Spring Pesto Pasta
May and June mark the beginning of fresh spring and summer produce at the local farmer’s market, and every year I get excited to see what is waiting each week at the stands. This recipe was a product of that —I went to the farmer’s market to see what I could find, stocked up a number of different things, and then took it all home to combine it into the most delicious, zesty pasta that tastes amazing either hot or cold.
Eating seasonally has become one of my biggest pleasures as I’ve grown and begun to learn more about our food system in America, to invest more in my community, and learned how to utilize what each season has to offer. To me, there is very little more rewarding than cooking in the kitchen with items that were just growing in the ground a few hours ago. The tastes are richer, the smells are more vibrant. The joy of eating close to home and close to the earth is unparalleled.
The main ingredient here that I did not purchase at the market was the pasta. In this recipe, I used Banza, a chickpea-based pasta. I love it in this recipe because it provides a great serving of protein and fiber, making this such a filling dish. There are plenty of pasta alternatives on the market now that also would fit the bill (think: lentil, brown rice, or quinoa pasta), but feel free to use plain old pasta too if that is what your heart desires! All pasta is good pasta in my book. I also used only plant-based ingredients, making this recipe fully vegan if that is your thing, but cheese would be great in it too.
I encourage you to head to your local market this week, pick up these items (or others that are available to you and substitute!), and make this pasta —you will not regret it!
- Pasta of choice
- ¼ cup fresh shelled spring peas (or frozen peas if fresh are not available)
- 2 small to medium sized zucchini
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1 cup packed dark leafy greens- I used a mix of kale and collards
- ½ cup packed basil leaves
- ½ cup walnuts
- 4 cloves roasted garlic
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1½ tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- 3 tsp fresh lemon juice
- Pinch of salt to taste
- Small tomatoes (I used Sungold tomatoes)
- Sliced green onion
- Extra basil
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Wash and prep the asparagus and zucchini, and place on a sheet pan along with 4 peeled cloves of garlic.
- Drizzle with oil, salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for 20 minutes, removing the garlic after 10 minutes.
- While the vegetables are roasting, cook pasta according to directions.
- Add about ¼ cup of peas to the pasta pot for the final 2 minutes of cooking just to blanch them.
- Drain the pasta and peas in a colander.
- While the pasta is cooking, mix all the pesto ingredients (greens, basil, nuts, roasted garlic, olive oil, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt) in a food processor and blend until well mixed.
- Once everything is cooked, mix the pasta, peas, roasted vegetables, and pesto together until well coated.
- Top with desired additions, such as tomatoes, green onions, or extra basil.
- Enjoy hot or chill and eat cold as a pasta salad!