Vegan pesto pasta with kale

This vegan pesto pasta with homemade kale pesto and spring vegetables makes for a quick and delicious mid-week meal that can be prepared in minutes. It can be gluten-free too!


This vegan pesto pasta with homemade kale pesto and spring vegetables makes for a quick and delicious mid-week meal that can be prepared in minutes. It can be gluten-free too!


INGREDIENTS
PESTO (makes about 240 ml / 1 cup)
  • 70 g / ½ cup almonds (hemp seeds or sunflower seeds for nut allergies)
  • 100 g / 3.5 oz kale (I used Lacinato kale)
  • 25 g / 0.9 oz fresh basil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, zest and juice
  • black pepper, to taste
  • ¾ tsp salt, more to taste
  • 3 tbsp nutritional yeast(optional)
  • 120 ml / ½ cup extra virgin olive oil

OTHER INGREDIENTS

  • 360 g / 13 oz tortiglioni, rigatoni or penne (GF if needed)
  • 100 g / 3.5 oz green peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 courgettes / baby zucchini, sliced thinly
  • 200 g / 7 oz asparagus, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp / 15 ml oil (optional, if stir-frying vegetables)
  • hemp seeds (optional)
  • nutritional yeast (optional)
  • a pinch of chilli flakes (optional)


METHOD

  1. Roast the almonds in a hot pan until golden and fragrant. You could also do it in an oven (180° C / 355° F) for about 10 minutes – start checking on them towards the end of the baking time as they can go from toasted to burnt in a matter of seconds. Allow the almonds to cool down completely before blending in the pesto.
  2. Place all the pesto ingredients apart from the olive oil into a food processor. I used 4 tbsp / ¼ cup of lemon juice in my pesto, but I like things to be lemony so you may want to adjust the amount to your taste. Process until chopped small and then start trickling in olive oil while the motor is going.
  3. Adjust the seasoning to your taste.
  4. Boil a large pot of water and cook your pasta al dente or to your liking.
  5. Prepare the vegetables by either boiling them, steaming or stir-frying quickly. I boiled the peas for 2 minutes and then plunged them in ice-cold water to preserve their beautiful colour and stir-fried the zucchini and asparagus in a hot wok for 2 minutes. You could also eat both the zucchini and asparagus raw (slice the zucchini thinly and shave the asparagus with a speed peeler) if you would like to incorporate some untampered nutrition into this dish!
  6. Drain your pasta and toss it in some pesto, mix the veggies in and serve.
  7. For the topping, mix the hemp seeds with nutritional yeast (1:1 ratio) in a small bowl for a quick vegan parmesan. Give each portion a squeeze of lemon and a light sprinkle of chilli flakes (I used fine Korean chilli flakes) if you wish.