Easy Weeknight Balsamic and Goat Cheese Pasta

Easy Weeknight Balsamic and Goat Cheese Pasta

This has been my go-to easy weeknight pasta dish for years now. I’ve wanted to write up a recipe for a while, but it felt daunting because it’s one of those dishes that I’ve literally never used specific amounts of ingredients for. A little of this and that has always done the trick. But I finally forced myself to do it, and I’m so glad that I did! Now I can recommend one of my favorite recipes to everyone I know, and I’ve streamlined the process of making it for myself going forward. A true win-win scenario.

This is loosely based off a dish that my sister and I used to love at our grandpa’s favorite restaurant when we were kids. I wouldn’t call it a copycat recipe. It’s not an exact replica by any means. It just summons the general tastes and vibes of the dish as I remember them. Also I ditched the chicken that the restaurant served with it and added a bunch of veggies, as is my way.

Speaking of vegetables, the ones that you’ll find in this dish are broccoli, mushrooms, spinach, and sun dried tomatoes. They’re served with pasta in a decadent goat cheese, balsamic vinegar and lemon sauce. There’s also toasted pine nuts, heaps of garlic, and some red chili flakes for good measure.

A note on pasta

In regard to what pasta you should use, I’d recommend something on the shorter side that catches sauce nicely. This time, I went with penne because it was literally the only thing I could get (thanks, hoarders!). That said, I’ve also made this with fusilli, farfalle (bowtie), rotini, and countless other varieties with satisfactory results. I wouldn’t recommend going with something long like spaghetti. But anything short that catches sauce well will be perfect.

Another note on pasta! If you’re up to date on my life at the moment, you might know that I’ve got gestational diabetes. So you might be questioning my decision to partake in a pasta dinner. Well, one of my favorite discoveries on this journey has been chickpea pasta. Specifically Banza, as I’ve noticed that other brands tend to be higher in carbs. This stuff is much lower in carbs than traditional pastas, and it’s packed with protein and fiber, making it a much safer choice for anyone dealing with diabetes (gestational or otherwise). My blood sugar has been awesome with or without exercise any time I’ve eaten Banza pasta. Honestly, I may continue to eat it even after pregnancy, because it’s such a tasty, healthy option!

Easy Weeknight Balsamic and Goat Cheese Pasta

Easy Weeknight Balsamic and Goat Cheese Pasta


  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • 5 tbsp Olive oil
  • 10 oz Broccoli florets
  • 1/8 cup Sun dried tomatoes (Chopped)
  • 8 oz Baby bella mushroom (Sliced)
  • 2 Large handfuls of spinach
  • 1/2 tsp Salt (Plus more to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp Freshly ground black pepper (Plus more to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp Red chili flakes (Plus more to taste)
  • 1 box Penne pasta
  • 4 oz Goat cheese
  • 1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Lemon (Juiced)
  • 1/4 cup Pine nuts


  • Add 1 tbsp olive oil to a pan and heat on medium heat. Add chopped garlic and cook for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add broccoli florets, along with 2 tbsp olive oil and lower heat to medium low, stirring every so often to make sure nothing burns. Cook for about 3 minutes.
  • Cook penne according to the instructions on the box. (If, like me, you used chickpea pasta, cook it for a minute or two less than it says to. It's not great mushy.)
  • Add the mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, and 2 tbsp olive oil to the pan with the broccoli and garlic. Cook for a couple minutes and then mix in 2 large handfuls of spinach, then add in the salt, pepper and red chili flakes before decreasing the heat to low.
  • Once the spinach is fully incorporated and thoroughly wilted, add the balsamic vineger, lemon juice, and 2 of of the goat cheese and mix until a sauce forms.
  • Toast the pine nuts in a small pan on medium heat. They're ready when they start to smell nutty and look slightly golden and a big shiny. You'll want to keep a watchful eye on these, as they're expensive and burn quickly.
  • Add the pasta into the vegetable pan, along with 1 more oz of goat cheese and the toasted pine nuts. Mix to fully coat everything, and then add a bit more salt, pepper and red chili flakes to taste.
  • Portion into 4 bowls, and top with crumbled bits of the remaining goat cheese.

And there you have it! One of my absolute favorite weeknight meals! I truly hope you love it as much as I do. If you give it a try, please let me know either in the comments, or on Instagram!

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