by Olena

Healthy Pasta with Pesto and Broccoli

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Olena Osipov
4.9 from 50 votes

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Turn that craving for carbs into a yummy meal with this Healthy Pasta recipe that is simple to prepare! Ready in just over 30 minutes this pasta dinner recipe is bursting with flavor from pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli and Parmesan cheese.

We love this meat-free pasta recipe as much as we love mushroom stroganoff, penne with broccoli and pasta with zucchini and tomatoes.

Healthy Pasta

Healthy Pasta Recipe

This healthy pasta is one of the most popular recipes on iFOODreal. And there is a good reason for that – it’s fresh, light, flavorful, loaded with veggies and then topped with fresh Parmesan cheese for balance! It comes together in less than 30 minutes from prep to clean up, just like our Tuscan chicken pasta and healthy chicken alfredo.

Part of what makes this pasta recipe so quick and easy is using your favourite store-bought pesto sauce. If you have a jar of homemade or you don’t mind taking the time to make your own, go for it! Save your leftover pesto for this turkey zucchini or pesto chicken. Because carbs one day equals low carbs the next!

Why Make Pesto Pasta Dinner Recipe?

  • Creamy sauce: Using some of the pasta water combined with pesto makes a creamy flavorful sauce that isn’t loaded with calories!
  • Fresh ingredients: This healthy pasta swaps heavy meat and dairy for light and fresh vegetables.
  • Enjoy year round: Summer inspired but ingredients are easily found year-round!
  • Versatile: Swap vegetables and pasta shape for what you have on hand.
  • Gluten-free and dairy-free friendly: Use your favorite gluten free pasta and skip the parmesan for dairy free!
  • Simple and quick: With store bought pesto, you save time in the kitchen and dinner is ready in just over 30 minutes.
healthy pasta in a skillet

Ingredients for this Healthy Pasta Recipe

  • Pasta: Any shape noodle, any type, uncooked.

Is Pasta Healthy?

So, this question. I’m sure if you ask the millions Italians if pasta is healthy they may have a thought or two! I know it’s white pasta and it might seem like an oxymoron to show up in “a healthy pasta recipe,” but here’s the scoop.

  • First, you’re loading it up with veggies: You can never go wrong with including more vegetables in your diet.
  • Second, you can use ANY pasta you want: Gluten free, whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, kamut pasta. You name it! Pictured is my kids’ favourite (organic if I can find) Garofalo brand from Costco. It’s one of the best quality pasta I ever tried.
  • Third, cook your pasta only until it reaches al dente. As is durum pasta has a low glycemic index, which is retained if only cooked to al dente. Overcooked pasta causes the GI index to rise. 
  • And fourth, please friends, don’t forget that “health” has many components: Getting enough sleep, drinking enough water, exercise and avoiding stress.  So, go have a nap, drink a glass of water, do some yoga, then reward yourself with a bowl of pasta for dinner 😉

  • Veggies: Broccoli florets, coarsely chopped. Sun-dried tomatoes (dry or packed in oil), thinly sliced. Grape tomatoes halved.
  • Pesto sauce: Store-bought or homemade pesto, divided. Pasta water, reserved.

Is Pesto Healthy?

It can absolutely be incredibly healthy, especially if you use homemade pesto or spinach pesto. If using store-bought, try to find one with as fewer additives as possible. All there is to a basic pesto is olive oil, basil, garlic, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts and salt. I like Costco brand because it doesn’t contain GMO canola oil and has clean simple ingredients. Not to mention is a good deal!

  • Seasoning: Garlic cloves, minced. Salt. Red pepper flakes. Ground black pepper, to taste.
  • Oil: Extra virgin olive oil.
  • Cheese: Freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
broccoli pasta pesto tomatoes garlic parmesan for healthy pasta

What Is the Best Parmesan Cheese?

As with any cheese, freshly grated is the way to go. Pre-packaged usually comes with a lot of extra junk. So, forego the shaker-faker, it’s full of additives like cellulose (a fibre extracted by wood fibre, if you can believe it) and other garbage.

