Whole-Wheat Pasta with Zucchini, Mushrooms and Basil

An uncooked pasta sauce is a quick, cool way to deal with the heat of August.

Served over whole-wheat pasta, it’s not only good and easy, but good for you.

A sauce of vegetables and mushrooms over some whole-wheat fettuccine meets many of the daily requirements for a healthful diet.

Whole grains are chock-full of nutrients and have a wonderful nutty taste. Whole wheat, corn, oats, brown rice and other whole grains contain powerful antioxidants that fight cancer, as do those found in vegetables and fruits.

The key to whole grains’ enormous cancer-fighting potential lies in their wholeness. A grain of whole wheat is composed of three parts: endosperm, bran and germ. When wheat or any grain is refined, the bran and germ – where most of the protective phytochemicals and fiber are stored – are removed.

Studies show that people who eat at least three servings of whole grains a day have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer and seem to maintain a healthy weight more easily. Since refined grains, such as white flour, have their germ and bran removed, whole grains are higher in fiber and contain ten times the amount of vitamin E; four times the potassium, magnesium and zinc; three times the vitamin B-6; and twice the selenium.

A no-cook pasta sauce completes this nutritious grain. Cut some portabello mushrooms into generous chunks to make the sauce meaty and satisfying. The zucchini, carrots, basil and peppers add color as well as nutrients.

Whole-Wheat Pasta with Zucchini, Mushrooms and Basil - Makes 6 servings.

(From AICR’s new cookbook, The New American Plate: Recipes for a Healthy Weight and a Healthy Life.)

1 small yellow bell pepper, seeded and sliced very thin
1/2 medium orange bell pepper, seeded and sliced very thin
1 medium zucchini, sliced very thin
1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced very thin
1/2 cup finely-chopped fresh basil, loosely packed
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tsp. orange zest
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 Tbsp. canola oil
1/2 tsp. salt, or to taste
Pinch of cayenne
12 oz. whole-wheat linguine
2 large Portobello mushrooms, cleaned, with stems removed
1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, loosely packed, for garnish

Put the bell peppers, zucchini and carrot in a medium bowl. Add the basil, garlic, orange zest, vinegar, oil, salt and cayenne. Toss the ingredients well to combine. Set the mixture aside to marinate.

Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Meanwhile, prepare the mushrooms. Cut the edges off each mushroom to make squares. Discard edges or save for later use. Halve each square. Slice away the brown undersides, including the gills, and discard. Then slice the mushrooms into long, thin strips and add them to the bowl with the marinated vegetables. Toss well, until the mushrooms are moist and start to soften.

Drain the pasta and divide it among 6 shallow bowls or plates. Top each serving with an equal share of the vegetables. Spoon the marinating liquid over the vegetables. Garnish with the parsley and serve.

Per serving: 252 calories, 4 g. total fat (less than 1 g. saturated fat), 47 g. carbohydrate, 10 g. protein, 9 g. dietary fiber, 208 mg. sodium.

The Author:

AICR’s Nutrition Hotline is a free service that allows you to ask a registered dietitian questions about diet, nutrition and cancer. Access it on-line at www.aicr.org/hotline or by phone (1-800-843-8114) 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Monday-Friday. AICR is the only major cancer charity focused exclusively on the link between diet, nutrition and cancer. It provides education programs that help Americans learn to make changes for lower cancer risk. AICR also supports innovative research in cancer prevention and treatment at universities, hospitals and research centers. It has provided more than $78 million for research in diet, nutrition and cancer. AICR’s Web address is www.aicr.org.

Article Source: Aicr.org

Article Posted: August 21, 2006

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