This copycat recipe for Penne Rosa is a healthy, quick, and super tasty dinner to feed to your family. Add chicken or shrimp or keep it veggie!
Vegetarian, Quick and Healthy
Ready in 15 minutes
This post was updated in January 2016.
I’ve been holding out on you guys. For a few weeks now, I’ve been stockpiling recipes so I could have some fun yumminess to share while I was chillaxing on the beach this week.
I felt particularly guilty about holding onto this one because it had all the elements of my favorite kind of recipe: supremely easy, speedy, delicious and healthy. But think of it is my gift in exchange for disappearing for a week. I go hang out on the beach for a week and you get a delicious recipe. Fair trade, right?
Okay, maybe not. But this is still a good one!
The inspiration for this weeknight pasta dish actually comes from my eternal laziness. My office is directly above a Noodles and Company restaurant and more often than not, laziness wins out when I need lunch and I just make the quick trip down there to grab a real-food lunch.
A lot of times I get their Med Salad (so yum!) but sometimes, when I’m feeling a bit decadent, I’ll go for their Penne Rosa. Unfortunately, the regular size of that dish clocks in at almost 900 calories! I usually get the small size, which is still over 400 calories and always leaves me hungry an hour or so later.
I knew I could do better than that, so I came home and whipped up my own version. Mine uses thick, creamy Greek yogurt in place of the heavy cream used by Noodles and Company. You can serve this dish up vegetarian, but I often will add some plumped sautéed shrimp or cooked chicken breast to help up the protein factor without adding a lot of calories.
More protein means this dish keeps me full for a lot longer than the Noodles and Company version. And it clocks in at a light and healthy 375 calories per serving (which is a similar size to the restaurant regular portion). Plus a whopping 20 grams of protein per plateful!
My husband said this was his favorite pasta dish I’ve ever made (and I’ve made quite a few). I take that as high praise!Oh, and the best part? Start to finish: ready in 15 minutes. Yeah. You need to make this.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 pinch crushed red pepper flakes
- 8 ounces button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes (about ½ lb.) chopped
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 cups fresh spinach
- ½ cup marinara sauce
- 12 ounces whole wheat penne, cooked
- ⅓ cup plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- In a large skillet with a lid, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add in garlic and red pepper flakes, cook for 2 minutes or until garlic begins to soften.
- Add in mushrooms, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until mushrooms begin to release their water.
- Add in spinach and cover skillet. Let spinach wilt for 2 minutes. Remove lid, and stir in the pasta sauce. Remove the skillet from the heat, and let rest for 5 minutes.
- Stir in the Greek yogurt, and then add the penne. Stir until sauce is mixed well and all pasta and veggies are coated. Heat until just warmed through. Divide into pasta bowls and serve topped with parmesan cheese.
You might be tempted to skip the resting step before adding the Greek yogurt—don't! At high temperatures Greek yogurt breaks down and curdles. Give the dish a few minutes off the heat before stirring in the yogurt to avoid chunk sauce.