Healthy Noodles recipe for nutrition month

March is National Nutrition Month.

I feel like we have made a small nutrition breakthrough at home recently by developing an interest in hummus in the kids. Ben is still not a huge fan, but Grace and Lucas eat it up for a snack along with baked pita chips every chance they get. Delicious!

Now also is the perfect time to check out some of the recipes collected under the Partnership for a Healthier America, Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign and USDA’s MyPlate. Visit

Here are some suggestions courtesy of Noodles & Co, which has been ranked as one of the top four healthiest fast food restaurants by Health magazine for the past two years, on how to get your kids to eat their veggies:

» Encourage your kids to help you plant a vegetable garden. Then let them choose which ones they want to eat for dinner.

» Look for ways to incorporate veggies into your daily routine and be a good example.

» Include your kids in your weekly meal planning and let them add the vegetables to a pot or skillet during preparation.

» Don’t try to trick your kids by sneaking them into cookies and snacks. It may work, but it won’t help long term.

Here’s a recipe from Noodles & Co that is under 500 calories.

Penne Rosa with Grilled Asparagus

Serves 4-6



1 lb penne cooked al dente
¼ cup of your favorite marinara sauce
Spring onions, sliced
2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
Crushed chili flakes to taste
1 Portobello mushroom cap (gills removed)
1 bunch asparagus
¼ cup cream
1 T vegetable oil
Extra virgin olive oil
2 T Wine (your choice)
1 Heirloom tomato
Kosher salt to taste
¼ cup fresh organic baby spinach leaves
1 bunch fresh Sweet Italian basil leaves (snipped with scissors)
Shaved Asiago cheese
1 T vegetable oil
Kosher salt & black pepper to taste
¼ cup pine nuts
Cooking procedures:
1.     Cook pasta to al dente then chill in ice cold water. Drain, toss with olive oil and set aside.
2.     Chop garlic, slice the onions and mushrooms, de-stem basil and set aside.
3.     Snap off the woody ends near the bottom. Toss the asparagus in olive oil and season with salt & pepper. Lightly grill on all sides. Set aside.
4.     Coarsely chop ¼ cup of the raw pine nuts.
5.     Slice the heirloom tomato into bitesize pieces and toss with Extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper
6.     Toast ¼ cup of pine nuts in the oven until golden brown, set aside
For the pasta dish:
1.     Heat a large sauté pan. Add the vegetable oil, garlic, mushrooms and spring onions. Stir well.
2.     Add tomato sauce when the mushrooms, garlic and onions are sizzling and lightly caramelized.
3.     Deglaze the pan with the wine.
4.     Add salt and crushed chili flakes to taste.
5.     Add cream, then the pasta and toss to coat.
6.     Toss in the spinach and place onto a platter.  
7.     Place grilled asparagus spears into the pasta.
8.     Garnish the entire dish with shaved Asiago cheese, toasted pine nuts, sliced tomato
es and fresh cut basil.
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