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Great Greens Pasta

Vegetarian for a day? Why not! Every once in awhile, I look back at my eats for the day and realize it was completely vegetarian. I think, "Hmmm, I could do this all the time!" But then I remember my love for buffalo chicken wings and bacon. However, I do plan one or two meatless dinners each week. It's an easy way to stay health-minded, and it saves a bit of money at the grocery store. Also, Lent is quickly approaching... (March 5! Get your Lenten resolutions ready!) Many people choose to eat meatless on Fridays during Lent. Growing up, I went to a parochial school, and every Friday our lunch was either cheese pizza boats or a fish clipper on a bun. Oh, the memories. Followed by a trip with my family to the fish fry at the local Knights of Columbus hall every Friday night. I thought I'd share a meatless meal that's not what you would typically see - Great Greens Pasta. It's a flavorful pasta dish with a spinach-basil sauce, topped with juicy and sweet roasted grape tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. It's also very healthy - not a ton of cream or oil, so you can feel good about this dish!

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Start by roasting your tomatoes. Place 2-3 pints of grape tomatoes in a baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and just a bit of sugar. Roast at 350*F for about 40 minutes. (The tomatoes will reduce in size greatly, that's ok.) [caption id="attachment_3573" align="aligncenter" width="384"]photo 1-1 Before roasting[/caption] [caption id="attachment_3575" align="aligncenter" width="384"]photo 3-1 After roasting[/caption] While the tomatoes are roasting, get your spaghetti noodles boiling. Then, start the sauce. Saute some onion and garlic in a little butter, then add some fresh baby spinach to wilt.

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Once that has all cooked down, add it to the bowl of a food processor along with some plain Greek yogurt, Parmesan cheese, and a big handful of fresh basil leaves. Give it a whirl until it's smooth, adding up to 1/2 cup of pasta water  to thin it down.

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Toss the sauce with the cooked noodles, and top each serving with roasted tomatoes and additional Parmesan cheese.

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This was a hit at our house... very light but still indulgent tasting. I was also excited that we got a couple of vegetable servings in with the pasta! (Which just allows me to eat more garlic bread... bwa ha ha...) ---

Great Greens Pasta

Serves 4-6. 12-oz to 16-oz thin spaghetti noodles 2-3 pints grape tomatoes 2 tablespoons olive oil pinch salt pinch pepper pinch sugar 2 tablespoons butter 1 tablespoon olive oil 1/2 onion, diced 4 cloves garlic, minced 2 6-oz bags fresh baby spinach 6-oz container plain Greek yogurt 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves To roast the tomatoes, preheat oven to 350*F. Place tomatoes in baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil, and season with salt, pepper, and sugar. Roast 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, bring the spaghetti to a boil. Cook according to package directions, reserving some of the cooking liquid. For the sauce, melt the butter and olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion; cook until softened. Add garlic; cook 1 minute more. Add spinach, stirring, until it wilts. Add vegetables to the bowl of a food processor along with Greek yogurt, Parmesan cheese, and basil leaves. Whirl until smooth, adding up to 1/2 cup of reserved pasta water to thin it down. Toss the cooked spaghetti noodles with the green sauce. Top each additional serving with roasted tomatoes and Parmesan cheese. Source: adapted from Annie's Eats  

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