Penne with Swiss Chard, Feta and Roasted Red Peppers Recipe

Penne with Swiss Chard and Red Peppers
Penne with Swiss Chard and Red Peppers. Michael Grimm/Getty Images
Total Time 20 min
Prep 5 min, Cook 15 min
Yield 6 servings

This is a quick and easy pasta dish that looks beautiful on the plate and combines the flavors of two colorful vegetables and feta cheese. It can be served hot or cold. I prefer the shape and mouth-feel of penne pasta, but you could use other shapes of pasta, such as spirals or farfalle bowtie pasta.

Penne pasta with greens and red pepper makes a great side dish for grilled chicken. If you have fresh red peppers, you can roast them at the same time you are grilling the chicken. You could substitute other greens for swiss chard, such as spinach, kale or beet greens.

This recipe has about 200 calories per serving. It is high in Vitamin A and Vitamin C. Pasta is the carbo-loading friend of the long distance walker. If you aren't planning on walking a marathon, simply practice portion control and enjoy it.

This dish can be made gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta. Vegans can leave out the feta cheese or use a vegan soy cheese.

Makes 6 servings - 1 cup each, approximately 200 calories per serving.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound fresh swiss chard or spinach
  • 2 cups cooked penne pasta (about 6 oz. uncooked)
  • 1/2 cup roasted red peppers cut in strips.
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese (low fat feta cheese or dairy-free soy cheese are options)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt in the water for boiling the pasta

Preparation

1. Boil the pasta in salted water as directed on the package, about 11 minutes.

2. When the pasta is done, drain and place in the serving bowl. I like to toss it with a tablespoon of butter, but you may wish instead to just add a little olive oil. The butter or oil will keep it from sticking together.

3. While the pasta is cooking, wash the swiss chard or spinach (or combination of the two), removing any long stems.

Spin them in a salad spinner to remove the excess water or pat them dry.

4. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan.

5. Toss the swiss chard or spinach into the frying pan and swiftly stir it in the oil just until the greens are wilted, about 30 to 60 seconds. Add a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar and stir, then remove from heat.

6. Add the spinach or swiss chard to the pasta.

7. I use canned roasted red peppers, and simply take them out of the jar and cut them into strips about 1 to 2 inches long and add them to the pasta. You may prefer to roast your own red peppers, especially if you are serving the pasta with grilled chicken.

8. Add the crumbled feta cheese.

9. Toss gently together and serve.

Options:

  • Make it a one-dish meal, adding chopped chicken rather than serving the chicken separately.
  • I often enjoy this dish without the cheese, especially when I serve it with chicken or fish.
  • You could use frozen spinach in a pinch, but you need to drain it well after defrosting or heating it, and you wouldn't saute it. Simply add a little balsamic vinegar to the spinach and then toss with the pasta.

    Serving Suggestions and Notes for Penne Pasta with Swiss Chard and Red Peppers:

    Serve as a colorful side dish with grilled chicken or fish.

    You can serve it hot or cold. I take it along to work for lunch the next day and eat it cold or reheat in the microwave.

    This makes a good potluck dish or picnic dish, served cold or hot.

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