Thursday, March 20, 2014


Looking for a quick meal to whip up after a busy Monday at work? Looking for another vegetarian dish to add to your recipe collection? This pasta dish is loaded with garlicky flavor, contains only eight ingredients (most of which you probably already have), and is ready in under 20 minutes!

  • 8 ounces uncooked linguine or whole wheat spaghetti
  • 3 Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 (8-ounce) package pre-chopped kale
  • 1 (15-ounce) can unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 tsp. black pepper, divided (1/2 + 1/4)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  1. Cook pasta according to directions on package until al dente, leaving out salt and fat.
  2. Drain pasta, using a colander, reserving 1/4 cup cooking liquid.
  3. In a large skillet, over medium heat, heat oil and garlic.When garlic begins to sizzle, add 1/2 cup water and kale; cover and cook 5 minutes or until kale is tender, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add beans, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and salt; cook 1 minute or until thoroughly heated, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add pasta and reserved 1/4 cup cooking liquid to pan; toss to coat. Sprinkle remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper over pasta. Serve immediately.

{Original recipe from Cooking Light Magazine's April 2014 issue.}

Details for New Cooks

LINGUINE - I happened to have a box of whole wheat spaghetti already in my pantry so I went with that instead of linguine. Just cook the pasta as the package directs, to al dente. Most packages of noodles will tell you to add salt and some kind of fat (usually olive oil) to the water; do not add this, just use plain old water. When the pasta is finished, drain using a colander but don't forget to save 1/4 cup of the liquid. Do not rinse your pasta! {VEGETARIANS: Make sure the pasta is vegetarian friendly. Though most are, there are some pastas that are not. VEGANS: What a great opportunity to make your own veggie pasta for this meal using zucchini!}

EVOO - Ahhhh, the ever so popular extra-virgin olive oil. What is there to say that I haven't said in previous recipes? Use your Fooducate app to make sure it's a decent olive oil, though most are. If you're in an area with a Safeway or Trader Joe's, both their brands rate well.

GARLIC - Practice your knife skills by chopping fresh garlic. Just make sure to measure out 1/4 cup (which is also equal to 4 tablespoons). Since this called for a lot of garlic and I didn't have a whole lot of time on my hands, I cheated and pulled out the jar of pre-chopped garlic from my fridge. For information on chopping fresh garlic, click here.

WATER - Self explanatory...

KALE - Whether you purchase a package of kale or fresh kale, my suggestion is to "eyeball" the amount. You don't have to put in exactly 8-ounces of kale like the recipe calls for. In fact, I put in more like 5-ounces when I made this. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge kale fan, but I've found that a lot of recipes like this tend to overdo it for me. What I did was purchase a 10-ounce package of pre-washed kale and used half the bag. Whether your buy it packaged or fresh, make sure it has been washed (or rinse it yourself) and go through it to pull out any big, thick stems. The package I purchased was already chopped but not very well, so I grabbed it by the handful and tore it up a bit just to make sure the kale pieces were fairly "bite-sized". You could also use fresh spinach instead of kale, or a combination of both for this recipe.

CANNELLINI BEANS - You could also substitute any other small, white bean if you want. If you purchased canned beans just make sure to rinse the beans well like the recipe says. When you first start to rinse the beans you will notice bubbles, almost like the beans are soapy; rinse until you no longer see these bubbles and the beans seem clear of all liquid residue. You could also use fresh beans for this recipe, just make sure you have them cooked and ready ahead of time.

SALT AND PEPPER - Pretty self explanatory. Though this is a pretty quick recipe with few ingredients you can always squeeze in some experimentation by switching up the salt. Don't use regular table salt; at the least, use Kosher. Two of my favorites are sea salt and Himalayan Pink salt. Remember that the pepper is divided into two different sections of the recipe so don't go putting it all in at the same time. 

1. A pretty easy step... just make sure you are read up on what "al dente" means if you don't know already. I have explained it in a few of my previous pasta recipes but it's easy enough to "google" or "bing". Al dente is always the best way to cook pasta.

2. Remember that when you drain the pasta you will need to save at least 1/4 cup of the liquid it was cooked in. You will be adding this liquid back into the recipe toward the end. What I do is drain the majority of the liquid from the pan first until there's just a small amount of water left, then I pour it all out into a colander that is placed inside a bowl. Pull the colander out of the bowl and shake to get rid of any excess water; you'll have the pasta in the colander and any liquid that was left inside the bowl and from here you can measure out 1/4 cup.           
3. Use a large skillet and place it onto the stove on medium heat. I usually wait about a minute for the pan to
Adding the kale
start to heat up. Then add your oil and garlic. About a minute or so later (give or take), you will start to hear the garlic sizzling. I let it sizzle about 20 seconds then I added the water and kale. Cover with a lid. Don't worry if your pan is overflowing with greens after you first put the kale in; kale shrinks significantly. After about a minute, and after the kale has shrinked down, go ahead and stir so that you can combine all those ingredients well. Cover again and basically just let it cook until the 5-minutes is over, stirring maybe once or twice more.

The kale shrinks as it cooks.
4. Uncover and add in your beans and spices. Leave uncovered for the rest of the cooking time. Cook about 1 minute here so that the beans are heated up well and make sure everything gets mixed well. 

5. Add in your pasta and the 1/4 cup of liquid that you reserved. Stir everything well. Add the remaining pepper; stir well. Turn off the stove and serve immediately. 
OPTIONAL: This can be served alongside many meat proteins (for meat eaters) or just alone as it is. Pair it with french bread or crostini. When I served this dish, I topped it with a small amount of grated Parmesan cheese.

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