Buy a hunk of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano, grate a good amount at a time and then refrigerate in an airtight container for a few weeks. Freeze the rest of the hunk and use grated cheese to sprinkle on ground turkey pasta, spaghetti and minestrone soup.

How to Make Healthy Pasta

  • Prep: Cook your pasta as per package directions. Because this tomato pesto pasta dish cooks fast (like a stir fry), you want to gather your ingredients and have them ready to go, especially if you are using gluten-free pasta as it cooks faster. Timing is everything for ultimate flavour and an al dente texture to the pasta.

Salt your pasta water: As the saying goes ‘salt the pot, not the pasta’. When you salt your water – just as it is coming to a boil – and then cook your pasta in the salted water, it will absorb the salt and add that extra touch of flavor to your pasta dinner recipe! 

 

What if you forget to salt your pasta? Toss the salt right in after draining, it won’t be the same, but the salt will melt and be absorbed by the pasta.

  • Saute veggies: While pasta is cooking, saute garlic in olive oil for a few seconds. Stir frequently. Add a bit of pesto and tomatoes and give it a stir. Continue cooking for a couple of minutes and stir again. Move ingredients to one side of the skillet, making sure the empty spot is right above the heat. Add a bit of pesto and broccoli to the empty spot in the skillet and cook stirring once.
  • Drain pasta: When pasta is finished cooking, drain and reserve 1 cup of pasta water. Set pasta aside.
  • Combine: Remove the skillet from the heat and add the remaining pesto. Toss in the sun-dried tomatoes, salt, black pepper, red pepper, flakes, pasta, and pasta water. Stir gently to combine and let the flavours meld together, and watch how creamy and delicious this becomes. At this point, you can add in half of the freshly grated Parmesan cheese and save the other half for sprinkling right before serving.

Optional Add-In’s and Variations

  • Fresh basil: A delicious basil pesto sauce is an awesome start, but why not throw in a few fresh basil leaves for an added burst of fresh herbs!
  • Serve a crowd: Easily double this recipe to serve a larger crowd. Summer BBQs have a new star of the show!
  • Protein: For added protein, throw in some grilled shrimp, baked turkey meatballs, chopped up turkey burger or plant-based protein such as cooked chickpeas.
  • Veggies: Instead of, or in addition to, the broccoli, you can add in some kale, bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms.
  • Frozen broccoli: If you are using frozen broccoli, you don’t need to thaw first. Just toss it in and cook until thawed right in the skillet. Because it was frozen, keep an extra eye out so that it doesn’t get overcooked and mushy.
  • A burst of citrus: Squeeze a little lemon juice in with your pesto sauce and enjoy a little extra bright flavour to this dish. A lovely balance to the earthy herbed pesto.
  • Dairy-free/vegetarian: Skip the parmesan or use a good quality vegan parmesan that is able to be grated, such as Violife.

Added presentation: This dish is already stunning. The pop of red tomatoes, the green in the pesto, it’s all so pretty! What if you had a variety of cherry tomatoes? Add in some yellow tomatoes for a burst of yellow and a subtle sweetness!

Tips for Best Results

  • Stir the pasta: Usually within the first 2 minutes of cooking. This will prevent it from clumping.
  • Cook, then test: The best timer is your mouth! A minute or two before your pasta timer goes off, starting testing your pasta. Remove from pot, place on plate, let it cool then taste it. If it it retains a slight firm bite, your pasta is al dente and ready. 
  • Don’t drain all the pasta water: Using some of the pasta water in the sauce adds flavor and helps glue the pasta and sauce together. It’s a great way to thicken your sauce without the use of flour, cornstarch etc! 
  • Skip rinsing your pasta after it cooks: The starch on the surface of the pasta helps the sauce adhere and gives the pasta dinner dish additional flavor! If you rinse the pasta, all that starch goes down the drain! 
  • Do not cover your skillet: Unless you like mushy broccoli…but this dish really tastes better with broccoli that is tender yet has a slight bite.
  • Freshly and high quality ingredients: It’s worth mentioning again that the freshest ingredients will add the most flavor including fresh grated parmesan, garlic and a high quality pasta. 

 

FAQs

Could I use vegetable noodles?

