Too Busy to Cook? Make Fast, Summery Pasta

Like you, I sometimes come home from work “hangry,” and want something to feed my family fast. That’s why I’m sharing a go-to quick meal that I make when I really want to eat, sooner rather than later.

The first thing you should do when you walk in the door after work is put a pot of water on the stove to boil. Yes, you can have a meal on the table in under 30 minutes, if you get that water hot and your cooking tools in easy reach.

I’m not kidding. You’re going to have a luscious, creamy, lemony, garlicky pasta, sprinkled with crunchy pistachios in your sights, with a little chopping and a drizzle of flavorful olive oil. Watch the video, and let me know if you agree that it’s a weeknight winner! Once you make it, it will be your fave quick meal.

One of the things I mentioned in the video is the problem of counterfeit olive oil. If you haven’t heard about it, you need to get savvy about shopping for this valuable ingredient. Extra Virgin Olive oil is a valued commodity, and it’s not all that hard to take cheap soy or other oil and color it green. Major olive oil companies have been caught doing this- names you see on the shelf at conventional grocery stores every day. If it’s cheap, don’t buy it. Never buy “light” olive oil, it’s not worth the money. Real extra virgin olive oil has myriad health benefits, and solvent-extracted, low grade olive oil has none, so it’s often passed off as extra virgin, as well.

If you haven’t read Extra Virginity, the expose written by Tom Mueller, you should. It’s very eye-opening, even if it has been out for a while. Mueller had a website exposing and rating olive oils for several years, it’s a treasure trove of info you can access here.

Figuring out which olive oil to buy means relying on your sources. One brand that I consider exceptional and real is California Olive Ranch. I also count on organic brands like Spectrum to do due diligence and inspect their growers farms. In general, look for extra virgin olive oil that comes from one region or city, not just “Italy” or “Europe.” A specific farm is even better. Organic oils are usually more closely monitored to make sure they are the real deal.

You’ll be glad you invested in genuine, extra virgin olive oil, when you taste this pasta. The real stuff has complex flavors, ranging from peppery and grassy to buttery and warm, depending on the olive variety. A simple, quick meal like this shows off your good olive oil, and makes a quick meal that everyone will love.

Roast Your Tomatoes for Effortless Pastas and More is a recipe for when the summer tomato harvest comes, and you can set yourself up with roasted tomatoes for wintertime quick meals.

Summery Pasta with Avocado and Herbs

Quick and Easy Pasta with some shortcuts you'll use over and over.
Course Main Course
Keyword asparagus, pasta, plantbased, quick meal,
Servings 4
Author Robin Asbell


  • 1 pound whole wheat linguine or spaghetti
  • 1 bunch asparagus or a stalk of broccoli
  • 6 large roma tomato or other ripe tomatoes chopped
  • 1 cup fresh basil or 2 cups arugula chopped
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup toasted pistachios or other nuts or seeds


  • Put on a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta.
  • In a large bowl, combine the tomatoes, avocado, and basil or arugula. In a cup, stir the olive oil, lemon zest and juice, garlic, salt and red pepper flakes. Pour over the avocado mixture and toss gently to coat. Let stand for five minutes to marinate and blend the flavors.
  • Cook the pasta, adding the vegetables for the last 2 minutes, drain well, and toss with the vegetable mixture. If desired, serve with nuts or seeds over the top.