Meatless Monday: Spinach and Tortellini

By: Lauren Miyashiro
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Meatless Monday is a global movement, a way of life. It’s not a campaign to turn everyone in the world vegetarian or vegan; in fact, many involved are meat-lovers. Eating less meat has been proven to reduce the risk of disease, curb obesity and has important environmental impacts, too. Will you join us in giving up meat, just for one day a week?

You don’t need copious amounts of butter or oil to make vegetables tasty. You can sneak good-for-you ingredients into the dishes you love without adding a bunch of fat. Spinach is packed with vitamins and is a good source of calcium and fiber, but its not exactly my favorite food to eat totally raw. With garlicky pasta and a bit of cheese, however, it becomes a lot more enticing.

You can count on Cooking Channel's recipe for Spinach and Tortellini for a simple, satisfying Meatless Monday dinner. Who doesn’t love pasta after all? With no fancy ingredients or complicated steps, the meal comes together in just about a half an hour. The sauteed garlic and tomatoes bring the familiar Italian aromatics we all crave, while mushrooms, peas and spinach add new flavor and texture to each bite. With so many healthy ingredients in one bowl, a sprinkle of pine nuts and Parmesan is the little extra indulgence you deserve.

Spinach and Tortellini
Salt
Cooking spray
4 cups fresh cheese tortellini (10 to 12 ounces)
3 cups halved cherry tomatoes
2 cups thawed frozen peas
8 cloves garlic, chopped
4 large portobello mushrooms, sliced
8 cups spinach
3/4 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 cup pine nuts
Freshly ground black pepper
8 cups mixed greens tossed with 10 to 15 pumps spray dressing

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season the water well with salt. Add the tortellini and cook according to package instructions.

Coat a nonstick skillet with cooking spray and heat over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, peas, garlic and mushrooms. Saute until the mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.

Add in the spinach and saute until wilted, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat and toss in the pasta. Top with the Parmesan and pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide among 4 plates. Serve each plate with 2 cups of the mixed greens.

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