Pasta with Pesto Rosso + Roasted Vegetables
Makes 3-4 Servings
Pre-heat oven to 350, place almonds on a baking tray, and toast for 6 minutes until lightly toasted.
Make the pesto: add toasted almonds, sundried tomatoes, garlic, rosemary, 3/4 c. olive oil, balsamic vinegar, paprika, 1/4 tsp. salt, pinch of sugar and pinch of crushed red pepper to a high powered blender or food processor. Blend until well combined but still slightly grainy. (If more liquid is needed to thoroughly blend, add an additional splash of olive oil or water.)
Pre-heat oven to 425. Spread vegetables out on 2 baking sheets so that none are overlapping. Drizzle with 2 Tbsp. olive oil, sprinkle with a few pinches of salt, and toss to coat. Roast for 30 minutes.
After 30 minutes, toss vegetables on baking tray. Turn the oven to broil (high). Let the vegetables broil for about 5 minutes until slightly charred, and remove from the oven.
Boil the pasta according to package directions. Cook pasta to al dente (just slightly under-cooked), and reserve 1 c. of the pasta water from the pot.
Heat a large skillet over the stove on medium-low heat. Add a splash of the pasta water followed by the al dente pasta and 1/2 of the pesto. Toss to coat. Taste. Add more pesto as well as another splash of pasta water as desired. (The pasta water will help the pesto to spread and keep the pasta from drying out.) You may also slowly toss in some grated parmesan at this time if desired. Continue to add pesto/pasta water until pasta reaches desired coating of pesto (I typically use it all!).
Serve pasta topped with roasted vegetables, freshly grated or shredded parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast for vegan), and shredded basil.
***Uses for leftover pesto/vegetables: toss in a breakfast egg or tofu scramble, bake into a frittata, serve with more pasta, add either or both to a grilled cheese sandwich, throw in a wrap, serve pesto over chicken, use both as toppings for homemade pizza, serve both over toasted bread, or add either to a grain bowl or salad.
1/2 c. sliced almonds
1/2 c. dry (not jarred/oil packed) sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, chopped
3/4 c. olive oil + 2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp salt, more to taste
pinch of sugar (optional)
pinch of crushed red pepper
8 oz. box of pasta (I use rotini or spaghetti)
4-5 c. chopped vegetables (I used 2 zucchini, 1 summer squash, 1 red bell pepper, + 1/2 red onion)
Freshly grated or shredded parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast, for serving
Fresh basil, chopped, for serving
2 small baking sheets
1 small pot
High-powered blender or food processor
10 minute prep
15 minute active cook time
30 minute inactive cook time
Vegan option, vegetarian, gluten-free option (dependent on pasta used), refined-sugar free, dairy-free option
I have a lot of favorite foods, but to be honest, pasta tossed with a flavor-packed sauce and covered in a mountain of parmesan cheese is just one of those comfort meals that is hard to beat. There’s something about a plate full of carbs that warms the soul. There is nothing like a fresh batch of pasta covered in marinara and cheese. For a typical weeknight pasta, however, I’ll often opt for some trendy, alternative pasta (such as pasta made of chickpeas) with a lighter sauce and pack it with veggies. You better believe I’m still covering it with a mountain of parmesan cheese, but I feel better about eating pasta more regularly if it’s packed with nutrients and additional protein from the chickpea ‘pasta’. I find that the extra protein it’s helpful for my mostly vegan / vegetarian diet!
This is one of my absolute favorite ways to prepare pasta. For this recipe, I used a rotini made from chickpeas (which packs some extra protein!), and the pesto sauce is made from sun-dried tomatoes creating a pasta dish that is PACKED with flavor. I actually have a difficult time restraining myself from eating all of the pesto by the spoonful before I actually toss it in with the pasta. It’s really that good, ya’ll.
As far as the vegetables go, this dish is super versatile. You could use broccoli, cauliflower, or so many other veggies in place of the ones I have listed. I’m actually not typically the biggest zucchini fan, but in this particular dish, I highly enjoy it. To me, it makes the dish feel light and fresh. Top it with all the shredded parmesan and fresh herbs. It would be great with ricotta or a big ball of fresh burrata as well!