Pasta is almost always a family-friendly dinner. Kids love pasta, and parents love pasta because it’s fast and easy. It can also be healthy to eat regularly if you make the right choices. I’m all for using regular pasta on occasion (there’s nothing wrong with it!), but whenever possible I use whole wheat pasta or a protein pasta like chickpea pasta or red lentil pasta. Another way to make your pasta healthier and more balanced is to always add veggies!
For this version, I used whole wheat rotini and fresh spinach and cherry tomatoes. I made a light lemon “cream” sauce with no actual cream. Such a delicious combination that tastes decadent but is truly good for you! Rotini is a family favorite because it’s the easiest for Connor to eat- he can grab it with his hands or poke it with a fork and the veggies kind of fit nicely into the spirals.
If you make this recipe, let me know by leaving a comment! As always- make sure you are following Busy Girl Healthy World on Instagram for daily healthy food and lifestyle inspiration as well as easy recipe ideas for the whole family!
Active Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 5 servings
12 ounces whole wheat pasta, cooked according to package directions
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (sub butter or vegan butter, if desired)
2 tablespoons flour (whole wheat or all-purpose)
3 cloves minced garlic
2 cups unsweetened almond milk
Zest of 1 lemon
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
2 cups packed baby spinach, roughly chopped
Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook 30-60 seconds until fragrant.
Add the flour and mix until all combined, then pour in the almond milk. Stir/wisk constantly for 1 minute or until flour dissolves into the almond milk. Cook 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thickened.
Grate in lemon zest and squeeze in juice. Off the heat, then mix in Parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper until cheese is incorporated.
To the skillet, add the halved cherry tomatoes, chopped spinach, and cooked pasta. Stir until fully combined and spinach is wilted.
Top with fresh Parmesan, if desired.