They taste will be a bit different than pasta obviously especially as you will not have the salted starch water for flavor, but zucchini or squash noodles could work and you could try to use vegetable broth for the liquid. Because of the delicate nature of vegetable noodles, I would make the pasta sauce with veggies, then top your noodles with it.

What are healthy pasta alternatives?

It really depends on what you consider healthy! For those avoiding gluten, using a red lentil or chickpea pasta is a great healthy pasta alternative. For those avoiding white pasta, whole wheat pasta is a great alternative.

Is pasta good to eat, when in a diet?

Life is about balance and moderation and this healthy pasta dinner recipe is full of a great mix of vegetables and carbs, so yes, I say go for it!

What is the best cooking method for pasta?

Using the tips in this recipe post will give you amazing perfectly cooked al dente pasta!

Is whole grain pasta a better option?

It can be depending on your healthy lifestyle goals! I always try to look for/purchase authentic pasta made with durum wheat flour – organic if possible.

What can I substitute for pesto?

This really depends on what ingredient it is in pesto that you can’t eat/or dislike. The sky is the limit when it comes to pesto and you can swap out basil for another herb (or even carrot tops!). You can swap pine nuts for another type of nut (cashew, walnuts etc). You can skip the cheese for nutritional yeast. Pesto (however you make it) is what gives this dish it’s signature pesto pasta flavor, so I don’t recommend omitting it entirely.

Serving Recommendations

As much as my family loves this as a main pasta dinner recipe, there are many other ways you can enjoy it!

When I feel like making olive oil bread dip or charcuterie as a starter, no one ever complains!

Making Pesto Pasta Recipe in Advance

Store: This amazing pasta dish will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days if it lasts that long!

Freeze: If you have leftovers or made more than enough, you can definitely freeze it for up to 3 months.

Reheat: To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stovetop on low-medium heat. Add a bit more pesto if needed. OR! Eat it cold straight out of the fridge and enjoy a pasta salad for lunch.

More Healthy Pasta Recipes

pesto pasta close up with a spoon dipped into it to show texture
Healthy Pasta with Pesto and Broccoli

Quick and Easy Healthy Pasta with Pesto Recipe

Turn that craving for carbs into a yummy meal with this Healthy Pasta recipe that is simple to prepare! Ready in just over 30 minutes this pasta dinner recipe is bursting with flavor from pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, broccoli and Parmesan cheese.
4.91 from 50 votes
Print Save Rate
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 218kcal
Author: Olena Osipov

Ingredients

  • 2 cups any shape pasta uncooked
  • 1 cup pasta water reserved
  • 2 large garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbsp pesto divided
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes cut in halves
  • 4 cups broccoli florets coarsely chopped
  • 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup (2 oz) Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/2 tsp salt more to taste
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Ground black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook pasta as per package instructions.
    Healthy Pasta with Pesto and Broccoli
  • While pasta is cooking, get all ingredients ready – chop veggies and grate cheese.
    Healthy Pasta with Pesto and Broccoli
  • Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, draining the rest. Set aside.
    Healthy Pasta with Pesto and Broccoli
  • Preheat large deep skillet or a dutch oven on medium heat, add olive oil and garlic. Sauté for 30 seconds, stirring frequently.
    Healthy Pasta with Pesto and Broccoli
  • Add 1 tbsp pesto, tomatoes and stir. Cook for 1 – 2 minutes, stir and cook another 1 – 2 minutes.
    Healthy Pasta with Pesto and Broccoli
  • Move to one side of the skillet and make sure the empty side of is positioned directly over heat. Add 1 tbsp pesto and broccoli, stir and cook for 4 minutes, stirring once.
    Healthy Pasta with Pesto and Broccoli
  • Remove skillet from heat and add remaining 1/4 cup pesto, sun dried tomatoes, half Parmesan cheese, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, pasta and pasta water. Stir gently and let flavours marinate for a few minutes. Do not cover because broccoli will become a mushy mess.
    Healthy Pasta with Pesto and Broccoli
  • Sprinkle with remaining half Parmesan cheese. Serve hot.
    Healthy Pasta with Pesto and Broccoli

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 3 – 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

    Freeze: If you have leftovers or made more than enough, you can definitely freeze it for up to 3 months.

