Product Review: I’m Cooking with Barilla Pasta (Plus a Giveaway)

This giveaway has ended. Congrats to Bonnie and Judy, who won Barilla Pasta Gift Packs!

You can still read the post and the comments for some yummy healthy pasta recipes!

When I started counting calories, I mostly gave up the joy of pasta because it didn’t seem to be a good bang for my caloric buck. When Barilla came out with their Pasta Plus, I began keeping it on hand, mostly for last minute meals. I like the taste of it, and it’s a good source of protein, fiber, and Omega 3’s (via flaxseed). Again, though, I haven’t had it too often due to those pesky calories. More on that in a minute.

Earlier this month, Barilla PR contacted me asking if I would review a few of their products and–get ready for it–“create a unique, healthy pasta recipe”. Since I had tried and liked the Pasta Plus, I agreed to the project. It had absolutely nothing to do with being asked to create a recipe. (I might not be much of a cook, but I seem to be getting quite a few requests for recipes. Just sayin’.)

Barilla Pasta

Oh.My.Word. Who knew there were so many types of pasta? I had no idea which one to use to create my unique recipe! (Later I found a quiz on Barilla’s website to help narrow it down.)

Me being me, I flipped the boxes to compare calorie/protein counts. One thing lead to another and I eventually figured out an embarrassing misconception I’d been operating under, namely: Am I the only person on the planet who didn’t realize that the calorie counts on the package were for uncooked pasta? No wonder I didn’t feel satisfied after eating pasta–I’ve been eating half portions for the past five years! LOL I happily stand corrected and will be enjoying pasta more frequently in the future!

On to the cooking. As a warm up, I tried the Whole Grain with my Lentil Pasta Sauce. That worked out well. The Barilla Whole Grain Spaghetti has 7g of protein and 6g of fiber, which meant that the pasta and sauce combined for 20g of protein and 13g of fiber. Decent nutritionals and quite tasty. I didn’t really pick up on the “wheatiness” (which I like) of whole wheat pasta, because this variety only has a little over 50% whole wheat flour. That could be a good thing for parents whose kids are resistant to the 100% whole wheat pasta.

That’s all fine and good, but I was supposed to be creating something “unique” for this review. Not being much of a cook, this caused a bit of a brain strain until I remembered an idea I’d had while eating a muffaletta salad one day and wishing it was a muffaletta sandwich on sesame bread.

You see where this is going, don’t you? Okay, without further ado, I give you….

Pastaletta by Cammy@TippyToeDiet

A traditional muffaletta has ham, salami, provolone, mozzarella (or swiss), and olive salad and is served on sesame bread. I don’t like salami, and I usually skip one of the cheeses, but for this recipe, I wanted to go more for the original. So I improvised a little. :)

For the pasta, I chose the Barilla Veggie Penne made with Pureed Carrots and Tomatoes. According to the PR, this pasta is made up of 25% pureed vegetables and each 3.5-oz. serving equals one serving of vegetables. This leads to my one and only quibble: 3.5 oz. of penne pasta is A LOT of freaking pasta. Most of us are going to go with the 2-oz. serving (or, in my case, even smaller), so the “one serving of vegetables” doesn’t work out. But so be it. That’s why we read labels.

Pastaletta Recipe

Recipe is for one Cammy-sized serving

  • 1-1/2 oz.-2 oz. Barilla Veggie Penne Pasta
  • 2 tbsp. olive salad (I used Delallo Olive Bruschetta*)
  • 2 oz. cubed ham
  • 1.2 oz. pepperoni
  • 3/4 oz. Provolone cheese
  • 1 tsp. Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp. sesame seeds

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Cook pasta according to pkg. directions (al dente in about 10 minutes. I took it off the heat and let it sit for another minute or so.)
3. Drain pasta well before tossing it into a small casserole dish with the olive mix. Stir, stir, stir.
4. Layer on the ham and pepperoni, followed by the Provolone.
5. Sprinkle the Parmesan and sesame seeds on top.
6. Bake until cheese gets all melty, about 10 minutes or so.

