Adding greens gives a nutritional boost, and beans supply protein and fiber. Finally, rounding off the dish with a savory meat such as prosciutto deepens the flavor while keeping the sodium and fat at a healthful level.
Replace the cabbage with chopped spinach, and use rigatoni for the pasta. Add chickpeas and ground lamb (beef works too) in place of the beans and prosciutto.
Mix it up this time with shells and chopped chard. Bacon boasts serious flavor in the dish.
Add chickpeas, spinach and sausage to bowtie pasta—a kid favorite—for a filling meal.
If your family loves seafood, try the pasta with shrimp. Serve garnished with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Originally published in the April 2011 issue of Parents magazine.