Everyone loves a good pasta dish. The colorful stars in this pasta dish are a variety of fresh spring and summer vegetables that you can either find at a local farmers’ market (preferable!) or most certainly at your regular grocery store. This recipe is filling and satisfying while also being as light as a pasta dish can be, making it perfect for summer suppertime. I was able to find fresh, homemade lemon pepper pasta at my local farmers’ market which became my inspiration in creating this dish. If you can find fresh pasta, I highly recommend it!
I’ve included a lean protein in this recipe but if you’re on a meat-free diet, simply omit the chicken and add a little more veg. Easy ‘pea’sy! Pun intended.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
What you’ll need:
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 sweet onion, thinly sliced
- 2 cups of sugar snap peas, halved on a diagonal
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 ½ cups of baby Portobello mushrooms, sliced
- 3 cups of loosely packed arugula
- 1 ½ cups of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- Juice of one lemon, about 3 tablespoons
- 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- One package of your favorite pasta
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Parmesan cheese (optional)
- If you haven’t prepared your pasta yet, now’s the time to get your water boiling. After it begins to boil, be sure to throw some salt and olive oil in the water before cooking your pasta. You want to add flavor to every layer of your dish! Follow directions on package, strain and set aside when cooked.
- Prepare the chicken by grilling it over medium-high heat, or cook the chicken in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat with a little olive oil, turning when necessary, until the juices run clear. This should take about 15 minutes. Cover with foil and set aside to rest until your other preparations are complete.
- In a large skillet, sauté the sliced onions and sugar snap peas in a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook for about three minutes. Add garlic and mushrooms to the skillet and cook, stirring when necessary, until peas are tender but still have a nice crunch. They are sugar snap peas, after all!
- If your veggies are looking a little dry, add water or chicken stock, ½ cup at a time, until they’re swimming in a little liquid. This is the point in the recipe where I like to throw a little white wine into the pan and let it reduce down for extra flavor. It’s not necessary, so feel free to do whatever you like here.
- Add the tomatoes, arugula, and lemon juice to your vegetable mixture and stir until arugula has wilted down and the tomatoes have let off a good amount of their juices. This should take 3-5 minutes. By now you should have a skillet full of fresh veggies mingling in a small amount of flavor packed liquid. That little bit of liquid is pretty important, so again, if you’re lacking liquid, add a bit of water or stock and let that simmer for a minute or two.
- To finish, slice your chicken breasts and toss into your vegetable medley along with your cooked pasta. Stir gently, but well, making sure that the pasta is well coated with the juices from the vegetables. Be sure your salt and pepper usage is up to par. If you have a nice flavored finishing oil like a truffle or garlic olive oil, now would be the perfect time to use it. If not, drizzle the dish with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and enjoy.
Arugula is a spectacular green. It has a peppery, almost spicy but slightly sweet flavor and is wildly popular in my house. It’s perfect as a flavorful addition to other greens in salads or as a more healthful replacement to plain iceberg. The green contains antioxidants and enzymes which your body needs to perform the most basic and important tasks. Enzymes are also partially responsible for keeping your energy levels high.
Arugula is also a good source of vitamins K and A as well as zinc, and potassium. While you only need a small amount of vitamin K daily, arugula helps to contribute to your recommended daily intake. This is important because your body does not produce the entire amount of vitamin K it needs, so your dietary choices are responsible for providing the remainder. This vitamin is key in keeping your bones healthy by helping to form proteins that build bone tissue. Like its relative, kale, which I wrote about in the previous post on kale chips, arugula is also a good source of calcium.
Aside from trying out this recipe, try experimenting with adding arugula to other salads and dishes. I think you’ll find it adds a nice little kick of flavor. Enjoy!