Ever since our vacation last summer, my family has been addicted to Butter Noodles. And I’m not talking about light butter. I’m talking full fat salted butter, full taste, slab on a ton of butter, mixed with some garlic, Butter Noodles. This has been my quick go-to dinner when the pantry is bare and I don’t have a lot of time to cook dinner.
Since August is National Olive Oil Month, I decided to see if I could come up with a healthier version of a pasta dish that the entire family would enjoy. When I cook, I hate wasting vegetables and fresh greens so I tend to throw everything I have into a dish (or will make pesto) and just cook it up. . this is sort of how this recipe came to life. My husband and I are also trying to get healthier and wouldn’t mind losing a few pounds. So, since I was making healthy pasta, I grabbed the whole grain pasta at the store and went for it.
This pasta was so delicious. I love lighter, colder pastas in the summer and loved the extra virgin olive oil + a splash of balsamic for more flavor. For even more bite, heartiness and fun, feel free to mix in some seasoned breadcrumbs and if the raw vegetable pesto doesn’t do it for you, you can lightly sauté everything to warm it up before mixing in with your pasta.
Truth be told, my kids didn’t love this pasta as much as my husband and I did but you can bet I’m going to be making this again and will keep throwing vegetables into their dishes whether they like it or not.
The key to this pasta, aside from the actual whole grain noodles and seasonal summer vegetables I used, is the extra virgin olive oil. I used Pompeian. In honor of National Olive Oil Month, Pompeian is encouraging people to take the Pompeian Pledge and swap butter for olive oil in everyday recipes. To learn more, click here and the next time you’re at the grocery store, check out Pompeian’s line of olive oils and vinegars. You can also visit Pompeian’s Facebook page to find out how you can pledge to switch from butter to olive oil in your recipes during the month of August for National Olive Oil month. 1,000 people who take the pledge will be randomly selected to win a coupon for a free bottle of Pompeian Extra Virgin Olive Oil, along with movie prize packs, so check it out!
And speaking of movie prize packs, another recipe, if you can call it that, that we make all the time and especially on Friday nights for family movie night is popcorn with olive oil and salt. We’ve literally been making our popcorn like this for over 2-3 years. I hope you enjoy and take the pledge!
Healthy Whole Grain Pasta with Vegetable Pesto
- 1/2 lb. whole grain spaghetti pasta
- 1/2 head of cauliflower cut into big chunks
- 1/2 medium to large sized zucchini cut into big chunks
- 1/2 yellow summer squash cut into big chunks
- 1 heaping cup green olives
- 2-3 sun dried tomatoes I used the kind that is jarred with olive oil
- 1 to 2 cups fresh arugula use however much you want
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese + more when serving if desired
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper
- 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes for some heat optional
- balsamic vinegar; optional
- Cook pasta according to package instructions; cook to al dente. Drain, rinse and set aside.
- As the pasta is cooking, place all of the vegetable chunks into a large food processor and pulse until the cauliflower, zucchini and summer squash resemble a couscous like texture. Remove from the food processor and place into a large mixing bowl. Add in the green olives, sun dried tomatoes, fresh arugula, pine nuts and parmesan cheese and pulse until everything is blended and chopped very fine (you still want texture; do not over process/pulse). Remove from the food processor and add into the same mixing bowl with the vegetables. Mix well using a rubber spatula.
- Add the whole grain pasta to the mixing bowl, along with the extra virgin olive oil. Mix well, coating the pasta with the vegetable pesto. Season with salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes if desired and enjoy immediately. When serving, feel free to add a splash of balsamic vinegar (or white wine or red wine vinegar) for a kick and more freshly grated parmesan cheese over the pasta if desired.
Recipe adapted from Deb Perelman’s cauliflower pesto from The Smitten Kitchen cookbook.
If you’re interested in more recipes using olive oil, click here to try my Olive Oil and Thyme mini bundt cakes. This recipe is one of my favorites.
Disclosure: This post is in partnership with Pompeian’s Blogger Ambassador Program and Pompeian Pantry Insiders. I was compensated for this post and as always, all opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for allowing me to work with brands that I love, use and support.