The Dish on Pasta

There’s nothing new about pasta, but after declining popularity during the height of the low-carb craze, pasta is now starting to make a major comeback.  Data from Google trends show that, based on search results, consumers are buying and preparing more rigatoni, tortellini, penne, fusilli and linguine. Top chefs are also featuring lighter pasta dishes on the menu.

Pasta is ideal for health-conscious consumers, and the perfect foundation for healthy and nutritious meals. With portion control, people around the globe can enjoy this highly affordable staple, which is often an important delivery system of healthy ingredients that are often under-consumed, such as vegetables.

Pair it with nutrient-dense foods such as high fiber vegetables and beans, heart-healthy fish, antioxidant-rich tomato sauce, and protein-packed cheeses, poultry, and lean meats. The wheat-and-water staple is a cornerstone of the Mediterranean diet, which is considered the gold standard for healthy and sustainable eating. And it’s made from semolina, a protein-packed wheat variety.
A 200-calorie cup of cooked pasta has 6 grams of protein and a low glycemic index to help keep you fuller longer. Pasta provides beneficial carbohydrates, the primary source of fuel for your body. Pasta is also an excellent source of selenium, which activates antioxidants that protect the cells from molecular damage; and manganese, a mineral that helps you metabolize carbohydrates and regulates blood sugar.
Why stop there? Pasta is also good for the earth and has a light environmental footprint. It is one of the least intensive foods to produce. It is more energy dense than fruits and vegetables, which are harder to grow, transport, and store throughout the year. Pasta also combats foods waste, by turning a mess of leftover vegetables and food scraps into a hearty gourmet dish. For all the steps in the food supply chain, pasta is one of the most sustainable foods available. From harvesting the wheat to pasta production, to home preparation and package disposal, a plate of pasta is food produced in full respect for the environment.
Pasta meals are versatile, culturally adaptable to local seasonal ingredients, environmental sustainable, affordable, and in controlled portions, are a fantastic source of varied and healthful nutrients. Eat pasta, guilt-free, and enjoy this wonderful food creation!

Soba Noodles with Grilled Shrimp and Cilantro

12 oz soba noodles
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons tamari
1 teaspoon agave syrup
2 large shallots, thinly sliced and separated into rings
6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest, plus 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 pound large shrimp, shelled and deveined
2 scallions, finely chopped
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
Lime wedges, for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the noodles and cook, stirring, until tender, 4 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. In a medium bowl, combine 2 tablespoons of the oil with the soy sauce, tamari and agave syrup. Add the noodles and toss.
In a skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until golden brown and crisp, 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the shallots to paper towels. Add the garlic to the skillet and cook over low heat until golden and crisp, 2 minutes. Transfer the garlic to the paper towels.
Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a bowl, combine the lime zest and juice with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Stir in the shrimp and season with salt. Grill the shrimp over high heat, turning once, until glazed and just white throughout, 3 minutes.
Arrange the noodles on a large platter. Sprinkle with the scallions, cilantro, crushed red pepper and the fried shallots and garlic. Arrange the shrimp on top and serve with lime wedges alongside.

One serving 234 cal, 26 gm carb, 8 gm fat, 1.5 gm sat fat, 16 gm protein, less than 1 gm fiber.


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