Note: I was so sure I had come up with a unique and original concept, but a quick Google just now says otherwise. There’s even a restaurant in Bowling Green, KY that serves Pastaletta.

But it’s not my Pastaletta. This one’s unique to me! :)

Pasta Verdict

Even at 2/3 or 3/5 or whatever serving of vegetables it is, the veggie pasta is delicious! I could really taste the tomatoes, and it worked really well with the olives and the cheese. This is a product I will definitely continue to use!

For this recipe, in the future I’ll just skip the pepperoni. Considering how little I used, it didn’t really add much flavor. But the ham, cheese, olive, sesame mix worked really, really well with the Veggie Penne. I might try it with capicola, or spiced ham, instead of leftover Christmas ham from the freezer. :)

As for the other pastas, I haven’t had time to try those yet. Moderation, you know. :) And my dad has appropriated the Rotini with Zucchini and Spinach pasta to use in his homemade tomato soup. That sounds pretty good, actually, and I’m not even a spinach fan.


The point of all this is that pasta, in proper portions and with nutritious ingredients, can be a healthy addition to any eating plan. To celebrate that, Barilla is giving two lucky U.S. readers a pasta pack of their very own AND a Barilla apron.

All you have to do for an entry is share your favorite healthy, pasta recipe in the comments. Give us details, describe it in general, link to a post on your blog or another website–whatever. International readers: If you want to play along, you’ll win our gratitude! :)

I’ll pick a winner on Saturday noon (Central US Time), so you have until then to share your healthy pasta recipe. C’mon, I showed you mine! :) (Hint for my fellow non-cooks: pasta + veggies = healthy pasta recipe.)

Note: If you’re curious about my muffaletta salad recipe, just replace the pasta with lettuce. :)

Disclosure: Barilla provided the pasta for my review and is providing the prize packs to two readers. Opinions and quibbles (and pastaletta recipe) are my own.


I have finally gotten around to publishing a Tippy Toe Diet page on Facebook! I’ve been receiving requests for it for a while now, from people who prefer to get new post updates and such in their FB news feeds, and I’d played around with it a bit, but I’d been lazy about finishing. Now it’s done, and you’re welcome to Like the page for updates, or you can just hang around here. :)

Of course, you’re also welcome to follow ME on Facebook, but I don’t really update much given the mixing of business & personal contacts in my friends list. :)

25 thoughts on “Product Review: I’m Cooking with Barilla Pasta (Plus a Giveaway)

  1. For a non cook , you do pretty dang great!!! :) Got to your FB page too!

    I am not a pasta fan but hubby LOVES it!!! If yo left it up to heealthy me, I would choose the protein or veggie pasta & throw in either white meat chicken or tuna fish, some veggies. :) Sauce still up in the air. 😉

    • You lost me with the tuna, Jody. :) But I love chicken breast with pasta, tomato sauce, and a little bit of parmesan cheese. In fact, I might have to have that next week! LOL

    • Oooh, thanks, Aubrey! I’m not a big fan of creamy sauces (thank goodness!), so this looks like a nice alternative to traditional Pasta Primavera.

  2. You know I love the single serving recipes! I have some leftover Christmas ham in the freezer, I’m going to try this. But olive salad? Can I use some chopped olives and a tiny bit of olive oil?

    For my best pasta recipe, I like my Darn Good Spaghetti Sauce– I love it over veggies. I might have to try the barilla veggie pasta. Barilla is my favorite pasta brand.

    • Thanks, Debby! I’d forgotten about that spaghetti sauce recipe.

      You can use whatever you want in your olive salad. :) The traditional olive salads include pickled vegetables (cauliflower, carrots, pepperoncini, etc.) and capers, which I think adds an extra layer of flavor, but the olives are what I really want. I’ve even been wondering about adding a splash of the olive brine to the “sauce” as a way to get a bit more of an olive-y flavor without the addition of more oil. I’ll let you know how THAT works. :)

  3. I actually have some homemade olive salad in the refrigerator right now – left over from when I made us a Muffaletta a couple of weeks ago. I should make this pasta. Pasta is Mr. Helen’s favorite starch so I know this recipe would make him happy. Thanks for sharing!