      Reheat: To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat on the stovetop on low-medium heat. Add a bit more pesto if needed.

        Video

        Notes

        • Pasta: Gluten free, whole wheat, brown rice, quinoa, kamut pasta. You name it! Pictured is my kids’ favourite (organic if I can find) Garofalo brand from Costco. It’s one of the best quality pasta I ever tried.
        • Al dente pasta: The best way to test your pasta, is to remove a noodle from the pot 1-2 minutes before cooking time is done. Let it cool slightly and taste, if it has a slight give and ‘bite’, it is al dente and ready.
        • Pesto: If using store-bought, try to find one with as fewer additives as possible. I like Costco brand because it doesn’t contain GMO canola oil and has clean simple ingredients. Not to mention is a good deal!
        • Parmesan cheese: Freshly grated is the way to go. Pre-packaged usually comes with a lot of extra junk. So, forego the shaker-faker, it’s full of additives like cellulose. Buy a hunk of fresh Parmigiano Reggiano, grate a good amount at a time and then refrigerate in an airtight container for a few weeks.
        • Protein: For added protein, throw in some baked turkey meatballs or chopped up turkey burger.
        • Veggies: Instead of, or in addition to, the broccoli, you can add in some bell peppers, zucchini, and mushrooms.
        • Frozen broccoli: If you are using frozen broccoli, you don’t need to thaw first. Just toss it in and cook until thawed right in the skillet. Because it was frozen, keep an extra eye out so that it doesn’t get overcooked and mushy.
        • A burst of citrus: Squeeze a little lemon juice in with your pesto sauce and enjoy a little extra bright flavour to this dish. A lovely balance to the earthy herbed pesto.
        • Serve with: As filling and delicious as this is as a main, a smaller portion can definitely be served as a side dish. It accompanies a juicy turkey burger or lemon butter baked cod very nicely!
        See recipe post for more tips and FAQs.

        Nutrition

        Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 218kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 8mg | Sodium: 459mg | Potassium: 574mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1138IU | Vitamin C: 64mg | Calcium: 155mg | Iron: 2mg
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        128 comments on “Healthy Pasta with Pesto and Broccoli

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        1. Hubby and I are trying to eat healthier (adding more veggies) and really enjoy your recipes and the nutritional info you provide. I was browsing for one using broccoli florets and grape tomatoes…this sounds delish! Love your suggestion to add mushrooms. Plan to make it tonight! 🙂

        2. Do you think frozen cherry tomatoes would work in this recipe? I have some from the garden that are frozen.
          Thank you so much love your recipes.

        3. 5 stars
          Wow I can’t wait to make this! All with everything from my garden, except pasta, lol. I make my own pesto and sun dried tomatoes also.. Is that pasta you used called fiusilli? It looks tighter than rotini, it looks perfect for this dish. I know it will be 5 star!

        4. I made this recipe, and I love it! Simple, inexpensive, and delicious! I served it with a side of parmesan turkey meatballs, but it’ a good stand-alone meatless meal. I plan to make this recipe again.

        5. 5 stars
          I made this tonight and it was absolutely delicious. I will definitely make it again and again! Thank for sharing.

        6. 4 stars
          Quite easy to make, delicious and quite healthy! For some extra protein you could also add some chicken (I did) , which really matches the pesto.

        7. 5 stars
          This was amazing!! My whole family loved it. I used 1/2 the pasta water and a little more of the homemade pesto. Yummm

        8. 5 stars
          My 11-yr-old daughter made this and it is delicious. She even forgot a couple of things and it turned out great! This has become one of our main family meals ever since.

          1. This recipe sounds delicious and I’d love to try it. Unfortunately I can’t have pesto. Can you think of a good substitute?

            Thanks!

            1. Depending on why you can’t have pesto you might just be able to homemake your own with ingredients you can have. For instance, I make pesto with carrot tops (no basil at all), walnuts (instead of pine nuts), nutritional yeast (instead of parm). I’ve seen tons of different tweaks like this for pestos whether with sun dried tomatoes, roasted red pepper, broccoli, etc.

            2. 5 stars
              This was fantastic. We didn’t substitute the broccoli for spinach and added artichokes. All three of my teenagers loved it!. We will definitely be making this again. Thanks!!

