Vegan Veggie Pesto Pasta with Pistachios

Vegan Veggie Pesto Pasta with Pistachios | Living Healthy in Seattle Vegan Veggie Pesto Pasta with Pistachios | Living Healthy in Seattle

Anddd I’m back!

Back from literally running around Europe with my little sis for nearly 4 weeks.

No this was not a relaxing trip.

At all.

But it was “heaps” fun, as my new Aussie friends would say, and I definitely saw a lot in a very short period of time.

And ate a ton.

Like 3 times as much as usual.

No, that is not an exaggeration.

So now it’s time to get back into the swing of things.

Less sugar, carbs, and cheese.

(And way less wine + spritzes.)

Tear.

But my body already feels so much better!

Especially after inhaling a bowl of this super green vegan pesto pasta.

It’s loaded with veggies and basil and protein-packed pistachios.

My sister and I are having pistachio gelato withdrawals so I had to squeeze those nutty green guys in the healthy repertoire somehow.

Normally pesto has some sort of cheese action going on, but you really don’t need it!

I folded in perfectly ripe cubed avocado and didn’t miss the cheese one bit.

So what all goes into this suspiciously green pasta?

First up, homemade pesto packed with fresh fragrant basil, a tiny garlic clove for a bit of bite, bright lemon zest and juice, toasted pine nuts, red pepper flakes for a kick, fresh ground black pepper, and a hit of salt, plus extra virgin olive oil to pull it together.

Toss that with whole wheat pasta shells, crisp-tender grilled asparagus and sugar snap peas, sweet peas, creamy avocado, more fresh basil, toasted whole pistachios, and a splash of hot pasta water, then you’re good to go!

(Don’t forget to season your pasta dish with salt, black pepper, and red pepper flakes to really bring out all the flavors.)

Grab a jumbo bowl and devour savor.

Then chase it with a chilled glass of white because life is short.

P.S. If you really need cheese in your life, feel free to grate some Parm right on top.

P.P.S. This dish is best served slightly warm or room temp, but chilled will do too.

P.P.P.S. Cook your veggies until they’re done to your liking. I prefer them a bit charred but not completely floppy.

P.P.P.P.S. On a very unrelated note, I slipped and fell all over the ground in a restaurant right in front of a table of people I know (and was trying to avoid). Great. And on a related note, this pasta made me feel a little better.

Vegan Veggie Pesto Pasta with Pistachios

Serves 8

  • 1 pound whole wheat short-cut pasta, I used medium-small shells
  • 1 cup sweet green peas (frozen or fresh, I used frozen)
  • 1/2 cup hot pasta water; for thinning pesto
  • Olive oil; enough to lightly coat asparagus and snap peas
  • 1 bunch (1 large handful) fresh asparagus; woody ends snapped off, sliced into 2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
  • 2 cups sugar snap peas; strings removed if necessary, chopped in half
  • 1 cup pistachios; shelled, toasted
  • 1 medium-large firm-ripe avocado; cubed
  • Fresh basil; torn, for garnish
  • Salt, to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • Red pepper flakes, to taste
  • Vegan Basil Pesto:
  • 6 cups fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts; toasted, cooled
  • 1 small clove garlic (or 1/2 large clove); roughly chopped
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  1. Cook the pasta according to the package instructions. Just shy of al dente, add the peas to the boiling pasta water and cook for 30 seconds. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water, then drain the pasta and peas.
  2. Meanwhile, heat your grill to medium-high heat. Coat the asparagus and snap peas in a light layer of olive oil. Place the veggies in a grill basket or on foil, then grill for about 6 minutes or until tender and lightly charred, flipping once. Cooking time will depend on your grill and thickness of veggies. You can also saute the veggies over medium heat until crisp-tender, or roast in the oven at 425 degrees on a rimmed metal baking sheet.
  3. For the pesto, pulse the basil, toasted pine nuts, garlic, salt, black pepper, red pepper, lemon zest and juice. Add the olive oil and blend until just combined, scraping the side of the bowl when necessary. Taste and adjust the ingredients to your liking. I often add another splash of lemon juice.
  4. Fold the cooked pasta, peas, grilled asparagus, snap peas, and pesto together until combined, adding hot pasta water to loosen the mixture, if necessary.
  5. Gently fold in the pistachios, cubed avocado, and more fresh basil.
  6. Season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper to taste.

 

 

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