Pasta Recipes

Creamy Zucchini Pasta

I look forward to making this creamy zucchini pasta dish every year when our zucchini is ripe. We headed out to the garden yesterday and picked some fresh zucchini. My daughter especially loves to help hunt for this veggie. It’s so fun when the garden is full of ripe veggies!

We decided to make this light delicate meal for an early dinner on the patio. It was scrumptious!
The soft farmer’s cheese is a perfect complement to the zucchini, and the subtle flavors of this dish make it a good choice for kids. Fresh artisan bread is the perfect compliment to this summer meal. Enjoy!




1.5-2 lbs zucchini (roughly 4 small-medium zucchini), shredded with grater
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly minced garlic
1/2 cup vegetable broth
2 1/2 tablespoons finely shredded fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
1/2 tsp dried savory
4 oz farmers cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
box of thin spaghetti


1. Finely shred zucchini with a grater. Place the shredded zucchini in a colander and let sit. Liquid will drain from the zucchini. After about 10 minutes, pick up the zucchini shreds in handfuls and squeeze out any excess liquid over the sink.


2. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until lightly golden (about 1 minute). Add the zucchini and dried savory and cook for 5 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and fresh herbs. Cook a couple more minutes. Add the cheese; when it begins to melt, pour the sauce over cooked pasta. Top with parmesan cheese and season with salt and pepper to taste.




Simple Spaghetti

My brother-in-law lived in Italy for some time. He learned how to make exceptionally delicious Italian meals. He taught my husband how to make this cheap and simple meal when we were newly weds. The ingredients are always around our house, so it’s perfect when you’re not sure what to cook and don’t feel like going to the grocery store to get a bunch of ingredients. 




olive oil

2 cans diced tomatoes

1 can tomato sauce

1 large onion, finely chopped

3-4 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons dried basil (varies depending on your taste)

scant 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

pinch of crushed red pepper flakes

1 box whole wheat spaghetti noodles

freshly grated parmesan cheese



1. Heat olive oil in large skillet on med heat. Add garlic and cook for a minute. Add onion, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, basil, and cook until onions are translucent (about 4-5 minutes). The cayenne pepper and crushed red pepper we usually add a couple pinches of each because we don’t like it very hot, but you can add more to your liking.

2. Add diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Bring to boil, cover and simmer on low for about 20 minutes.

3. While sauce is simmering, cook noodles according to package.

4. Serve sauce with cooked noodles and freshly grated parmesan cheese on top.


Vegetarian Baked Ziti

Can I just say, “Delicious!” This vegetarian baked ziti recipe is a twist on a classic recipe with no compromise on flavor. Cheesy, creamy and sauciness all meld to create a luscious savory dish.





1 T olive oil
1/2 small onion, chopped
2 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp basil
1 small bag baby spinach
1 lb penne ziti pasta
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
3 cups mozzarella cheese
4 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper



Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain. Place in a large mixing bowl.

While pasta is cooking, heat 1 T oil in pan on medium heat. Add chopped onions and cook for 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and basil. Cook until onions are cooked through and transparent. Remove from heat.

Add cooked onions, spinach, ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, marinara sauce to mixing bowl with cooked pasta. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste. Gently mix all ingredients together. Pour into 9×13 pan. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake uncovered in oven for 25 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.


Serves 6



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Hidden Mushroom Lasagna

A while ago we decided to experiment with our classic lasagna recipe (with ground beef) and substitute veggies instead. The result was fantastic. It was unanimous that we all preferred this Hidden Mushroom Lasagna more than the original with meat. It’s funny because the shredded mushrooms actually cook to look similar to ground beef, so at first glance it looks like normal lasagna. The robust mushroom flavor is also a great substitute for meat.




1 T olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

pinch of red chili flakes

3 zucchinis, thinly sliced

6-8 oz shredded mushrooms

1 tsp basil

32 oz spaghetti sauce

1 T dried parsley

pinch of nutmeg

salt and pepper to taste

16 oz ricotta cheese

1 egg

16 oz bag shredded mozzarella cheese

1 box whole wheat lasagna noodles

1/2 cup parmesan cheese

*optional- 1 6oz can tomato sauce




1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, red chili flakes, zucchini, mushrooms, and basil. Salt and pepper (to taste). Continue cooking until zucchini is cooked through and transparent. Drain most of the water (leave about 1/2 cup remaining with the veggies). Stir in spaghetti sauce and tomato sauce. Cook until heated through. Set aside.

