Vegan Almond Pesto with Gluten-Free Pasta

Vegan almond pesto with sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers, spinach and gluten-free pasta.

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Let’s get to this pasta, for those that follow me on Instagram, you know that I’ve been teasing you all with photos of this vegan almond pesto for a while. I even made a cute video reel that I will add to this post when I figure out how to do it. Its baby steps with me and technology.

Steve and I absolutely love this pasta dish and it’s one of those meatless dinners that we crave. The chunky almond pesto pairs perfectly with the tartness of the sun-dried tomatoes and olives. The grilled artichoke hearts and roasted red peppers add a smokey flavor and a touch of sweetness, and let’s be honest, the spinach is there for color and some added nutrients.

The vegan almond pesto is so simple to whip up and uses 5 simple ingredients. There are a lot of components this pasta dish, but you can make the pesto and roast up the red peppers ahead of time. The preparation of the other ingredients can be done while the pasta water is heating up and the pasta cooks. It all comes together quickly when you have everything on hand. If you want to add some extra protein to this dish, feel free to add some shredded roasted chicken, steak or sausages.

Vegan almond pesto with sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers, spinach and gluten-free pasta.

Vegan Almond Pesto with Gluten-Free Pasta

For the Almond Pesto – pesto recipe from The Plant Power Way

  • 2 cups basil, packed- roughly 30-32 medium sized leaves
  • 1 cup raw unsalted almonds
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon large-grain Celtic sea salt
  • 4-5 tablespoons filtered water

For the Pasta

Below are the ingredients you will need to make this vegan almond pesto pasta.

Ingredients for almond pesto pastaTo make the pesto, add basil, almonds, olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt to a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping the down the sides a few times to get all the ingredients blended together. Add 4 tablespoons water to the pesto and process until the water is incorporated. The consistency of the pesto will be thick, so feel free to add more water if you want a thinner consistency. We found that 4-5 tablespoons works great for this recipe, as the pesto will stick and melt into the hot pasta, but it’s all personal preference. As you can see in the photo below, the pesto’s consistency is thick. It also doesn’t have tons of flavor on it’s own, but pairs wonderfully with the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, spinach etc.

You can make the pesto up ahead of time and refrigerate in a sealed container until ready to use.

Almond pesto pureed in food processor.

You can roast up the red peppers ahead of time, or while the pasta water is heating up, it’s really up to you. If you roast them up ahead,  just add them to the sautéed spinach to warm up. Here’s my post on how to roast red peppers, it literally takes 20 minutes total from prep to cook time. These roasted red peppers are a weekly staple in our house, as we toss them into salads, sandwiches, pastas and enjoy them as a snack.

Roasted red peppers in sheet pan

While the pasta water is heating up, sauté the spinach. Roughly add 1 tablespoon avocado oil to a skillet set over medium heat. Add the full container of spinach and a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt, and toss the spinach with tongs until the spinach wilts, roughly 3 to 5 minutes. Turn down the heat if the spinach is cooking too fast. You can also just add the 5-ounce container of spinach to the warm pasta along with the rest of the ingredients. Below is a photo of what one 5-ounce container of spinach cooks down to. Meanwhile, measure out and prep the sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and artichoke hearts.

Sautéed spinach in a pan.

Cook pasta according to directions on the package. Drain the pasta and then add it back to the same pot you cooked the pasta in. Below are all of the prepped ingredients for the almond pesto pasta.

prepped ingredients for almond pesto pasta.

Combine the pesto with the warm pasta and give it a few stirs to incorporate the pesto with the pasta. Add in the rest of the ingredients, making sure to combine everything well. I find that this pasta tastes best when it has 10 minutes to sit before serving, as the flavors meld together. 

Got leftovers?  I find that brown rice pasta can harden a bit, so I prefer to re-heat the pasta in a sauté pan with a bit of avocado oil. It warms everything up nicely, melds the flavors together and helps soften the pasta.

