Cashew Pesto Pasta
This vibrant recipe calls for a couple of ingredients you probably would not normally add to your pasta, but the result is a savory yet surprisingly light tasting dish! The basic pesto sauce calls for a blend of basil, olive oil, and garlic with fresh basil leaves and parmesan cheese. While basil is definitely one of my favorite herbs, I like to change it up depending on whatever I have in my fridge (kale, cilantro..). It never fails that I every time I make pesto, it's a little bit different. Today I happened to have a ton of parsley that I was living it's last days out in my fridge, so I decided to revive it! Cashews are one of the most popular non-soy replacements for cheese, and a handful of raw, unsalted cashews that had been soaking in water gave a brilliant flavor and texture to this pasta in place of parmesan! Great for an easy, healthy recipe to whip up on a weeknight when you're craving carbs or as a restaurant quality plant based dinner for two, this recipe for my pesto pasta is sure to delight with its fantastic flavors and contrasting textures that work so well together. Bon Appetit!
- Spaghetti Pasta (about 1/2 package makes enough for two people)
- Handful of Fresh Italian Parsley (stems can be included)
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 Lemon
- Garlic Cloves
- 1/2 C Sundried Tomatoes
- 1/3 C Halved Kalamata Olives
- 2 TBSP Raw Pumpkin Seeds
- 1/3 C Raw, Unsalted Cashews (preferably soaked in water for a couple of hours)
- Bring a pot of water to boil, add a pinch of salt to water, then add in pasta. Cook to desired texture. Strain in a colander and put to the side.
- In a blender, combine garlic, cashews (w/o the water), parsley, 1/2 a lemon (juiced), and about 1/3 c olive oil. Blend on high power, adding more olive oil a little bit at a time if parsley leaves begin to clump in blades. Once mixture is smooth, add a few dashes of salt. Blend again, then taste. If pesto tastes bland, or too spicy from garlic, add a touch more salt and lemon juice.
- In a skillet, add in about 1/4 of pasta water and dehydrated sundried tomatoes. If you are using jarred tomatoes, they should already have moisture and this step can be skipped. Add a lid, and let come to a high temp for about 30 sec.
- Add pasta to skillet and slowly start to pour in pesto sauce, coating and tossing pasta evenly. Add in olives last, then mix those evenly in with sundried tomatoes and pasta.
- Place pasta onto serving dishes, and top with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds, a handful of arugula, and a light squeeze of lemon juice atop the greens.