We have been on an Italian kick lately. I love the flavors and spices. We have added a unique twist on this traditional recipe. We substituted brown rice pasta for traditional pasta and to that we have added zucchini,tomato, garlic, and an array of spices to make this dish just right.
I'm so happy you're here. 🙂 Note: Smiley's Points participates in affiliate programs. That's how the bills get paid! There is no additional charge to you and I only recommend products I know and love.
Garden fresh tomatoes
I started a tomato garden and as it starts to produce tomatoes I use them in my recipes. You can not beat that fresh from the garden taste. If you want to grow your own tomato garden and are reluctant to do so check out my tips and tricks for starting one. I have tons of information to get you started off right. If you are still not convinced head down to your local farmers market and buy a few. Use them in this recipe or slice and eat them in a salad either way you will get a burst of flavor you just can not get from mass-produced tomatoes.
Brown Rice Pasta
Now that you have your tomatoes (and zucchini) picked out, and you have helped your community. I love the added bonus of giving back to my community while enjoying the freshest and best-tasting vegetables. Let's move on to the pasta. I chose to use brown rice pasta for the nutritional benefits. I don't mind regular pasta but if I can add a few vitamins and minerals along the way without sacrificing taste then why not.
Which is better brown rice or pasta?
From a nutritional standpoint, brown rice is much better. It is a whole grain and that means more fiber. When we look at the calorie content of both, rice is quite significantly lower at 117 calories per 100g Vs pasta's 160 calories. That is about 1/2 a cup or 3.5 ounces. If weight-loss is your aim from a calorie-controlled diet, choosing rice over pasta may be the most beneficial for you. Check out Puregym.com for the complete breakdown.
What wine pairs well with this meal?
I am not a huge fan of wine so I will have to defer to someone who is, my Aunt. She says selecting a robust red wine will pair well with this dish. I think she is partial to the reds 🙂 I have another friend who says a white wine is the better choice. I know you want to know the points of the wine or if you are like me the cocktail that you want to have with your meal. I created a list of most of the drinks you may want to have with dinner or when you go out on Saturday night and listed them with the points. I even added a way to make them a tad healthier. 🙂 I will leave the pairings up to you try them both and let me know in the comments which you prefer. Maybe we will have a contest and give away a bottle of wine to the winner.
For those who have followed my blog you know, I have an issue with portion control. I love to eat and I love food. I have recreated the zero-point food list from Weight Watchers but I have included the protein, calories, and fiber content of each item including what serving size I used to get the numbers. This is way, you can monitor how much of the zero-point foods you can eat and still stay on track with losing weight.
How can I be successful?
- mindset: this isn't a diet, don't let yourself feel deprived. Eat your points or Bites!
- tracking: I track everything, even zero point foods
- portion control: this is on my fridge to keep me mindful
- persistence: I wrote this poem about never giving up
- planning: I use meal plans and freezer cooking often
- support: I'm in my lowpoint recipe Facebook group daily
If WW is costing you too much try iTrackBites
- cost: iTrackBites costs $36 for the year (using this link for 40% off makes it $36 – use COACH_SMILEY to save!!), WW is $20+ for the month, and it's the same formula and less options
- choices: I can choose PointsPlus, Freestyle, or any other plan I want with iTrackBites. Even with the new WW changes, they only offer 3 plan options (not PointsPlus).
- logs: You can export your tracker data by the week, month, or quarter with iTrackBites. WW does not give you access to quarterly data.
- accuracy: I've found inaccurate info in the WW app due to members submitting and not paying attention to the right numbers. With iTrackBites, I know if I see the green check, it's been verified as accurate. This puts my mind at ease!
5 Meals in Under 30 minutes
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More great recipes to make you smile
4 one-cup servings
BLUE PLAN: 9 Points
GREEN PLAN: 9 Points
PURPLE PLAN: 3 Points
8 servings 1/2 cup each
BLUE PLAN: 4 Points
GREEN PLAN: 4 Points
PURPLE PLAN: 1 Point
4 cups (220g) brown rice pasta
2 medium zucchini, spiralized
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 cup (150g) cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tsp. smoked paprika
chili flakes, to taste
2 tsp. parsley dried
4 tbsp. vegan parmesan, grated (optional)
Cook the pasta according to instructions on the packaging.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a pan and sauté the zucchini and cherry tomatoes for 2-3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, add in the crushed garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
Add in the cooked pasta and mix well—season with smoked paprika and chili flakes.
Divide between bowls and top with vegan parmesan cheese and dried parsley.