Easy tips to make healthier pasta for kids + Recipe for 6 ingredient broccoli pasta with cheese sauce
Most kids I know (including mine) seem to love pasta. I often wonder why. Is it because they see it as something exotic, as compared to the daily Indian meals of roti-sabzi or dal-rice? Is it the peer pressure or the mental images portrayed by advertisements? Or do they possibly they see it as a dish in which they can escape the drudgery of eating their vegetables. Is it the lure of the cheese that kids find difficult to resist?
Do you have a pasta loving family? Make sure you have a few bottles of this Marinara sauce in your refrigerator.
Whatever the reason, if kids are going ga-ga over pasta, then we parents have a job on our hands – to make the pasta a vehicle for healthier ingredients and nutrients. It is not difficult at all, because pasta pretty much pairs well with any ingredient. Vegetables, eggs, beans, cheese, nuts, herbs – just about anything can go into a pasta sauce, without seeming out of place.
Also check out: Grilled corn salad with orzo pasta
Here I have come up with a few tricks that will help you make a pot of healthier pasta for kids.
To make healthier pasta for kids – get these tricks up your sleeve
It is ok to use regular durum wheat pasta. Fortify it with the following ingredients.
- VEGETABLES – Finely grated carrots, zucchini, pumpkin, bell peppers can all go into the basic tomato sauce prepared for pasta. Rich flavour of ripe tomatoes combined with tomato paste or puree can take in all these vegetables without putting off kids who dislike vegetables.
- PROTEIN – Using milk and grated cheese to make a ‘white sauce’ adds to the protein content of the dish. You can also add finely grated paneer or tofu to further enhance the protein in the pasta. Ottolenghi’s famous yogurt based pasta sauce is another winner in the protein department. You can also mash cooked chickpeas or navy beans and add to a tomato sauce to give it more heft.
- HEALTHY FATS – Pesto makes the best vehicle for nuts, especially for kids like mine who hate nuts of any kind. I make this 1 minute peas pesto by pulsing together frozen peas, fresh mint or basil (whatever I have on hand), toasted walnuts and or almonds, along with a clove of garlic and extra virgin olive oil. That’s a good dose of healthy fats in a one minute pasta sauce. If you have a ripe avocado, add the flesh to the pesto and pulse to get a delicious sauce. Check out my 2 minute sauce with just 2 ingredients.
Here is a recipe for one such healthy pasta dish, that the whole family can enjoy for dinner. Pasta, steamed vegetables and sauce – hearty and delicious!