Everyone needs a few quick meals on the weeknight rotation. Here are six 30-minute pasta meals that are easy to pull together. All are vegetarian or can be made vegetarian by leaving out the seafood or meat. And most are on the lighter side, calorie-wise. Click on the red links (recipe names) to get the recipes.
This healthy, light Mediterranean Pasta dish is inspired by Mediterranean flavours of garlic, olives, lemon, basil and tomatoes. Mmmmm. We’re not going to lie though. You have to love olives to love this recipe. And we do. Salty, tangy, bold.
This pasta with avocado pesto is a healthy, simple meal or side dish that can be served warm or at room temperature. The crunchy buttery Panko breadcrumb topping is a perfect contrast to the creamy texture of the avocado pesto. Avocado, basil, lemon, garlic, olive oil and pine nuts are the core ingredients. Hard to go wrong with that. Cheese lovers can add as much Parmesan as they want (just thin the sauce as needed with the pasta liquid). Non cheese lovers or those with dairy restrictions can leave out the Parmesan altogether.
My Dad (Jenna’s grandfather) recently turned 95 years old and my sisters and I decided to make him Spaghetti Carbonara, an old favourite of his. He loved it. It brought back memories as food often does. I’ve always found Spaghetti Carbonara to be a bit “beige” looking. Since I love vibrant colours, I decided to add some some baby spinach and fresh tomatoes (local tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes should – fresh picked from the garden or field – I wait for these all year). I’ve convinced myself that this update adds a touch of healthiness to the dish as well.
This Lemon Pasta with Shrimp is easy and so delicious! The lemon shines through, the capers and garlic give it extra umph and the butter makes it rich and silky. Seriously, so good! The trick to this dish is timing. Have all the ingredients prepped ahead of time so that everything is on hand to pull together in the last 8-10 minutes. Pop the shrimp into the oven when you put the pasta in to boil. Make the sauce while the pasta is boiling, then turn off the heat, drain the pasta and toss everything together. It’s that simple.
My sister Kathy had the family over for dinner one weekend and served us this Fresh Tomato Lemon Olive Pasta with a green salad and a shrimp cake appetizer in her backyard. The pasta was light, fresh and really flavourful. The sweet summer ripe tomatoes bathed in lemon zest, olives, capers, basil, garlic, olive oil and Parmesan made a really appetizing “sauce” for the pasta. And the flavours blend so well.
Fresh Vegetable Pasta – light, healthy, deep flavours, perfect for spring. Or anytime for that matter. This is one of those recipes that changes according to your mood and what you have on hand. Use different pastas. Vary the vegetables. Add more lemon, less lemon. Add chopped olives or a few tablespoons of olive tapenade. Change the herbs. Kick up the spice. Mix in some Parmesan or put it on top. You get the idea.
These two pastas take longer than 30 minutes to prepare and are not so light, but definitely worth it…