Enjoy these recipes to put vegetables front-and-center on your family’s table:

Americans aren’t eating enough vegetables. A diet high in fruits and vegetables is one of the keys to good health — helping to protect the body against all kinds of diseases, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and more. But according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of Americans are consuming less than 1 cup of vegetables and 1.5 cups of fruit per day, and 87 percent of Americans are not eating the recommended daily amount of vegetables. In state-by-state comparisons, our own community here in Delaware is doing slightly worse than the national average.

It’s time to step it up, friends! Healthy habits at home and at work are your best defense against needing a trip to the hospital. As your expert, caring partners in health, we at Christiana Care want to help you make a difference in your life and your family’s life, and build a healthier community. What better way than to refocus on every mother’s advice: Eat  your vegetables.

This is the fifth and last in a series of recipes that we hope will teach you some delicious, fun ways to get more vegetables into your diet. We hope you find a few recipes that you like enough to make them weekly staples. Let us know your favorites! For more help in planning your family meals, visit ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Pesto Pasta

Summer is right around the corner, and fresh herbs are plentiful. Take advantage by making a homemade pesto that is as quick to make as it is bright and flavorful. Kale gives basil pesto a nutritious boost and is a great way to get your kids to eat their greens without realizing it. Packed with Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and fiber, kale deserves a place at your dinner table. Heart-healthy walnuts are a more affordable and easier-to-find replacement for the more traditional pine nuts. Pesto is added to high-fiber pasta filled with more vegetables to create an affordable and nutritious dinner.

Consider making a whole batch of pesto, even if you aren’t cooking for a crowd. Freeze half for another day or another use. Ice cube trays are perfect for freezing small portions that can be used to add flavor to other dishes.

Not growing your own herbs? You should! Check out our suggestions on how to start your own herb garden, whether it is a plot in your back yard or a pot on your windowsill.



2 cups kale leaves, stems and larger ribs removed
2 cups basil leaves
1-2 cloves of garlic
½ cup shelled walnuts
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 lemon, halved
2 tablespoons olive oil


16 oz high fiber penne pasta, or whole wheat penne pasta
Cooking spray or 1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups yellow summer squash, chopped
2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, larger tomatoes cut in half
Salt and pepper to taste



  1. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse kale leaves, basil leaves, and garlic until very finely minced.


  1. Add walnuts and Parmesan cheese and process until a smooth paste forms, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl if necessary.


  1. Add juice of ½ the lemon and olive oil and process until well combined. Taste and add more lemon juice if desired. Set bowl aside until ready to serve.



  1. In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Return drained pasta to the same pot.
  2. While pasta is cooking, heat a large saute pan over medium heat. Spray with cooking spray or add 1 teaspoon olive oil and saute yellow squash. Continue to saute until desired tenderness, covering with a lid if necessary to help them steam. Once cooked, add tomatoes and stir until heated through. Season to taste with salt and pepper.



  1. Add pesto to the drained but still hot pot of pasta. Stir to coat, adding pasta cooking liquid 1 tablespoon at a time, as needed, to help thin the pesto. Add sauteed vegetables to pasta, tossing to combine. Serve immediately.



Serves 8.



Calories 102 Total Fat 9 g
Saturated Fat 2 g Monounsaturated Fat 3 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 4 g Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 3 mg Sodium 56 mg
Potassium 147 mg Total Carbohydrate 4 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g Sugars 0 g
Protein 3 g

Pasta with Vegetables

Calories 192 Total Fat 1 g
Saturated Fat 0 g Monounsaturated Fat 0 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0 g Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg Sodium 16 mg
Potassium 170 mg Total Carbohydrate 42 g
Dietary Fiber 6 g Sugars 2 g
Protein 7 g