Try this Perfect Penne

By Shauna Lindzon

When people think about the nutritional content of pasta they typically think of carbohydrates. But here’s a fun fact, pasta also contains a good amount of protein. In just 1 cup of cooked pasta there are 8 grams of protein, which is more protein than is found in a large egg. To bump up the protein even more, you can choose a pasta that is made with chickpeas or lentils and the amount of protein almost doubles per serving. 

Adding cooked beans and cheese to your favourite pasta recipe will ensure that you have enough protein to feel confident that you are nourishing your body well. Why do we need protein at each meal and snack that we eat? Protein provides amino acids which are the building blocks for growth and repair of cells, muscles and nails. It is essential to make hormones and enzymes which perform key functions in our bodies.

There are many ways to get protein in your diet. If you choose to eat animal products like meat, poultry, fish, and dairy, you will be sure to meet your daily protein requirements. If your diet is made up of mainly plants, you can meet your daily protein requirements by eating legumes (chickpeas, soybeans, black beans, peanuts etc.), lentils, nuts, seeds (and their butters), grains etc. 

This simple recipe is not only delicious and filling, but it is an easy, weekday meal that I am sure  you will love. I use penne pasta when I make this dish, but feel free to use another short pasta (e.g., farfalle, rotini etc.) that you have in your cupboard, or that you and/or your family prefer.


Makes: 4-6 servings


1 box or bag (454 grams) penne

1-1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp minced garlic (about 6 cloves)

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 tsp kosher salt (I prefer Diamond Crystal brand)

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 can (398 ml) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 jar (200-270 ml) sun dried tomatoes packed in oil, drained, and roughly chopped

1/2 cup parmesan cheese + more for serving

2 cups fresh baby arugula




  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve 1 cup of pasta water, strain and set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil on medium heat and add garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Sauté for 30 seconds.
  3. Add cannellini beans and chopped sundried tomatoes. Sauté for 2 minutes. It is okay if the beans start to break up.
  4. Add pasta, and 3/4 cup pasta water. Stir to coat the pasta with tomato/bean mixture. Cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Add parmesan cheese, arugula, and heat through for about a minute. If it is dry add remaining 1/4 cup pasta water.
  6. Serve with extra parmesan cheese if desired!


Shauna Lindzon

Shauna Lindzon runs practical cooking demonstrations that combine scientific knowledge with culinary education. Her demonstrations are unique, informative, delicious and a lot of fun.  You can find a list of her nutrition classes and recipes at