Wednesday, March 12, 2014

High Protein Pasta Dinner with Sun Dried Tomato Paste

High Protein Pasta Dinner
with Sun Dried Tomato Paste
Not every meal I make is planned out in advance or highly complicated.  Most of my meals are actually very simple combinations of foods I have on hand in my freezer or pantry all the time.  This dinner is one such example.  I had some frozen organic whole wheat pesto filled raviolis in my freezer that had been there for awhile and thought I would figure out a quick and simple weeknight dish by combining them with some sun dried tomatoes I had been wanting to use.  I love sun dried tomatoes and know that they are really good for you, but usually the process of slicing them up into thin strips or pieces is time consuming and I just didn't feel like spending a long time prepping dinner.  (I was also in the middle of making a batch of muffins for breakfast so I really needed to keep things simple).  So I decided to let my magic bullet blender do the work for me and attempt to make my very own sun dried tomato paste.

I was not planning on even writing this "recipe" up in my blog, but the result was so delicious, and so simple to throw together, that I thought it was worth sharing, especially after receiving this morning's Dr. Oz newsletter which listed both sun dried tomatoes and green peas as "surprising sources of protein."  I honestly had no idea.  I knew that they were both highly nutritious, but I didn't know that a cup of each one contains a remarkable 8g of protein! Green peas are also really high in fiber and one cup provides 100% of your daily vitamin C.

As for the sun dried tomatoes, they are truly one of nature's healthiest foods. As stated above, one cup contains 8g of protein, in addition to 7g of fiber and half of the potassium that your body needs in a day.  They are also high in iron, the B vitamins thiamine, riboflavin and niacin, as well as vitamin K. Sun dried tomatoes also contain high amounts of vitamins A and C, as well as other highly important antioxidants.  Honestly, they are amazing, and the perfect way to add some super nutrition to any pasta dish you are making.  I did use pesto filled ravioli, but this paste would be good with any type of pasta, rice, chicken or fish meal, or even as a spread on a sandwich.  I definitely plan to make it again soon and will share how I incorporate it into my next culinary adventure.  Buon appetito!

High Protein Pasta Dinner 
with Sun Dried Tomato Paste
organic whole wheat pesto ravioli
and homemade sun dried tomato paste

20 sun dried tomatoes
1/2 C. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning, optional
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

1 or 2 packages whole wheat ravioli (or preferred pasta)
2 C. frozen organic green peas
4 vegan Italian sausages (I used Tofurky brand), cooked in the oven

In a small food processor or high powered blender, thoroughly combine the sun dried tomatoes, olive oil, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and red pepper flakes until a thick oily paste forms.  Set aside.  Cook the ravioli according to package directions.  Drain pasta and return to pan, along with the sun dried tomato paste.  Add in the frozen peas, and heat through.  Toss with the vegan sausage and serve immediately.

all mixed together in the pot

dinner is served

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