EASY SPINACH PESTO PASTA

Once in a while I make something that’s extra special. Something seemingly simple, but with flavors that sing. Now, as we discussed in my look back at 2015, I love all of the recipes I post. But some of them really set my heart aflutter. The last recipes I remember feeling that way about were my jackfruit carnitas 2.0, and before that, my coconut curry pasta (<- underappreciated recipe alert!). And today, this vegan spinach pesto pasta is joining the ranks.

When I first created this spinach pesto pasta recipe I thought I was going to need a pound of pasta to be sauced by the nearly half pound of spinach I was blending. But alas… I always underestimate spinach’s ability to reduce down to an infinitesimal volume. This is actually a good thing because this approximately 4-serving recipe is packed with a whopping 6 cups of spinach and perfect for anyone who wants to increase the volume of greens in his/her diet.

There’s no denying the deliciousness of classic pesto. But I take my pesto in a different direction these days, for a couple of reasons… the obvious one being cheese. And the second one being the high quantity of oil in most pesto recipes. That doesn’t sit well with my stomach, so I came up with my own vegan spins on pesto with more balanced amounts of fat and added nutrition from vegetables.

Easy Vegan Spinach Pesto Pasta

Easy vegan spinach pesto pasta, made with a fresh pesto full of spinach with hints of basil and lemon. Healthy recipe that comes together in about 30 minutes.

Course dinner, pasta
Cuisine vegan, vegetarian
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 3 servings
Calories 395 kcal
Author Yup, it’s Vegan

Ingredients

For the vegan spinach pesto:

  • 1/2 cup raw cashews (you could also try toasted pine nuts, walnuts, etc.)
  • 6 cups loosely packed spinach leaves (6 oz.)
  • 1 small bunch basil (0.75 oz.) thick stems removed
  • 1/4 cup plain, unsweetened non-dairy milk
  • 1/2 lemon juiced
  • 1/2 tsp salt scant
  • pepper to taste

For the vegan spinach pesto pasta:

  • 8 oz pasta of choice (I used shells)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion (or 1 shallot), diced
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water

Instructions

Make the pasta:

  1. Bring a pot of generously salted water to a boil, and cook your pasta according to package directions. Drain it, reserving 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Do not rinse.

Make the vegan spinach pesto:

  1. Add the cashews to your food processor and pulse a few times until crumbled.
  2. Add the spinach, basil, nondairy milk, lemon juice, salt, and pepper, and continue to pulse, stopping to stir and scrape the sides if needed, until the spinach and basil are finely chopped.
  3. Add more lemon juice to taste if desired, and set aside.

Put the finishing touches on the vegan spinach pesto pasta:

  1. In a large pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion or shallot and a sprinkle of salt. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and browning slightly. (Note: to save time, you can begin this step while the pasta is still cooking).

  2. Add the garlic and cook for just about 60 seconds more, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is fragrant.
  3. Add the cooked pasta, reserved pasta water, and pesto and fold everything together gently. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, until the sauce has thickened slightly and clings to the pasta, and is warm throughout. Remove from the heat and adjust seasoning to taste. Serve warm. The pasta is best eaten immediately; fold in a light drizzle of olive oil before storing leftovers and keep in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Nutrition Facts
Easy Vegan Spinach Pesto Pasta
Amount Per Serving (1 third recipe)
Calories 395Calories from Fat 99
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11g17%
Saturated Fat 1g5%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 6g
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 444mg19%
Potassium 413mg12%
Total Carbohydrates 64g21%
Dietary Fiber 5g20%
Sugars 5g
Protein 14g28%
Vitamin A114%
Vitamin C37%
Calcium8%
Iron28%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Enjoy this spinach pesto pasta? Try some of my other pasta recipes! (yupitsvegan.com)

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