You won't have to feel guilty about indulging in this clean and tasty pasta dish.
If you love pasta, but you want to make it as healthy as possible, our Penne Mediterranean with sun-dried tomatoes is a great choice. This quick and easy recipe is made using simple ingredients that come together to create something truly wonderful. Satisfy your comfort food craving in a healthy, homemade way by making this Mediterranean penne pasta dish, tonight!
Why We Love Pasta
There are many reasons why pasta is a popular dish. In addition to the fact that it’s usually pretty budget-friendly, people love pasta because it’s filling and can serve as a canvas for a variety of different flavors. Of course, many of us appreciate that pasta recipes are fairly simple and easy to make! There’s nothing better than coming home after a long day and getting to enjoy a delicious, stress-free dinner.
A Comforting, Nutrient-Rich Dinner
Pasta is considered a comfort food and is often associated with warm, wholesome dishes like macaroni and cheese and beef stroganoff. Unfortunately, some of these dishes are full of fat, carbohydrates, and calories, so dieters tend to avoid them. This healthier version of pasta comes in at just over 300 calories per serving and allows you to get your carb fix without overdoing it on saturated fat and cholesterol. It’s also a good source of protein and fiber, and will even provide you with a healthy dose of veggies! And even better? The kids will likely love it just as much as you do!
Pasta is often one of the first foods to fall to the wayside for dieters, but if made properly and eaten in the right portions, pasta is a decent source of whole grains. Unlike white pasta, whole-grain pasta retains many of its nutrients as it is less processed. Whole grain penne pasta is better at helping you maintain your blood sugar levels and will keep you feeling fuller longer.
Sun-dried tomatoes contain many vitamins and minerals but are particularly rich in the antioxidant lycopene. This antioxidant is believed to reduce the risk of certain cancers and protect your skin from sun damage!
Pine nuts are a fantastic source of energy, thanks to their concentration of protein, iron, and magnesium. Regularly including this ingredient in your diet may reduce your risk of diabetes and heart disease.
The baby spinach in this Penne Mediterranean recipe is also worth mentioning. This superfood ingredient is a fantastic source of iron, a mineral that helps your body transport oxygen to your muscles! It’s also rich in Vitamin K and Magnesium, both of which are vital for strong, healthy bones!
Customizing Our Penne Mediterranean Pasta Recipe
This dish is delicious when made according to the recipe card, however, we always want you to feel free and able to customize your meals to your liking. Below we’ve laid out some simple ingredient swaps that can not only help you save money but also add a flavor and nutrient boost to this pasta!
You won’t always need to buy exact ingredients if you have something similar! For instance, if you already have elbow macaroni in your pantry, there’s no need to go out and purchase penne pasta. Elbow macaroni is similar enough and will work well in this dish.
While we recommend sun-dried tomatoes in this recipe, you can use any kind of tomato you’d like. Grape or cherry tomatoes would work well. Not a fan of tomatoes? Try some roasted red peppers, instead!
This recipe also calls for a sprinkle of feta cheese, but you can use ricotta, (often called “the Italian feta,”) freshly grated parmesan cheese, or even goat cheese!
Feel Free to Add…
Want to add your own touch to this comforting Penne Mediterranean pasta recipe? Here are some yummy ideas for optional add-ins:
Tossing in some kalamata olives, chopped asparagus, mushrooms, or bell peppers will add volume, flavor, and a more satisfying texture! Toss them in at the same time you would add the sun-dried tomatoes.
You can also up the flavor by sprinkling some fresh basil, oregano, or parsley on top of each plate.
And of course, you’re always encouraged to add more protein to your meal! Topping this pasta with grilled chicken breast (or even meatballs) is a great way to make it more filling and higher in protein! You can also add any of these recipes to the dish:
- Spicy Fish in Tomato Sauce
- Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Chicken
- Mediterranean Greek Salmon
- Greek Chicken Meatballs
- Mediterranean Stuffed Chicken
Preparing Mediterranean Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
This Mediterranean pasta will take about 25 minutes from start to finish– just follow the simple instructions, below!