If you make this pasta dish, let me know what you think, or what you tweaked in the recipe. Leave a comment, or rating below. This is truly a base recipe, so feel free to play around with it and make it your own.

If you love pesto, then you need to make my kale, spinach and basil pesto.  It’s a family favorite, and gets made weekly in our house. It’s super chunky, chock-full of flavor and dairy-free to boot!

Kale spinach and basil pesto in a food processor

With love Jackie

Vegan Almond Pesto with Gluten-Free Pasta

5 from 2 votes
Recipe by Jackie
Servings

4-6

servings

    Pesto recipe from The Plant Power Way

    Ingredients

    Directions

    • To make the pesto, add basil, almonds, olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt to a food processor. Process until smooth, scraping the down the sides a few times to get all the ingredients blended together. Add 4 tablespoons water to the pesto and process until the water is incorporated. The consistency of the pesto will be thick, so feel free to add more water if you want a thinner consistency. We found that 4-5 tablespoons works great for this recipe, as the pesto will stick and melt into the hot pasta, but it’s all personal preference. It also doesn’t have tons of flavor on it’s own, but pairs wonderfully with the sun-dried tomatoes, olives, artichoke hearts, spinach etc.

    • You can make the pesto up ahead of time and refrigerate in a sealed container until ready to use.

    • You can roast up the red peppers ahead of time, or while the pasta water is heating up, it’s really up to you. If you roast them up ahead,  just add them to the sautéed spinach to warm up. Here’s my post on how to roast red peppers, it literally takes 20 minutes total from prep to cook time. These roasted red peppers are a weekly staple in our house, as we toss them into salads, sandwiches, pastas and enjoy them as a snack.

    • While the pasta water is heating up, sauté the spinach. Roughly add 1 tablespoon avocado oil to a skillet set over medium heat. Add the full container of spinach and a pinch of pink Himalayan sea salt, and toss the spinach with tongs until the spinach wilts, roughly 3 to 5 minutes. Turn down the heat if the spinach is cooking too fast. You also can just add the 5-ounce container of spinach to the warm pasta with the rest of the ingredients. Meanwhile, measure out and prep the sun-dried tomatoes, kalamata olives and artichoke hearts.

    • Cook pasta according to directions on the package. Drain the pasta and then add it back to the same pot you cooked the pasta in. 

    • Combine the pesto with the warm pasta and give it a few stirs to incorporate the pesto with the pasta. Add in the rest of the ingredients, making sure to combine everything well. I find that this pasta tastes best when it has 10 minutes to sit before serving, as the flavors meld together. 

    Got leftovers?

    • I find that brown rice pasta can harden a bit, so I prefer to re-heat the pasta in a sauté pan with a bit of avocado oil. It warms everything up nicely, melds the flavors together and helps soften the pasta.

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    8 thoughts on “Vegan Almond Pesto with Gluten-Free Pasta”

    1. Sharleen Jones

      Made this for lunch today and it was perfect! Although I have to say, I always have to add garlic ( quite a lot) to any pesto I make! also added some capers! Only because I had just bought some of those huge ones that I love!

      1. Hi Sharleen! AWESOME! I’m so happy you jumped on and made this pesto! I also love how you adapted it with garlic & capers. I wanted to add a bit of garlic too, since I LOVE it, but Steve isn’t a huge fan, so the fact that this didn’t have garlic in it, made him happy! I think it would bump up the flavor for sure. Thanks so much for sharing your adaption! I’m also hugely happy you made the pesto too :). xoxo, Jackie

        1. Made last night w garbanzo pasta, I air fried the red peppers-too hot to turn on oven- and tossed in 5oz bag spinach while still warm just to soften a bit. Love it! Not dry at all next day for lunch as leftovers. Thanks again for a great recipe!!!

          1. Yay! So glad you tried and loved it Marti! Great idea/hack on the spinach! You’re absolutely right that you don’t need to sauté it if you’re adding it to the warm pasta. I will update it in the post as another way, as I totally spaced on it. I was so used to sautéing it for lunch, that I just did it that way. You the best! xoxo, Jackie

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