By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the Seafood Nutrition Partnership and I am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
When Nathan and I visited Cinque Terre, Italy last fall we ate seafood spaghetti literally every day that we were there. All of the fish, prawns, mussels and clams were so fresh, floating in a light tomatoey sauce. I decided to recreate that dish in a simpler version that’s quick enough for a weeknight meal.
The Dietary Guideline for Americans 2015-2020 recommend including 8 ounces of cooked seafood each week for the general population as part of a healthy diet (that’s about two servings each week). Regular intake of seafood is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease, eating seafood regularly during pregnancy promotes fetal brain development and is even associated with a higher IQ in babies, and people who eat seafood regularly are 20% less likely to suffer from depression than those who don’t eat seafood. However, only 10% of the US population currently meets the recommendation for eating seafood twice per week.
I have been looking for simple ways to include more seafood in our diet, and I’ve found that canned tuna is a budget-friendly option that’s easily incorporated into our packed lunches or tuna cakes. Frozen fish and shrimp can also be an affordable and convenient choice to keep on hand. I watch the sales flyer at our local store and stock up on frozen options when they’re on sale. Serving seafood in familiar dishes, like spaghetti, can be a great way to get kids and picky eaters to eat more seafood.
This recipe has everything you love about spaghetti with an upgraded nutrition profile. Using whole grain pasta boosts the fiber content, and the addition of spinach provides a dose of disease-fighting carotenoids, folic acid, iron, and calcium. Tomato sauce is rich in the antioxidant, lycopene, which has been shown to promote heart health and prevent some types of cancer, and shrimp provide high-quality protein with significantly less saturated fat than ground chuck.
Cook spaghetti according to package directions. Drain, and return to pan.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 6 minutes or until onion is tender and starting to caramelize. Add oregano, and garlic, and sauté 1 minute longer. Stir in tomatoes, and bring to a simmer. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.
Stir balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper into sauce. Add shrimp, and cook, stirring frequently, 4 minutes. Stir in spinach, and cook 1 to 2 minutes or just until spinach wilts and shrimp turn pink. Remove from heat, and stir in cooked spaghetti.
Divide evenly among 4 pasta bowls or plates, and sprinkle with cheese and parsley, if desired.
What’s your family’s favorite seafood? We love shrimp, salmon and canned tuna the most.