasta is bright, colorful and creamy and will provide a great refreshing pasta dish to your table! In honor of March being National Nutrition Month and National Kidney Month this dish helps celebrate both of these special occasions!!
Healthy Creamy Lemon and Herb Garlic Pasta
Author: Brittany Sparks
Makes: 11 (3/4 cup) Servings
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Total Time: 40 min
12 oz Pasta (340g), Cooked per package directions
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
¼ Cup Onion, Minced
1 Cup Red Bell Peppers, Diced (~1 large)
1 Cup Zucchini, Chopped (~1 small)
6 Cloves Garlic, Minced
2 Tsp Fresh Thyme Leaves (~6 sprigs)
1 Tsp Salt
½ Tsp Pepper
½ Tsp Red Pepper Flakes (Optional for those who like heat)
2 Tbsp All Purpose Flour
3 Tbsp Lemon Juice (~1 Large Lemon)
Zest of 1 Lemon
3 Cups Low Sodium Vegetable or Chicken Broth
½ Cup Parmesan Cheese, Grated
Red Pepper Flakes
Cook pasta according to package directions.
While the pasta is cooking prepare the sauce. In a large non-stick pot heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and bell pepper and sauté for 5 minutes. Add the zucchini and sauté an additional 4 minutes, or until softened.
Add the garlic, thyme, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute.
Add in the flour and cook for 2 minutes or until the flour is golden brown and coating all the vegetables.
Add in the lemon juice, zest, broth and Parmesan cheese. Make sure to stir frequently for about 5 minutes to help dissolve the flour. This will help to prevent the sauce from becoming clumpy.
Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook for about 20 minutes stirring occasionally making sure to scrape the bottom of the pan to prevent clumping.
Add the cooked pasta directly to the sauce and cook an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Serve immediately. Garnish with fresh parsley, lemon zest, red pepper flakes and or Parmesan cheese.
Serving Size (3/4 Cup):
Calories 167, Total Fat 3 g, Saturated Fat 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat 1.3 g, Polyunsaturated Fat 0.4 g, Sodium 335 mg, Total Carbohydrate 32 g, Dietary Fiber 1.6 g, Protein 6.8 g, Potassium 212 mg, Phosphorous 113 mg, Calcium 59 mg, Vitamin A 533 IU