Three healthy pasta sauces for kids

 For many parents, making healthy foods is pretty easy. It’s getting your child to actually eat those nutritious foods that’s the hard part! This makes mealtimes frustrating and leaves parents often wondering if their child is getting enough nutrients. 

One of their favorite and popular foods to eat is pasta! Here are three pasta sauce recipes that are healthy, light and quick to make: 

 

* Creamy Greek Yogurt Mac & Cheese: serves 4-6

  • 8 oz. (about 2 cups) elbow pasta (I used whole wheat)

  • 8 oz. (about 2 cups) shredded cheese (a sharp cheddar is great)

  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt (I love Chobani)

  • 2 cups fresh spinach

  • salt & pepper, to taste

  • 1/4 tsp. onion powder

  • 1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Make the macaroni according to the package’s instructions (about 8-10 minutes), until al dente. Place the spinach leaves in the bottom of a strainer, and pour the pasta over top to drain and wilt the spinach. Save about 1/2 cup of the pasta water. Return the cooked macaroni and wilted spinach to the pot.Put about 1/4 cup of the reserved pasta water to the pot, and stir in the cheese until melted. Stir in the greek yogurt, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, until smooth and creamy. Stir in the remaining pasta water to thin, if necessary. Serve immediately.

 

* Sweet Potato Cream Pasta with Kale: serves 2-4

1 large sweet potato, cooked and mashed (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 shallot, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed

1 tablespoon flour

1 1/2 cups skim milk

1/2 cup freshly grated romano cheese + 2 tablespoons

1/2 pound whole wheat pasta (preferably noodles)

1 head of kale, leaves torn from stems

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, add kale, sesame oil, 2 tablespoons romano cheese, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat with your hands and massage kale for 1-2 minutes, until flavors are distributed. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 15-18 minutes, tossing 1-2 times while cooking, until crispy. Remove and set aside.

Bring pasta water to a boil and prepare pasta according to directions.

While kale is cooking, heat olive oil and butter oven medium-low heat in a large skillet. Add in shallots and garlic with a pinch of salt, cooking for 4-5 minutes until soft and translucent. Increase heat to medium and add in flour, whisking constantly to create somewhat of a roux. Once the roux has turned golden, add in mashed sweet potato and milk, whisking to combine. It will take a few minutes of whisking to bring the mixture together, and it’s okay if a few small bits of potato remain. Let the mixture come to a simmer in order for it to thicken a bit, but be careful because it thickens quickly. If it becomes too thick, simply add a little milk to thin it out. Reduce heat to low and stir in romano, remaining salt and pepper.

Once pasta is finished cooking, add noodles directly into the sweet potato sauce. Let sit for a few minutes, then transfer everything to a large bowl. Top with crispy kale and toss to distribute.

 

 

* Creamy Garlic with Roasted Tomatoes 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (450 g) grape tomatoes, halved

  • 10 ounces (283 g) whole wheat pasta (such as penne, linguini, or fettuccine | Use less if you want a higher sauce:pasta ratio | Use gluten-free pasta for GF eaters)

  • Olive oil

  • 2 medium shallots, diced (~1/4 cup or 40 g)

  • 8 large cloves garlic, minced/grated (1/4 cup or 24 g)

  • Pinch each sea salt and black pepper

  • 3-4 Tbsp (25-33 g) unbleached all-purpose flour (or another thickener of choice)*

  • 2 1/2 cups (600 ml) unsweetened plain Almond Breeze (sub up to 1 cup with veggie stock, if preferred)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) and toss tomatoes in a bit of olive oil and sea salt. Place cut side up on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes while you prepare the rest of the dish. Then set aside.

  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook pasta according to package instructions. When done, drain, cover and set aside.

  3. In the meantime, prepare the sauce. In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add 1 Tbsp (15 ml) olive oil and the garlic and shallot. Add a pinch of salt and black pepper and stir frequently, cooking for 3-4 minutes until softened and fragrant.

  4. Stir in 3-4 Tbsp flour (or other thickener of choice – see notes) and mix with a whisk. Once combined, slowly whisk in the almond milk a little at a time so clumps don’t form. Add another healthy pinch of salt and black pepper, bring to a simmer and continue cooking for another 4-5 minutes to thicken. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

  5. If you want an ultra creamy sauce, transfer sauce to a blender (or use an immersion blender) to blend the sauce until creamy and smooth. Place back in pan and reduce heat to a low simmer until desired thickness is reached.

  6. Once the sauce is to your desired thickness, taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Then add pasta and roasted tomatoes and stir.