Vegetable Packed Low Calorie Pasta

Did I just say 'low calorie' pasta? Yes ladies and gentlemen, you read correct. I have crafted a delicious faux meat pasta dish that is only 150 calories per cup. Since we know nobody actually eats only a cup of things at a time that still equates to about 300 calories per bowl of delicious, high protein, veggie-packed pasta.

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Vegetable Packed Low Calories Pasta

Ingredients:

- 1 28 oz can Crushed Tomatoes (or just use a jar of spaghetti squash and omit the 3 spices at the end.)

- 1 16 oz bag frozen California blend vegetables

- 1/2 box Rotini (about 2.5 cups)

- 1 bag of Boca or other faux meat substitute (can use real beef as well)

- 1/2 onion (I used red because that's all I had, any kind would work fine)

- 1 T. minced garlic

- 1/2 T. olive oil

- 1 T. Oregano

- 1/2 T. Basil

- 1/2 T. Red Pepper (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)

Directions:

- Bring a pot of water to boil and cook the rotini for 8-10 minutes (I like my pasta pretty soft so I usually go for 10 minutes)

- In a large skillet heat the olive oil, then add the garlic and onion and sautee for 5-6 minutes. Add the beef and cook on medium heat for another 10 minutes. Finally, add the jar of crushed tomatoes along with the oregano, basil and red pepper. Heat through.

- While the pasta and tomato sauce is cooking steam the frozen vegetables in a large bowl with a cup of water in the microwave for 6-8 minutes. I didn't want really chewy vegetables so I kept mine in for 8 minutes. Once the vegetables are done put them on a cutting board to chop up.

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- I added the veggies to help 'bulk' up the dish without a lot of calories, but I didn't want the vegetables to overpower the pasta so the key is chopping them all up into tiny pieces.

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- Once the veggies are chopped, the 'meat' sauce is heated through and the pasta is done - throw it all together! Mine made 10 cups, or 5 servings. A 2 cup bowl has 300 calories and 24 grams of protein. I haven't tested this theory but I assume this would be a great meal to help get kids to eat their veggies. Pretty hard to pick them out when they are chopped up so tiny (and covered in delicious sauce!)

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Next time I make this I think I'll make a double batch and add some chopped mushrooms as well. It's honestly been months since I've made pasta because it's usually just so heavy, but this dish is filling without that 'unbutton your pants' feeling. #Winning.