Veggie-Packed Beef Lasagna

Lasagna is such an underrated dinner. Maybe, it is because when most people think of lasagna, the thought of having to assemble this meal detours many. Adding a little twist on a classic, try this Veggie-Packed Beef Lasagna.

This post is sponsored by the Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative, a subcontractor to the Beef Checkoff. Thank you for supporting brands that make this blog possible!

What if I told you I could provide you with tips to make this meal both delicious and easy to prepare?

Lasagna is one of those recipes that can be made ahead, frozen for later, and a hearty meal that can help make weeknight meals a breeze. Also, depending on how you make this dish it can incorporate four of the five food groups all in one pan.

Dietitian Tip:  Aim to have at least 3 food groups featured for meals (making one of those a fruit or vegetable!)

Each food group has its own properties which can be beneficial for one’s health. Building colorful balanced plates can help maintain healthy eating patterns, providing essential vitamins and minerals to keep the body healthy. For example:

Grains: Grains have carbohydrates which provide our body with energy. Grains are divided into 2 subgroups: Whole Grains and Refined Grains. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel ― the bran, germ, and endosperm. Refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. Aim to make half of your grains whole grains.

Protein: Is a building block for bones, muscles, cartilage, skin, and blood.

Fruits: Contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which may also help to protect you from chronic diseases.

Vegetables: Eating vegetables that are of different colors will help to provide your body with important nutrients like fiber (can help you to feel fuller for longer), folate (beneficial for fetus growth during pregnancy),and vitamins A (aids in good vision) and C (aids in a strong immune system).

Dairy: Which has a strong association to improved bone health. 

Can beef fit onto a healthy plate?

When building a balanced plate, beef goes beyond just being a good source of protein.

Beef supplies 10 essential nutrients including:

  • Iron – helps your body use oxygen
  • Choline – supports nervous system development
  • Vitamins B6 & B12 – helps maintain brain function and gives energy
  • Phosphorus – helps build bones and teeth
  • Zinc – helps maintain a healthy immune system
  • Niacin – supports energy production and metabolism
  • Riboflavin – helps convert food into fuel
  • Selenium – helps protect cells from damage

One 3-ounce cooked serving of beef provides approximately 50% of your Daily Value (25 grams) of this important nutrient—making it an excellent source! Protein helps maintain a healthy weight, as well as preserve and build muscle.

New research suggests it’s not only important to just get enough protein in at dinner or lunch but to spread it throughout your day for optimal health. Aim for 25-30 grams of protein at each meal.

EASY, DELICIOUS, BEEF AND VEGETABLE, LASAGNA 

Does this lasagna recipe freeze well?

There is no reason to feel like you need to finish this meal in one night. This is a prime dish to freeze and heat back up on a future date. You may have already tried some of my other freezer friendly recipes like my Beef & Barley Soup, Freezer Oatmeal Cups, or Zucchini Carrot Fritters. Add this beef and vegetable lasagna to the list for nights when you have less time to prepare a meal for dinner.

How long can I freeze lasagna?

For the best results, freeze lasagna after it has been assembled but before it’s been baked. Freezing food this way will help maintain the lasagna’s cheese and noodle texture and prevent it from getting soggy.

If you’ve already baked your lasagna, don’t worry; it can still be frozen! The texture may be a little different than freshly baked.

If properly stored, it will maintain best quality for about 2 to 3 months but will remain safe beyond that time.

How do I reheat lasagna?

When you’re ready to use your frozen lasagna, transfer it to the refrigerator and let it defrost overnight. Then, take it out of the fridge and let it sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes while your oven preheats to 375°.

Remove the lasagna’s freezer wrappings, cover the top with new foil and bake for 60-70 minutes, or until heated through (a thermometer inserted in the center should read 165°). Remove the foil and bake the lasagna for 10 more minutes or until browned on the top. Pull the lasagna from the oven and let it sit for another 10 minutes before slicing into it.

Why are Family Meals Important?

It is easy to get caught up in after school activities or with work assignments which can take away from sit down meals with the family. But family meals are important for a variety of reasons such as:

  • Regular family meals are linked to higher grades and self-esteem
  • Adults and children who eat at home more regularly are less likely to suffer from obesity
  • Family meals nourish the spirit, brain, and health of all family members.