    • Oh, Helen, I’m so happy someone shares the muffaletta love! :) Let me know how Mr. Helen likes the pastaletta.

      You know, I’m thinking that just the pasta and the olive salad would make a tasty dish, and I’m going to try to remember that the next time I need a last minute meal. If I used the protein or the whole wheat pasta, it would still have plenty of protein.

  4. I remember trying Barilla’s whole grain pasta and that tasted terrible. The whole grain taste, in my opinion, overpowers the flavors of the sauce.

    • It took me a while to get accustomed to the wheat-y flavor of 100% whole wheat pasta, but now I like it. In the case of Barilla’s whole grain, I didn’t notice any disproportionate wheatiness at all. My sauces tend toward the spicy side, so maybe that has something to do with it?

      Thanks for sharing your POV!

  5. Ohhh man! I would love to win a pasta prize pack! The veggie varieties sound great! I haven’t seen those in our store yet, but will have to keep an eye out.
    A recent successful pasta dish was made with:
    sauteed turkey sausage
    Ro-Tel tomatoes w chiles
    fresh spinach
    a sprinkling of parmesan

  6. I had the same revelation about pasta portions! Geez…we were missing out, weren’t we? :)

    Favorite pasta recipe…Very simple dish we make at home regularly…Cube chicken and cook it in a skillet with green, red, orange, and yellow peppers and vidalia onion (I don’t use any oil, I get enough moisture from the peppers). Add in sea salt, pepper, and California Blend (garlic parsley mix). Once cooked, add to cooked Penne pasta (I love Barilla Plus as well!). No sauce is even needed, just dump in everything from the skillet (like my technical cooking terms?). Yummy, filling, quick and simple. My favorite combination!

    157 pounds lost, 68 left to goal!

  7. Sounds good except the olive salad. I don’t eat a lot of pasta, but we always weigh the dry pasta and then cook it. I like the Barilla with the protein.

  8. I don’t have any great recipes. I’m not a very good cook. I have made an effort to change that over the past couple of years.

    My go-to quick dinner recipe is to take Barilla pasta and a can of sauce. The kids love it. And I can have it on the table in 15 minutes.

  9. Hi, Cammy! I’m one of your “stalkers”…LOL! I love muffalettas and will try this alternative.

    I’m not creative when it comes to receipes but occassionally I do take past, add turkey italian sausage and italian style crushed tomatoes. That’s about as close as I get to “Italian” cooking. :)

  10. The Barilla Plus (or Ronzoni Smart Taste) pastas are a staple in our household. I know that it’s not really whole grain, but it’s a compromise between me and Teh Husband, who won’t touch the whole wheat stuff but finds the Plus/Smart Taste pastas perfectly tasty.

    One of our family favorites: Cauliflower, Pasta, and Cheese Gratin from Cooking Light. Of course, I’ve adapted it over the years. And I may or may not throw a few strips of bacon in there. 😀

  11. Hey for a so called non cook you did awesome!

    I have used Barilla pasta for years and my family likes the Barilla Wheat and the Barilla Plus just fine.

    I am not a huge pasta fan but my family really likes pasta and this is one of their favorites;
    This filling dish contains chicken, parmesan cheese, broccoli and carrots – really healthy and full of flavor.

    I actually like this pasta side dish that uses Barilla Orzo and parmesan cheese, toasted pine nuts and basil. Delicious!

  12. My favorite pasta is a can of diced tomatoes, fresh minced garlic (i use the already minced in a jar kind :) , fresh basil, and salty cheese. In the summer I add any veggies on hand.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  13. Pingback: Winners…in More Ways Than Pasta | Tippy Toe Diet

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