Like Recipes?

Sign up to receive Jackie’s recipes right in your inbox!

make-ahead fusilli pasta bowls

by Jackie Newgent  |  September 22, 2015  |  0 Comments

make-ahead fusilli bowl

At the end of a long day, sometimes cooking up a quick pot of pasta doesn’t seem speedy enough—and a packaged frozen entrée doesn’t sound appealing enough. That’s where this fast pasta bowl fix comes in—inspired by The Recipe Redux theme of this month, “Fantastic Freezer Meals.”

It’s my go-to pasta bowl of the moment. I pair whole grain fusilli with a good-quality marinara sauce, plus some of my favorite ingredients: baby arugula, goat cheese, pistachios, and lemon zest. Yum!

Here’s all you need to do: (1) Prepare this recipe whenever you have 15 minutes or so to spare (for me, that’s usually Sunday late evening); (2) freeze it in 4 bowls; (3) microwave a bowl of it for 3 minutes whenever you want a warm, comforting meal ASAP! It doesn’t get much quicker than that. The bonus: It’s both tasty and nutritious. Try it!

(And yes, that’s the before and after photo above … looks prettier before freezing; tastes better after prep!)

Calories saved: 60

Why it’s better for you? It’s meat free, yet still has ample protein!

Disclosure Note: At the time of posting, one of my clients was Wonderful Pistachios. I did not receive compensation for this blog post. The recipe and opinions expressed here are my own.

make-ahead fusilli pasta bowls

Yield: 4 servings

Serving Size: 1 bowl (1 1/2 cups)

make-ahead fusilli pasta bowls


  • 10 ounces dry whole grain fusilli pasta
  • 1 cup good-quality marinara sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 (5-ounce) package fresh baby arugula
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup salted roasted shelled pistachios


  1. Cook the pasta according to package directions in salted water until al dente. (Or save energy and “lid cook” it like this: Bring water to a boil, stir in the pasta, bring back to boil, add lid, remove from heat, and let cook without heat for the same time suggested on the package.)
  2. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking liquid. Toss together the pasta, marinara sauce, lemon zest, and the reserved cooking liquid. Divide among 4 freezer- and microwave-safe bowls (2-cup capacity). Top with the arugula, goat cheese, and pistachios. Cover tightly and freeze.
  3. To prepare one bowl: Remove lid or other cover, loosely cover with unbleached parchment paper or paper towel, and microwave on HI for 2 minutes. Stir and microwave for 1 minute, or until fully heated. (Note: Microwave cooking times vary.)
  4. Sprinkle with additional fresh grated lemon zest, if desired, and enjoy. If you like, serve the pasta bowl with a side salad or seasonal fruit.


Per serving: 400 calories, 12g total fat, 5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 15mg cholesterol, 600mg sodium, 60g total carbohydrate, 8g dietary fiber, 6g sugars, 20g protein

The “Before” Version

Inspired by fusilli with goat cheese, peas and prosciutto

Per serving: 460 calories, 12g total fat, 6g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 30mg cholesterol, 710mg sodium, 64g carbohydrates, 9g dietary fiber, .6g sugars, 24g protein

Tasteover Tips

  • When in doubt, go heavy on non-starchy vegetables, like baby arugula.
  • Want little pops of green? Try pistachios rather than starchy peas. The crunchy nuts also provide a punch of protein in lieu of prosciutto or other meat.
  • Don’t be shy with lemon zest; it adds refreshing zing. Healthy food should always taste great!
Here’s the make-ahead fusilli pasta bowl before freezing. Looks like a salad!
Here’s the make-ahead fusilli pasta bowl before freezing. Looks like a salad!




Share Your Thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *