The New Year is just around the corner and with the changing calendar comes the onslaught of 2016 food trends. One of the more… Confusing? Shocking? Weird? trends we recently saw said that, and I quote, "pasta is an endangered species." I know… it sounds crazy, but the reasons that are mentioned in Baum + Whitman's annual list of 2016 food trends aren't so far fetched. But what's the truth? Is pasta healthy or isn't it?
The consulting firm says that it's placed pasta on its so-called endangered species list because of the product's sales slump -- through the past five years, pasta sales in the United States have decreased 6 percent. Why? Because of the gluten-free movement. The Gothamist reports that vegetables -- specifically spiraled vegetables, such as sweet potatoes and zucchini -- are slowing taking pasta's place.
Now, this news isn't terribly new to me or probably, many of you. People who are looking to increase the nutrient content of their pasta dishes have been using zucchini and other squash (like spaghetti squash) for a while. However, if you've yet to try a pasta dish sans pasta, now seems like a great time to try a new squash pasta recipe out.
Italian-Style Spaghetti Squash (via Vegetarian Times)
2 lb. spaghetti squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium-sized red onion, thinly sliced
1 zucchini (8 oz.), diced
4 medium-sized tomatoes, diced
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. coarsely ground black pepper
½ cup reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese for garnish, optional
1 small lemon, sliced
Preheat oven to 350F and place squash halves, cut side down, in baking dish. Add 1/4 cup water, and cover dish with foil. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven and cool slightly.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, and cook for 3 minutes, or until onion is translucent. Add zucchini, reduce heat to medium, and cook for 4 to 5 minutes, or until zucchini begins to brown. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, and cook, uncovered, for about 10 minutes.
Using a fork, scrape squash strands into a bowl. Toss with remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Mound squash in the centers of four pasta bowls. Spoon vegetable mixture around or over squash strands, dividing vegetables equally among bowls. Drizzle with more oil, if desired, and garnish with Parmesan cheese. Add lemon slices, and serve.
If you'd rather not skip pasta altogether, there are a few kinds of pasta that contain more nutrients than white noodles. Next time you're at a store, make sure you check out black bean pasta, quinoa pasta, whole grain pasta, soba noodles, rice pasta, and shirataki noodles.
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Image of spaghetti squashfrom Shutterstock