I’m a pasta fanatic. I will eat it any way in any shape or form. It can be tubes, wheels, skinny, fat made of wheat flour, whole wheat, almond flour, or any type of legume.

For those who are trying to eat in a more healthy, natural way, the pasta possibilities are endless! So whether it’s legume pasta or edamame pasta, serve me a bowl and I’ll be happy.

Unfortunately, I also like to watch my carbs. And all of the substitutes for flour that have been used to make healthy pasta are pretty high in carbs and calories.

Brown rice pasta? Yes, of course it’s healthy. But take a look at the carb count. Well almond flour pasta is a low-carb, you say. That’s true. But have you taken a look at the calorie count on that?

That’s why hearts of palm pasta is the perfect solution.

It has a similar texture to al dente pasta: Heats up in a minute, and takes on the flavor of whatever sauce you put on it. When hearts of palm pasta became a thing, I did a little happy dance.

Some people don’t love it because it does have a slight tang, but that can easily be remedied by soaking it for a half hour in milk and then rinsing it before you prepare it.

The star of my dish is from a brand named Absolutely Gluten-Free. It’s from Kenover foods and I mention it because it happens to be a New Jersey company out of Bayonne. But that’s not why it’s the best. It is the most similar to pasta. Period. Less of a tang, sliced very thinly like spaghetti. It’s just the best.

But if you have to, you can use Palmini, Natural Heaven, Trader Joe’s brand, or whatever you find. Everyone and their mother is making hearts of palm pasta today.

This fresh, fragrant sauce has a Greek yogurt-base. It’s creamy, but not “Help I’ve got to unbutton my pants” creamy.

I use the fat-free Greek yogurt to shave off a few extra calories and the fresh herbs really make the difference. Yes, feta cheese has its share of fat, but you’re using such a small amount, just enough to get that zingy taste. Ditto grated Parmesan.

This pasta takes under 15 minutes to prepare. And, even better, you can do it in the microwave to make it faster.

You'll need:

  • 1 cup whole milk Greek yogurt
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can of hearts of palm pasta
  • 1/4 c. crumbled feta
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • Zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano, preferred but you can use dried
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Freshly grated Pecorino-Romano cheese (Ok, ok, I know you have the jar of Kraft grated Parmesan in your fridge. If you have to you can use that too)

Let the yogurt sit in a cheese cloth or a double layer of paper towels in a strainer for about a half an hour before you begin just to get a lot of the water out.

Mix the remaining ingredients except for the Parmesan cheese and then heat it in a sauce pan over medium heat until heated through. Or, if you’re impatient as I am, them you can prepare in a glass bowl and heat in the microwave for about three minutes.

Then sprinkle with cheese to garnish. That’s it!

It makes two small servings with only about 150 calories each. And about 10g of protein. Can you beat that?

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco. Any opinions expressed are Judi Franco’s own.

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