Tuesday, September 13, 2011

meatless meals - pasta with spinach, beans and ricotta

Since I seem incapable of keeping a defined schedule on my blog {hello - homeschool mom!}I've decided to rename my "Meatless Monday" posts to "Meatless Meals". Much less restricting. More or less.

I posted a photo of my dinner last night, and had a few people ask how I made it and comment that it looked good, so I thought I'd share this simple, but yummy meal. It's really easy to toss together on a busy evening - which means you can still eat healthy on a schedule that's sometimes crazy. One other thing I like about it is the versatility. Since our family is transitioning into more and more meatless meals {I've been a vegetarian for 9 months now, but my husband recently decided that he'd like to join me after seeing the many health benefits I've experienced.} That means I can add a bit of Italian sausage to part of the pasta dish for the meat-eaters, and keep it simple for the plant-eaters. That's super important for me right now!

Pasta with Spinach, Beans and Ricotta

1 pound of whole wheat penne pasta {or your personal favorite}
1-1/2 jars of Newman's Own Tomato Basil Sauce
1-1/2 c. cooked kidney beans
{I cook mine from dry because they taste SO much better. Plus, I love to add allspice berries while they cook to give them a hint of spice. You can, of course, use a can that you purchase at the store, and drain and rinse them.}
1 c. frozen spinach
1- 16 oz. container of ricotta cheese

Preheat your oven to 350*. Cook the pasta to al dente {soft, but not mushy} in boiling salted water. The package should have times listed if you need the info. Drain and pour the cooked pasta into a glass 9" x 13" baking dish. Pour over the marinara. Crumble the frozen spinach leaves into the pasta, and add the kidney beans. Stir to get everything evenly combined. Scoop half of the container of ricotta cheese by spoonfuls into the pasta dish and gently stir, trying not to break up the cheese too much. Dot the remaining cheese randomly over the top. Place in the preheated oven, uncovered for about 30 minutes, until the sauce is bubbly and the ricotta cheese fluffs up. Remove and let cool for just a few minutes before serving.

I love how the sweetness of the ricotta balances the bit of bitterness that the spinach tends to have! And spinach is healthier for you cooked, so it's a win/win!



Jess said...

okay it looks so delish i am going to give it a try! thanks for the recipe!

~Sasha Farina~ said...

i don't think i can live without my meat.. but wow. that looks awesome LEah!! i think i'm gonna try that :)

Shere said...

That looks wonderful. I am going to have to try it. Maybe my guys won't realize it is meatless. TFS

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