Need an easy and fast weeknight dinner? This Pesto Pasta with Zucchini and Chicken Sausage is healthy and perfect for leftovers!
This post is sponsored by Barilla and Moms Meet. I was given free product in exchange for this post.
I don’t know about you, but pasta is a huge staple in the Bacon household.
We grew up with macaroni and cheese, and then expanded to different pasta types, different sauces, adding different foods to it…
And while I’ve loved many sauces, I’ve never tried pesto sauce until recently.
Part of it was due to misconceptions about taste and nutrition. But now that I’ve tried it, I’m hooked.
If you haven’t noticed- I’m a busy mom. And I’m sure a lot of us are.
While I’m a huge fan of making my own foods, sometimes we just need a quick win.
And sometimes that quick win is jarred pesto sauce. Simple ingredients. Barilla saved the day with their Creamy Genovese Pesto Pasta Sauce!
Now, I could get out my food processor and mix all the ingredients to make my own pesto. Or I could save time and have this jar do the work for me.
Is pesto sauce healthy?
Let’s take a look at the nutrition information.
A 1/4 cup serving of this pesto is 300 calories and 26 grams of fat.
That doesn’t mean it’s unhealthy, just VERY calorie-dense. So if you use pesto, a little bit goes a long way.
I used an entire jar of creamy pesto pasta sauce with a whole box of Barilla pasta, which spread the pesto out perfectly and still gave us huge servings.
Out of those 26 grams of fat, only 3 are saturated fat. Generally, we should aim for a mix of both saturated and unsaturated fats but a little more unsaturated. We’re trying to lower cholesterol in this house so I pay more attention to these things.
How do you make this Pesto Pasta recipe?
This simple recipe has super easy main ingredients:
- 1 box Barilla pasta (Any pasta shape is fine)
- 1 jar Barilla Genovese Pesto Pasta Sauce
- Olive oil
- 2-3 medium zucchini
- 1 pack chicken sausages
The first step is to heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Slice up the chicken sausages and cook for 4-5 minutes, then add the garlic cloves and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in boiling water in a large pot for about 7 minutes until al dente.
Slice the zucchini into rounds, then cut into quarters. Add to the pan with the chicken sausage and garlic, then pour the pesto sauce over top.
Stir and let the mixture simmer on low heat for about 5 minutes. The zucchini should be slightly tender but not mushy.
Drain the cooked pasta- set aside about a cup of the pasta water- and add back to the pot. Add the pesto mixture and stir until fully combined. Add a little of the extra pasta water if you need to, to thin it out.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
What goes well with pesto pasta?
You can serve this by itself or roast some vegetables to go on the side. I’m a fan of broccoli and green beans.
Or if you’re wanting more carbs, try some homemade bread like my Jalapeno Cheese Bread!
This recipe serves 8, so you’ll have plenty left over!
Why use jarred pesto sauce?
Simply put- it’s convenient.
Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto is a flavor-packed, versatile, and convenient pantry staple that really hits the spot when you’re in the mood for Italian but need an easy recipe.
My favorite part is that one jar of sauce goes a long way- simply mix it with a 16-oz box of pasta!
Barilla minimizes the handling of their ingredients, like fresh basil leaves and cheese, to keep their products fresh. That’s how you know you’re getting a good sauce.
This pesto is super creamy and exceeded any expectation I had about pesto. It’s now one of my favorite pasta dishes! Next time I make this, I’ll sprinkle extra Parmesan cheese on top!
Leave a comment and tell me: What’s your favorite way to use pesto sauce?
- 1 16-oz box Barilla pasta, any shape
- 1 jar Barilla Creamy Genovese Pesto Pasta Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon garlic
- 4 chicken sausages, sliced
- 2-3 medium zucchini, diced into quarters
- Pour olive oil into a large skillet and set to medium-high heat. Add chicken sausages and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, boil a large pot of water. Add pasta and cook for about 7 minutes or until al dente.
- Add garlic to the skillet with the chicken sausages and cook for another 1-2 minutes.
- Add zucchini and pesto sauce to the skillet and stir. Let simmer on low heat for 5-7 minutes.
- Drain the pasta, setting aside about a cup of pasta water.
- Pour pasta back into the pot and add the pesto mixture and stir. Add any extra pasta water, a little at a time, until the sauce reaches desired thin consistency.
- Divide onto 4 plates and serve. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge up to 5 days.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 454Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 53mgSodium: 680mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 5gSugar: 7gProtein: 18g
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.