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When it comes to pasta and weight loss, remember, brown is the new white.

White pasta is made with (no surprise) white flour, which has been stripped of its bran and germ during processing.

But whole grain pastas–from wheat or brown rice– still have all that fabulous fiber which helps you feel fuller longer and slows the absorption of glucose, keeping your blood sugar on a even keel.

And even though brown pasta still has about the same number of calories as the white stuff, in this dish–by adding in a load of vegetables and serving it on top of fresh greens–you can have a truly substantial lunch or dinner for only about 400 calories.


1 pkg brown rice pasta twirls
4 cups chopped broccoli, about one head (thick stem peeled before chopping)
1 lg zucchini, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips
2 carrots, sliced thin on a diagonal
2 shallots, sliced (or ½ red onion)
1 t. minced garlic
½ cup jarred sun-dried tomatoes plus 1 T of the herbed olive oil they’re packed in

1 tsp. Better Than Bouillon Chicken Broth Paste
2 cups cooked chicken, torn or chopped into 1-2 inch pieces)
2 cups frozen peas
¼  cup Romano cheese, grated

Chopped basil or parsley, optional
Bring a pot of salted water (2 T salt)  to a boil.

Add pasta, stirring a minute to make sure the pieces don’t stick together.

While pasta is boiling, chop all the vegetables.

After about 9 minutes, drop only the carrots and broccoli into pasta pot and cook another 5-6 minutes.

When the carrots and broccoli are brightly colored and just  tender, remove about 1/2 cup of the pasta water and use it to dissolve 1 tsp of chicken broth paste and set aside. Pour the pasta, broccoli and carrots into a colander in the sink to drain.

Return pot to flame, reduce heat to medium, spray with cooking oil and add onion, sun-dried tomatoes and its oil, zucchini, bell pepper, onions and garlic and cook another 5 minutes. Vegetables should be nicely coated with the herbed oil from the sun-dried tomatoes.

Add chicken broth and cook another few minutes until zucchini is soft but not mushy. 

Add chicken and stir so that it also has a chance to absorb some of the tasty, oily broth.

Add frozen peas and stir another minute or two until heated through.


Turn off heat and dump pasta, broccoli and carrots back into the pot. Stir gently to re-warm the pasta.

When all is nicely coated, toss into a big wooden bowl and gently fold in the grated cheese.

Add freshly chopped basil or parsley if you like.

For a full but skinny meal, serve a cup or 2  of the pasta (warm or cold) on top of a generous mound of mixed greens or spinach salad dressed with salt and pepper, red wine vinegar or lemon juice.


This is a recipe that’s easy to adapt according to what vegetables are in season.  In the spring, instead of broccoli and chicken, try asparagus, shrimp and dill.  In the summer, try mixing in some fresh arugula and tomatoes and substituting feta for the Romano.

And no matter how you choose to make it, make enough for the next day… it’s a great meal to take on the go to work or school.


About Lisa McRee

After 25 years as a local and network anchor, Lisa was just another American mother struggling, and failing, to lose weight. Finally, she cracked the code, and lost 30 pounds, quickly and for good, by doing what she loves: reporting, cooking and eating! The Skinny is the inside story on how she did it, and how you can, too!
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