Spring is rapidly turning into summer here in Sacramento, and with the changing seasons comes an abundance of fresh, local produce. We’re fortunate to live in America’s Farm to Fork Capital, where we have access to a variety of local farms, farm stands, and farmer’s markets. Taking advantage of field-ripened fruits and vegetables allows us to enjoy the health benefits of peak nutrients. If you’ve made a goal to focus on healthier food choices, this time of year is the perfect time to start.
While access to fresh fruits and vegetables isn’t a barrier to a healthy lifestyle in our area, time can be. Between work, family, home, volunteering, and other responsibilities, it can be a challenge to avoid fast food and quick fixes. That’s why spending a little time each week preparing meals you can enjoy on the go can be key to giving yourself healthy, nutritious meal options.
We’ve partnered with California Family Fitness member and local food blogger Jessica Randhawa of The Forked Spoon to create a meal that is packed with nutritious ingredients, easy to prepare in advance, and provides options for a variety of dietary lifestyles and grab ‘n go convenience. All that and it tastes amazing, too!
Pasta Primavera + Meal Prep with Chicken
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.
For a printable PDF of this recipe, click HERE.