I am blown away by how good this is. This tastes a lot like the creamy Caesar at Texas Roadhouse. But, there’s one key difference: theirs is a staggering 11 points for 2 ounces, while mine is only 3 points for 2 ounces. Boom!
I don’t know why took me so long to get around to making one of these. They are easy, delicious, and very healthy. Best of all, this isn’t much different from how I would’ve made it before joining Weight Watchers. Only 190 calories a slice!
If you want a fancy restaurant feel, serve it with fat-free balsamic vinaigrette. It pairs beautifully with the Brussels sprouts.
My ultra light pesto is the key here; see the recipe linked in the Ingredients list. If you want to make this with a reduced fat pesto, it’s a 2 point (Weight Watchers) recipe. Regular pesto makes it a 3 pointer.
As a second generation Italian (pronounced “Eye-talian”), Pesto sauce is practically in my blood. The big issue I’ve always had is how much oil is usually used: a jar of pesto from the supermarket that’s separated will be half-full with just the oil. I worked on using less oil, which works somewhat, but still doesn’t take care of the root issue: there’s still a ton of calories in oil.
But, this treatment fixes that. I remember seeing a recipe years ago where someone used stock to replace oil, and I decided to try that here. It works, though you don’t have that clingy luxuriousness that oil brings. But, if you noticed that first line above, that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make: regular pesto is a staggering 9 Weight Watchers points per 2 ounces, and even reduced fat pesto is 4 points.
Besides the stock, I also shaved off some points using almonds (5 points), which are lighter than most other nuts (8 points for pine nuts and most others). Note that using reduced fat grated parmesan doesn’t change the point value (2 points vs 5 for regular cheese), but it does greatly affect the taste! Freshly-grated parmesano reggiano cheese really makes this pesto sing.
More fun with pesto: you can replace the greens with just about anything. See the Recipe Notes after the recipe for some suggestions.
I decided to combine all the classic elements of a puttanesca pasta preparation – olives, capers, anchovies, tomatoes, and garlic – and see what would happen if they were baked into a light bread. I purposely made them flat, so I could use them as a sandwich bun. And, the look is like a very savory panettone.
Yes, it’s salty…just look at the ingredients! But, it’s not overly salty. And, the roasted garlic cuts through all that brine.
This was several years in the making. I’ve always had this idea of making the colors of the Italian flag, although that idea has always been to do it with pasta. But, in my continuing quest for healthier options, I decided to make a gnocchi with rutabaga. I decided to add a potato at the last minute because I wasn’t sure how well it would bind without the starch.
Once I figured out how to make these myself, I stopped buying sun-dried tomatoes. At my local fruit and vegetable market, I can get a 10 ounce container of cherry tomatoes for less than a dollar. For a few pennies more, I can make something just as good as sun-dried tomatoes, for a fraction of the cost (and the calories!)
And, it’s not hard to do. As the ingredients list shows, please get creative with your seasoning. You can have perfectly good oven dried tomatoes with just salt, but consider adding Cajun seasoning, garlic powder, sumac…whatever you try, it will probably be great!