You know how food often has memories attached to it? Well this particular recipe screams San Clemente, CA, to me. I first made this Veggie-Packed Creamy Lemon Pasta while living in San Clemente for a summer while my husband worked at Powder Magazine (ski magazine). I spent that summer nannying the cutest kids, hanging out at the beach and taking advantage of the farmer’s markets where I could buy fresh produce like zucchini squash and cherry tomatoes.
We all love those rich and creamy pasta sauces made from cream and butter, but it’s no secret they do a number on our calorie count for the day (not that I count calories…life’s too short for that business 😉 ) But with that in mind, I was determined to create a healthified version of creamy-licious pasta….and this recipe was born.
The Greek yogurt adds the creaminess, the lemon and garlic add the zesty flavor and those yummy grilled veggies give us our much-needed greens! (And reds! We haven’t forgotten about you, sweet babaaay tomatoes).
It’s one of those bright, summery meals that fills you up in an “I’m feeling healthy” kind of way. Long live creamy pasta! And long live us, because this creamy pasta is definitely “healthified.”
- 8 oz. whole-wheat pasta *reserve about 1/4 cup pasta water
- 1 cup cooked and shredded chicken breast
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
- 2-3 zucchini
- 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
- If you haven't already done so, cook and shred the chicken. (Bake in oven at 425 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees).
- Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the package. *Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water!
- In a large bowl, mix together the yogurt, parmesan cheese, lemon zest and garlic. Set aside.
- Preheat a grill-pan on the stove.
- Slice the zucchini into long, thin strips. Rub with olive oil (or coat the pan with oil to prevent sticking.)
- Working in batches, grill the zucchini until softened, flipping half-way. (Will take 5-7 minutes total to grill). Remove from the pan and set aside.
- Cut the tomatoes in half and place in the grill pan. Heat until you begin to see little brown grill marks on them, and they begin to soften. Remove from the heat.
- Stir the cooked pasta and chicken into the yogurt mixture. To thin, add the pasta water, 1 Tbsp. at a time until desired thickness is reached.
- Gently toss in the veggies and season with salt and pepper.