A few weeks ago I made a pasta dish that quickly became my favorite, One Pot Sausage and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta. I was craving it again and had a few sun dried tomatoes left, but instead of just making the exact same dish, I decided to try a vegetarian version. I added a few toasted walnuts, a squeeze of fresh lemon, and topped it off with feta instead of Parmesan. This Skillet Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes Walnuts and Feta turned out just as simple and incredibly flavorful as the original version, and will definitely make it’s way into my regular rotation!
What I love about this skillet pasta the most is that many of the ingredients can be kept on hand, either in your pantry or freezer, so it’s easy to whip up when you haven’t had the chance to go to the grocery and your cabinets are a little bare. I use a little bit of feta to top dishes quite often because it really adds a pop of flavor. It can be expensive though, so be sure to use it sparingly. The remainder of the feta can be frozen for future use. I like to cut my 8oz. block into four 2oz. squares, which is about the amount I usually use per recipe (sometimes even less!). A little bit goes a long way.
I originally wanted to use pine nuts for this recipe, but they were just outside of my budget this time around. If walnuts are still a little too costly for you, you can skip this ingredient and still have a really amazing pasta.
Skillet Pasta with Sun Dried Tomatoes Walnuts and Feta
- ⅓ cup chopped walnuts $0.76
- 1 Tbsp olive oil $0.13
- 2 cloves garlic, minced $0.16
- ½ lb. frozen broccoli florets $0.85
- 2 cups vegetable broth $0.28
- ⅓ cup sun dried tomatoes $1.00
- 8oz. bowtie pasta $0.75
- 1 fresh lemon $0.75
- Pinch of red pepper flakes $0.02
- 2oz. feta $1.25
- Place the chopped walnuts in a large skillet and toast them over medium-low heat, stirring often, until they smell toasty (1-2 minutes). Remove them from the skillet to a medium bowl.
- Add the olive oil and minced garlic to the skillet and turn the heat up to medium. Sauté the garlic for about one minute, or just until it has softened and smells very fragrant. Add the frozen broccoli florets to the skillet with the garlic (no need to thaw) and sauté for about two minutes more, or just until the broccoli is thawed through. Remove the broccoli to the bowl with the walnuts.
- Slice the sun dried tomatoes into small pieces or strips. Add the pasta, vegetable broth, sun dried tomatoes, about 1 Tbsp of the juice from the lemon, and a pinch of red pepper flakes to the skillet, and stir to combine (the broth will not fully cover the pasta and that is okay). Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat up to high. Allow the broth to come up to a boil, give the pasta a stir, replace the lid, turn the heat down to low, and let it simmer for 7-10 minutes or until the pasta is tender and most of the broth has been absorbed. Stir the pasta every few minutes as it simmers, replacing the lid quickly every time to maintain the simmer.
- While the pasta simmers, use a zester or small-holed cheese grater to remove the zest from the lemon. Once the pasta is tender and only a small amount of saucy liquid remains in the bottom of the skillet, return the broccoli and walnuts to the skillet and stir to combine. Top with crumbled feta and zest from the lemon and serve.
Step by Step Photos
Add 1/3 cup chopped walnuts to a large skillet and toast them over medium-low heat, stirring often, until they smell nice and toasty (about 1-2 minutes). Once they start toasting, they go fast, so use your nose and remove them from the skillet once you smell that beautifully toasty-nutty smell. Transfer them to a large holding bowl (large enough to hold the broccoli as well).
Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to the skillet along with 2 minced cloves of garlic. Turn the heat up to to medium and sauté the garlic for 1-2 minutes or until the garlic has softened and is fragrant. Add 1/2 lb. frozen broccoli florets to the skillet with the garlic and sauté for just a couple minutes more, or just until the broccoli is thawed through (don’t over cook the broccoli). Remove the broccoli to the bowl with the walnuts.
Slice or chop 1/3 cup sun dried tomatoes into small pieces or strips (I used the dry type of tomatoes, not the kind packed in oil). Add 1/2 lb. bowtie pasta, the sun dried tomatoes, a pinch of red pepper flakes, 2 cups vegetable broth, and about 1 Tbsp of juice from a lemon to the skillet. Stir to combine. The broth will not fully cover the pasta, but this is okay. The steam trapped in the skillet will help cook the pasta that is not covered.
Place a lid on the skillet and turn the heat up to high. Allow the broth to come to a boil, then quickly stir the pasta, replace the lid, turn the heat down to low, and let it simmer for 7-10 minutes. Stir the pasta every few minutes as it simmers, replacing the lid quickly each time so that it maintains a simmer. Let it simmer until the pasta is tender and most of the broth has been absorbed. It’s okay if a small amount of thickened liquid remains in the bottom of the skillet.
Return the broccoli and walnuts to the skillet and stir to combine.
While the pasta is simmering you can also zest the lemon and crumble the feta. I buy an 8oz. block of feta, cut it into quarters and freeze the portions that I don’t use.
Top the pasta with the crumbled feta and lemon zest. Serve and enjoy! :D