Pasta Fresca – 15 Minute Fresh and Healthy Pasta Recipe


  • 12 oz penne pasta (gluten-free or regular)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small or 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 lb vine-ripened or Roma tomatoes (about 2-3 large or 3-4 medium), seeded and chopped
  • 5 oz baby spinach, roughly chopped if needed
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette
  • Shredded parmesan cheese or crumbled feta cheese (for serving)


Get the pasta started:

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions until al dente. Drain and set the pasta aside.

Sauté the veggies:

  • While the pasta is cooking, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the red onion, season with salt and pepper, and sauté until crisp-tender (about 3-4 minutes).
  • Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant and lightly golden (about 1-2 minutes). Be careful not to burn it!

Tomato time!

  • Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for a few minutes, stirring occasionally, until they start to soften and release their juices.

Wilt the spinach:

  • Toss in the spinach and cook just until it wilts, about 1-2 minutes.

Combine and flavor:

  • Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and pour in the balsamic vinaigrette. Toss everything to coat evenly.

Serve and enjoy:

  • Divide the pasta into bowls and top with your choice of parmesan cheese or feta cheese. Add additional black pepper if you like.


  • Use quality ingredients: Fresh, ripe tomatoes make a big difference.
  • Customize it: Add other veggies like bell peppers or mushrooms. Toss in a handful of fresh basil at the end for extra zing.
  • Protein power: Mix in grilled chicken or shrimp for a complete meal.
  • Don’t overcook the pasta: Al dente pasta provides a better texture in the final dish.


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