I was revisiting old recipe bookmarks this past weekend and stumbled upon Shutterbean’s Sweet Peas and Shells Alfredo. I pitched it to John for lunches this week and he was all over it. However, we both wanted a healthier version. I used Shutterbean’s base idea and combined it with my own healthy alfredo analog from my Guilt Free Chicken, Broccoli, Ziti recipe. It came out pretty dang good!
Domestocrat’s Healthy Alfredo Shells and Peas (makes 8 servings)
2 yellow onions, chopped finely
4 shallots, chopped finely
2 tbsp. EVOO
2 lbs. whole wheat pasta shells (I used two 1-lb. bags)
2 lbs. frozen peas (I used one big 2-lb. bag)
2 cups greek yogurt
1 cup light sour cream
1/2 cup italian bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
6 oz. crumbled feta cheese
1 tsp. dried italian herbs (your preference)
Salt and pepper to taste
In a big pan or pot, saute the onions, shallots, and EVOO until tender and lightly caramelized. You could also divide them into two pans like I did – either way! When they are done, set them aside to cool completely.
In a giant pot, boil up the pasta. I found this brand at my local Whole Foods (Delallo Organic Whole Wheat Shells). I normally don’t love whole wheat pastas (I find that they’re too chewy and a little gritty) but decided to give it a try. This pasta took a while to cook (12 minutes) and was still firm/al dente. The texture was good though and is better for this recipe since I knew the pasta wouldn’t get mushy during the week. Once the pasta is cooked, rinse with cold water and set aside to cool.
This is also a good time to boil up the peas. Once they are tender (2-4 minutes), strain them, rinse with cold water, and set aside to cool.
While the peas and pasta are cooling, make the sauce. In a big bowl combine the cooled caramelized onions/shallots, greek yogurt, sour cream, bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, feta, herbs, salt, and pepper.
To combine the dish all together, first start by mixing the peas into the sauce. When they are thoroughly combined, mix in the pasta. Be sure that everything is evenly mixed and that there are no unmixed pockets of sauce.
Oh man, it really is as good as it looks. I thought I would miss the real deal alfredo but this version is super creamy and tangy from the cheeses – minus the extra calories and fat. The peas offer the perfect pop of sweetness and the pasta adds texture and heft to this meal. Warm, comforting, delicious, and healthy.
I divided this batch up into 8 equal lunch portions for our work week. You could also eat immediately and save the leftovers. Or bring to a big dinner party or social gathering. No matter what you do, this recipe reheats perfectly and the flavors get better over time.