Make it a Family Affair:

Another aspect that I love about this meal is that it is easy enough so that the whole family can participate in creating this dish.

This recipe is coming right in time to celebrate National Family Meals Month. This initiative is a nationwide event which encourages families to have at least one meal at home per week.

What if I have a picky eater?

No one wants to be a short order cook preparing separate meals for each family member. When introducing new foods or new recipes, start with what I like to call lateral shifts. Meaning, start with something they are familiar with – for instance traditional beef lasagna. Adding vegetables won’t drastically change the original, it just adds a new flair. Understanding your family’s preferences is also key. Knowing that if they see the vegetables is going to cause resistance, chop them finer or even puree them into the sauce. The more exposure to new lateral shift type meals, can be helpful.

What You will Need to Create this Veggie-Packed Beef Lasagna

For the filling:
93% lean ground beef
Olive oil
Yellow onion
Mushrooms
Salt
Zucchini
Baby spinach

For the tomato sauce:
Olive oil
Garlic
Crushed tomatoes
Fresh basil
Salt
Crushed red pepper flakes

Don’t feel like making your own sauce? No worries! Substitute with 2 cups of your favorite prepared marinara sauce.

Remaining ingredients:
Ricotta cheese
Parmesan cheese
Mozzarella cheese
Egg
Italian seasoning
Salt
Black pepper
No-boil lasagna noodles (see notes in the recipe)

How to make this Veggie-Packed Beef Lasagna

Preheat your oven and coat a deep baking dish with cooking spray.

Cook the ground beef, then remove from the pan. Using the same pan (because who wants to wash more dishes), cook the vegetables. Add beef back in and set aside.

Make the sauce by gently sautéing the garlic (we don’t want it to burn, then add the remaining sauce ingredients to simmer and allow flavors to develop.

Mix the ricotta cheese and some of the parmesan cheese and mozzarella cheese. Add a beaten egg (this will help hold the cheese mixture together and not seep out of the lasagna). Season with Italian herbs, salt, and pepper.

To assemble, start with adding a layer of tomato sauce on the bottom of the pan. Then layer in the order, noodles, ricotta mixture, beef & veggie mixture, sauce, and sprinkle cheese. Top with more lasagna noodles and repeat.

Wrap in parchment paper and bake!

Recipe Shortcuts:

  • To cut down on prep time, buy pre-sliced mushrooms, & frozen diced onions, zucchini, and spinach. (Just be mindful when swapping out with frozen to drain excess liquid when cooking)
  • Skip making your own sauce and use your favorite jarred variety.
  • Freeze in individual servings for pre-portioned leftovers instead of defrosting the whole dish.
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Veggie-Packed Beef Lasagna

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Yield: 8 1x
  • Category: dinner
  • Method: bake
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Lasagna is such an underrated dinner. Maybe, it is because when most people think of lasagna, the thought of having to assemble this meal detours many. Adding a little twist on a classic, try this Veggie-Packed Beef Lasagna.


Ingredients

Scale

For the filling:
1-pound 93% lean ground beef
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 (8 ounce) container sliced mushrooms
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup zucchini, chopped into a small dice
1 cup baby spinach, roughly chopped

Tomato sauce*:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (28 ounce) crushed tomatoes
¼ cup fresh basil, chiffonade (ribbon like slices) + additional for garnish
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, more or less as desired

Remaining ingredients:
2 cups (16 ounces) ricotta cheese
3/4 cup parmesan cheese, divided
2 cups freshly grated mozzarella cheese, divided
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
¼ teaspoon salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
9 no-boil lasagna noodles*


Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Coat a 9×13-inch deep baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, add ground beef breaking apart into small crumbles. Cook until meat has browned, no longer pink, about 6-8 minutes. Remove beef from the pan, drain any excess fat from the beef and set beef aside.
  3. Return skillet to medium heat. Add olive oil. Sauté onions and mushrooms until tender. During the cooking process add salt to help draw out excess moisture. Once excess moisture has evaporated, add the zucchini, and continue to cook until tender. Add spinach and continue to cook until wilted and excess moisture has evaporated. Add beef back to the veggie mixture, stir to combine. Remove from heat and set aside.
  4. In a medium pot add olive oil over low heat. Sauté garlic for about 1 minute or until fragrant, being careful not to burn. Pour in the crushed tomatoes, basil, salt, and crushed red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer to allow the flavors to come together.
  5. In a medium bowl, add the ricotta, ¼ cup parmesan, 3/4 cup mozzarella, egg, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Mix well until combined.
  6. To assemble: Spread 1 cup of tomato sauce evenly over the bottom of a baking dish. Layer 3 lasagna noodles on top (snap off their ends to fit, and/or overlap their edges as necessary). Spread half of the ricotta cheese mixture evenly over the noodles. Top with half the beef & veggie mixture. Then spread 1 cup tomato sauce on top and sprinkle 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese. Top with 3 more lasagna noodles and repeat the previous order. Then top with remaining 3 lasagna noodles, remaining sauce and sprinkle remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese on top.
  7. Wrap a sheet of parchment paper or foil around the top of the lasagna (not letting it touch the cheese). Bake, covered, for 20 minutes, then remove the cover, rotate the pan by 180° and continue cooking for about 10 to 12 more minutes, until the cheese is melted and slightly bubbling on the sides.
  8. Remove from the oven and let the lasagna cool for 15 to 20 minutes, so it has time to set and cool down to a reasonable temperature. Sprinkle additional basil over the top, then slice and serve. Top with additional sauce or cheese, as desired.

Notes

  • Looking to save a step? Substitute the tomato sauce with 2 cups of prepared marinara sauce.
  • At the grocery store I see lasagna noodles as “no-boil” or “oven-ready” lasagna sheets. Read package directions as some brands need additional liquid.
  • Can’t find no boil or oven-ready lasagna noodles? Buy regular lasagna noodles, cook according to package directions, and use the same way. Cook time may decrease.

Keywords: lasagna, beef lasagna, family meal, dinner recipe, easy dinner

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Other recipes you will love:

References:
Paddon-Jones D, Rasmussen BB. Dietary protein recommendations and the prevention of sarcopenia. Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care 2009;12:86-90

Mamerow MM, et al. Dietary protein distribution positively influences 24-h muscle protein synthesis in healthy adults. J Nutr 2014;144:876-80

https://www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com/

https://www.nebpi.org/

Mediterranean Tuna Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Tuna Pasta Salad is a great party dish and is even better when it comes to meal prepping lunches! 

side view of tuna pasta salad in small white bowl

When it comes to using tuna in recipes, sometimes the easy ones can be boring, especially when it comes to making lunches. The Mediterranean flavors and pasta add a whole new dimension to tuna salad! 

Not only is tuna an excellent source of vitamin D and omega 3s but it’s also a lean meat that is packed full of protein. Adding in more protein keeps you fuller longer, leads to less snacking, and supports overall health. Because it is a lean meat, that means it’s lower in calories but has a high nutritional value.

In addition to all of these other nutrition benefits, a serving of tuna is a good source of selenium, iodine, B6, iron, and potassium. 

top shot of 2 bowls of mediterranean tuna pasta salad

Did you know that eating seafood twice a week could help to improve your omega-3 levels and reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease? Just a simple shift in your eating pattern can put you on a positive path to improve your heart health.

Another reason I love this recipe is that canned tuna is affordable and budget-friendly so you don’t have to break the bank to eat healthier in this case! Not to mention most of the ingredients you need are pantry staples, which means you probably already have them at home, win, win!

Wait! Isn’t Tuna Full of Mercury? 

Tuna fish does have a higher mercury content than others, but when you are using canned tuna, it’s less because they use smaller fish. Also, light tuna tends to contain less mercury than white tuna.

What’s the Difference Between White Tuna and Light Tuna?

White tuna is also known as albacore, whereas the term light tuna includes a variety of different species. 

