This creamy, flavorful pasta sauce is actually healthy. And I don’t mean “not quite as terrible for you as cheesy alfredo drenched in butter so we can call it healthy.” I mean it is actually healthy. And the creaminess comes from…
wait for it…
Avocado may not sound like it belongs in your pasta, and I was just as skeptical as you probably are right now. Well, maybe a little less skeptical. I’ve been known to enjoy some pretty random cuisine. But it really doesn’t taste like avocado.
Notice how healthy this ingredient list is! It’s the perfect excuse to load up on carb-heavy pasta.
- 12 oz. pasta (I prefer whole wheat thin spaghetti)
- 2 Tbs butter
- 2-3 Tbs white wine (I use a $3 chardonnay from Walmart because I’m so cultured.)
- 1/4 – 1/2 of an onion, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced (I cannot live without my garlic press.)
- 12 oz. fresh spinach (I’ve used thawed frozen spinach in a pinch. I’ve also used half spinach and half zucchini with great results.)
- 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
- 1 avocado, chopped
- 1-2 tsp dried basil (The original recipe calls for fresh basil, and I LOVE fresh basil, so I’m sure that tastes amazing. I, however, did not grow basil this year, so I am stuck with dried basil.)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 dashes of cayenne pepper
- Pinch of salt and pepper
The cayenne pepper doesn’t make it spicy. It just adds flavor. Don’t skip it!
It’s actually pretty quick. And I don’t mean, “if you spent three hours chopping all your vegetables beforehand”-quick.
- Cook the pasta. You can make the sauce while it is boiling. Whenever the pasta is done, save about 1/2 cup of the pasta water for the sauce, and drain the rest.
- Sauté the onion with the butter and white wine over medium heat in a large skillet until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the minced garlic and cook until the garlic starts smelling really delicious. Do not wait until the garlic starts turning brown. (Though if you do, it will still taste great. It’s just not ideal.)
- Add the fresh spinach to the pan and cover the lid for a minute or two. Then stir the spinach around to coat it in all the lovely juices and replace the lid for a few more minutes until the spinach has wilted.
- Transfer the spinach onion mixture to a blender or food processor. Add the yogurt, avocado, basil, cayenne and a few tablespoons of the reserved pasta water. Purée the mixture until smooth. Add the parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and pulse a few more times until blended.
- Toss the sauce with the drained pasta. It seems like a lot, but I use all the sauce at once. It is so flavorful and wonderful, and it’s not runny like regular pasta sauce.
When I make this pasta, I don’t bother making a vegetable dish on the side. I feel like I’m being OH, SO BAD, but with all the spinach, onion, garlic and avocado involved, you don’t even need it.