Whole Wheat Penne with Walnut Sage Pesto, Spinach and Zucchini

by Anjali @ The Picky Eater on January 4, 2010

Last night I made a very healthy, light, scrumptious pasta – using this pesto recipe from CookingLight.com. The lemon and sage in the pesto really brought a springtime/summery flavor to a cold winter evening – felt like we were transported to April or May! The spinach and zucchini pack a powerful antioxidant punch, and the whole wheat penne ensures you get your fiber and whole grains for the evening. Hope you enjoy it!


  • 1 10 oz bag baby spinach
  • 4 zucchini, quartered and sliced
  • 4 cups cooked whole wheat penne
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2  cup  fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • 2 1/2  tablespoons  chopped walnuts
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh sage leaves
  • 2  tablespoons  fresh lemon juice
  • 2  tablespoons  extravirgin olive oil
  • 3  garlic cloves (use 1 for the pesto, mince 2 cloves for the spinach/zucchini mixture)
  • 1/3 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 Tbsp parmesan cheese per serving


  1. Cook penne according to package directions, cool and set aside.
  2. Spray a pan with cooking spray, heat over medium heat. Add zucchini and garlic and stir fry lightly (for about 5 min max). Add spinach, garlic salt and oregano and cook through until spinach is wilted. Set aside.
  3. Combine 1/4 teaspoon salt, parsley, and next 5 ingredients (through 1 clove garlic) in a food processor; process until finely chopped, scraping sides.
  4. With processor on, slowly pour broth through food chute, processing until well blended.
  5. Combine penne and pesto in a pot on low heat until combined and heated through. Add pepper and mix well. Add in vegetables and serve warm, top with 1 Tbsp Parmesan cheese per serving.

Nutritional Information

  • Yields 4-5 servings
  • Calories: ~325 per serving
  • Fat: 11g
  • Fiber: 6-10g
  • Protein: 9g

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Claudia January 4, 2010 at 1:26 pm

This is absolutely scrumptious. I do love walnuts in pesto and different herbs. The additions of the scrumptious vegetables make this heavenly.


Beatrice January 4, 2010 at 5:53 pm

I love walnuts — and it’s so nice when something I love eating is a healthy, too. This looks really good.


My Man's Belly January 5, 2010 at 12:47 pm

I love to try different pesto recipes. This one sounds fantastic.


Shelly Huang January 6, 2010 at 11:49 pm

I love this combination! Love the twist in using walnuts in pesto!


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