I’m a firm believer that eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. We’re also so fortunate to live in a time where food companies are innovating and offering consumers consciously created products made with real, whole food ingredients you can read. And the difference between eating boring healthy meals versus healthy meals that are delicious and incredibly satisfying lies in knowing how to read food labels and pick substitutes that fit within your personal dietary needs and requirements.
My Alfredo Chickpea Pasta with Shrimp is made with tons of tasty, healthy swaps so you can barely tell the difference between this meal and a traditional Alfredo dish.
- Before you begin, you may need to deshell/detail your shrimp. Wild caught shrimp tends to come with the entire shell on.
- Bring a medium pot of water to boil. Once boiling add in chickpea pasta. Allow to boil until al dente or desired softness.
- In a medium to large sized skillet, bring avocado oil to heat and add 1-2 TBSP of minced garlic to the skillet (depending on how garlic-y you like your food). Allow the garlic to brown. Once that happens, add your mushrooms. Sauté for about 5 min.
- Once mushrooms have cooked through, add your detailed shrimp to the skilled. Wild caught shrimp tends to not be pre-cooked, so while your shrimp won’t need too much cook time, you will want to be mindful of this detail. I’d guess that the shrimp need about 3-4 minutes per side, depending on how large they are. It’s your choice if you’d like to / have enough space to push the mushrooms to the side of your skillet or if you prefer to remove them while you cook your shrimp. I’m a fan of dirtying less dishes/pans, and I like to blend all the flavors, so I just move mine to the side.
- Strain and rinse your pasta under cold water and dump it back into your pot.
- Add the garlic, mushrooms and shrimp from your skillet to the pot along with some Alfredo sauce. Start slow and continue adding sauce as you go. You can always add, but you can’t take back.
- While you’re giving everything a good mix, add in your spinach leaves. I add these in last because I don’t like my spinach to be too wilted. I find that the heat from the other ingredients is plenty to warm up the spinach without making them cooked.
- Lastly, top with parmesan cheese and salt and pepper to taste!
Why I Like It (Besides Being Delicious):
Eat Banza pasta and other similar brands of alternative pastas are higher in protein, higher in fiber and lower in net carbs than traditional pasta. With Eat Banza specifically, Chickpeas are the very first ingredient on their label (ingredient labels are written in order of most to least quantity) and the only other ingredients are tapioca, pea protein and xanthan gum (a binding agent that most food companies use that allows the food to keep it’s shape and consistency).
As far as sauces go, you would obviously be better off using something simple like an extra virgin olive oil, but if you’re looking for a creamy pre-made sauce, Rao’s make some great options! First of all, their entire ingredient list is all items you can great such as light cream, cheese, egg yolks, etc. Additionally, there is only ONE GRAM of sugar per 1/4 cup serving size. You should ALWAYS check sugar content and added sugars on anything you buy – there’s a lot of sneaky sugar in our foods – but especially in pasta sauces.
For the other ingredients, Spinach is an extremely nutrient rich vegetable with health benefits like reducing oxidative stress, improving eye health, moderating blood pressure and even preventing cancer. Baby bella mushrooms are high in nutrients and minerals like selenium, niacin, copper and pantothenic acid that support immunity and lower your risk of disease. Shrimp also promote heart and brain health due to its antioxidant and omega-3 fatty acid content. Plus, it’s a lean source of protein. Just make sure you’re buying the right kind of shrimp. Lastly, garlic has a whole laundry list of benefits, but most notably it’s a great boost for your immune system, improves cholesterol levels and may help prevent degenerative brain diseases.