Add A Little Something Extra To Your Pasta Sauce With Fresh Greens

Pasta is a favorite food of carb lovers everywhere, and although the noodles are clearly the star of the show, pasta also pairs beautifully with other food groups. With so many different kinds of pasta sauce, it's important to consider which additional ingredients work best with the sauce of your choice. Thick and creamy sauces like b├ęchamel or Alfredo, light and zesty sauces like cacio e pepe or lemon sauce, and hearty meat sauces like bolognese or other ragus need different balancing ingredients. Luckily, there's one category of produce that almost always does the trick: fresh greens.

Baby spinach, kale, arugula, basil, and even chard are wonderful ingredients that add a hint of texture and a dash of color to your dinner. Hearty, nutritious greens paired with flavorful sauce and tender pasta? Yes, please! Though you might be tempted to sprinkle a pinch of oregano or lay a lone basil leaf atop a pile of spaghetti and marinara, try leaning into the green. If you're looking to incorporate more veggies into your diet, or trying to trick your kids into eating their vegetables, adding greens to your pasta sauce is the perfect way to boost the health benefits of classically delicious dishes.

The greener the better

Greens can be more than a garnish when it comes to pasta. Properly cooked greens help break up the textural monotony of smooth pasta sauces, giving a slight chew to each bite without overshadowing the noodles. And there are so many ways to sneak greens into your sauce. You can mince greens into sauce or add them just before taking it off the stove, blend them into a creamy topping, or even serve them whole and cold for maximum crunch.

But let's not forget about the extra nutrients greens bring to the table. Per Healthline, leafy greens are high in essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber that can help lower the risks of heart disease, cancers, and high blood pressure. Who knew a little pasta could be so packed with plant power? And to make this trick even better, you can prevent food waste and get those health benefits at the same time if you use your leftover salad greens in pasta sauce.

If you want a truly green, nutrient-dense pasta experience, look no further than pesto. Sure, basil is essential in preparing a classic pesto, but feel free to experiment by adding other greens to your pesto recipe. You can try pea shoot pesto to incorporate more greens into the zesty concoction, or even blanch and blend some kale. So whether you want a little taste of spinach or a powerful superfood sauce, spruce up your next pasta dish by adding greens to the sauce.