Begin by cooking the penne pasta according to the package directions. Once it’s done, drain it and set it aside.
Next, add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to a large skillet and sauté the minced garlic cloves over medium-low heat for about one minute, until fragrant. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, black pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes to the skillet and continue to sauté for five minutes, or until the tomatoes are soft. Add the cooked penne and the remaining tablespoon of oil and toss to coat. Place the cover on the pan and cook on low for an additional two minutes. Add the pine nuts and baby spinach and toss until combined. Turn off the heat and cover for about two minutes, allowing the spinach to slightly wilt.
Add each serving to your favorite pasta bowl, sprinkle on some feta cheese (or a lot of feta cheese), and serve!
Frequently Asked Questions
Are there different types of penne pasta? There are two types of penne pasta, penne rigate and penne lisce. Penne rigate is grooved while penne lisce is smooth. We recommend using the grooved rigate pasta as it is a bit sturdier and will usually soak up and hold onto more flavor. That said, either will do for this recipe!
Can I eat this on the Mediterranean diet? Yes, you can eat whole wheat penne pasta while on the Mediterranean diet. This diet encourages increased consumption of seafood, veggies, legumes, EVOO, and whole grains (which includes pasta!)
Is whole-grain pasta healthier than white pasta? Yes, whole-grain pasta is healthier than white pasta. White pasta is more processed meaning more nutrients have been removed.
Are whole-grain pasta and whole-wheat pasta the same thing? They’re basically the same thing and equally nutritious. The one difference is that “whole wheat” products contain the entire wheat kernel, while “whole-grain” is a blanket term used to describe all types of grains in their whole form.
Is this Mediterranean pasta with sun-dried tomato recipe vegetarian? Yes, our Mediterranean penne recipe is vegetarian-friendly as it does not contain any meat or seafood.
Is this pasta dish vegan? While this Mediterranean penne is vegetarian, it is not completely plant-based. The feta cheese is not vegan-friendly but can easily be left out or replaced with the vegan cheese of your choice!
What to Serve with this Mediterranean Pasta
If you want to include this Mediterranean penne as a part of a multicourse meal, you’re going to need more recipes! Here are some ideas for additional courses:
Third Course: This Penne Mediterranean with Sun-Dried Tomatoes Recipe!
Mediterranean Penne with Sun-dried Tomatoes
- 5 cups whole-grain penne pasta cooked, cook until al dente
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil divided
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 3/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes packed in olive oil, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- salt to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/2 cup pine nuts
- 2 cups baby spinach
- 1 cup feta cheese fat-free
- Cook penne according to package directions. Add 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil to a large skillet, and saute garlic over medium-low heat until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add to skillet the sun-dried tomatoes, black pepper, salt, and red pepper flakes, and continue to saute 5 minutes or until tomatoes are soft. Add cooked penne and remaining tablespoon of oil; toss to coat, cover, and cook on low an additional 2 minutes. Add pine nuts and baby spinach, toss to combine. Turn off heat, cover and allow spinach to slightly wilt, about 2 minutes.
- Sprinkle on feta cheese and serve.
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More SkinnyMs. Pasta Recipes
Did you enjoy this Mediterranean Penne with Sun-dried Tomatoes? Let us know in the comment section! If you love pasta, you might like to try these SkinnyMs. pasta recipes next:
- Lemon Garlic Shrimp Pasta
- One Pan Veggie Pasta
- Vegetarian Spinach Mushroom Lasagna
- Easy Chicken Pesto Pasta
- Turkey Basil Ragu
Also, discover more Penne Recipes:
- Chicken and Penne Parmesan Casserole
- Mozzarella and Penne Pasta Bake
- One-Pot Chicken Artichoke Penne
- Slow Cooker Italian Style Penne
- Chicken Alfredo Penne Casserole
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