        9. 5 stars
          Okay. I knew that the recipe will be good but I wasn’t expecting the pasta to be DELICIOUS! And with no meat! Even my hubby loved them and he’s crazy about food with meat. Thank you for this recipe! 🙂

        10. 4 stars
          Just cooked and ate it. It’s very good and easy to prepare. My life experience has taught me that 2 cups of uncooked pasta won’t be close to enough in a dish such as this for us, so I doubled it to 4 cups and also doubled the garlic. I don’t like much garlic but because of the doubled pasta I thought it would be needed. A great recipe that I’ll make again for sure. Thank you!

        11. 5 stars
          Made this for the first time last night. Added some fresh basil from my garden, but otherwise followed the recipe. It was so easy and very tasty! Will be making this one again.

        12. I clicked on a link about what instapot to buy, and got a pasta recipe. Recipe looks good, but I would like to know your thoughts about instapots. Please resend the link.

        13. 5 stars
          Delicious dish! My hubby who isn’t crazy about tomatoes liked it a lot. Our 14 year old daughter loves it as well. She practically licks up the “juice” when she’s done!

        14. 5 stars
          My whole family loved this and I could make while chasing after twins. I added chicken to the recipe and it’s fantastic

        15. 5 stars
          Awesome. My budding teenager is into healthy eating and it was getting a bit much funding things to suite his palate thanks to this fabulous dish Got the thumbs up from my son . I did not have cherry tomatoes so just used normal tomatoes quartered . Great start simple, healthy and good . Thankyou

        16. 4 stars
          I fudged up the timing on this recipe but it was still delicious! I greatly enjoyed the easiness and the quickness of this recipe, especially as a student who is beginning to meal prep. Excellent combination of spices too! I’ve never cooked with pesto before and was pleasantly surprised. I definitely plan on making this again and trying out variations.

          Thanks so much! 🙂

        17. 5 stars
          Thanks for this great recipe! I have a very picky newly-turned teenager and she absolutely loved this. It even went with her to school today for lunch. Granted, she picked out the sun-dried tomatoes but no matter, extra for me! I made the recipe as is for the most part and used a little extra pasta.

        18. 5 stars
          Love it! I used chickpea pasta. We are living “plant based” diet and this has lots of flavor and pleases all ages!

        19. 5 stars
          This recipe is fantastic! I’m just starting out my diet for the new year and this is an absolute must have dish!! The whole family loves it

        20. 5 stars
          Amazing! Even my picky family liked it. Will definitely be making this again as it was quick and easy as well! BONUS!!

        21. Ileana, the link is broken for Skillet Greek Sausage Corkscrew Toss, so can you please send me the recipe in full with ingredients and directions? Thank you, Helen Spanopoulos

        22. 4 stars
          This was easy to make and quite tasty.
          I think it’ll taste even better tomorrow night..

          Thanks for the recipe !!

        23. 5 stars
          According to my husband this was one of the best pastas he ever had. I used what I had on hand in the fridge. Instead of broccoli I used bell peppers and mushrooms. I’ll definitely make this recipe again. Thanks again for another great recipe.

        24. 5 stars
          Hi, Olena, sounds like a great recipe!… If I use frozen broccoli, do I reduce the cooking time, and do I defrost it first? Thanks!

          1. Because at the time we added this nutritional info, the app we use didn’t show Fiber by default. Once we turned it on, it shows for newer recipes but for older ones I have to go turn it on manually for each which is not happenning for 500 recipes.

        25. 5 stars
          Absolutely the BEST!!! We added cubed cooked chicken. Cooked in skillet with butter and seasoned salt and garlic powder.

        26. 5 stars
          I’m ADDICTED – to your website, that is!!! (smiling emoji) Seriously, I made this today after making your Chickpea Avocado Salad yesterday (and not to mention I was at a function & bragged about the salad/refreshing, etc.! I even showed them the photo from your site… more viewers for you & recipes to be made. My husband & I are “pasta” lovers & could eat it almost every day… healthy ways to cook it is what it’s all about!! Healthy eating!
          Olena. I love your site & recipes! Oh, and by the way, love your new studio, too! All the best to you.

