Meet Alex Caspero
Alex Caspero is a Registered Dietitian, New York Times Bestselling Plant-Based Chef and mom of two. She aims to cut through the nutrition noise by providing real-life, nourishing tips for body and mind. Learn more about Alex.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.Print
Vegan Pesto Pasta! The perfect pasta for summer. Homemade vegan pesto tossed with roasted Farmer’s Market vegetables and rigatoni. A must-make!
12 ounces dried rigatoni