This tasty pasta dish makes a great comfort meal that’s super healthy and easy to make. It’s also low in saturated fat (even with the grated cheese on top!), making it the perfect cholesterol-friendly dinner.
Garlic is one of the top foods for actively lowering cholesterol, so I add it to as many of my dinners as possible. I find mincing it is the best way to bring out the flavour, and try not to cook it at too high a heat as it can burn really quickly. In this recipe, I add it to the pan with the vegetables, which means it’s not sitting in hot oil and burning.
I also try to use olive oil as much as possible in my cooking because it contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, which can increase your good cholesterol (HDL) and lower the inflammatory impact of bad cholesterol (LDL) on your body. I often use garlic-infused, chilli or basil oil in my recipes to enhance the flavours. All three flavours work well in this recipe but be warned, the chilli varieties tend to have a big kick, so don’t use too much!
- Serves: 3
- Preparation time: 4 mins
- Cooking time: 20 mins
- Difficulty: Easy
- 3 chicken breasts, diced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 courgette, thickly sliced
- 250 g mushrooms, sliced
- 5 large sun-dried tomatoes, cut into small pieces
- 6 anchovies, cut into small pieces (optional – see notes)
- 8 cherry tomatoes
- 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
- 1 chicken stock cube
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Wholewheat fusilli pasta
- 10 basil leaves (optional)
- 1-2 tbsp grated parmesan/feta (see notes)
- Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat.
- Add the diced chicken to the pan and cook for about 5 minutes, turning occasionally, until sealed and slightly golden.
- While the chicken is cooking, put the pasta on the boil, as per packet instructions.
- Add the garlic, courgette, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, anchovies (if using) and cherry tomatoes to the pan. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring to combine the ingredients.
- Add the tinned chopped tomatoes and crumble the stock cube into the pan.
- Stir to combine all the ingredients, bring to the boil for 2 minutes, then turn the heat down and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and tip it into the frying pan with the rest of the ingredients. Add salt and pepper to taste, then stir to mix the ingredients thoroughly.
- Tear the basil leaves into small pieces (if using) and stir half of them into the pasta.
- Serve the pasta in bowls with the parmesan/feta sprinkled on top, along with the rest of the basil leaves.
- Anchovies add a lovely rich saltiness to the recipe, as well as providing omega 3 fatty acids, which can help to increase good cholesterol. They disintegrate quickly into the sauce, so you don’t taste any fishiness when the cooking is complete, but they can be left out of the recipe if you’re not a massive fan.
- Cheese is naturally high in fat, but grating a small amount on your pasta won’t add much fat to your meal. 1 tbsp of parmesan only contains 0.9g saturated fat, and 1 tbsp feta contains even less (note, feta is one of the healthiest cheeses in terms of fat content).
- A great Jamie Oliver tip is to keep a block of feta in your freezer, then you can take it out to grate over pasta/other dishes when you need it. A whole block lasts for ages, and is a great substitute for parmesan.
For more cholesterol-friendly recipes and tips on how to reduce cholesterol naturally, click here.