          1. Lol that’s a good addiction. Haha, thanks for bragging. I so appreciate it. Thank you so much for all your kind words!!! If you love pasta that much, try my new recipe – meat sauce. Making video for it this week.:)

        27. 5 stars
          Made it today with Whole wheat noodles and it was great. The burst of flavors when you’re eating it is amazing. My 3 year old gave it two thumbs up.

        28. 5 stars
          Been searching around for new recipes to try out to start eating healthier, this was the first that caught my eye. Finally got around to making it tonight with a whole grain Rotini and it was amazing!! Thanks for sharing 🙂

        29. 5 stars
          Very good! Not heavy, fresh and filling. Quick and easy was a bonus. Looks just like the picture. My kids (1 and 2) even liked it! I would chop sun dried tomatoes to give a more even mixture. I just wrote the recipe down and am adding to my box.

        30. 5 stars
          This was AMAZING! I wanted to make it even healthier by getting veggie pasta. Also added caprese flavored chicken sausage for some extra protein. Was the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth and I cannot believe I made it myself! Thanks to this recipe ofcourse! So thankful for the extra detail in the recipe steps because I need it!

        31. Hi, I’m looking at your recipe for my parenting and child development class this week. We’re doing healthy foods for pregnant women, I was wondering is this a good meal and can you add chicken breast, if so how much?

        32. Looking forward to making this!! Are the 4 cups broccoli frozen or fresh? Does not specify in the recipe.

        33. 5 stars
          It was very easy to make and tasted very good, I used all organic vegetables and brown rice pasta. I added in some chopped walnuts in for some crunch which tasted amazing.

        34. 5 stars
          I made this for dinner last night and, oh my goodness, so yummy!! I used bow tie pasta, frozen broccoli, and a few pieces of chicken for added protein. This was seriously one of the best meals I’ve had in a while. And the best part is it is healthy and loaded with veggies! Thank you Olena. Your recipes are awesome. ?

        35. 5 stars
          Hi…i cooked this dish today and followed the recipe to a tee. Im eating it now…very delicious…i was concerned about the broccoli but it was cooked perfect. Thank you!

          1. Hi Peter. Yay! You shouldn’t be concerned about broccoli because you can eat it raw. I would only be concerned to overcook it which isn’t possible with the little cooking time I recommend.

        36. 5 stars
          Hi Olena,
          I enjoy your blog and your recipes so much, and I share them on (the dreaded) Facebook on my Fitness page often. I have always loved pasta and it is the one thing I have refused to convert completely to whole grain as I have improved my nutrition. It just isn’t the same! It was fate that brought this recipe to my email inbox as I sat down at my desk to eat my own dish of radiatore pasta with cherub tomatoes, spinach, fresh basil, and mushrooms. It’s so nice to see a healthfood blogger who doesn’t condemn white pasta. I eat mostly whole grains, and I keep my carb servings small – usually 1/2 cup (unlike when I was younger and inhaled piles and piles of it). But I don’t see anything wrong with having white pasta as a treat. Oh – and I also have had a similar journey to yours with pesto. I recently bought it to serve over pasta with shrimp that I found on sale (typically very expensive in Pittsburgh) as a treat for my husband. I stopped buying it years ago, even though I LOVE it, because it is so heavy on calories. I’ve decided to allow it back into my life once more. As a fitness coach and mom, I am also working up to blogging regularly, and yours serves as inspiration and guidance. I set up my blog page months ago, and it has collected dust ever since. Would love to change that! Thanks for your free thinking, your authenticity, and your love of flavor!
          Margie Young,
          Pittsburgh, PA

          1. Hi Margie. You have brightened my Canada Day even more! As I mature and become a more seasoned parent, wife and human being in general, I find inner piece and balance quite important. I find myself less and less involved in drama and black and white stuff. So, yes white pasta is OK as a treat. Organic preferable when I buy it. At a restaurant I won’t forbid my kids to order white pasta once a month. I am honestly over with extremes because that life is not real.
            I will try to stay true to myself as much as possible because that is what makes blogging fun. If blogging inspires you then do it. If reading other blogs inspires you then do it. If you don’t feel like working out for a week don’t do it. Whatever makes you happy. Have a great weekend! xoxo

        37. Hi there, first timer here, saw this on Pinterest thought looked so tasty so making it tonight for dinner, thank you for sharing. Also have you thought of making your own pesto, look at anoregoncottage.com I freeze mine and it’s not too fiddly to make. It tastes unbelievably good and Jami uses sunflower seeds which makes it cheaper to make. Only has in it what you put in. I top mine with olive oil as she suggests and it stays a beautiful bright green. After you’ve made it once, there’s no going back!

