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Rainbow Penne Pasta

by Melissa Ohlson, MS RD LD

Servings: 8 (1 Cup Per Serving)
Prep Time: 10
Cook Time: 10
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 1 Cup
Amount per serving
Calories 265
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 6g 
 Saturated Fat 2g 
Cholesterol 2mg 
Sodium 215mg 
Total Carbohydrate 41g 
 Dietary Fiber 7g 
Protein 12g 

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Many of my Cleveland heart patients wanted a heart-healthy recipe that their kids would like, too. From many reports, this fits the bill. Make a great meatless meal with broccoli, pasta, and freshly shredded Parmesan cheese. It's kid-friendly, packed with vitamins and minerals, and bursting with layers of rich flavor. 


8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 16-ounce package frozen broccoli florets, thawed
1 16-ounce can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium-size red bell pepper, thinly sliced; slices halved
½ teaspoon salt
¼ cup freshly grated or shredded Parmesan cheese
Freshly ground black pepper to taste


  1. Cook the pasta in boiling salted water according to the package directions.
  2. Heat the oil in a large skillet over low heat.
  3. Add the garlic and sauté 5 minutes, allowing the flavors to fully release into the oil.
  4. Add the broccoli, beans, pepper, 3 tablespoons water, and salt.
  5. Cover and adjust heat to medium. Steam, stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes, or until the broccoli is hot and the pepper is crisp tender.
  6. Toss the pasta with the vegetables. Top with the Parmesan cheese and fresh pepper.

Cooking Tip

For a spicier flavor, add more garlic and/or pepper.

Substitute any vegetables your children (or you) like, varying cooking time as needed.

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About the author:

Melissa A Ohlson MS RD LD

Melissa Ohlson, MS RD LD

Contributor to "Cooking Healthy Across America" by American Dietetic Association and Food and Culinary Professionals, a Dietetic Practice Group of ADA. John Wiley and Sons, 2005.




  • Cook healthy

    Involve your child in the cutting, mixing and preparation of all meals. Even a snack can be healthy.

  • Eat right

    Sit down together as a family to enjoy a wonderful meal and the opportunity to share the day's experiences with one another.

  • Shop smart

    To encourage a healthy lifestyle, get your children involved in selecting the food that will appear at the breakfast, lunch or dinner table.

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