Easy one-pot lemony kale spaghetti comes together in a flash and is the perfect respite from heavy holiday meals. Top with a poached egg to add some protein!
I haven’t hit the snooze button for a whole week. That might not seem like a lot, but I am trying to kick a decades long snooze button addiction, so to me it feels like a victory.
I used to work really really early in the morning, so I could really only afford one snooze. And when Paul and I moved in together that’s all I could get away with me before he’d start threatening all kinds of unpleasant things were I to let the alarm sound another time (and fair enough, since my alarm would go off at 4am).
But in the years since I left that job, and now with Paul getting out of bed long before I do (because he is a crazy person who insists on getting up at 5am to go work out) there is no one there to limit my snoozes. And I tell ya, I’ll snooze for an entire hour when left to my own devices.
So I did a bunch of research on how to kick my snooze button habit. There’s all kinds of advice out there ranging from the insane (like locking your alarm in a box with a combination you’d have to punch in in order to unlock the box and stop your alarm) to the logical (retrain your brain by practicing during daylight hours – brush your teeth, change into your pyjamas, get into bed and set your alarm for 5 mins, then get up right away when it goes off. do 3 reps, 3 times a day).
I’ve started by simply setting my alarm for a time I know I’ll actually get up, rather than some aspirational early wake-up time. Once I get the hang of this I’m going to gradually work backwards, setting the alarm ever earlier to see if I can train myself to get up at said aspirational early wake-up time. After all, I got up at 4am for the better part of a decade, I know I can get up early if I put my mind to it.
Naturally I’ve chosen the deepest darkest time of year to start this exercise, but I figure if I can do it now, I can do it any time, right?
It’s amazing how our brains work. How quickly we can fall into bad habits, and how hard we have to work to re-shape them. But I think knowing that we can reshape them is important. Sometimes we need to reframe our beliefs around something. Like, I always hit the snooze button because I felt tired and not ready to get up, but after a week of not hitting it I actually feel less tired and more alert. The same can be true for healthy eating. Many people believe that healthy eating takes a lot of time, or that healthy food doesn’t taste good.
Let’s reframe our expectations. This pot of lemony kale spaghetti is incredibly quick and easy, AND it’s delicious. It all comes together in one pot, which means fewer dishes to wash. The kale wilts down into the pasta which means you get a LOT of kale, but it doesn’t feel like you’re wrestling a bunch down. A blast of winter citrus helps make the nutrients in the kale more bioavailable, and gives us a good dose of vitamin C. And, whole wheat spaghettini gives us a nice boost in dietary fiber compared to plain old white pasta.
Quick, easy, convenient, nutritious, and delicious, I think you’ll find this lemony kale spaghetti becomes a regular part of your repertoire. It’s lovely topped with big flakes of Parmesan cheese, but to keep it vegan a sprinkle of nutritional yeast or vegan parm is great as well. The nutritionist in me wants to balance the plate, so I often serve it with a poached or crispy fried egg for protein.
Kale is a nutritional powerhouse! It is extraordinarily rich in micronutrients, dietary fiber, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients, and cancer fighting glucosinolates. Kale is a good source of vitamin C, beta-carotene, manganese, and contains nearly twice the vitamin K (essential for blood clotting and also an important anti-inflammatory agent) than any other cruciferous vegetable (broccoli, cabbage, etc). Iron, magnesium, vitamin E, folate, and phosphorous are among the complement of vital minerals found in kale. The dietary fiber in kale is known to reduce blood cholesterol levels. One recent study showed that this benefit may be improved by lightly steaming kale for about 5 minutes before consuming.
Whole wheat pasta, made from flour with the bran and germ intact, is a significantly better source of fiber and nutrients than the regular wheat version. Bear in mind that pasta portions, particularly in restaurants, are often waaaaaaay larger than they should be. Aim for around a 1 cup serving of cooked whole wheat pasta.
Two years ago: Lucia Buns
- 450g whole wheat spaghettini
- 1 bunch Tuscan kale
- zest of 1 lemon
- 2 lemons, juiced
- 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
- reserved pasta water
- Parmesan for serving
- Put a large pot of water over high heat, covered, until it comes to the boil.
- Salt well, and add the pasta.
- Cook the pasta about 8-10 minutes, until it is al dente - it should have just a little bite to it.
- While the pasta is cooking, pull the kale leaves off of their stems, stack them on top of one another, and use a sharp knife to slice into thin ribbons.
- In the last minute of cooking time for the pasta, add the kale to the pot and stir to submerge it.
- Remove one-cup of water from the pasta pot and set aside.
- Remove the pasta and kale from the heat, and drain well. If you have use a colander to drain the pasta, return the pasta to the pot.
- Add lemon juice, lemon zest, thinly sliced garlic, red pepper flakes, and olive oil to the pot. Stir well to combine.
- Let the pasta stand for 5 minutes for the flavours to combine.
- Give everything a good stir, and add a touch of the reserved pasta water to loosen it up a bit.
- Serve hot, with shavings of Parmesan.