3. Bring large pot of water to boil. Cook noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

4. In a mixing bowl, combine ricotta cheese, egg, parsley, nutmeg, and salt and pepper (to taste).

5. To assemble, spread 1/2 cup of sauce onto bottom of 9×13 baking dish. Arrange a layer of noodles. Spread with 1/3 of ricotta cheese mixture. Top with 1 cup of mozzarella. Spoon 1/3 of zucchini sauce over mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers 2 more times. Finish with a layer of noodles, any remaining sauce, remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese. Cover with foil making sure to not let the foil touch the cheese.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 10 minutes. Let stand an additional 10 minutes before serving.


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Vegetarian Penne Pasta recipe with Butternut Squash and Sage

Butternut Squash Penne

This is a modified version of a favorite recipe given to me while I was in college.  Olive oil replaces most of the butter, and there are almost equal amounts of squash and whole wheat pasta.  Serve with a side of green vegetables or a salad and you have a meal!


1 Tbsp. Butter
3 Tbsp. Olive oil
3 Tbsp. Fresh Sage, finely chopped
½ cup vegetable or chicken broth
¼ cup toasted pine nuts
1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, diced into 3/4” cubes (4 cups), and     boiled just until fork tender
5 cups cooked whole wheat penne pasta (8-10 oz. dry)
salt and pepper to taste
grated parmesan cheese


SAUTE: Place butter, olive oil, and sage into a large saute pan over high heat.  After one minute, add the broth, toasted pine nuts, boiled squash and cooked pasta.  Stir until all is coated with the sauce.  Add salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
FINISH: When thoroughly heated, plate immediately and top with Parmesan cheese.



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Kale & Walnut Pesto

This Kale & Walnut Pesto recipe is a great twist on the classic. My dear friend Jeanne made this recipe for me, and I was blown away! Enjoy this recipe tossed with your favorite cooked pasta or serve with crackers.


Prepare time: 30 minutes (approx.)


½ cup walnuts
1 bunch kale, leaves torn. Discard thick stems.
1 cup grated Romano cheese
1 small clove garlic (additional to liking)
Salt and black pepper to taste
½ cup olive oil



1. Heat oven to 350° F. Spread walnuts on a baking sheet and toast for 6-8 minutes. Cool.
2. Bring large pot of salted water to boil. Add kale and cook until bright green. Drain and cool.
3. In a food processor, combine walnuts, kale, cheese, garlic, salt and pepper and process until finely chopped.
4. Add olive oil through top feed and mix through.

Toss with your favorite pasta. 


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Healthy Pasta Vert Stir Fry recipe with Avocado, Zucchini, Asparagus and snap peas

Pasta Vert

This healthy stir-fry type pasta recipe is a simple way to add more vegetables into the pasta-lovers diet without skimping on flavor.


1 box whole wheat pasta (any type works fine), cooked
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cups asparagus, woody ends removed, and chopped in 2-inch segments
2 cups sugar snap peas or snow peas
1 cup zucchini, cut in half and sliced in 1/4” slices
½ cup pesto (or to taste) – see pesto recipe in the sauces/condiments section
1 large avocado, cut into bite-sized chunks
1/3 cup pine nuts (optional)


BOIL PASTA: Cook pasta according to manufacturers directions.
SAUTE VEGETABLES: Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat for 1 minute.  Add asparagus, pea pods, and zucchini and sautee, stirring often for 4 minutes or until crisp-tender and bright green.
COMBINE: In a large bowl (or in the pasta pot), add the pesto to the cooked and drained pasta and stir until it is well-coated. Add sauteed vegetables.
FINISH: When plated, top with avocado chunks and pine nuts.


Vegetarian Lasagna recipe with zucchini, summer squash, garlic, peppers, pasta sauce, ricotta cheese, and mozzarella cheese

Vegetarian Lasagna

It’s the perfect time of year for a warm vegetarian pasta dish. This hearty vegetarian lasagna recipe will even have your kids asking for seconds- enjoy!

1 (16 ounce) package lasagna noodles
1 yellow pepper
1 orange pepper
1 small red onion
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow squash
1 cup mushroooms
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 (26 ounce) jars pasta sauce
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (15 ounce) container part-skim ricotta cheese
4 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 eggs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese



1.Cook the lasagna noodles according to package. Rinse with cold water, and drain.
2.In a large saucepan, cook and stir vegetables and garlic in oil. Stir in pasta sauce and basil; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes.
3.Mix together ricotta, 2 cups mozzarella cheese, and eggs.
4.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spread 1 cup tomato sauce into the bottom of a greased 9×13 inch baking dish. Layer 1/2 each, lasagna noodles, ricotta mix, sauce, and Parmesan cheese. Repeat layering, and top with remaining 2 cups mozzarella cheese.
5.Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes. Let stand a few minutes before serving.


