By Monique Escamilla:
I am constantly masterminding new ways to slip nutritional superfoods into my 2-year old’s meals. He’s a snacker / grazer by nature. A sandwich just seems to get in the way of his domination of all rocks, dirt, sand, and four-wheeled objects. Normally if it can’t fit into his snack cup or fist, he can’t be persuaded to eat it. One thing that plants his booty in front of the table is pasta. I, of course, overcook whole wheat or gluten-free pasta so that I can make sure he gets his fiber and nutrients while still eating slurpy, soft noodles. So here’s a recipe I’ve concocted to ensure he gets the most nutritional impact with his noodles. The navy beans provide tons of fiber and are an economical protein source when purchased dried and from bins. The broccoli sprouts are nutrient-dense and loaded with phytochemicals, and the the marinara brims with lycopene.
Marinara Pasta with White Beans & Broccoli Sprouts
- Gluten free or whole wheat pasta
- Organic, low-sodium marinara pasta sauce (Trader Joe’s has some tasty & affordable varieties)
- Daiya Cheese (optional) or Nutritional Yeast
- Organic white navy beans
- Organic brocolli sprouts
So here’s what I do:
Boil the pasta until overly soft (my kid won’t eat it if it’s too chewy). While the pasta’s boiling, blend the beans if they are firm to ensure creaminess. (I crock pot my beans until almost creamy, thus omitting the need to blend. I then freeze them in small portions). Once the pasta is cooked, drain and rinse with cold water to prevent stickiness. Throw the pasta back in the original pan and add the pasta sauce, daiya cheese, white beans, and nutritional yeast. Heat under low flame.
Once everything has heated and become gooey, add the brocolli sprouts. Cut them up finely into the pasta so that they blend nicely with everything else. These will lend a nutty taste to the entire mixture. Serve and let me know if your picky eater enjoys it as much as mine did. I’d also love to hear about any tweaks you made to this recipe!
– Cheers! Monique