Since there is no penne pasta in this recipe, I probably cannot call it “Penne Rosa.” But I don’t know what else to call it. So here we go.
As you may know, on Mondays I like to share standard recipes I’ve modified to be Paleo and/or Whole 30 approved. This week is a pretty simple one, but I wanted to share it anyways to show you how easy it is to make small tweaks to your favorite recipes to make them healthier.
This recipe from Wholefully is a recreation of Noodles and Co’s Penne Rosa. It’s actually a really great start–I only made a few modifications. The most obvious one is swapping out the pasta since grains are a no-no on Paleo. The swaps I’ve made make this recipe both Paleo and Whole 30 compliant.
What I modified/what to look out for:
- I never use olive oil for cooking. Olive oil has a low smoke point, meaning it can release harmful free radicals at temperatures as low as 320 degrees. It should be reserved for making dressings. Instead, I’ll use avocado oil, which has a higher smoke point at 500 degrees.
- Increased the red pepper flakes from a “pinch” to a teaspoon. Because I like it hot!
- Swap out regular table salt for sea salt or pink Himalayan sea salt
- Ensure that the marinara sauce you are using does not contain any sugar or soy–two things that like to hide in store-bought sauces! I’m a personal fan of all the Thrive brand marinara sauces. If you’re having trouble finding one, just use plain canned tomato sauce and a tablespoon of Italian seasoning.
- This one should be obvious–I’ve swapped out the penne for spiralized zucchini. Spiralizers are quite popular these days and are easy to find. Here is a countertop one from Amazon, but you also find inexpensive handheld ones like this. PSA: Zoodles or spoodles (sweet potato noodles) can replace pasta in just about any recipe, so you don’t have to feel like you’re “missing out” on your favorites.
- The original recipe called for both Greek yogurt and Parmesan cheese. I’ve left both of these out and instead used 1/3 cup of coconut cream. Coconut cream is the thick stuff at the top of a can of coconut milk. Scoop out what you need and save the rest for other recipes!
- Lastly, I’ve added chicken sausage to this recipe to make it a complete meal. You could also skip this and just serve the sauce over some baked chicken. If you do choose to use sausage, just make sure you are looking out for sugar and other additives. I love the Brat Hans brand, which I’ve found at Hy-Vee and Whole Foods.
Paleo/Whole 30 “Penne” Rosa
- 1 Tbsp avocado oil
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 8 oz button mushrooms, sliced
- 2 medium tomatoes, chopped
- Pink Himalayan sea salt and pepper, to taste
- 4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- ½ cup marinara sauce
- 3 medium zucchini, spiralized
- 1/3 cup coconut cream
- 3 spinach chicken sausage, sliced
- In a large skillet with a lid, heat avocado oil over medium-low heat. Add in garlic and red pepper flakes. Stirring frequently, cook for 2 minutes until garlic becomes fragrant.
- Stir in mushrooms, tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cook until mushrooms begin to release their water, about 5 minutes.
- Add the spinach and place cover on skillet, allowing the spinach to wilt for a couple minutes.
- Remove the lid and add in the pasta sauce. Stir well to incorporate.
- Mix in the coconut cream, stirring until melted. Once incorporated, add in the chicken sausage, stir and remove from heat.
- In a separate skillet, add a bit of avocado oil and heat over medium. Sautée the spiralized zucchini for a few minutes to warm through and let them release a bit of water.
- Serve finished rosa sauce over sauteed zucchini noodles.
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