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Healthy Turkey Spaghetti recipe with garlic, turkey, stewed tomatoes, italian seasonings and whole grain spaghetti noodles

Healthy Turkey Spaghetti

Does it get any better than having a nice warm plate of traditional spaghetti?  Here is a delicious meat-based spaghetti sauce with lean ground turkey in place of ground beef. The outcome is just as hearty and satisfying as beef, but much healthier. This healthy Turkey Spaghetti recipe is super filling and is sure to please the whole family.


1 lb extra lean ground turkey
1 large onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 (6-ounce) cans tomato paste
1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can stewed tomatoes
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup water


Brown the turkey in a large pot; drain off fat. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic and cook 5 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 45 minutes. Let cool. Serve with warm whole grain spaghetti noodles and a side of garlic whole wheat bread.




Adapted from Paula Deen’s Alice Jo’s Spaghetti Sauce

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Low fat pasta recipe tossed with fresh vegetables and gorgonzola cheese.

Gorgonzola Rigatoni with Veggies

This vegetarian pasta recipe has the quickest, easiest, creamiest and HEALTHIEST gorgonzola sauce ever.  You would never even know how low fat it is.  Using fat free evaporated milk and cornstarch creates a creamy sauce that comes together without butter and without a long, slow thickening process.  Since gorgonzola is such a strong cheese, using a little bit adds a LOT of flavor.  This amount of sauce is perfect for adding some creamy cheesiness to the whole wheat rigatoni and Italian vegetables.  This meal also comes together quickly because the veggies don’t require a lot of prep.

– Jessica



9 oz whole wheat rigatoni pasta

1 12-oz can evaporated fat free milk

1 Tbsp cornstarch

2/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese (3 oz)

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper

1/2 lb broccoli florets (about 3 cups)

1 cup small cherry or grape tomatoes (sliced in half if desired)

1/2 cup large whole pitted olives, sliced in half (about 12)

1 6-oz can sliced mushrooms, drained




 RIGATONI:  Cook the pasta according to pasta directions.

SAUCE:  While pasta is cooking, prepare the sauce.  Mix cornstarch and milk in a large sauce pan.  Over medium high heat, bring to a boil, stirring frequently.  Turn the heat down to low and stir in the cheese, salt, and pepper.  Stir occasionally for a few minutes until the cheese is melted.

 BROCCOLI: While the cheese is melting, place the broccoli florets in a microwave safe bowl with about 1/4 cup water in the bottom.  Cover the bowl with syran wrap or some other cover and microwave for about 3 minutes or until the broccoli is bright green, but still crisp-tender.

COMBINE:  Stir the pasta, broccoli, tomatoes, olives, and mushrooms into the sauce.  Serve when everything is hot.



Adapted from Betty Crocker’s Low-Fat, Low-Cholesterol Cooking Today pg 124.

macaroni and cheese for grownups with pasta, cheese, tofu, and vegetables

Mac ‘n Cheese For Grown-Ups

This is a healthy one-dish-meal recipe of “macaroni and cheese” that grown-ups can actually enjoy with their kids.  Lightly steamed vegetables and seasoned tofu are added to whole grain pasta and stirred into a highly flavorful sharp cheddar cheese sauce.  I got the idea for this recipe from the delicious “Country Cheddar” Amy’s Bowl.  Sometimes I get these Amy’s Bowls on sale for quick meals that I can pull out of the freezer if I’m in a pinch.  Amy’s products are all natural, organic, and taste great for frozen meals.  This particular variety was so good that I felt inspired to re-create it as a non-frozen variation that the whole family could enjoy together.  – Jessica


12 oz firm tofu

1 Tbsp oil

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

8 oz whole wheat rotini pasta

1 medium potato, cut into small cubes (1/2” or smaller)

2 cups broccoli florets, cut into small florets

1 red bell pepper, sliced into 1/2” x 2” strips

1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks or very thin slices (I use a mandolin slicer)



1 cup milk (fat content doesn’t matter)

1 1/2 tsp onion powder

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1 1/2 tsp ground mustard

1 Tbsp flour

8-10 oz sharp cheddar cheese, grated


 PREPARE TOFU:  Prepare the tofu by first draining out the water it is packaged in and then pressing out some more water by placing the brick between a few layers of paper towels and pressing down on it.  You don’t need to do this for a long time.  Just enough to dry it out a little bit.  This will help the tofu brown quicker and help it soak up other flavors.  Slice the tofu into slices about 1/2”x1/2”x1”.  I simply lay the brick down on a cutting board and since it is already about 1” or 1 1/2” thick, I just make 1/2” slices all the way across lengthwise and then 1/2” slices all the way across crosswise.