          1. Thank you! I started to think about that because my basil plant is going crazy which is a good thing. I will definitely do that this summer! I miss quality pesto in winter.

        38. We love this!! I want to make and freeze it for a family with a new baby – how do you suggest it be re-heated? (Baked, thawed and microwaved???). Thanks for the yumminess!!

          1. Hi Barbara. Yes, fully cooked, thawed and microwaved. They would really appreciate it. I remember being so hungry while breastfeeding and having no time to cook. First time I had time and energy though to stock my freezer with cooked meals. It was a blessing.

        39. 5 stars
          What a Great Recipe – I Made it for lunch today with wholemeal spaghetti, was Fantastic!! Thanks Olena!

        40. When I entered this recipe fir calculation of smart points, it came out to 10 smart points per serving. Not as low fat as I wanted. I’m going to to eliminate the olive oil as unnecessary and reduce the amount of sundried tomatoes to 3 tbsp and the parmesan cheese to a fat free variety to see if that makes a difference.

          1. You know, you could do that but fats are not our enemy. Healthy plant-based fats like olive oil and even grass fed organic butter in moderation. Fat doesn’t make us fat. But it is up to you. Look it up.

        41. First off – this looks awesome! Can’t wait to make it.

          Only thing that seems strange is your idea of healthy. Seems oils and fats are bad (which is not true), and if it were whole wheat pasta it would be good. The reality is that any flour or grain is a heavy carb that spikes insulin. So don’t hold back on the pesto, hold back on the pasta if you want it be healthy! 🙂

          1. Hi John. I do not think fats are bad. I don’t say it anywhere other the contrary. Especially plant based fats. Secondly, I cook 95% with whole wheat pasta. I explained in the post I used plain white organic pasta for this recipe because my kids like this shape and I can’t find it whole wheat. I do allow them it as a treat. So I think my idea of healthy is similar to yours. Glad to hear some people understand what healthy is! Because as I learnt many have their own understanding of healthy. Enjoy the recipe.

        42. 5 stars
          Thank you! It turned out great. I added some spinach in while the broccoli was cooking and added more pesto. This is a great recipe. Thank you!

        43. I’m wondering if I could serve this cold. I have been pre-cooking dinners in the a.m since it has been very warm.

          1. Totally! 99% of my dinners are made early in the day, especially in summer. If food tastes good for you cold – go for it, no rules.

        44. 5 stars
          This recipe is so quick, easy, and delicious! I made it twice in the past week. I leave out the sundried tomatoes because I don’t like them. Next time I may take the commenter’s suggestion of putting broccoli in first, but the cooked tomatoes and pasta water mix nicely together to make a sauce. Thanks for a great recipe!

        45. 5 stars
          Eating it right now. Very tasty, and easy. My husband hates sun-dried tomatos, but sometimes I just gotta.

        46. 5 stars
          nade this recipe just this evening and both my wife and I absolutely loved it. My one suggestion would be to sauté the broccoli first and add all the remaining ingredients prior to adding the tomatoes. Adding tomatoes to cooked food is all it takes to blister them and it keeps them from overcooking and becoming mushy. Otherwise I think the recipe is brilliant.

        47. I’m confused about the 1/4 cup of pesto. I see where the 2 tbsp are added but do not see in the directions where the additional 1/4 cup is added. Thank you!

              1. At my local farm market/small grocery store. I just went through many labels at each store until I found one. I live in Vancouver, BC and it’s our local company so unless you live where I live my store location won’t be helpful to you. Also check out health and organic stores and local farm markets. There are often Italian brands without preservatives. Italian deli and markets are a good place too.

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