Light tuna typically has more flavor, is flakier, and is pinker in color. Albacore is usually consumed in bigger chunks or steaks, compared to light tuna which is much smaller pieces and is normally what is found in canned tuna. 

tuna pasta salad in a mixing bowl next to wooden spoon

Ingredients Needed For Mediterranean Tuna Pasta Salad 

Pasta – I like using penne, fusilli, or bow ties

Canned tuna – try to find the kind that is packed in olive oil

Cucumber

Cherry tomatoes

Kalamata olives

Roasted red peppers

Marinated artichokes

Shallot

Feta cheese – you could also use another white cheese

Red wine vinegar

Oregano – Italian seasoning works well too! 

top shot of mediterranean tuna pasta salad in glass bowl before being mixed up

Why You Shouldn’t Drain the Canned Tuna

In most canned tuna recipes, they call for the tuna to be drained first. In this case, you DO NOT want to drain the tuna! Not only is the olive oil used for the dressing, but it also mixes with some of the tuna’s natural fat, so some of its omega-3 fatty acids (along with the nutrition) also go down the sink when you drain oil-packed tuna.

close up of Mediterranean tuna pasta salad with a scoop on a wooden spoon

How to Make Tuna Salad with Pasta 

Before we make the salad, start by cooking the pasta according to the instructions on the package. When it’s al dente, drain it and set aside. Be sure it has cooled completely before adding it to the other ingredients. 

In a large bowl combine the tuna, diced cucumbers and tomatoes, pitted olives, shallots, roasted red peppers, artichokes, cheese, red wine vinegar, cooled pasta, and oregano. 

Stir to combine, making sure the tuna is broken up and all of the ingredients are coated well.

Add some salt and pepper to taste, then you are ready to serve! 

tuna pasta salad in a white bowl with spoon

What Kind of Pasta is the Best for Tuna Salad 

As I mentioned before I like to use penne, fusilli, or bow ties. You can also use brands like Banza for added protein and as a gluten free option. If you prefer whole wheat, that’s fine too! 

How To Store 

Tuna pasta salad is the best when it is eaten within the first 2 days of cooking. However, as long as it is refrigerated in an airtight container it will last up to 5 days.

several bowls of tuna pasta salad next to tomatoes

Other Ways to Use Canned Tuna

  • As a spread on toast
  • Tuna patties
  • On a sandwich or wrap
  • In a quiche
  • Lettuce wraps
  • With crackers or veggies
  • In casseroles 
  • Tuna melts
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several bowls of tuna pasta salad next to tomatoes

Mediterranean Tuna Pasta Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Category: side dish
  • Cuisine: Mediterranean

Description

Mediterranean Tuna Pasta Salad is a great party dish and is even better when it comes to meal prepping lunches! 


Ingredients

Scale

1/2 pound pasta (like penne, fusilli, bow ties)
2 (4.5 oz) cans tuna, packed in olive oil
1 cup English cucumber, peeled and diced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup kalamata olives, pitted, halved
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, diced
1/2 cup marinated artichokes, quartered
1 tablespoon shallot, finely minced
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons dried oregano (or Italian seasoning)
salt and pepper, to taste


Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Let cool.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the pasta, tuna, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, roasted red peppers, artichokes, shallot, feta cheese, red wine vinegar, and oregano. Toss to combine making sure the tuna is broken up and all ingredients are distributed throughout the mixture.
  3. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Notes

  • Can use alternative pasta choices like a bean-based pasta, whole grain pasta, or any pasta of choice.

Keywords: pasta salad, pasta, tuna, tuna salad, mediterranean

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Creamy Caramelized Onion Pasta

Looking to revamp pasta night? Love a creamy sauce, but looking for a dairy free version? Try this Creamy Caramelized Onion Pasta, using hummus as the base of the sauce. 
creamy pasta in a white bowl with mushrooms, spinach, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, and parmesan cheese

I received free samples of Sabra mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Sabra and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
I have so many memories of my childhood going to Grandma’s for Sunday night dinner with my whole family. Pasta was always on the menu. It’s the Italian way! The second you walked into Grandma’s house you could smell the gravy that has been simmering all day.
Funny story about gravy .. Well, I thought everyone called marinara sauce, gravy. I remember teaching one of my first cooking classes discussing the baked eggplant parm that we were going to top with homemade gravy. With all the puzzled faces looking back at me, I instantly got nervous thinking, “oh no, maybe no one likes eggplant parm?”, but one participant spoke up and questioned the unique combo. They were all thinking gravy = the brown gravy you put on turkey during Thanksgiving. I would have given the same look if I thought I was going to be eating baked eggplant parm with brown gravy. From then on, I’ve been pretty specific when explaining the recipes we are making in cooking class.
creamy pasta in a white bowl with mushrooms, spinach, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, and parmesan cheese

creamy pasta in a white bowl with mushrooms, spinach, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, and parmesan cheese

Use hummus as a base to create a creamy sauce.

