RECIPE: Tomato Pesto Pasta | #ThisGirlEats

Serves: 2
How much does it cost? This cost me less than 50p per person.
What are the benefits? From this dish you’ll get two of your five a day and plenty of fibre, not to mention it is vegetarian-friendly as long as you double check the pesto!

This recipe is a perfect example of how just a few simple ingredients can be turned into a nutritious, robust, colourful, exciting meal for the whole family (although in my house I’m the only one who eats tomatoes. Never mind – more for me! 😋)

This idea was inspired by a day of spring cleaning (yes, that does happen from time to time!) I spent the morning clearing out our kitchen and came across some leftover bits tiptoeing dangerously close to their expiry dates and thought I’d better rescue them! We had an unopened jar of pesto 🌿 the last squeeze in a tube of tomato purée 🍅 and obviously heaps of pasta because, you know, we love carbs 🍝

What I love about is recipe that it really is what #ThisGirlEats is all about. It’s cheap – around 44p per person (ingredients bought from ASDA) – with really basic, accessible ingredients that give a fresh, flavoursome taste on a budget. And, of course, it’s good for you too – vegetables, wholewheat pasta and a splash of light pesto, that’s really all there is to it!


140g Wholewheat Pasta
1 Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
1 Onion, Chopped
2 Fresh Tomatoes, Chopped
15g (or 1 heaped tbsp) Light Green Pesto
5g (or 1 tsp) Tomato Purée

As always with pasta, season the saucepan of water with salt to give it some flavour. When the onions are cooking, throw in some dried garlic (or fresh, if you’ve got it) and, to the tomato sauce, add a good helping of dried basil and dried oregano, as well as a pinch of salt and pepper.

So, this is how I did it…

1. Cook pasta in a pan of boiling water according to packet instructions, which usually takes somewhere between 10 – 15 minutes.

2. Fry the onions in a frying pan with cooking spray or a drop of oil for around 5 minutes, until they begin to soften.

3. Add the tin of tomatoes, fresh tomatoes and tomato purée to the frying pan, season and simmer for around 10 minutes. If you’ve got any to hand, you could always add a teaspoon of sugar here to make it a little less acidic, but it’s not a necessity.

4. Stir the pesto into the sauce. Drain the pasta, combine with the tomato sauce and serve, with a sprinkle of cheese on top if you fancy.

Tips & Tricks!

  • Any leftovers from the family dinner can be packed up and reheated for lunch tomorrow. Don’t let it go to waste!
  • There’s always flexibility with pasta dishes, and this one is no different! Bulk it out with even more vegetables, it’s a great way of using up any veggies on their last legs.
  • If you want to treat yourself, sprinkle some grated cheese on top to make the dish extra tasty.

RECIPE: Mushroom Pesto Pasta | #ThisGirlEats

Serves: 2
How much does it cost? This recipe cost me just over 50p per person (56p to be exact!).
What are the benefits? You’ll find at least one of your five a day within this recipe, not to mention it’s suitable for vegetarians (as long as the pesto is veggie-friendly!) and is a great source of fibre.

My boyfriend hates mushrooms and, guys, it really annoys me. It’s weird! Okay, I actually know a lot of people who don’t like mushrooms – but they’re weird too! Mushrooms are immense – in a burger, wrap, pasta… embrace the funghi, people! 🍄

This recipe is quick, easy and made up of three essentials – pesto (totally delicious), pasta (the best) and mushrooms (I don’t care what anyone says). Chuck them all in together and you’ve got a pretty good thing going.

Don’t stress about pesto’s fat content – “good” fats from olive oil and pine nuts, both found in pesto, can be great for your cholesterol, heart and blood pressure. On top of that, this dish also contains three different vegetables (please don’t start with that whole “but tomatoes are a fruit!” thing, you know what I mean) and, made with wholewheat pasta, it’s going to keep you fuller for longer. An easy, hearty, yummy midweek dinner.

6 Medium Mushrooms, Chopped
6 Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
1 Medium Onion, Chopped
140g Wholewheat Pasta
2 tbsp Green Pesto
Handful of Low Fat Grated Cheese
1 tsp Tomato Purée

Lucky for us, pesto does a lot of the work on this one so there isn’t a whole load of effort that goes into seasoning here. Just add a few dried garlic flakes in with the onions, sprinkle over some dried thyme when the mushrooms go in and, as always, finish with a pinch of salt and pepper.

So, this is how I did it…

1. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil, add enough pasta for two and cook according to packet instructions, usually takes around 10 – 15 minutes.

2. Coat a frying pan with cooking spray or a tiny drop of oil and then add the onion, cooking for only a couple of minutes on a steady medium heat.

3. Add in the mushrooms, tomatoes, tomato purée and a splash of water and fry on a medium-low heat for no longer than 10 minutes, until the veggies are softened and cooked through.

4. Drain the pasta and combine with the vegetables, stirring through a heaped tablespoon or two pesto. Of course, adjust according to taste!

5. Top with grated cheese (and drizzle with a small amount of oil if you wish).

pesto pasta