Lightened-Up Chicken Pasta Primavera
While traveling through Indonesia on our honeymoon the past two weeks, I noticed something interesting — the touristy areas had almost as many Italian restaurants as authentic Indonesian spots.
Usually I’m not psyched about getting Italian when we eat out, due to a typically skewed ratio of bread and cheese to veggies and protein. After the first few days of eating primarily palm oil-fried food in a remote part of Borneo though, I welcomed the change.
Unlike here in the U.S., their Italian food was a bit lighter though. It consisted of a lot of soups and seafood-packed dishes, instead of the heavy pasta and cream-based concoctions you see at stateside establishments.
When I got home this week, I was inspired to recreate some of the lighter fare I’d tried abroad.
One of my favorite dishes is Pasta Primavera.
Typically this consists of pasta, fresh veggies, and a sauce made of butter, cream, and parmesan. Given our recent discussion on saturated fat, I’ve decided to moderate my consumption and the trio of those three fatty foods seemed a little excessive.
So I subbed out the butter and cream for extra virgin olive oil — a much more authentically Italian ingredient in my opinion anyway. Naturally, I kept the parmesan though, because what’s pasta primavera without parmesan?! It makes the dish.
I hadn’t been to the grocery store in a while, so when I set out to whip this up on the spur of the moment for dinner last night, I realized I was all out of whole wheat pasta. Instead, I used a box of quinoa pasta that had been lurking in the back of the cupboard.
The organic corn and quinoa based noodles turned out delicious in this dish, and — bonus — makes it approved for my gluten-free friends out there!
- 4 oz Linguine (whole wheat or quinoa)
- 2 C. Broccoli
- 12 oz Chicken Breast, cooked + diced
- ¼ C. SunDried Tomatoes, chopped
- ½ C. Cherry Tomatoes, halved
- ½ C. Parmesan Cheese, grated
- 1 T. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- ½ Lemon, juiced
- Salt + Pepper to Taste
- Cook your pasta according to directions on the label.
- Chop your broccoli into florets. Toss in a pot on the stove with about ½ inch water. Cover and heat on medium high, steaming for about 3-5 minutes, until tender but not mushy.
- Drain pasta. Turn heat down to low and stir in the broccoli and remaining ingredients. Continue to cook until cheese has melted and everything is warm, about 2-3 minutes.
If you’re not sure how to prepare the chicken, here’s how I make mine. I do meal prep every Sunday and cook a few breasts to have ready for use during week in salads and dinners like this one.
Note: If you use quinoa pasta for this dish, just make sure to carefully watch your pot and not to overcook the quinoa — it can happen fast!