Pesto and Pasta- Perfect Partners vegan

Pesto is a winner with any kind of pasta- shown here with wholewheat spaghetti

Here are two recipes for pesto, both of which happen to be vegan as well. Now that Summer is in full swing, who wants to spend ages in the kitchen making complicated sauces and suchlike? Certainly not us- we'd much rather be outdoors doing some gardening or relaxing with the family, sipping on cool drinks. Yet we still want -and need- to eat well, and this is where pasta dishes come in as a great solution.
We always use wholemeal pasta or gluten free pasta (based on corn and rice) for maximum nutrition, texture and flavour- for tips on how to cook pasta to perfection, see here. Pasta doesn't take that long to cook once you have a pan of water on the boil, and your meals will be even easier if you already have some pesto in the fridge made up and ready to go - then all you need is a quick side salad while the pasta cooks and you're done. So today's post shows how to make two versions of pesto (one of which is now in print in the "Kitchen of Love" cookbook) and helps you plan for relaxed, no-fuss dining.
The pestos featured here are both based on the traditional green pesto- typically flavoured with basil, parmesan and pine nuts- but you can get creative with sundried tomatoes, walnuts, ground almonds, oregano, capers etc. Garlic is definitely out for our yogic diet, although we do add a little hing (asafoetida) to lend some pungency.

Get hold of some vegan "parmesan" or make your own from almonds and nutritional yeast.

Wholemeal Spaghetti with Quick Vegan Pesto (serves 4):
100g ground almonds
1/2 a 60g-tub of vegan "Parmesan"
about 200ml extra-virgin olive oil
3 level tabs dried basil
1 tsp hing
seasalt and black pepper to taste
  • Mix all the ingredients together
  • Add to a cooked and drained 500g-packet of wholewheat spaghetti, mixing well.
  • I served it with steamed mixed veg in a tomato and basil sauce.
  • If you don't want to use pasta I'm sure it would be great with spaghetti squash as a low-carb alternative.

Green pesto with pinenuts, and steamed broccoli on the side.

Vegan Green Pesto (serves 4):
These quantities served four of us:
50g pine nuts (pignolia)
40g fresh basil, stalks and all
1tsp dried basil
3 tabs of a nice, fruity extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tub vegan "Parmesan" (I used Parmazano brand)*      *Or better still, make your own almond parmesan
a pinch of seasalt
1 tsp hing
1/4-1/2 tsp coarse-ground black pepper
  • Grind the pine nuts, leaving some whole. (Then you get little bites of intense pine-nutty flavour in your pesto).
  • Put them in a bowl with the "Parmesan".
  • Whizz up the fresh basil with the olive oil in a blender until it forms an oily paste.
  • Add the blended mixture to the bowl with the pine nut mixture.
  • Mix in the salt, pepper, dried basil and hing.
  • You can serve this with pasta, hot or cold, or as a salad dressing.

This post also goes to Jagruti's event, "My Bowl of Pasta" over at:

So please do visit her space and have a look, 'cos there's sure to be lots of inspiration there!


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