Use Your Noodle

...and indulge in one of these healthier “skinny pasta” dishes. They’re big on flavor but light on calories.
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Yields: 4 servings


  • 1 Tbs. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 14 oz. can San Marzano plum tomatoes
  • 11¼ oz. fiorelli pasta
  • 12 oz. raw tiger prawns, shelled
  • 2-3 Tbs. butter
  • ¼ oz. basil leaves, to garnish
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Heat a large, deep frying pan over medium heat, add the oil and garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until golden. Break up the plum tomatoes with your hands and add to the garlic. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes, then season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil, add salt and cook the pasta for 9-10 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water.

Add the prawns to the sauce and cook for 3 minutes, then toss in the pasta, adding a little of the pasta water to loosen if needed. Finish by stirring in the butter, coating every tube.

Serve in bowls, garnished with the basil.

"Tomatoes provide lycopene, a cancer-fighting antioxidant, along with vitamin C. By cooking the tomatoes in olive oil, a healthy source of fat, the fat-soluble vitamin K is more readily absorbed. Meanwhile, shrimp provide omega-3 fatty acids, which are important for heart health.”

—Lisa Mikus, registered dietitian, The L’ifestyle Lounge, Closter


Yields: 4 servings


  • 10.5 oz. long pasta of your choice, such as mafaldine
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 spring onions, sliced 
  • 1 carrot, peeled and diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3.5 oz. tenderstem broccoli (or broccolini), cut into bitesized pieces
  • 3.5 oz. asparagus tips, sliced
  • 1 Tbs. butter
  • 3.5 oz. broad beans, shelled weight
  • 1¾ oz. shelled fresh or frozen peas
  • 3.5 fl. oz. half-and-half
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  • 1 Tbs. chopped oregano, basil and parsley for each serving
  • 1½ oz. Pecorino Romano, grated or shaved
  • a handful of edible flowers


Bring a saucepan of water to a boil, add salt and cook the pasta for 5-7 minutes, or until al dente. Drain, reserving some of the cooking water.

Warm a large, deep frying pan, add 1 Tbs. of the oil, the spring onions and carrot and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the broccolini and asparagus and cook for 2 minutes. Add the butter and the remaining 1 Tbs. of oil, along with the pasta, peas, broad beans and cream. Loosen with a little of the pasta water if needed and cook for 2 minutes, then season to taste. Serve in bowls, sprinkled with herbs, grated or shaved cheese and the edible flowers.

"This veggie-centric pasta dish is full of nutrient-rich vegetables—carrots contain beta carotene and the broccoli, peas, broad beans and asparagus have vitamin C, vitamin K and fiber. Although oregano, basil and parsley are just garnishes, they have powerful immune-boosting properties too.”

—Jackie Ehlert, registered dietitian/ nutritionist, Mahwah


Yields: 4 servings


  • your favorite marinara sauce
  • 9¾ oz. rigatoni
  • a handful of basil leaves, torn, to garnish


  • 1¾​ oz. low-fat sausage meat
  • 11¼ oz. organic minced beef, 12 percent fat
  • ¾​ oz. Pecorino Romano, grated, half reserved for serving
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp. dried basil
  • ½ tsp. dried parsley
  • ½ tsp. dried oregano
  • salt and pepper


Warm the marinara sauce in a pan.

Make the meatballs by mixing all the ingredients (except half of the grated cheese) together in a bowl. Shape into 12 meatballs.

Place the meatballs into the sauce and cook over medium-high heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, bring a saucepan of water to a boil, add salt and cook the pasta for 9-12 minutes, or until al dente, then drain.

Divide the pasta among four bowls and top with the sauce and three meatballs per person. Sprinkle with the cheese and the reserved basil and serve.

“This is an example of what we call a ‘mixed meal,’ which combines carbohydrates, proteins and fats to decrease the risk of a sugar spike while satisfying hunger. Just be mindful of your portions, as large meals tend to increase insulin production.”

—Lisa Mikus, registered dietitian, The L’ifestyle Lounge, Closter

Categories: Bergen Health & Life, Homepage Features