Thursday, November 4, 2010

Angel Hair Pasta Delight

If you have not yet discovered Gardein vegan meats, I can't recommend more that you do so.  Rather than just containing wheat gluten or soy protein, the company's products are made of a blend of quinoa, kamut, millet, and amaranth.  These "ancient grains" pack a nutritional punch, as well as providing eerily accurate vegan alternatives to beef and chicken.  Whenever I see a recipe that calls for chicken breast, as I result, I now head to the store and grab a package of Gardein's Tuscan chicken breasts, as I did for this pasta dish tonight. Cook both the chicken and the Lightlife bacon according to package directions before adding to this recipe.

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 and 1/2 cups chopped sweet onion (such as Vidalia)
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 (9-ounce) package fresh spinach, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped plum tomato
  • 2 cups chopped and cooked Gardein Tuscan chicken breast (without sauce)
  • 1/4 cup chopped and cooked Lightlife bacon
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 8 ounces uncooked angel hair pasta
  • 1/4 cup shredded vegan cheese
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onions and saute for 2 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add the water and the chopped spinach; cover and cook for 2 minutes, so the spinach is wilted by the end.

2. Stir in the plum tomato, chicken, bacon, and balsamic vinegar; cook a final minute to heat thoroughly.

3. Meanwhile, cook 8 ounces of angel hair pasta according to package directions, to yield 4 cups cooked pasta.  Drain; top the pasta with the spinach mixture and the shredded cheese.  I particularly liked the strong cheddar from Sheese on this dish, to mimic the flavor of a sharp cheese like Asiago.

Nutrition Info:
4 servings (1 cup pasta, 1 cup spinach mixture, 1 tablespoon cheese), Calories 350

Tasting Notes:
Delicious.  I felt like I was getting a different combination of flavors in every bite, depending what was most prominent on my forkful, whether the chicken, the bacon, the spinach, or the tomato.  I liked serving this with some spears of asparagus wrapped in extra Lightlife bacon slices on the side.


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