When I was growing up one of our families friends brought us a pan of cavatini. I think my mom was sick or had recently had a baby, but I remember digging into it with relish. It had icky things like mushrooms and pepper in it, but the cheese and pepperoni made up for it. It tasted like love. And togetherness. And friends gathering around during tough times.
As I got older I started to appreciate diverse flavors like mushrooms and green peppers.
There is so much to love about this dish.
For starters, it’s pasta.
Secondly, it is packed with veggies: spinach, mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes.
Third, it has yummy lean protein options in both ground turkey and turkey pepperoni.
Of course, I had to healthify the original recipe with whole wheat pasta, some extra veggies, and by swapping sausage for well-seasoned, lean ground turkey.
- 3 cups cooked whole wheat pasta
- ½ pound lean ground turkey (seasoned with 1 teaspoon garlic, 1 teaspoon basil, and ½ teaspoon oregano)
- 4 ounces turkey pepperoni
- 1 cup diced green, yellow or red pepper
- 4 ounces of chopped mushrooms
- 1 cup spinach choppped in food processor (will reduce to about ¼ cup)
- 1 15 ounce can Italian tomatoes (pulsed in food processor)
- 4 ounces tomato sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic
- 1 teaspoon basil
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- ¾ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 350
- Cook pasta to al dente and drain.
- Crumble turkey and cook with spices until brown.
- Mix garlic, basil, oregano, and salt into tomato sauce. Then combine all ingredients and stir until evenly distributed.
- Spread in greased 9x13 pan and sprinkle with cheese if desired.
- Bake covered with tin foil for 30 minutes.
This is great served with a salad or side of greens. It also freezes great! I like to divide the recipe in half and freeze half for a quick and easy meal later on. Just defrost and then cook as directed or microwave in smaller portions. Or eat cold from the fridge, it’s good that way too.
Is there any comfort food that triggers old memories for you?
Have you ever changed your mind about a vegetable or other food? I’m constantly trying vegetables I think I don’t like again. My tastebuds have changed a lot!
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