Ahhh … pasta! Its limitless varieties and ease of substitution make it a perfect dish for discriminating palates and athletes with food allergies.
Here’s a pregame menu high in vitamins, protein and complex carbohydrates — perfect to meet the needs of the competitive athlete:
Chicken Whole-Wheat Angel Hair Pasta
Swiss Chard and Winter Squash
Walnut Garlic Sauce
Never fear a recipe that contains a forbidden food – it can always be swapped out with a little creative experimentation! For instance, a veggie pasta substitute such as spaghetti squash, baked and scooped out, gives the exact same textural feel as angel hair pasta. Add parsnips or sweet potato for healthy starch and essential vitamins.
Why Swiss chard? This nutrient-packed vegetable (yes, give it a try) contains vitamins C, E, K and B, magnesium and soluble fiber – and is one of the more easily digestible dark leafy greens when cooked.
The winter squash not only adds beautiful color and texture to the dish, it protects against dehydration and has cancer-fighting properties. It’s also packed with vitamins C, B1, B6 and potassium. The buttery flavor of the squash balances the greens and adds additional fat flavor without the actual fat. If you aren’t a squash fan, use leeks instead of winter squash.
Pregame Pasta Spread Recipe Ingredients & Directions:
6 oz chicken breast- cut into 1″ strips
1/4 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 yellow onion, chopped fine
1/4 red pepper, chopped fine
1 clove garlic, chopped fine
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 cup Swiss chard, chopped
1/2 cup winter squash, chopped
Dash of sea salt to taste
8 oz whole wheat angel hair pasta
*wheat-free alternatives: spaghetti squash, store-bought gluten-free pasta, quinoa or brown rice
1/3 cup halved walnuts
*nut-free substitutes: soy nuts, pumpkin seeds or croutons
1 tsp walnut oil
*nut-free substitutes: olive or vegetable oil, margarine or butter
2 pieces of fresh-shaved parmesan
*nondairy substitute: tofu or soy cheese
1) Wash chicken breast, add salt and pepper and cut into 1″ pieces. Coat medium sauté pan with cooking spray, brown chicken pieces 3-5 minutes until all pink is gone. Remove and reserve.
2) In hot boiling water, boil pasta per package directions until al dente. Drain.
3) In same sauté pan, add oil, onion, walnut and red pepper, sauté until onion is clear. Add garlic and chicken stock; cook on higher heat for 5 minutes; add chicken.
4) Add Swiss chard and squash. Cook until greens are slightly wilted. Mix all ingredients well.
5) Pour ingredients over cooked pasta. Add fresh cracked pepper and parmesan shavings.
6) Drizzle the sauce to meld the flavors or serve it on the side.
However you mix it, have fun! Pasta is a great pregame choice for athletes and spectators alike!
Chef Michelle Austin is founder of On Thyme Consulting, co-owner of Just to Please You Productions and a contributor to SOBeFiT magazine. She has been featured on food and design segments on NBC and CBS. All menu concepts and recipes have been prepared by Michelle exclusively for Allergy & Asthma Today.
Reviewed by William Berger, MD, and Michael Foggs, MD