Mediterranean Vegetable White Bean & Feta Penne

I am so proud of us, well, really of the chef for making ALL of the planned meals this week. To finish off the week, we had some more veggies – yipee for two “meatless mondays” in a same week!

The theme of this week was “The Best of Clean Eating 2” and another recipe that was a complete delight – mediterranean vegetable white bean and fetta penne. Just reading the title, this meal has all my favorites – veggies, feta, and pasta!!!! Of course I had a glass of sauvignon blanc and the chef added some grilled chicken that was leftover from earlier in the week.

This dish is not only delicious, but a cinch to throw together.  The flavors are great (of course, I am biased as I am a huge fan of feta cheese), and we discovered an added bonus – it is also delicious as a cold pasta salad for leftovers the next day!

Mediterranean Vegetable, White Bean and Feta Penne 
[slightly adapted from The Best of Clean Eating 2]

INGREDIENTS:6 oz whole-grain penne pasta 
1 cup cooked canned white beans, drained and rinsed well 
2 medium tomatoes, chopped 
4 cloves of garlic, minced, divided
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp plus 2 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 medium zucchini, cut into eighths lengthwise, then cut into 2-inch pieces
1 medium green yellow and red bell pepper, cut into thin strips, then cut into 2-inch pieces 
1/2 tsp dried rosemary
1 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (optional)

1. Cook penne according to package directions, adding beans during the last minute of cooking.
2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic, vinegar, basil, pepper flakes and salt; set aside.
3. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a skillet over medium high heat, tilting skillet to coat bottom lightly. Add [zucchini] and bell pepper and cook for 4 minutes or until edges begin to brown, stirring frequently. Add remaining 2 cloves garlic and cook for 15 seconds, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, stir in tomato mixture and drizzle with remaining 1 tbsp oil. Chop chicken into bite size pieces and add to vegetable mixture. Cover to keep warm.
5. Drain penne-bean mixture, place in a serving bowl, sprinkle evenly with rosemary and all but 1/4 cup feta. Spoon vegetable/chicken mixture over top and finish with remaining feta.

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