And Happy Week 3 of Vegetarianism 6.0!
And Happy National Nutrition Month!
(so. much. happiness.)
Today’s vegetarian dinner recipe combines two of my favorite things – pasta + pesto.
If you have been following along for a while, you know my love for pasta with pesto. But, pesto can be hard to come by in March. Basil from the store is either non-existent or super expensive and the jarred stuff leaves a lot to be desired.
So when I had the biggest craving for pesto pasta ever, so I knew that I had to come up with another solution.
So I decided to stick with the spirit of National Nutrition Month and “Go Further With Food” and find something seasonal that I could transform into pesto.
And my mind went immediately to arugula.
It’s green, peppery, and readily available – and it makes pretty legit pesto. I am officially hooked (my crew is too!) and my summertime staple is going to have some steep competition.
I mixed my arugula pesto with some fresh veggies and Banza chickpea pasta for a protein-packed dinner that was full of flavor (and easy to make).
The pesto is the easiest thing ever… so easy that I forgot to photograph it. In the bowl of a food processor (or super powerful blender), combine three cloves of garlic (this pesto is super garlicky, so you can cut back if you want), some grated parmesan cheese, and some unroasted, shelled walnuts (so much cheaper than pine nuts!!). Pulse until the garlic and walnuts are finely chopped and the mixture looks like very fine crumbs. Add in some washed and thoroughly dried arugula. Pulse again until the arugula is broken down. With the food processor on, drizzle in olive oil until a sauce forms. Turn off the food processor, scrape down the sides, pulse again to mix, and then taste for seasoning. Pop the pesto into a container with a tight-fitting lid until you need it!
Then all you need to do is boil up some Banza chickpea pasta (the rotini shape holds the pesto the best!), grab some veggies (I used grape tomatoes and roasted asparagus), and toss everything together.
What I love about this dish is that you can use whatever veggies you have on hand. I love asparagus and the tomatoes looked so good at the store. But feel free to substitute whatever you want/have on hand! Customizable dinners for the win!
Enjoy this perfect Meatless Monday dinner that helps you go further with food!
- ½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 2-3 cloves garlic, peeled
- ½ cup walnut halves
- 6 cups arugula, washed and dried thoroughly
- ½ to ¾ cup olive oil
- Salt to taste
- 1 package of Banza rotini pasta (or whatever bean pasta you prefer), cooked to the package directions
- 1½ cup grape tomatoes, halved
- 12oz roasted asparagus spears, cut into bite-sized pieces
- In the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, combine parmesan cheese, garlic, and walnuts. Pulse until the cheese/walnut mixture is the consistency of sand.
- Add in the arugula and continue to pulse until completely blended into the cheese/walnut mixture.
- Turn the food processor to the "on" position, slowly pour in the olive oil - stop when you reach your desired consistency. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
- Store in a jar with a tight-fitting lid until ready to use.
- In a large bowl, combine pasta, tomatoes, and asparagus. Add in about 3-4 tablespoons of pesto and toss to combine. Add more pesto as desired. Enjoy!