Cheesy Penne Pasta With Tomatoes and Pecans

This Cheesy Penne Pasta is nutritious and healthy, and packs a flavor profile that you will just love.

cheesy penne pasta

Cheesy Penne Pasta – Healthy and Nutritious

To make the recipe suitable for vegetarians, I used the following ingredients:

The almond milk and hidden pecans gives a nutty taste and texture and the sauce is creamy and delicious.

Serve this with roasted veggies or as a side dish with meat for the the meat eaters in your family.  You will get rave reviews.

Have you done any mac and cheese recipe make overs that worked well for you? What did you use as substitutes?  Please leave your comments below.

For more healthy vegetarian meals, please visit me on Facebook.

Yield: 8

Cheesy Penne Pasta with Tomatoes and Pecans

Cheesy Penne Pasta with Tomatoes and Pecans

This Cheesy Penne Pasta is nutritious and healthy, and packs a flavor profile that you will just love.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes


  • 10 small grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/4 cup of pecan halves.
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp of fresh thyme, plus sprigs for garnishing
  • Coarse salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup of Panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp of Earth Balance Buttery Spread
  • 1 pound of Whole Wheat Penne Pasta
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 6 tablespoons of all purpose flour
  • Pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of red pepper
  • 2 cups of Vanilla almond Milk
  • 2 ounces of Cabot reduced fat cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of Veggie Parmesan cheese, grated.


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Layer the grape tomatoes on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with 1/2 of the fresh thyme. Heat in the oven until the tomatoes have softened - about 20 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the earth balance spread and mix 1/2 of it with the Panko bread crumbs. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
  3. Cook the pasta in boiling, salted water for about 5 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop it from cooking. Set aside.
  4. Whisk 1/2 of the vegetable broth with the flour and let it sit.
  5. Combine the rest of the butter spread with the nutmeg, red pepper, remaining thyme and salt.
  6. Add the almond milk and the rest of the vegetable stock. Whisk in the flour mixture.
  7. Cook over a medium heat until it boils. About 8 minutes or so, stirring frequently so that it does not burn.
  8. Add the cheese and cook, stirring until melted. Pour the mixture over the pasta and stir until is it combined.
  9. Layer the tomatoes and pecans in the bottom of a dish that has been spray with Pam or olive oil. Cover with the pasta and sauce. Top the dish with the Panko bread crumbs.
  10. Cook in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until lightly browned.
  11. Serve immediately. Garnish with a slice of tomato, and pecan and thyme sprig.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1/8th of the casserole

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 294Total Fat: 12gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 454mgCarbohydrates: 40gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 9g
Nutritional information is approximate due to natural variation in ingredients and the cook-at-home nature of our meals.

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are "affiliate links." This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small commission from the sale, but the price is the same for you. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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