How many nutritious greens can you get into a pasta? I’m not sure but I’ve used two powerhouses here. They are kale and swiss chard to be exact. By now we’ve all heard the health benefits of kale but swiss chard is often overlooked as it’s less known than some of the other greens.
Swiss chard is most common in Mediterranean countries and an excellent source of vitamins K, A and C. It is also full of magnesium, potassium, iron and fiber. It’s stems come in a variety of colors making it beautiful on the plate if you steam or roast it with the stems attached.
Summer produce lends so well to quick pasta dishes. Forget those heavy tomato sauce laden pasta dishes. This light summer pasta is delicious and healthy and a snap to throw together.
This one uses my kale pesto and has a bright flavor with the lemon that is added to the pesto as well as the lemon juice and zest that’s mixed through the dish. If you’d like to add meat, try some Italian chicken sausage as I’ve done below. You could also substitute spinach for the swiss chard.
I think I might be overdoing the summer pasta dishes but they’re just so beautiful with all their colors. And again, they come together so quickly. They’re just perfect for a weeknight meal when you get home from work and don’t really feel like cooking.
- ¾ box of whole wheat spaghetti - cooked according to package directions
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 large bunch of swiss chard - tough stems and ribs removed, rough chopped
- ¼ to ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (omit if you don't like the heat)
- ½ cup reserved pasta water
- ⅔ cup or more kale pesto (get link to recipe in this post)
- juice of ½ of a lemon
- zest of 1 whole lemon
- While the pasta is cooking, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a non-stick skillet.
- Add the swiss chard and the crushed red pepper and sautee it until wilted and tender, approximately 5 - 7 minutes.
- Reserve ½ cup of pasta cooking water.
- Drain and rinse the pasta with warm water.
- Add the pasta into the skillet with the swiss chard.
- Add the kale pesto and stir it gently into the pasta using tongs.
- Thin the pesto with the pasta water (very gradually) if needed in order to make it mix well.
- Add the lemon juice and lemon zest and gently toss it into the pasta.
- Serve and enjoy!