Healthy Family Meals

Simple Healthy Pasta Recipes

Pasta is one of the most popular dishes in the UK, and it’s particularly handy as a go-to midweek option when we’re all a bit pushed for time. However, it’s not always the healthiest of meals - if you’re not careful, it can quickly get very rich and calorific, especially when adorned with various creamy sauces, fatty meats and cheese toppings.

If you’d enjoy a lighter and more nutritious way to serve delicious, satisfying and healthy pasta recipes at home, look no further than the two recipes below. The straightforward ragu is ideal for a lazy Sunday slow cook, while the speedy and simple prawn orzo is an ideal way to brighten up those quick weeknight dinners.

They’re sure to be big hits with all the family - and both are simple enough to prepare and cook easily, with relatively little energy or expertise required.

Rich Turkey Bolognese

Rich Turkey Bolognese

This simple ragu uses turkey mince rather than traditional beef. This reduces both calorie count and fat content dramatically, but still delivers big on taste. A healthy pasta recipe that’s great served with a peppery green salad and a splash of balsamic dressing.

Makes enough for 4 people.

Ingredients

  • 500g turkey breast mince
  • 320g wholewheat spaghetti
  • 1 small brown onion
  • 1 large carrot
  • 1 courgette
  • 2 celery sticks (leave out, or swap for spring onions, if you don’t like celery)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp Marmite (or a few glugs of Worcestershire sauce if you prefer a milder flavour)
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • Optional: a few fresh green basil leaves to serve

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 C (375 F, Gas Mark 5). For fan-assisted ovens, drop the temperature by 10 degrees or so.
  2. Place 1tbsp of oil in a non-stick roasting dish and warm in the oven for 3-4 minutes, then remove the dish and carefully tip in your turkey mince. Break it up thoroughly with a wooden spoon or spatula, and move it around until it’s well spread out. Place back in the oven and cook on a lower shelf for about 30-40min, stirring midway through, until lightly browned and just starting to crisp at the edges.
  3. Meanwhile, finely chop all your fresh vegetables, and mince the garlic. On the hob, heat 1tbsp oil over in a large lidded saucepan or casserole pot over a medium heat. Add in your chopped vegetables and garlic and stir well. Cook with the lid on for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until everything is well softened.
  4. Pour 500ml of boiling water into a large jug or bowl, add the Marmite/Worcestershire sauce and tomato purée, and stir together. When the veg has had 20 minutes, pour this liquid mixture into the saucepan or casserole pot, and also add in your browned turkey mince. (Make sure you give the roasting dish a good scrape around when removing the mince, as those stickier bits will give you a ton of extra flavour!)
  5. Season lightly, stir, and replace the lid on the saucepan. Leave the mixture to bubble and simmer for around 30min, or until it’s becoming noticeably thicker. (If it’s reluctant to start reducing and thickening after 15-20min, you can remove the lid for the final 10min - just be wary of any splashing as it bubbles away.)
  6. When it’s more or less ready, drop the heat to a minimum and replace the lid. Cook your pasta according to the packet instructions, and serve in bowls with the turkey ragu ladled over the top. If you’re using fresh basil leaves, rinse and scatter a few over each bowl right before you bring it to the table.

Spinach & Orzo Pilaf with Paprika Prawns

Spinach & Orzo Pilaf with Paprika Prawns

Use pellet-shaped orzo as the foundation for this delicious pilaf, which is normally a rice-based dish but works fantastically as a pasta main course. Perk it up with some lightly spiced seafood and iron-rich greens for a quick, satisfying and healthy midweek meal.

Makes enough for 4 people.

Ingredients

  • 350g orzo pasta (feel free to use other varieties if you like - orzo is ideal, but other smaller pasta shapes will work too)
  • 650ml fresh stock, ideally chicken (although vegetable stock will also work)
  • 250g fresh spinach, washed and finely chopped
  • 150g raw peeled prawns
  • 1 sliced leek
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice and zest of ½ lemon
  • 1 tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • A handful of fresh mint (or 1 tbsp dried), finely chopped

Method

  1. Heat 1tbsp oil in a large deep lidded frying pan or saucepan over a low-medium heat, and add in your chopped leek and garlic. Stir lightly for 5-7min until well softened, but don’t let them start to brown.
  2. Add the orzo and stir for another 1-2min before pouring in your stock, along with the juice and zest of the lemon. Slice your remaining half lemon into 5-6 wedges and set aside.
  3. Place a lid over the pan, and let it simmer for about 10-12 minutes, until the orzo is cooked through and the volume of liquid has significantly reduced. (Check midway through; if the liquid isn’t reducing much then slightly increase the heat and partially remove the lid.)
  4. Towards the end of the cooking time, start adding your spinach a handful at a time, letting it wilt into the broth.
  5. In another smaller frying pan, heat 1tbsp oil over a high heat and carefully add in the raw prawns, sprinkling the paprika over them to cover lightly. Cook while stirring occasionally for 2-3min until they’re nicely pink throughout, with no translucent parts remaining. When almost done, add another dash or two of lemon juice and some of the chopped mint, then season lightly with salt and pepper.
  6. You can either mix the cooked prawns into the orzo prior to serving, or dish out the pasta into small bowls and scatter the seafood across the top. Sprinkle over a few of the remaining mint leaves as you serve, and garnish each bowl with a lemon wedge.

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