Lean Green Pasta Dinner

Spring Has Sprung

The snow is melting in Oregon and the sun is warming up in Texas.  This must mean that spring is here!  I love all the beautiful wildflowers this time of year, as well as the seasonal produce that is ready to harvest.  Carrots, beets, cauliflower, spinach, and artichokes to name a few!  Did you know seasonal produce is tastier and more nutritious than food grown out of season?  That’s because it isn’t grown under manmade conditions like greenhouses or with hydroponics.  Fruits and vegetables harvested in orchards and farms are picked at peak ripeness and arrive to your table fresher than those that have traveled cross country in the back of a truck.  Out of season produce must be harvested early in order to arrive at your market before spoiling.  Studies have shown that our produce contains more nutrients when it has time to naturally ripen on its own.  

How to Get the Good Stuff

I like to find recipes that include seasonal fruits and vegetables so I know my family is getting the nutrients we need.  A drool-worthy  fruit salad that includes bananas, kiwi, mango and pears.  Or a stir-fry of bok choy, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and peas topped with sesame shrimp.  I know my kiddos will always eat a lemony chicken pasta dish and that makes a perfect vehicle for getting in some extra vegetables!  Check out what’s in season this spring and start brainstorming how you will incorporate it into mealtimes.

  • Artichokes
  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Bananas
  • Beets
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Citrus fruits
  • Kiwi
  • Leeks
  • Leafy greens
  • Mango
  • Mushrooms
  • Pears
  • Peas
  • Pineapple

    Lean Green Pasta Dinner


    • Cast iron skillet
    • 1 package pasta* 
    • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    • 1 lemon, halved
    • 1 cup sliced mushrooms
    • 1 bunch green onions
    • 1 bundle of asparagus
    • Olive oil
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Optional: crushed red pepper flakes and parmesan for garnishing


      1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Boil water for pasta; prepare as directed on the package.
      2. Heat cast iron pan over medium high heat.  Add 2 Tbsp olive oil to the pan.  When the pan is warm, add chicken thighs and the juice of half a lemon.  Season with salt and pepper.
      3. After 3-4 minutes, flip chicken, season with salt and pepper and cook for 3-4 minutes.
      4. Move cast iron pan to the hot oven and bake for 10 minutes.
      5. Meanwhile, rinse asparagus and green onions.  Shake dry, leaving a little moisture on the vegetables.  This will allow the veggies to steam in the hot oven.  Spritz with olive oil spray and toss with salt and pepper.  Place on a baking sheet in a single layer.
      6. Flip the chicken in the oven and add the tray of vegetables to the bottom rack.  Bake for 10 minutes.
      7. When the chicken is done, remove from the pan and return the cast iron to the stovetop.  Saute mushrooms and minced garlic in the remaining olive oil and lemon juices on high heat.  
      8. Drain pasta and return to the pot.  Toss with 2 Tbsp olive oil and the juice of half a lemon.  Slice chicken, asparagus, and crispy green onions.  Add to the pot.  Add mushrooms to the pot.  Toss to coat.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Garnish with crushed red pepper flakes and freshly grated parmesan cheese.

        *Pasta is an easy way to sneak in some added nutrition by swapping out the traditional white flour macaroni for corn, rice, or protein pasta.  Tinkyada gluten free corkscrew noodles are a favorite in our house!  My kids love the texture and the noodles are easy for my 3 year old to stab with a fork.  Chickpea pasta is a great way to sneak in protein and fiber, as is quinoa pasta.  Small changes can make a big difference!

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