Vegan Powerhouse Pesto Pasta
"Noah's younger brother has serious health issues and making food that everyone can eat can be challenging," says Noah's mom, Hilary. "This recipe is gluten-free and vegan, things that many people often think mean sacrificing favorite comfort foods or flavor. It took us a while to create a pesto recipe that was tasty, super healthy, and easy to make. We finally created one that is packed with just about everything a growing body needs. Noah likes this with Red, White, and Blue Salad -- strawberries, peeled and diced apples, and Main blueberries, served with a glass of soy milk." - Noah Koch, age 9, Maine
Makes 8 servings
- 1 pound quinoa pasta (we like macaroni)
- 2 ripe avocados, pitted and flesh scooped out
- 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
- 4 cups fresh basil leaves, plus a few leaves reserved for garnish
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 cup grape tomatoes, cut in half
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and boil until al dente, about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot.
- While the pasta is boiling, combine the avocados and spinach in a food processor and pulse briefly (about 6 times). Add the basil, walnuts, 1/4 cup cannellini beans, lemon juice, garlic, and pepper and pulse about 6 more times. With the food processor on, gradually add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream.
- Add 3/4 of the sauce to the cooked pasta, tossing gently to coat the noodles. Add the remaining sauce, as desired, and stir to coat the noodles evenly.
- To serve, transfer the pasta to a big pasta bowl (family-style) and top with the remaining cannellini beans and grape tomatoes. Garnish with the reserved basil.
431 calories; 8g protein; 58g carbohydrates; 20g fat (2.5g saturated fat); 83mg sodium
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