I love creamy pasta, but it always leaves me with a stomach ache because it’s just so heavy. Did you know you can create a creamy sauce using hummus? Is your mind blown? By using hummus as the base for a creamy sauce, not only makes it dairy free but also is a plant-based protein making it a more filling and satisfying bowl of pasta. There are over a dozen delicious flavors of Sabra to choose from, but I have a sweet spot for anything caramelized onion.
creamy pasta in a white bowl with mushrooms, spinach, roasted red peppers, caramelized onions, and parmesan cheese
To double up on the caramelized onion flavor, I added even more caramelized onions and other veggies to round out this meal. Revamp your pasta night with this new recipe!

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creamy pasta with vegetables in a white bowl

Creamy Caramelized Onion Pasta

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: dinner, pasta

Description

This creamy pasta is completely dairy free with the base of the sauce being hummus!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 pound linguine
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 8 oz. jar roasted red peppers, packed in water, sliced
  • 1 (10 oz.) container Sabra Caramelized Onion Hummus
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
  • salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to pasta directions.
  2. In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic for about 4 minutes, until the onion is translucent. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5-7 minutes, until tender and most of the water has evaporated. Tips: Do not rush this step. The mushrooms will release a lot of moisture. Saute until most of the moisture evaporates.
  3. Add the spinach and stir to combine and wilt. Fold in the roasted red peppers. Remove from pan and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add the container of Sabra Caramelized Onion Hummus and broth. Whisk and bring to a gentle simmer.
  5. Add the sauteed vegetables and linguine to the sauce. Season with salt to taste.

Notes

For a lower-carb version: Use half pasta and half zucchini noodles (or all zucchini noodles)
For gluten-free: Use a gluten-free paste (my favorite it Banza!)
To pack in more protein: Use a bean-based pasta.

Keywords: pasta, dinner, vegetarian

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Chef Julie Harrington, RD - Culinary Nutrition Consultant of julieharringtonrd.com

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Creamy Caramelized Onion Pasta @julieharringtonRD #pasta #hummus #dairyfree #caramelizedonion #dinner

For more delicious recipes, click the link below or go to Sabra.

Greek Pasta Salad

Did you know April 23rd is picnic day? What are your favorite picnic recipes? Add this Greek Pasta Salad to your next picnic spread.
Greek pasta salad - Banza (chickpea) pasta salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, chickpeas, feta cheese, in a white dish
I had many summer jobs during high school and in between college semesters. One of them was at an outdoor catering business. We did a lot of BBQ’s and graduation parties, which served the classic outdoor fair, including burgers, hot dogs, barbeque chicken, and ribs. Plus, the typical sides like, potato salad, pasta, salad, and coleslaw.

Making the sides was one of the tasks I simply dreaded. With catering, every recipe is made in mass quantities to serve a crowd.
Do you have a certain food or ingredient that just skeeves you out? For me it’s mayonnaise. For a large party, I would have to make potato salad in these large buckets and wear these giant gloves to toss the mayonnaise in.
Greek pasta salad - Banza (chickpea) pasta salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, chickpeas, feta cheese, in a white dish
I used Banza pasta for this recipe. I feel like there are never enough plant-based protein options available at barbeques. This is a great way to have a protein-packed option for those who don’t eat meat and want to enjoy this as more of a meal than a side dish.

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chickpea pasta with vegetables in a white bowl

Greek Pasta Salad

  • Author: Chef Julie Harrington, RD
  • Prep Time: 10
  • Cook Time: 8
  • Total Time: 18 minutes
  • Yield: 6 1x
  • Category: pasta, side dish

Description

Everyone will love it when you bring this Greek Pasta Salad to your next BBQ!


