20 Minute Meal

More healthy swaps being made in this house! As I have mentioned in recent posts, I am suddenly busy, busy, busy, so my healthy meals also have to be quick.

This one took just about 20 minutes from start to finish, and it was incredibly satisfying, tasty, and included some good nutritionals as well.

I started with soy chorizo from Trader Joe’s. The texture is kind of weird; I had planned on using slices of it, but it was very crumbly. It was all good though as it tasted like a nice blend of spices and added protein to our dinner.

soy chorizo

I also made good on my promise to use more frozen vegetables. I added several cups of sweet frozen peas to the crumbled chorizo in a pan and cooked them together on medium heat. frozen peas

Here’s where I started healthi-fying! Instead of the grated cheese I planned on, I threw in about 1/4 cup nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavor, less fat, and lots of vitamins and nutrients.

nutritional yeast in pasta

Stir, stir, stir. Then add in about a cup and a half of whole milk, subbed in for the heavy cream I planned on using.

chorizo peas and cream

Once the sauce was bubbling hot, I poured it over whole wheat penne. This dinner filled me right up and was speckled sweet bursts of green pea flavor, spicy, slightly salty sausage, and creamy cheese sauce.


This was a play on a traditional ham, peas, and cream sauce, and I felt it was far more flavorful. I really enjoy focusing on subtracting fat while adding flavor.

Be prepared to see more meal makeovers on the blog! I am going to do my best to make little changes in everything I cook going forward.

What little swaps are you making to make dishes healthier?

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Tags: Food, healthy recipe, recipe, Vegetarian

  1. Daisy’s avatar

    looks like a great dish!


  2. MelissaNibbles’s avatar

    Yum! Salty and creamy. My favorite kind of pasta.


  3. Emily @ A Cambridge Story’s avatar

    I need to try this nutritional yeast stuff. I see it everywhere and if it really tricks you into thinking you’re eating some cheesy, then I need to get on board! Looks like you had yourself a fantastic weeknight meal!


  4. Michelle’s avatar

    I have to agree with Emily and give nutritional yeast a try!


    1. traveleatlove’s avatar

      It’s SO good on popcorn!


    2. Elizabeth’s avatar

      I love peas with pasta. Such a great combo.


    3. Kristen @ Batterlicker.com’s avatar

      I tried nutritional yeast before, but the flavor didn’t really do it for me. Maybe I’ll give it another go at some point.

      I use 2% Greek Yogurt to add creaminess to a lot of things (salad dressing, pasta sauce) and always in place of sour cream. It even works instead of mayo if you mix it with lemon juice and a little garlic powder.

      Another healthy swap is to saute in 1/4 to 1/2 c. of hot water instead of hot olive oil. Not the greatest for caramelized onions, but works well for regular stir fry dishes. And cuts out a couple hundred calories that 2 Tbsp. of oil usually adds to the dish.


    4. Beth’s avatar

      this looks so tasty! I love using nutritional yeast in place of parmesan. I’ve even started just sprinkling it on top of my pasta and marinara sauce. I love the flavor and the protein addition is pretty awesome too.


    5. Michelle Collins’s avatar

      This looks like my kind of meal! ;) I love having frozen veggies on hand – they’re affordable and easy to incorporate into almost any meal!


    6. Megan’s avatar

      You definitely made this over bigtime. Sounds so much healthier than the original. I keep trying to add more fruits and veggies to my diet.


    7. Kerstin’s avatar

      20 minutes, can’t beat it! I bought normal chorizo once and didn’t like it at all because it was so greasy so maybe I’ll check out the soy version.


    8. alicia’s avatar

      Wow – looks like a healthier, veggie-er bolognese!


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