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Light Creamy Lemon Pesto Pasta with Spinach

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Barilla, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #pastanight  http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO

Light Creamy Lemon Pesto Pasta with Spinach click here for recipe!

How do you define healthy?  Is it fruits and veggies?  Paleo, the classic food pyramid, everything in moderation, or vegan? There are so many ways to nourish your body.  For our family, we try to keep a balance and really believe in everything in moderation.  Making smart decisions daily, and putting a variety of foods, colors, and flavors on the table each day help us to stay healthy and teach our kids healthy eating habits to last a lifetime.

Today, I am sharing a recipe I have been making for years.  It has graced the table at many a family dinner and potluck and is always a favorite!  I think it is because it takes flavors that are so comforting like pasta, and creamy pesto sauce and combines them with the filling heartiness of pasta and packs a nutritious punch with spinach.  Everything comes together to balance each other perfectly!

Light Creamy Lemon Pesto Pasta with Spinach click here for recipe!

These days I like to lighten up the recipe to keep all of my favorite flavors but make something I don’t even feel a tiny bit guilty to indulge in!  Using low fat milk and cheese help to lower the fat and calories, but one of my favorite new tricks is using Barilla Plus Pasta in the recipe.  I have traditionally used regular Barilla Farfelle to make my Creamy Lemon Pesto Pasta, but the last time I was at the store I noticed Barilla also sold Farfelle in their Plus line.

Light Creamy Lemon Pesto Pasta with Spinach click here for recipe!

The Barilla Plus pastas pack in lots of extra vitamins and nutrients and is a good source of protein, fiber, and ALA Omega 3’s.  This to me is kind of the equivalent of those moms who mix veggies into things secretly, only it is already done for me so I don’t have to worry about prepping, cooking, or mixing them in.  This is an awesome way to up the nutritional value of your meal with no extra effort! So I grabbed a box {Available at your local Ahold Supermarkets: Stop & Shop, Giant Food Stores, Martin Food Markets, and Peapod} and got to work on dinner!

First I prepared the pasta by boiling it until it was al dente and then straining it.

Light Creamy Lemon Pesto Pasta with Spinach click here for recipe!

Then in a large pot, I poured in the creamy pesto mix and added about a 1/4 cup of milk and combined until all of the powder was dissolved, and then added the remaining milk and lemon juice.

Light Creamy Lemon Pesto Pasta with Spinach click here for recipe!

Bring the milk mixture to a boil and let it boil for about a minute stirring frequently to make sure the milk doesn’t burn. Then reduce the heat to low and add the spinach.  Stir to combine well.

Next add the cheese and stir until it is evenly distributed.

Finally add in the pasta and toss with the sauce.

Serve hot!

Light Creamy Lemon Pesto Pasta with Spinach click here for recipe!

If you want to add a little extra to this dish there are plenty of ways to spice things up!  I added shredded chicken into mine, which is a favorite of my family.  See the super easy method we use to shred chicken in the Kitchen Aid mixer here. <—- Seriously… If you have never done this you are missing out on life. Check it out!

Light Creamy Lemon Pesto Pasta with Spinach click here for recipe!

Other things you may want to add are:

  • Artichoke Hearts
  • Sun Dried Tomatoes
  • Grilled chicken, cubed or shredded
  • Diced Red Bell Pepper
  • Sweet Green Peas

Really there are so many things that would really compliment these flavors well so don’t be afraid to add in your favorite extras!

I love sharing recipes with you because besides God and my family, there are few things in life I am as passionate about as food!  I just can’t keep a delicious (and in this case super HEALTHY) recipe to myself!  For more ides make sure you check out the Barilla Facebook page and all of The Pinning Mama’s other recipes here.

Light Creamy Lemon Pesto Pasta with Spinach click here for recipe!

 

Light Creamy Lemon Pesto Pasta with Spinach
 
Ingredients
  • ½ Box Barilla Plus Farfelle Pasta
  • 2 Envelopes dry creamy pesto mix (I use Knorr)
  • 21/4 +1/4 Cup Low Fat or Fat Free Milk
  • 1 Lemon, juiced
  • 1 Bag chopped spinach leaves
  • 1 Cup Low fat or fat free mozzarella cheese
  • Optional:
  • Cubed or shredded chicken
  • Artichoke hearts, Sun dried tomatoes
  • Sweet peas
  • Red bell pepper
Instructions
  1. Prepare pasta according to package directions to al dente and strain.
  2. In a large pot, pour in the creamy past mix and ¼ cup of milk and stir until all the mix has dissolved and there is no powder left.
  3. Add the rest of the milk and the lemon juice and bring to a boil and boil for one minute, stirring frequently.
  4. Lower temp to low and add in the chopped spinach and any additional add ins and stir to combine.
  5. Add in the cheese and stir well.
  6. Add the pasta back into the pot of sauce and toss to coat.
  7. Serve hot and enjoy!

 

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group™ and Barilla, but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #pastanight  http://cmp.ly/3/8vNxcO

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Comments

  1. says

    Wow, that looks so simple and love that veggies are already in the dinner – I’d definitely add in chicken for a full meal! Super easy weeknight dinner. And who knew you could shred chicken in a mixer. Definitely checking that out!

  2. Kristen says

    This is yummy! Can’t wait to try it. I’ll have to figure out a homemade creamy pesto mix since we usually can’t do mixes in this house.

    • says

      Thanks for the note Kristen! The mix saves a few minutes but if you want to do it from scratch, it would be just as wonderful! I would suggest either pesto mixed with heavy cream or an alfredo sauce. Either would be absolutely devine!!

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