Need something quick and healthy for dinner? Today I’m sharing my go-to FOUR ingredient dinner! This sesame veggie pasta is perfect if you’re short on time or if you’ve had a long day at the hospital and just need something STAT!
So how did I come up with this meal? I was desperate to find a healthier version of my favorite takeout meal, and this is it. It’s low in sodium but high in protein and fiber! It’s also faster than take-out too (under 15 minutes).
Today’s recipe is vegetarian, but you can easily boost the protein content by adding meat or a meat alternative. For protein suggestions, check out the bottom of this post.
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Quick Healthy Dinner: Sesame Veggie Pasta
A frozen bag of Stir-fry Vegetable blend.
You can find this in your grocery store freezer aisle. If it’s not specifically called Stir-fry blend, look for a bag with a mix of broccoli, green beans, peas, carrots, celery, red peppers, water chestnuts, and onions.
If you can’t find one with all these ingredients, just go for a frozen mix that’s close! Fun fact, this mix is high in Vitamin A and low in carbohydrates and sugar.
A box of pasta.
I like to opt for healthier, chickpea-based pasta, like Banza. If you or a loved one has a gluten intolerance or is vegan, Banza is a great option! There are other great bean based pastas out there too so feel free to get creative as you make this quick and healthy dinner.
Bean based pastas are high in protein (Banza has 25 grams per serving) and they also are higher in fiber (Banza has 13 grams of fiber). It has about half the amount of carbs found in regular pasta. If you’re picky about your pasta shape, it even comes in shells, rotini, elbows, etc. Healthy and artistic.
You can find chickpea-based pasta at most grocery stores. Target and Thrive Market carry Banza and I know Whole Foods, Stop n Shop, and Trader Joe’s do as well! We were lucky enough to find this at Stop n Shop so check your regular grocery store first! It may be hidden in the healthy food section of the store, so check there too.
Sesame Spray Oil.
Ideally toasted variety if you can find it. Now, before you get upset that it’s a specialty item, a likely a bit pricey hear me out.
First, if you aren’t using sesame on your food, your tastebuds are missing out. It adds a nutty layer of flavor wherever you spray it.
Second, it’s easy to find. This is an item you can find in a regular grocery store; most likely in the international section. If you can’t find it, Thrive Market sells it.
Third, one bottle contains SO MANY servings. Something like 700 servings (which is over 1400 sprays) so it will last you a long time. We have been using our bottle for over a year and are only halfway through, and I make this meal A LOT. It’s because my family can’t tell that its quick and healthy, they just think its a delicious dinner.
Coconut Liquid Aminos.
I prefer Bragg’s brand. Liquid aminos are a great gluten-free option for adding flavor. Aminos are often used as a soy sauce substitute because it’s lower in sodium and doesn’t actually contain soy. It’s also low in carbohydrates too!
This is another item that’s available in your local grocery store, but likely hiding in the healthy section, so check there!
Ok, we’ve got the ingredients!
Let’s get cooking!
The first thing is to boil the water. Follow the instructions specific to your brand of pasta or chickpea pasta. Banza says to use salted water but I use plain water and it turns out just fine.
I recommend making the entire box of pasta all at once. This way you have leftovers for lunch later in the week. #mealprephack
The pasta will cook quick, in roughly 7-9 minutes.
While the water is boiling, it’s the perfect time to set the table and get beverages. (Can you tell I don’t have children to outsource this task?)
As soon as the water boils and you drop in the pasta, put your veggie blend in the microwave.
*You could also steam your vegetables, but to be honest, if I’m making this meal, I’m likely in a hurry and don’t have extra time. So a microwave works just fine.
Ok, grab the bowls. I like to do a little swirl of coconut aminos around the sides and bottom of the bowl. Think of it as the fancy chocolate drizzle on the inside of a martini or dessert drink.
Then, in the empty bowl, spray 2-3 pumps of toasted sesame oil.
Once the pasta is al-dente, drain, and rinse. You may notice a little foam on the chickpea pasta as you are draining it; that’s totally normal. It will go away when you rinse it.
Divide the pasta into bowls. Top with veggies
For the final step, drizzle on a bit more liquid aminos and add a couple sprays of toasted sesame oil. Lightly mix all the ingredients together with a fork.
You’ve got a quick meal that is flavorful and will leave your family satisfied! I made this tonight, and it took roughly 12 minutes. 12! Super fast. Even after a super long and hectic shift, this is doable!
It’s also inexpensive to make.
The overall cost of the meal is under $17 which will make four servings. The price breakdown below assumes you will buy a new toasted sesame spray and a new bottle of coconut aminos each time you make it, which you won’t need to do, so it ends up being even cheaper.
Banza pasta: $ 3
Vegetable Medley: $3
Toasted Sesame Oil Spray: $ 6
Coconut Liquid Aminos: $ 5
Total: $ 17.
There are four servings of pasta in one box of Banza and around five servings in the frozen veggie medley.
If you aren’t adding any protein to this meal, you can always double your serving of veggies.
I often make this for myself at the beginning of the week and take leftovers for lunch later in the week.
Some protein suggestions: Chicken, Tofu, Seitan, Pork, Eggs, Plant Based meats.
I keep the ingredients for this meal on-hand at all times. The days when I’m too exhauted to cook or just don’t want to cook come without warning and I like to be prepared.
If I’m not prepared, it means ordering fast food, and that isn’t serving my health or wellness needs.
I hope you try this recipe next time you’re short on time! Let me know what variations you try and how it turns out!
And if you know the feeling of being too exhausted to cook, or if you’ve got takeout numbers saved in your phone, it may be time for a little extra intervention. If you’re looking for a solid strategy and proven blueprint to help you take back your energy, your life and your health, click HERE for more information!
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