Flavorful pasta dish done in time it takes to boil

Linda Gassenheimer
Tribune News Service

Portobellos add a hearty flavor to pesto sauce and pasta. Simply saute meaty portobello mushrooms and add them to the prepared pesto sauce. This flavorful pasta dish can be made in the time it takes to boil pasta for this vegetarian dinner.

I accompanied the dish with Roasted Pepper Salad. Roasting red peppers intensifies their flavor and gives them a smoky taste. Making your own is great, but it’s not on my schedule for a weekday meal. I find that canned or jarred roasted peppers work well with this salad.

Helpful hints:

Any type of washed lettuce can be used for the salad base.

If you don’t have a food processor, finely chop the mushrooms and onion by hand, and stir them into the pesto sauce.

Mushroom Pesto Pasta

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cups sliced portobello mushrooms

1/4 cup prepared reduced-fat pesto sauce

1 tablespoon pine nuts

1/4 pound fresh linguine

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 tablespoons fresh basil torn into small pieces (optional garnish)

Bring 3 to 4 quarts of water to a boil in a large pot. Heat oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Saute mushrooms for 5 minutes. Place in food processor and process to chop. Add the prepared pesto sauce and process, scraping the sides of the bowl once or twice until well blended. Remove from the blender into a large bowl. Mix in pine nuts.

Cook the linguine in the boiling water for 3 minutes, or until it’s cooked but still firm. Drain, and toss with the mushroom pesto sauce. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve and sprinkle with optional basil.

Yields 2 servings.

Per serving: 422 calories (39% from fat), 18.2 g fat (2 g saturated, 7.5 g monounsaturated), 5 mg cholesterol, 13.6 g protein, 49.8 g carbohydrates, 4.1 g fiber, 260 mg sodium.

Roasted Pepper Salad

Several leaves of washed, ready-to-eat Italian-style salad

1 cup rinsed and drained canned cannellini beans (white kidney beans)

1 cup drained and sliced canned roasted red peppers

2 tablespoons reduced-fat salad dressing

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Arrange salad leaves on 2 dinner plates. In a small bowl, toss the beans, peppers and salad dressing together. Add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over lettuce.

Yields 2 servings.

Per serving: 183 calories (9% from fat), 1.8 g fat (0.3 g saturated, 0.6 g monounsaturated), 1 mg cholesterol, 10.8 g protein, 39.1 g carbohydrates, 8.2 g fiber, 20 mg sodium.

Recipes by Linda Gassenheimer.

— Linda Gassenheimer is an author of over 30 cookbooks. Her newest is “The 12-Week Diabetes Cookbook.” Find her on Facebook (@FoodNewsandViews) and Twitter (@LGassenheimer), and listen to her podcasts at www.880thebiz.com.