Vegan Almond Pesto with 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 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
- 1 12-ounce box favorite gluten-free pasta – I love this brown rice pasta from Jovial as it’s clean, ingredients are organic brown rice flour and water
- 1 cup sun-dried tomatoes, sliced in half – I love using ones that are packed in jar with olive oil, as they are ready to go. I just take them out with a fork and slice them in half.
- 1 cup artichoke hearts, roughly 12-14, sliced in half – I love these grilled artichoke hearts from Cucina & Amore
- 1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, sliced in half
- Roughly 1 tablespoon avocado oil – I honestly don’t measure this
- 1 5-ounce container spinach
- 3 red bell peppers, sliced thin & roasted, see my recipe on how to roast red peppers
Below are the ingredients you will need to make this vegan almond pesto pasta.
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. 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.
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 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. You can also advance prep the sun-dried tomatoes, olives and artichoke hearts and put them together in a sealed container in the fridge to save time.
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.
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!