The dreaded question… What’s for dinner?
It’s the end of the day, you’re tired and in a state of decision burnout. You may not have the brainpower to decide what’s for dinner, let alone the energy to prepare it. For me when I’m cooking dinner the last thing I want is a recipe. My brain just can’t focus on constantly rechecking the recipe to make sure I’m doing it “right” when I’m also constantly being distracted by the kids and dogs.
That is why I love recipes with minimal ingredients that are so easy you can read them once and execute without a lot of thought.
This penne pesto recipe is a household favorite.
The kids love it because it’s pasta. I love it because it’s easy, fast, and I can prepare dinner from ingredients with a long shelf life. This helps during those times when I haven’t been able to make it to the store in a while. It’s also a one-pot dish which means fewer dishes… score!
Penne Pesto Skillet
- 1 lb shrimp peeled and deveined
- 2 cups whole wheat penne pasta measured dry, can sub for your favorite pasta
- 1/2 bag frozen green beans about 2 cups
- 16 oz sliced mushrooms 1 container
- 1 cup grape tomatoes sliced in half
- 6.7 oz pesto sauce 1 jar
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
- Cook pasta per package instructions.
- While the pasta is cooking, sauté the shrimp in a large skillet (drain any excess water if you are cooking from frozen).
- When the shrimp is cooked through add the green beans, mushrooms and tomatoes to the skillet with the shrimp and sauté to desired tenderness.
- Add the cooked and drained pasta and pesto sauce to the skillet. Sauté until hot.
- Plate, top with grated parmesan cheese and ENJOY!!!
- Use a pump sprayer with oil or a light drizzle of olive oil to coat the pan before cooking the shrimp and vegetables.
- Double the recipe and use the leftovers for lunch or freeze in single-serving containers for a prep-free meal another day.
- Have some FUN: Don’t be afraid to swap the whole grain pasta to regular pasta or add extra parmesan cheese on top. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be restrictive or unenjoyable.
SWAP IT LIKE IT’S HOT
If you have any dietary restrictions check out these simple swaps for this penne pesto recipe:
Gluten-free: Swap pasta for any gluten-free pasta like chickpea pasta, quinoa pasta, rice pasta, or soba noodles.
Vegan/dairy-free: Swap the shrimp for baked tofu, tempeh, or 2 cans of beans/lentils. You’ll also need to swap the pesto sauce if it has parmesan cheese. Vegan pesto sauce is easier to find than you might think.
Nut-free: If you can find a nut-free pesto sauce, rock on. If not, you can swap the pesto sauce for olive oil, garlic, squeeze basil (it comes in a tube near the herbs), and parmesan cheese.
Kosher: Good to go on this recipe as long as you check for the kosher label on foods and swap the shrimp for chicken.
Shellfish allergy: Follow the vegetarian swap or swap the shrimp for cubed chicken breast.
Not a veggie lover?: What about trying a smaller portion of veggies than what’s listed? Or adding a vegetable that you do like? Maybe you would do better with veggies chopped into smaller pieces. If you know your kids will pick them out keep the veggies in larger pieces so they are easier to remove. Or hey, if you don’t feel like veggies, that’s okay too! Just skip the veggies and add more pasta.