Mission Number 1: Eat More Veggies

by Mara @ What's For Dinner? on March 13, 2011

in chicken/turkey, Italian, simple recipe, vegetables, weight loss

One of the easiest things I can do to help myself be healthier is to eat more veggies. It seems simple enough, but in the winter months in Chicago, truly flavorful vegetables tend to lurk in the cruciferous and tuberous families. Ok, really what I mean is that there’s broccoli and potatoes.

Today, on an excursion for Cupcake Club, I braved the produce market near our house and picked up a lovely variety of fresh produce. Since I don’t usually take pictures of my grocery haul, I completely forgot to take a picture of the veggies, but in my bag was:

  • grape tomatoes
  • broccoli
  • red peppers
  • olives (in a can)
  • mushrooms
  • an onion
  • garlic

I was so relieved to see peppers and tomatoes for less than a small fortune! I had it in my head that I would be making some vegetable-based pasta dish with tons of flavor and not a ton of fat, which would be a meal in its own right.


Veggie-Ful Pasta


Makes 8 servings

  • 1 bag whole wheat pasta, cooked and kept hot
  • 1 lb. broccoli, steamed
  • 1 pint grape tomatoes
  • 4 red peppers
  • 2 cups small mushrooms
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 Tb. olive oil, divided
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 can small black olives, drained
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced (optional, leave out for a vegan option)
  • 10 large basil leaves
  • salt & pepper
  • Parmesan cheese (optional)


Heat the oven to 450*F. Slice the red peppers in half and place on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven, turning occasionally, for about 25 minutes until soft. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil with the crushed garlic and diced onion. Cook these over medium-low heat until very aromatic and the onions are slightly soft, about 4 minutes. Add the diced chicken and cook a few minutes until lightly browned. Add the tomatoes and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 10 minutes. While the tomatoes are cooking, peel and slice the roasted red peppers. Add to the pan with the tomatoes and mushrooms. Cook another few minutes, then add all the vegetables to the cooked pasta, drizzle the whole mixture with the remaining olive oil, lemon juice, and S&P. Roll the basil leaves up together and slice, making a chiffonade(or small strips). Serve the pasta, top with basil and parmesan, and serve.



Revel in the flavors that bring back the vague memories that is last summer. Pat yourself on the back for eating so many vegetables. Be grateful that there are enough servings for lunches for the rest of the week. Enjoy the fact that I calculated nutrition information for you:



Spring will be here soon. The first clue? It’s light out after 5 p.m.!

That, in itself, is enough for me.



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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

laura (starloz) March 13, 2011 at 8:55 PM

laura (starloz)´s last blog post ..I’m learning- finally


MarathonVal March 13, 2011 at 9:29 PM

I am sooooo ready for spring/summer to be here, mostly because of the fresh, abundant produce and Farmer’s Markets!! It will be here soon, right…..??
MarathonVal´s last blog post ..Justice is served…with a side of mushrooms


Mara @ What's For Dinner? March 14, 2011 at 6:22 AM

We should take a field trip to Green City Market this summer. It’s my favorite, and I’ll use any excuse to go!


Rebecca March 13, 2011 at 9:51 PM

Yay! Glad you’re posting some new WW friendly creations. I need ideas. I’m also trying to eat a lot of fruit and veggies.


Mara @ What's For Dinner? March 13, 2011 at 9:53 PM

New season = healthier recipes! So glad to be able to help my friends out :)


J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) March 13, 2011 at 10:15 PM

I love veggies, especially in pasta. They’re the perfect way to add a lot of volume to a meal for just a few calories. Meals like this make it so that you don’t even feel like you’re trying to be healthier, it’s tasty either way!
J3nn (Jenn’s Menu and Lifestyle Blog)´s last blog post ..Quorn- Queen of the Faux Meat


Mara @ What's For Dinner? March 13, 2011 at 10:33 PM



Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing March 13, 2011 at 10:16 PM

Those little mushrooms take it over. the top. Inspiration for the week! Simple recipes are the best. :)
Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing´s last blog post ..Vegan Split Pea Soup


Mara @ What's For Dinner? March 14, 2011 at 6:21 AM

I was going to slice them up, but then I realized that tiny mushrooms = cute food! :)


Christin@purplebirdblog March 13, 2011 at 10:17 PM

That is a meal after my own heart, right there!
Christin@purplebirdblog´s last blog post ..The Little Things


VeggieGirl March 13, 2011 at 10:23 PM

Now you’re VeggieGirl :D
VeggieGirl´s last blog post ..The Moment of Truth- Brief Follow-Up


Mara @ What's For Dinner? March 13, 2011 at 10:32 PM

I could never take that title from you :)


Lauren March 14, 2011 at 5:37 AM

Salads are always the best way to get in more veggies. And this recipe would make ANYONE enjoy their veggies.
Lauren´s last blog post ..Operation Move- The First Night


Mara @ What's For Dinner? March 14, 2011 at 6:19 AM

I have issues with salads… I’ll eat a huge one, and then be hungry an hour later!! Somehow the balance in this one kept me full at least til bedtime :)


Roz March 14, 2011 at 10:53 AM

I LOVE veggie pasta, and this dish looks soooo good! I can’t wait to see what you’ll be making as veggie season gets into full swing! Have a great Monday.
Roz´s last blog post ..Daylight Saving “jet lag”


Mara @ What's For Dinner? March 14, 2011 at 11:24 AM

I’m so beyond excited for REAL vegetables again!!


Biz March 14, 2011 at 11:34 AM

Hooray for getting back to healthy eating Mara! Perfect way to start with all those delicious veggies.

Not sure if you saw this last week, but when I made it I thought – “I think Mara would love this!”


Happy Monday!
Biz´s last blog post ..How to Make Perfect Rice and a Winner!


Mara @ What's For Dinner? March 14, 2011 at 12:33 PM

I did!! the husband has this “thing” against pork chops, but i’ll probably try the recipe with chicken soon :)


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