This week, we're featuring 5 days of healthy recipes created just for California Family Fitness by local food blogger (and Cal Fit member) Jessica Randhawa of The Forked Spoon. These meals were designed to be packed with nutritious ingredients, easy to prepare, and provide options for a variety of dietary lifestyles and food prepping...not to mention taste delicious!
Read on for today's recipe, Pasta Primavera + Chicken for Meal Prep, which is ideal for those eating clean, looking for vegetarian options, or prepping multiple meals in advance. Jessica shares several variations you can use to prepare this ahead of time and store for quick meals on the go, including an easy way to add protein with cooked chicken.
Pasta Primavera + Meal Prep with Chicken
(Vegetarian with modifications to add meat)
Prep Time- 15 minutes
Cook Time- 25 minutes
Total Time- 40 minutes
For the Pasta:
10 ounces dry Penne Pasta (may use gluten-free pasta, if desired)
4 tbsp olive oil, divided
1/2 lb. asparagus, woody ends removed and chopped into 1” pieces
1 cup sugar snap peas
1 cup broccoli florets
1 medium zucchini, halved and sliced
1 yellow squash, halved and sliced
½ cup green onions, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, shredded
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 orange bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
10 ounces cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt + Pepper, to taste
2 large lemon, juiced and divided
1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
For the Chicken:
4 tsp boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup olive oil - divided
2 tsp salt - divided
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp sweet paprika - (optional)
2 tbsp fresh parsley - minced
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add 1-2 teaspoons of salt and the noodles to the water and cook noodles according to package instructions. Drain noodles and reserve 1 cup of the pasta cooking water. Set each aside.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add the asparagus, snap peas, and broccoli and sprinkle with a small pinch of salt. Saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the zucchini and yellow squash and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, but not soft.
- Remove vegetables to a clean plate and set aside.
- Return the skillet to medium-high heat and drizzle with 1 more tablespoon of olive oil. Add the green onions and garlic and saute for 30 seconds, stirring continuously to prevent burning. Add the shredded carrot and bell peppers and mix well to combine. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the cherry tomatoes, peas, a generous pinch of salt and pepper, and juice from one lemon. Mix well to combine. Cook for an additional 2 minutes.
- Add the additional vegetables back to the pan (asparagus, sugar snap peas, broccoli, zucchini, and yellow squash) and mix to combine.
- Stir in the noodles and drizzle with the remaining olive oil. Toss with the parmesan cheese, additional lemon juice, pasta water (if needed), and fresh chopped parsley. Mix well to combine and serve warm.
To make the chicken for meal prep:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Transfer the chicken to a mixing bowl and drizzle with approximately 1 tbsp olive oil, salt, pepper, and paprika. Rub the olive oil and seasoning all over the chicken breasts.
- Transfer the chicken to your prepared baking sheet. Cook for approximately 20-22 minutes, or until internal temperature reads 160-165 degrees F with a digital thermometer. Time will vary depending on the thickness of your chicken breast.
- Remove the cooked chicken from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before sprinkling with fresh parsley and seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.
Jessica is a California native with a passion for healthy food, social media, running, photography and travel. Jessica received her Bachelor’s degree in Molecular Biology from UC Santa Cruz and now writes, creates and manages the food blog, The Forked Spoon. After surviving a stroke at just 28 years old, Jessica lives each day to the the fullest with her husband and son in Sacramento, California.