About two weeks ago, Trevor informed me that we were in a dinner rut, and he was right. We were kind of just eating the same thing all the time on weeknights.

The main problem is we just don’t have a ton of time to cook dinner on work days (who does?). We get home after a long day, everyone wants dinner immediately. Basically, a 30-minute meal seems like a luxury at this point.

So I took the challenge to find some better weeknight meals, but taking small shortcuts here and there. On the weekends, I have plenty of time to make homemade pesto, but weeknights are just not that relaxed. So enter some great grocery store shortcuts like store-bought pesto.

Pesto from Healthy Living Market We’re really lucky to have a great grocery store like Healthy Living Market in town that stocks real prepared foods. Like, ones that you can actually name all of the ingredients in. The pesto was really flavorful and nutty without being super garlicky. I also picked up a small package of heirloom tomatoes while I was there, and they made a great add-in to this pasta dish. This recipe is super simple, but a great change-up from the traditional spaghetti with meatballs rut we were in.

Notes on this recipe: I just formulated this on the fly, so the measurements aren’t super exact. The best part is: don’t buy anything super special for this. If you don’t have the tomatoes on hand, you can always swap out for asparagus, peas or any other vegetables you have hanging out in your refrigerator. Use what you have.

Read on for the recipe.


Pesto Pasta with Baby Spinach and Heirloom Tomatoes

  • Servings: 6
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 lb. shortcut pasta (I used penne, but you can use farfalle, cavatappi, etc.)
  • 2 1/2 oz. baby spinach (that’s half a package of the organic brands like Olivia’s or Earthbound)
  • 1/2 pint baby heirloom tomatoes, halved
  • 1/3 cup pesto (I used store-bought from Healthy Living)
  • Parmesan cheese (for sprinkling on top)

Instructions:

Boil water for the pasta and prepared it as instructed on the box.

When the pasta is ready, throw it into a big mixing bowl and immediately put the spinach on the hot pasta. This will help the spinach to wilt slightly and soften it up. Then add your baby tomatoes and the pesto. Stir it all up. If you want to add a bit more pesto (sometimes the pasta can suck up the liquid), then do it now. Serve up the pasta into bowls and top with fresh grated parmesan cheese.