Energize With Pasta

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Spaghetti with meat sauce and garlic bread is a traditional family favorite. Simple, inexpensive and accepted by all. And a great starting point for limitless creativity. Add a little fresh spinach, bell pepper, zucchini or mushrooms for texture, color and nutrition. Or experiment with a totally different sauce, like pesto.

Swapping white pasta for whole wheat adds many health benefits and will help you feel full longer. Whole grains reduce risks of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes. They contain valuable antioxidants as well as B vitamins, vitamin E, magnesium, iron and fiber.

Pasta makes a solid base for veggies that need to be eaten as well as what’s freshly in season. Try this classic combination of basil with summer squash along with goat cheese, fresh from the farmers’ market.

Summer Squash Pasta with Goat Cheese

  • 8 ounces of whole wheat pasta
  • ½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • optional 8 ounces sausage of choice, cooked (I used lean chicken sausage)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small- medium zucchini squash, cut into ½” pieces
  • 1 small- medium yellow squash, cut into ½” pieces
  • salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces goat cheese (may substitute cream cheese)
  • ¼ cup fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • Lemon zest for garnish
  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions, then taste to make sure it is done. I have found that whole wheat pasta usually takes a couple minutes longer than directed.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, place a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the walnuts. Toss or stir them until they are toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Cook sausage or protein of choice and cut into bite-sized pieces.
  4. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add the butter and olive oil. Add the garlic and squash and stir frequently until it is cooked to desired texture. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet with the zucchini and toss well. Stir in the goat cheese, sausage, and toasted walnuts. Add black pepper to taste.
  6. Stir in the fresh basil and top with zest lemon as desired.

Serves 4

This pesto recipe is perfect to toss in pasta, season chicken or fish, use as a sandwich spread, or even thin down with olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice for a salad dressing.

Basil or Parsley Pesto


  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves or tender stems, or 1 cup of flat leaf parsley
  • 1 – 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts, walnuts, almonds or pecans (taste best if roasted)
  • 3 – 6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  1. Finely chop ingredients together in food processor.
  • ½ cup olive oil
  1. Add and process a little more, until a thick paste is made.

To freeze for later use, form the pesto into golf-sized balls, place on a sheet pan in the freezer. Once frozen, place in container for longer storage.