Regardless of whether it's after a workout, practice or game, your body needs to replenish with carbohydrates, protein and healthy fats to recover and provide long-term energy reserves. Sometimes the activity ends right around mealtime, when you are craving something heartier than a snack. If that's the case, your answer might be my "perfect post-workout pasta," an easy recipe that's also an old family favorite. Not only does it make for a great post-workout meal, it can also serve as a pre-workout meal or as a nutritious dinner anytime during the week. (Pasta lover? This maybe the diet you've been searching for.)
The Perfect Post-Workout Pasta Recipe
- 1 pound Barilla Plus spaghetti
- 2 cloves fresh garlic
- 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
- Crushed red pepper (optional)
- 10-ounce package frozen spinach
- 15-ounce container of ricotta cheese
- Parmesan cheese (to taste)
- Fresh parsley
- Cook the spaghetti according to package directions.
- While pasta is cooking, mince the fresh garlic (or save time and use one tsp. garlic from a jar) and brown it in two tbsp. olive oil (here is where I also add a little crushed red pepper flakes to "spice up" the recipe).
- Microwave the chopped spinach, according to package directions.
- When pasta is done, before draining the pot, save a cup of the pasta water to add later.
- Quickly drain spaghetti (but do not rinse) and return to the pot.
- Over low heat, add the olive oil, garlic and spinach mixture plus the ricotta cheese to the spaghetti.
- Mix until all ingredients are blended and distributed evenly.
- To add moisture if needed, add some of the saved pasta water and a little olive oil.
- Season the dish with grated parmesan cheese and garnish with fresh parsley.
This recipe makes four generous servings. Of the primary ingredients, the pasta provides carbs; the ricotta cheese provides quality whey protein (ricotta is made from whey drained from cheeses such as as mozzarella and provolone); the olive oil and ricotta offer healthy fats; and the spinach and garlic provide a plethora of micronutrients.