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Recipe: Steak and Spinach Penne

When Natasha from Five Star Foodie announced that that the April’10 “5 Star Makeover” is pasta, my brain juices started flowing. For some reason, we haven’t made pasta in a long time and soon after, a twist on an old favorite was in the making. You might have seen a similar combination in Italian restaurants with shrimp, but what I have here is made with juicy tender tenderloin steak.

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Tenderloin is actually considered a lean cut of meat. Combined with healthy vegetables, pine nuts, spices, and whole grain pasta, this dish goes hand in hand with healthy eating. I used reduced fat milk (2%) and corn starch to make the white sauce instead of heavy cream, which drops the fat content by a lot! The cheese is full fat, but oh well, we all love our cheese in moderation every now and then.


  • 2 c dry whole wheat penne pasta
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb tenderloin steak, trimmed of fat and cut into strips
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp all spice
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 5 oz spinach
  • 1/2 c sun dried tomatoes, cut into thin strips
  • 1 8-oz c reduced fat milk, cold
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/4 c raw pine nuts
  • 1/3 c crumbled blue cheese

Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve some of the boiling water.

Start with the meat while the pasta is cooking so they are both done at the same time. In a saute pan, heat the oil and saute the steak. Stir in the  garlic, salt, pepper, all spice, nutmeg, and vinegar. Saute for a few minutes. Add the spinach and sun dried tomatoes, and stir until spinach wilts.

In a large cup or bowl, stir the corn starch in cold milk until it dissolves. Make sure there are no clumps. Pour the mixture into a small sauce pan on medium heat, stirring constantly until it thickens.

Pour the thickened milk onto the meat and vegetables. Remove from heat and stir in the pasta, cheese, and pine nuts. If it’s too thick, add some of the reserved water from boiling the pasta until you reach desired consistency. Serve hot.

Nour’s guidance and expertise was the key to dramatically halting our son’s [Crohn’s] disease progression! His pediatric gastroenterologist is now in agreement of our choice to treat solely with diet and supplements. All his labs have improved and his inflammatory markers are so low they are practically nonexistent.

Before working with Nour, I experienced intestinal pain off and on for for 54 years with minimal success on medications. I have benefited 100% from Nour’s program as I am now pain free!

A lot of time and money was wasted on foods that I thought would help my digestive struggles [diarrhea, bloating, hunger], but in fact I was making it worse. The main benefit is getting a handle on what negatively affects my digestive symptom. Doing a total 180 to my eating habits has been pretty amazing.


9 thoughts on “Recipe: Steak and Spinach Penne”

    1. Nour El-Zibdeh, RD

      Thanks Natasha! It was the first time we make it with blue cheese and we were very happy with how it came out. The nice thing about blue cheese is that it’s strong in flavor and texture so you don’t need to use much– great for going light on cheese 🙂

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