This fast and easy family meal can be enjoyed a variety of ways. Swap in any veggies you have on hand or that look good at the farmer’s market, or any type of pasta that suits your family’s needs from legume based to gluten free. The seasonings and spice level can also easily be adjusted depending on your family’s preferences.

Involve even the youngest kids in the meal prep by having them pick the pasta shape, sprinkle cheese and tear the basil. Even if vegetables aren’t your kids’ favorite food, combining them with the familiarity of pasta and cheese may help entice even the most selective eaters!



  • 1 lb pasta of choice
  • 1 Tbsp olive or avocado oil
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • ½ red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium bell pepper, sliced into small strips
  • 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, chipped into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp dried Italian seasoning and/or sprinkle of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Grated parmesan cheese to taste
  • Fresh basil leaves, sliced thinly



  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook 1-2 minutes less than the package directions.
  2. While the pasta is cooking, heat oil in the large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and red onion sauté for 1-2 minutes. Add the bell pepper and sauté about 2 minutes. Add the zucchini, squash, asparagus and tomatoes. Add salt and pepper to taste, along with Italian seasoning and/or red pepper flakes, per your family’s preferences. Cook for 3-4 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and tender.
  3. When the pasta is done, strain and add to the skillet. Add the cheese and basil and stir to combine.


Amanda Buthmann MS, RD is a pediatric and family nutritionist at Lara Metz Nutrition in NYC. For more information contact her at, or visit

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