What to make for dinner isn’t always an easy question to answer. As a dietitian, I think cooking at home is one of the best (and really, easiest) ways to help meet your nutrition goals. Whether you need to watch your intake of specific nutrients or ingredients, or you’re looking to improve your health or reach and maintain a healthy weight, it’s much easier to control what you put in your body if you make it yourself. But I also know there are many challenges to deal with between the thought “I want to cook something healthy for dinner” and getting it on the table.
This is a pasta dish I’ve been making recently. I like it for a number of reasons:
1. First, and most important, it tastes good and is a satisfying weeknight meal.
2. It’s just a two pot meal: one to cook the vegetables, one to cook the pasta. This definitely helps make cleanup easier.
3. The ingredients aren’t hard to prep (as I mention below, there are even pre-chopped vegetables that you can buy to save time)
4. The meal isn’t expensive to make. Cabbage and pasta, in particular, are on the inexpensive end of the spectrum. Brussels sprouts, when in season, are reasonable. Pancetta can be pricey, but you can also substitute bacon or omit the meat altogether.
5. It’s a one-and-done kind of meal: it’s a vegetable-packed pasta dish that is so appropriate smack in the middle of winter and the sluggish weeks leading up to spring. The vegetables are mixed right in to the pasta, so you don’t have to make a side dish or salad along with it. Feel free to add it if you want to, but the cabbage and Brussels sprouts combo go a long way all on there own towards making sure you get plenty of vegetables at dinner.