We’ve all had those days crammed with meetings, presentations and happy hour Tinder dates. When you finally arrive home, you just want to plop down in front of Netflix and summon dinner with the click of button. But if you’re saving money for a summer festival and ghosting your Seamless account, pasta is the pantry staple that provides dinner after dinner.
It’s easy and effective. Boil water, dump the noodles in, slather in tomato sauce and enjoy. This simple evening formula allows your wallet to focus on early bird sale specials—but are you enjoying as much as you could be? All pasta all the time doesn’t have to be a weeknight repeat offender.
Add a little excitement to your pasta bowls with new variations on the classic budget saver. You’ll become your own Italian grandmother and still be able to afford Coachella.
1. Avocado Sauce
Go green with your pasta bowl. Give the red, pink and white sauces a rest by turning the avocados in your fruit bowl into a sauce of its own. The texture adds a creamy element to your spaghetti without the guilt heavy cream and buckets of cheese may inflict.
2. Add a Fried Egg
This is a love story of when breakfast meets dinner. Fry the egg in a skillet and when the whites are set but the yolk is still runny, top your pasta as you would a sundae with a cherry. Let the yolk soak the noodles and don’t hold your fork back.
3. Mix in Roasted Vegetables
Roasted vegetables are the secret to spunking up that box of pasta. All you have to do is toss the vegetables of your choice in olive oil and selected spices on a sheet pan, put it in the oven and wait no longer than twenty minutes. (You can boil your water or write the first pages of your novel in that time!) No bite will be bland with each fork full of flavorful produce.
4. Experiment with Spices
Do your kitchen right by stocking it with an armory of spices. A pinch of paprika can spice up any tub of hummus and za’atar can take your toast to a new level. Add crushed red pepper flakes to farfalle to wake up those taste buds.
5. Have Zoodles of Fun
The true meaning of “have your cake and eat it too” is having the idea of pasta without all the carbs. If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can use a cheese grater or a peel to create noodles out of zucchini.
6. Add Proteins
It’s dinnertime on hump day. Go into the remaining days of the week with a renewed sense of strength. Mix meat into the equation to vary flavors, texture and round out your daily requirements of the food pyramid.
7. Go Mediterranean
Think of it as a carbohydrate loaded Greek salad. Don’t drown spaghetti in olive oil and call it a night. You can easily add other ingredients that will transport your plate to the seaside without costing you airfare or taking up too much of your time.
8. Make It Creamy
Got cheese goals? Stirring in fresh ricotta or goat cheese will be the low-key mac and cheese of your adulthood dreams.
9. Get To Know Your Herbs
If you’re not growing an herb garden in your back yard or on the windowsill of your kitchen window, you can easily purchase some at a farmers market or your local grocer. Mix minced herbs into softened butter to smear over penne or sprinkle fresh atop. However you incorporate them, you’ll be feeling so fresh and so green, green.