Protein Packed Italian Pasta Favorites

October is here in the bay -and with it some foggy and rainy weather…

I’m craving comfort food and being that I’m originally from Brooklyn, that means pasta! 

When Explore Cuisine asked me to check out their line of organic, Non-GMO, Gluten-Free, and Vegan Pasta I went gaga over the ingredients list! 

jessi fit pilates protein pasta explore cuisine

Both Spaghetti varieties I tried only have ONE ingredient and the Fuslis may have more -but you can pronounce (and recognize) every single one…

Explore Cuisine  developed their pasta in Italy. So they have the taste and texture of the traditional pasta you know and love, but are better for you. They’re packed with protein and fiber, and are lower in carbohydrates and gluten free. Delizioso!

jessi fit pilates explore cuisine

My Sicilian American husband and I wanted to create healthy-ish versions of our favorite dishes that remind us of home…

Back on the east coast Sunday night dinners were a big deal in the Italian American community. These dinners would start early and last all evening as you sat and caught up with family and loved ones.

jessi fit pilates explore cuisine recipe dry roasted corn & tomato sauce

I eat mostly plant based these days and these Italian recipes focus on veggies and are loaded with hearty flavors.  These can work GREAT for meal planning unlike so many other recipes.  I prefer my meals to be super fresh but like our Grandmas used to say-  the gravy tastes better tomorrow!  When the sauces since together overnight they just marinate all the goodness- so if you’re single- one of these dishes can serve you for four nights!

I know you don’t have all day to slave over a stove like Grandma! 

These recipes are all about 10 or 15 minutes of cooking time and they still pack all the punch of some longer cooking sauce recipes.  Most of the ingredients listed here can be found at Costco or your local supermarket making them protein filled dinner no brainers!

All recipes serve 4 as each pasta comes in a box of four servings

Dry Roasted Corn & Tomato Sauce  with Edamame Spaghetti

This one is super quick!  We used frozen white corn to save time.  You can use yellow or fresh if you like!

jessi fit pilates edamame vegetarian protein pasta explore cuisine


  • 1 box Explore Cuisine Organic Edamame Spaghetti

  • 1/2 bag frozen White Corn

  • 1 small package Cherry Tomatoes- halved

  • 1 box Explore Cuisine Organic Edamame 

  • 4 large spoonfuls of Olive Oil

  • 6 Cloves of Garlic, crushed

  • Pinch of red pepper

jessi fit pilates dry roasted corn and tomoates


  1. Bring water to a boil and cook pasta. ( 8 cups or 2 liters of water)

  2. Cook as you make the pasta:

  3. Pan roast corn and tomatoes (no oil) on high heat until it becomes fragrant and brown, stirring occasionally.

  4. Lower heat Add garlic and olive oil until garlic softens and smells great!

  5. Drain and Throw cooked edamame pasta into the pan and toss

  6. Then add the corn and tomatoes into the mix and toss

Pan Roasted Zucchini Putanesca over Chickpea Fusili 

jessi fit pilates pasta puttanesca

Another fast and easy way to have some pasta today! 

Puttanesca is named after certain fast women with late business hours back in Italy.  In place of those chicks, try this  


  • 1 box Explore Cuisine Organic Chickpea Fusilli

  • 1 small Yellow Zucchini - quartered

  • 1 small Green Zucchini quartered 

  • 1 can Italian Whole tomatoes, in liquid

  • 6 cloves Garlic, crushed

  • 6 large spoonfuls of Olive Oil

  • 2 small spoons of Anchovy paste 

  • 1 fist full of Basil finely chopped 

  • 1 small jar Kalamata Olives

  • 2 small spoons Drained Capers

  • Pinch of Brown Sugar to taste.

  • pinch of Red Pepper flakes to taste.

  • Salt & Pepper to taste

zuccini jessifitpilates pasta putanesca


  1. Bring water to a boil and cook pasta. ( 8 cups or 2 liters of water)

  2. Cook as you make the pasta:

  3. With a dash of Olive Oil, in a large pan or skillet, pan roast zucchini until soft.  Medium high heat.

  4. In a separate pan-  cook garlic, anchovies, salt and pepper over medium high heat- only takes 2 minutes

  5. In a blender, mix up can of tomatoes, with the liquid.

  6. Then throw the blended mix into the anchovy mix pan, stirring occasionally 

  7. Drain and throw cooked Chickpea Fusilli pasta into the pan and toss

Black Bean Cacio De Pepe

Jessi FIT Pilates Cacaio De Pepe

Remember when I said healthy-ish…..  Simply put this is Italian Mac n Cheese. 

In Italian it means Cheese and Pepper.  They probably should have put “Burro” or the Italian word butter too,  as well be using it.  I am a big believer in moderation and these scrumptious creamy saucy goodness will give you a nice nice serving of fiber and protein since were using the Black Bean Spaghetti.. 

If you’re looking create some contrast and spice in a foggy grey fall world- give this recipe a try.

Vegans could try this with a nutritional yeast substitution but I have not tried it myself.  I’m going to stay authentically butter filled for this one…  


  • 1 box Explore Cuisine Organic Black Bean Spaghetti

  • 4 TBSP or large taps of Butter- 

  • 1 cup of Grated Parmesan 

  • 1/2 Cup of Grated Romano Cheese 

like butter jessi fit pilates


  1. Bring water to a boil and cook pasta. ( 8 cups or 2 liters of water)

  2. Drain pasta and hold 1 cup of the water from the pasta.

  3. In a large heavy skillet melt 3 pats of butter over medium heat.

  4. Add the pepper and swirl it around for about a minute until it browns slightly.

  5. Add 3/4 of the water and bring to a simmer.

  6. Then add the pasta and the last taps of butter.

  7. Turn the heat down to low and add the Parmesan, stirring with tongs.

  8. Them turn off the heat and add Romana cheese.

  9. Stir and toss until its all gooey and coating the past.

  10. If the pasta seems dry use the leftover water.

  11. Serve IMMEDIATELY!

Do you have a favorite comfort food? Comment below and tell us about it!

Thank you to Explore Cuisine for the pasta! If you’re craving noodles, use your noodle and check them out below