By Abigail Cole, PhD, Dietetic Intern [Iowa State University (ISPP)]
Here is a wonderful summer recipe to use avocados and cilantro in a new way. The resulting pasta dish is rich, creamy, and delicious. Paired with a glass of white wine it’s the perfect dish for a summer night.
This pasta is nutritionally dense. It packs a hearty dose of healthy mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fatty acids, lean protein and dietary fiber when made with whole grain pasta. It can be easily adapted for vegetarians and vegans by omitting the shrimp and parmesan cheese. If you choose to go the vegetarian route, consider adding other summer vegetables like snap peas or green onions.
Creamy Avocado Pasta with Shrimp
Adapted from Absolutely Avocados
For the pasta:
- 1 lbs. pasta of your choice; linguine and spaghetti work well, use whole grain if possible
- 4 quarts water
- 1 tsp. salt
For the sauce:
- 2-3 ripe avocados
- 2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lime juice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Coarse salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
For the shrimp:
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 2 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
- 1 lbs. fresh or frozen medium shrimp, thawed with tails removed
- 1 cup fresh cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tsp. fresh squeeze lime juice
- 1 tsp. dried red pepper flakes
- 2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, chopped
- In a large pot, bring salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and boil for 10 minutes, or according to directions on package.
- While pasta is cooking, halve the avocados and remove pits. Combine avocado, lime juice, olive oil, parmesan cheese and cilantro in a food processor and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and sauté for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant. Add the shrimp and cook until pink (approximately 3-5 minutes). Add cherry tomatoes and cook 2 more minutes until just warmed through. Remove the skillet from the heat and toss the lime juice, red pepper flakes and cilantro with the shrimp and tomatoes.
- Drain pasta and combine with sauce and shrimp.
- Serve immediately, garnish with fresh parmesan and ground black pepper.
When made with whole grain spaghetti: 495 kcal; 64g carbohydrate; 24g protein; 13g dietary fiber; 19g total fat; 3g saturated fat; 874mg sodium.