We love pasta with pesto in this house. It’s our staple, our go-to meal when we want something quick and easy to prepare, my super quick work lunch. The boys love it with tortellini or gnocchi, Matteo loves it with spaghetti. When I started cutting out gluten and dairy about two years ago I worried that I would’t be able to eat pesto anymore and that the dairy free alternatives would be tasteless. Thankfully there are a few that are really nice, of which Sacla is my favourite and on my shopping list every week.
When Deliciously Ella published her almond pesto recipe I had to try it straight away. We love it with pasta or brussel sprouts. It made me think that I could develop my own recipe but I wanted a take on a classic pesto using pine nuts with some extra vegetables added to give some extra nutrients to the boys who always moan when I try to give them peas or spinach on the side of their pasta bowl! So that’s it, super simple, just blend them into the pesto!
Peas and spinach as well as other greens are rich in folic acid and iron which both help the body to make healthy red blood cells in order to carry oxygen around the body to our organs. I know that getting lots of B vitamins really helps keep my energy levels up. Peas are a great addition to this pesto as they are quite sweet and along with the spinach and basil, make it extra green. I love colourful food.
This recipe serves two adults and two children (2 x 100g + 2 x 50g pasta) with one portion left over for a lunch or dinner the next day. To make this gluten-free as well I used wheat free (brown rice) pasta.
35g Pine Nuts plus a handful for toasting
30g Fresh Basil
80ml Olive Oil (or a mixture of olive oil and extra virgin)
The juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 cloves of garlic
1tsp Maple Syrup
Large handful spinach
Large handful frozen peas
Good pinch of salt and pepper
Put all the ingredients into a mini blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Half way through you could pause and mix to make sure all the bits round the side or any pushed up onto the lid are blended in well.
Cook your pasta as per the packet instructions. Drain the pasta and put back in the pan. Add as much of the pesto into the pan as you wish and mix thoroughly.
If you like toasted pine nuts, just put them in a non-stick milk pan or frying pan on the heat for a couple of minutes before the pasta is ready. Keep moving them around so they don’t burn on one side.
Serve your pasta and pesto and garnish with the toasted pine nuts and/or some sun blush tomatoes.
If you’re not vegan or dairy intolerant you could add a tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese to the recipe and reduce the salt slightly.
If you haven’t tried gluten-free spaghetti before, just make sure you keep stirring it whilst it cooks as it tends to really stick together. To help with this ensure that the water is boiling in the saucepan before adding the pasta and don’t forget to salt the water too.
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