 SAUTE:  Heat oil in a large skillet or fry pan over medium high heat.  You will want to choose one with a lid.  Stir the tofu in and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.  Stir in the Worcestershire sauce.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until golden on all sides.  Pour the tofu into a bowl and set aside.

PASTA:  Prepare the rotini according to package instructions.  Drain and set aside when done.

VEGETABLES:  While the pasta is boiling, place the prepared vegetables into the pan that the tofu was cooked in.  Stir over medium-high heat for about 30 seconds, then stir in 2-3 Tbsp water and quickly cover the pan with a lid.  Turn the heat down to medium.  Start making the sauce while the veggies steam for 3-5 minutes.  Remove the vegetables from the pan and add to the tofu bowl once they are crisp-tender and still brightly colored.

SAUCE:  Place all sauce ingredients except for the cheese into a blender.  Blend until well mixed.  Then pour into the same pan that the tofu and vegetables cooked in.  Cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat until the sauce bubbles and thickens.  Stir in the cheese.

COMBINE:  Add the tofu, pasta, & vegetables to the cheese sauce in the large skillet.  Stir until everything is well coated and warmed.

healthy oriental gluten-free salad with rice noodles, tofu and spinach

Oriental Noodle Salad

This healthy Oriental Noodle Salad recipe is a FAMILY favorite – easy, gluten free and vegan! The dressing is really tasty, and forgiving. You can adjust according to taste and it is also good with a little fresh ginger or peanut butter (for a thai peanut flavor). * This recipe makes A LOT of salad! Great for a dinner party or lunch with your friends! This recipe was inspired by our great friend Ali Eisenach’s Oriental Salad in her “When Life Gives You Friends” cookbook, visit her at



1/2 cup oil (you can use olive oil)

4 T. sesame oil

3/4 cup soy sauce

2/3 cup red wine vinegar

4-6 T. agave nectar (adjust to taste)

1/2 t. pepper

Combine dressing ingredients in a blender and pulse until combined.  Set aside while you cook tofu and noodles.

1 T. coconut oil

1 lb. extra firm tofu, cut into 1″ pieces

12 oz. rice noodles (or more)

Cook tofu in coconut oil In a large skillet until brown and crisped on the edges (season with a little salt). Remove from heat. Boil noodles until soft. drain and set aside. Pour half of the dressing directly onto the noodles and let marinate while you prepare the salad ingredients.


In a large bowl combine:

6-8 cups spinach

4 green onions, diced

1 large orange, peeled and cut into sections

2 red peppers, sliced (you can use orange or yellow peppers)

2 cups sugar snap peas


Add noodles, tofu and pour remaining dressing on top. Eat right away or chill before serving (I generally like to toss all the ingredients together right before serving…if you need to prepare noodles and tofu earlier in the day, just cover or place in large zip lock bags in the fridge until you are ready to serve). If you choose you could substitute the tofu for chicken. Enjoy!

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Healthy Macaroni and Cheese recipe

Mac and Cheese Homestyle

Macaroni and Cheese is a classic American favorite.  Who can’t remember sitting down to a bowl of hot macaroni in a rich orange cheese sauce.  This is a lower-fat variation, using whole grain macaroni.  Whole wheat macaroni can be purchased in most health food stores or larger super-markets.


1 16 ounce package whole wheat elbow macaroni

5 cups 2% milk
3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
3 cups grated cheese. Use flavorful cheeses such as sharp cheddar, swiss and jarlzburg (or whatever you have)
salt and pepper to taste


PASTA: In a large pot cook macaroni as directed on package and drain.  Set aside in a separate container.
SAUCE: In a blender combine flour and 2 cups of milk and blend till it is thoroughly mixed. In  the same large pot that the macaroni was cooked in (now without the noodles) pour in flour and milk mixture along with the rest of the milk. Slowly bring milk and flour to a boil, stirring constantly.  Stirring is essential because milk will scald quickly if not watched carefully.  Once this boils the milk mixure will thicken into a sauce. Turn off heat and stir in grated cheese and add salt and pepper to taste. The sauce should be rich and flavorful. Feel free to add cheese or seasonings to taste.
FINISH: Pour back in macaroni into the sauce and gently mix in. Serve with side of parmesan cheese and fresh ground pepper.


NOTE:  Use anywhere from 10 to 14 ounces of cheese in the sauce. Realizing of course, the more cheese in the recipe, the higher the fat content.