Ingredients

Scale
  • 8 ounces box rotini Banza pasta (or pasta of your choice)
  • 1-pint cherry tomatoes halved
  • 1 seedless cucumber, peeled and quartered
  • 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup pitted Kalamata olives
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.
  2. In a large bowl combine, pasta, tomatoes, cucumbers, chickpeas, and olives.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, garlic, and oregano. Season with salt to taste.
  4. Drizzle dressing over pasta salad and toss to combine. Gently fold in feta cheese just before serving.

Keywords: pasta salad, side dish, vegetarian

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Check out some more picnic inspired recipes. Click on the link below.

Chef Julie Harrington, RD - Culinary Nutrition Consultant of julieharringtonrd.com

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Greek pasta salad - Banza (chickpea) pasta salad with cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, chickpeas, feta cheese, in a white dish

Pasta with Swiss Chard Walnut Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

Swiss chard walnut pesto and roasted tomatoes is the perfect heart healthy topping to your favorite pasta.

Pasta with Swiss Chard Walnut Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchenMonday night was always pasta night at my house growing up. (and sometimes Sunday too, if we were going to Grandma’s!). Over the years our traditional pasta dinner has transformed into healthier variations. I like to give myself some credit for these changes (hello, dietitian in the family!), by introducing some healthy twists to pasta night.
Pasta with Swiss Chard Walnut Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchenRevamp your pasta dish with starting with the pasta itself. Switch it up to add more variety, but also a boost in nutrition. Try whole wheat pasta for more fiber or a plant based pasta like Banza (chickpea pasta) or black bean pasta for an extra boost of fiber & protein.
I used Banza pasta for this recipe because I love the rotini shape. Banza packs in 13 grams of fiber and 25 grams of protein per 3.5 ounce serving. It’s like built in portion control because it’s so filling!
Pasta with Swiss Chard Walnut Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchen

Skip the heavy cream sauces and try a pesto as a heart healthy pasta topping. The ingredients in this Swiss chard walnut pesto recipe contains heart healthy benefits including:

  • Swiss chard contains Vitamin E which has shown anti-inflammatory effects and helps protect tissue from oxidation damage. Eating foods with plenty of vitamin E might also reduce the chances of developing coronary artery disease, which can lead to a heart attack or heart failure.
  • While most nuts contain monounsaturated fats, only walnuts are comprised primarily of polyunsaturated fat (13 grams out of 18 grams total fat). Polyunsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood which can lower your risk of heart disease and stroke. They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells.
  • Olive oil contains monounsaturated fats. Studies show that eating foods rich in monounsaturated fatty acids improves blood cholesterol levels, which can decrease your risk of heart disease.

Pasta with Swiss Chard Walnut Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchenRethink your pasta night by trying this pesto! This recipe does make more pesto needed for the amount of pasta. To save leftovers, store in a sealed container in the refrigerator, or freeze in an ice cube tray for later use.

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Pasta with Swiss Chard Walnut Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes

  • Author: Julie @ RDelicious Kitchen
  • Yield: 6 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 3 cups Swiss chard, stems removed
  • 1/2 cup unsalted walnuts
  • 3/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons garlic
  • 1 lemon, juice and zested
  • 3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 box pasta (I used Banza)
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes

Instructions

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Prepare an ice water bath and a colander. Blanch the Swiss chard in the boiling water until tender, about 2 minutes. Shock immediately in the ice water. Drain by squeezing the leaves in a ball in a clean kitchen cloth.
  2. In a food processor, add the cooked Swiss chard, walnuts, parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, and 3/4 cup olive oil. Pulse until the mixture breaks down. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  4. In a large saute pan, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the grape tomatoes and saute about 5 minutes until tomatoes begin to burst. Add the 2 cups of the Swiss chard walnut pesto (there will be some leftover) and heat through. Toss with the cooked pasta.
  5. Top with additional parmesan cheese, if desired.

Notes

*Makes about 3 cups of pesto. Reserve leftovers in the refrigerator for about a week or freeze into an ice cube tray for later use.

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Pasta with Swiss Chard Walnut Pesto and Roasted Tomatoes via RDelicious Kitchen @rdkitchen