Healthify Your Recipes (Spinach Artichoke Chicken & Pasta Casserole)
You don’t have to ditch your favorite recipes if you’re trying to eat healthy.
Of course, as long as you stick with your good habits a majority of the time, there’s nothing wrong with the occasional meal that doesn’t fit your normal standards of healthy eating.
However, you may find there’s a way to “healthify” a favorite recipe without sacrificing its yum-factor. That’s what I did for this…
Spinach & Artichoke, Chicken & Pasta Casserole
I love spinach and artichoke dip.
I rarely buy it or make it because I know how calorie dense all the creamy deliciousness is. But when I stumbled upon this recipe, I knew I had to find a way to make it work!
It was easy to adapt, and it tastes just as creamy and delicious as the versions with heavy cream, mayonnaise and/or cream cheese.
I also used lentil pasta which was packed with extra protein and helped lighten the carb load, making it a healthified casserole you can have regularly without having to feel bad about it.
If you have a family favorite casserole you’d love to healthify, email me here to ask for help. One of my favorite things is testing and tweaking recipes to make them taste yummy and be nutritionally on point.
This recipe makes approximately 4 adult sized servings.
For the Pasta
1 box lentil pasta, 12 oz
water , for boiling pasta
For the Alfredo Sauce
3 tablespoons olive oil or butter
2 garlic cloves , minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup vegetable or chicken broth
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese or ¼ cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup plain, nonfat yogurt (optional if you need to avoid dairy)
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
salt and fresh ground pepper , to taste
For the Spinach and Artichokes Mixture
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion , sliced
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 bag (6 to 8 ounces) spinach leaves
1 jar or can (14-ounces) quartered artichokes, drained
1/2 cup shredded italian-blend cheeses , for topping (optional)
1.5 to 2 pounds cooked chicken
Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly grease casserole dish with cooking spray and set aside.
Cook pasta according to the directions on the box; drain and set aside.
Make The Sauce
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.
Add garlic and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant.
Stir in flour; stir until combined.
Slowly whisk in vegetable or chicken broth.
Cook and whisk until mixture boils and thickens; remove from heat.
Stir in parmesan cheese or nutrition yeast; stir until melted.
Whisk in yogurt; whisk until combined.
Season with salt and pepper.
Sauce will continue to thicken as it stands. If sauce is too thick, add a little water. Set aside.
Make the Spinach and Artichokes
Heat olive oil in a frying pan.
Add onions and salt; cook for 2 minutes, or until just tender.
Add spinach and cook for 2 more minutes, or until wilted.
Stir in artichokes and continue to cook for 1 more minute.
Add lentil pasta to the skillet.
Stir in prepared sauce and cooked chicken
Remove from heat and transfer to previously prepared casserole dish.
Sprinkle the top with shredded cheese, if desired.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until top is lightly browned.
Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes.
Recipe Adapted from Diethood.