Aug 04, 2021 2 min read

A hearty and healthy dish, this Low-Carb Penne with Spinach and Almond Pesto gives a twist to regular pesto. It uses spinach along with basil, and gets creaminess from cottage cheese blended into the pesto sauce. Using Great Low Carb Pasta - Penne instead of regular pasta keeps the dish low in carbs.

Great Low Carb Pasta - Penne has half the calories and only a quarter of the net carbs as in regular pasta. It has 100 calories per serving and 7 grams of net carbs, including 18 grams of fiber. It has 12 grams of protein. You can cook this pasta just as you cook regular pasta, by boiling it for up to 10 minutes.

This recipe is simple and forgiving. You can experiment with different nuts in the pesto. Traditional pesto has pine nuts and this recipe calls for almonds, but walnuts and cashews work fine, too. 

If you want to increase the protein in the recipe, you can toss in cooked chicken breast when you bring all of the ingredients together at the end.

You can further lower the calories and fat by using fat-free cottage cheese and low-fat parmesan, and by cutting the amount of parmesan in half. If you prefer, ricotta cheese instead of cottage cheese can keep your pesto sauce creamy.

This recipe makes a lot of pesto sauce. You can start by mixing half of it with the pasta, then adding more if you want. If you have leftovers, just store them in the fridge or freezer in an air-tight container to use on chicken or vegetables another time. 

Recipe for Low-Carb Penne with Spinach and Almond Pesto

Makes 4 servings

Prep time: 10 minutes 

Cook time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 package of Great Low Carb Pasta - Penne
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups of fresh basil
  • 2 cups of fresh spinach leaves
  • ¼ cup of toasted almonds 
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil 
  • ½ cup of cottage cheese
  • ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese, plus 2 tablespoons 
  • Salt to taste

Instructions:

  1. Cook the Great Low Carb Pasta - Penne according to the directions on the package. Boil water, add the pasta, and cook for about 10 minutes or until nearly al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 2 cups of liquid. Set the pasta aside. 
  2. Blanch the spinach by quickly submerging it in boiling water then quickly removing it. Rinse it with cold water.
  3. Remove as much water as possible from the spinach first by squeezing it, then by wrapping it in a paper towel to soak up liquid. 
  4. Chop the spinach and basil leaves. 
  5. Add the garlic, spinach, basil, toasted almonds, olive oil, cottage cheese, and ¼ cup of parmesan cheese to a food processor and blender. Pulse, stopping as needed to stir. Continue to pulse until the pesto is smooth.
  6. Add the pasta, ¼ cup of reserved cooking liquid, and pesto to the pot and stir together. Add more reserved liquid as needed. 
  7. Season with salt to taste.
  8. Plate the pasta, top with the rest of the parmesan cheese, serve, and enjoy!
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