August 5, 2020
Vegan Pesto Pasta
Vegan Pesto Pasta! The perfect pasta for summer. Homemade vegan pesto tossed with roasted Farmer's Market vegetables and rigatoni. A must-make!

vegan pesto pasta

Vegan Pesto Pasta! I don’t know of any meal that’s more classically summer than pesto pasta; especially a vegan pesto pasta that’s tossed with plenty of fresh roasted vegetables and tender rigatoni noodles.

This is one of those meals that I make over and over again this time of year, with no signs of stopping. If you love simple meals (yes!) with lots of flavor (yes!) and in-season produce (yes!) then this pesto pasta dinner is for you.

vegan pesto pasta

How to Make Vegan Pesto

The star of this simple dish is my vegan pesto. I love pesto and tend to put it on just about everything right now. Tomato sandwiches, potato salad, toasted sourdough bread, grilled tofu. Pesto is like peanut butter to me, almost everything tastes better with a dollop or two. 

In this vegan version, I take a classic pesto recipe and add in nutritional yeast for the parmesan cheese. If you haven’t tried nutritional yeast yet, it’s got a cheesy, nutty taste that’s very similar to parmesan cheese. It’s my go-to sub and works perfectly in this vegan pesto. 

To get the right consistency, I do recommend a food processor over a blender. A blender has too narrow of a base and will end up liquifying the pesto instead of crushing it. It will work in a pinch, but if you’ve got a food processor then now is the time to use it. 

Chop everything up well, then keep the motor running while you drizzle in quality olive oil. As you really taste the flavor of the oil, you’ll want to make sure you are using yummy olive oil; I don’t recommend subbing in other types of oils. 

I do call for pine nuts because they are a classic, but I also know that they can be fairly expensive depending on where you purchase them. Therefore, you can sub in blanched almonds or walnuts if desired. 

vegan pesto pasta

What vegetables are best for pesto pasta?

I’m using a mix of mushrooms, tomatoes, bell peppers and zucchini but almost any combination of vegetables can be used here. Feel free to sub in whatever vegetables you or your family likes. To me, pasta is a great way to add in lots of vegetables that my son wouldn’t normally eat.

Broccoli, cauliflower and asparagus would also work great here along with maybe some wilted greens.

This vegan pesto pasta is a pretty forgiving recipe, which are the best kinds if you ask me!

vegan pesto pasta with roasted vegetables

What noodle is best for pesto?

I’m partial to a shorter noodle, like rigatoni or penne but almost any kind will work. Shells are also nice here, but I’d avoid longer noodles as I think chunkier ones pair best with chopped vegetables like these. 

Regular noodles are my choice as well, as you get plenty of fiber from the vegetables. To be honest, I tend to favor regular noodles over whole-wheat ones because I like the flavor and texture more. I know I’m a dietitian and should say the opposite, but I like to think that I get enough fiber in my diet through fruits and vegetables to be able to enjoy the regular pasta most of the time. 

vegan pesto pasta

Once your vegan pesto is made and the vegetables are roasted, simply toss everything together in the pot. If you’ve got some extra basil you want to use up, you can throw it in as well.

YUM. This vegan pesto pasta is pure summertime perfection if you ask me. Enjoy!

roasted vegetable tray  vegan pesto pasta

If you make this recipe, make sure to come back and leave a comment and let me know! I love seeing you make my recipes and your feedback helps others.

For more healthy vegan pasta recipes, check out my easy 20 minute pasta, 20 minute red pepper pasta and spicy vegan pasta with sausage. 

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vegan pesto pasta

Vegan Pesto Pasta

  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, pasta, healthy
  • Method: stove top, oven
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Diet: Vegan

Description

Vegan Pesto Pasta! The perfect pasta for summer. Homemade vegan pesto tossed with roasted Farmer’s Market vegetables and rigatoni. A must-make!


  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, pasta, healthy
  • Method: stove top, oven
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Diet: Vegan
  • Author: Alex Caspero
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Category: dinner, pasta, healthy
  • Method: stove top, oven
  • Cuisine: American, Italian
  • Diet: Vegan
Scale

Ingredients

Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons
  • 8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • 10 ounces cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • salt/pepper

Vegan Pesto

  • 2 cups packed fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 2 large cloves garlic, peeled and chopped 
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt 
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

12 ounces dried rigatoni

 

Instructions

  1. Make the roasted vegetables. Preheat the oven to 400F. Toss the vegetables (zucchini, mushrooms, bell pepper and tomatoes) with olive oil and a generous pinch of salt and pepper. Spread into a baking sheet and roast until tender, about 20-25 minutes.
  2. Make the vegan pesto. Place the basil, pine nuts, garlic, lemon juice, nutritional yeast and salt into the base of a food processor. Pulse until mostly chopped, then with the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until a chunky pesto forms. Season to taste, adding more salt as desired.
  3. Make the pasta. Heat a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the rigatoni and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water.
  4. Assemble! Toss the pasta with prepared pesto and roasted vegetables. If needed, add in a tablespoon or two of pasta water to help combine.

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Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, Plant-Based Chef and Yoga Instructor. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.

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