Easy Pesto Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Hemp & Greens
I've been making this pasta non-stop for a while now, ever since I got tired of eating pesto potato salad (although I'll probably share a recipe for that with you also) and wanted another medium for the best food in the world (pesto). This season-appropriate dish inspired by the colours of Christmas is the perfect side to bring to your family Christmas lunch, although I love it as a quick weeknight dinner. Depending on which pasta you use (some recommendations are below), this pasta is a good source of protein with the inclusion of chickpea or buckwheat pasta as well as the addition of peas in the pesto, which also lightens the dish up.
Can't find a delicious gluten free pasta with great ingredients? Try these ones:
- Orgran buckwheat spirals, available at New World supermarkets
- Jovial brown rice fusilli
- Explore Cuisine organic chickpea fusilli
- Ceres Organics sorghum fusilli
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
For the Pasta
250g box gluten free, whole grain pasta
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
1 big handful baby spinach
1 can rinsed & drained chickpeas
Optional: Hemp seeds (or pine nuts), to serve
Optional: 1 finely chopped fresh chilli and/or a sprinkle of chilli flakes
For the Pesto
2 big handfuls fresh basil (40g)
1 cup frozen baby peas (145g)
1/4 cup pine nuts or cashews (45g)
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
Juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp Himalayan salt
Black pepper, to taste
The How To
Begin by preparing your pasta according to the directions on the box - don't overcook it, al dente pasta is best for this dish.
Meanwhile, boil the peas and then place them in a food processor along with the fresh basil, nuts, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth, scraping down the sides of the processor as often as necessary.
Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and add to a pan over medium heat, stirring through the sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, chickpeas and chilli if using. Once combined, add the spinach and continue cooking until just beginning to wilt. Serve immediately, garnished with the hemp seeds or pine nuts.
I buy my sun-dried tomatoes dry and add them to a jar of olive oil myself to avoid nasty additives and unnecessary salt and sugar.
Whole grains are a vital part of a healthy diet. They act as a "brush" for your digestive system thanks to their high fibre content and are packed with essential nutrients such as B-vitamins, antioxidants and protein.