I made a fantastic dinner the other night, and I used two components I’d never used before! Say hello to my Shrimp and Veggie Pesto Pasta!
But first, I want to brag really quickly, because I’m proud of how active I’ve been during this lockdown. I exercised every single day in March. No rest days. I had plenty of more rigorous days, and some days where I took JJ for a long walk, but it all counts. My only rest day in April so far was last Friday, when I went to the Red Cross and donated blood. You’re not supposed to exercise for the rest of the day, and I hadn’t exercised before had, so that rest day was medically necessary! My goal is to exercise the rest of the month, with that blood donation day being my only rest day. I’ll keep you posted!
Generally speaking, I reap wonderful benefits from exercise, beyond the physical ones. I use exercise to work out my aggression, and any frustrations in my life, and I firmly believe that exercise plays a big part in my mental health. This lockdown has brought a whole new set of feelings, including cabin fever, public health anxiety, and helplessness, and I’m leaning on exercise in new ways. So far, exercising hasn’t let me down. I encourage all of you to stay active during lockdown. I’ve even shared a fun, throwback way to do that in an earlier post!
Ok, back to that amazing meal. It all started with something I found in the frozen section: Creamy Shrimp Pesto. It’s made by Simple Truth, which is the organic Kroger store brand.
They bag up frozen shrimp that’s been coated in pesto sauce. You heat it up in a skillet, and the sauce melts off the shrimp, and it couldn’t be easier. Tasty, too! It has 220 calories per one-cup serving, is very low in carbs, and higher in protein and fat.
Naturally, I wanted to bulk up my serving to provide more heft, so guess what I added! VEGETABLES!
Red pepper, onion, orange pepper, and celery. I sautéed these in a separate skillet, with a bag of frozen riced cauliflower that I forgot to add to this photograph, because vegetables are the best way to add nominal calories while really providing lots of nutrients and flavor. I chopped everything up pretty finely so the shrimp would stand out, and also so the sauce would really coat everything.
Then, in a pasta pot, I made some pasta. This wasn’t any ol’ pasta, though – this was Trader Joe’s Red Lentil Sedanini.
I don’t think I’ve ever had sedanini before, but it’s very similar to penne. And I’ve never had red lentil pasta before, although I have had alternative pastas made from chickpeas and yams before. This red lentil pasta has nominally less calories than regular pasta (there’s only about 10 calories difference), but it has about 25% less carbs and 4 times the protein.
I don’t eat pasta very often, because of the empty calories, so I like having options like this to make the pasta I do eat slightly more valuable and nutritious.
You boil it like you would any other pasta, and it tasted good, although I undercooked it by a minute or two. Oops.
Oh, and both my parents don’t like lentils (I know! Crazy!), so I never told them it was made from lentils. But they knew me well, so when they walked in the kitchen and saw pasta boiling on the stove, they knew something was up and it probably wasn’t traditional pasta. I just told them it was made from “beans,” which is a little white lie, even though lentils are in the same legume family as beans. If either of them say anything to me, I’ll know they read this post!
The vegetables got mixed in with the shrimp and pesto sauce, and the mixture was served over the lentil pasta. A sprinkling of Parmesan cheese went on top. Voila, dinner is served!
It tasted decadent and creamy, like a good pesto should, and while it’s not entirely guilt-free, it’s a healthier version of a tried and true Italian classic, and I’m happy about that.
Keep it up, David!
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