Why is this called superfood pesto pasta? Eh, because I felt like it. 🙂
Ok, ok, there is a small story behind this dish. When Cody and I returned from Norway we had an 11 hour layover in the Orlando airport (11 hours, yikes…) before returning to Atlanta. Well, for dinner that night we tried this restaurant in the airport and I remember picking it because they specifically advertised this dish called the “vegan superfood pasta” – and I was like “Yes! I want to eat there!” Cody and I both ordered it, and it was delicious. So, to make a long story longer, this dish is my attempt to recreate that dish I had!
I think it can be appropriately named a “superfood pesto pasta” dish because it’s also packed full of fresh veggies. So it actually is very healthy! I make quick pesto pasta like this quite often, and I think it’s about time I write about it. It’s very easy and fast to make, which is another bonus!
Let’s get started.
Oven Roast Some Veggies
First, let’s fire up the oven and roast some vegetables! I roasted heirloom cherry tomatoes and broccoli. I’ve also made this pesto pasta with roasted Brussels sprouts, asparagus, onion, bell peppers, and other random vegetables. The choice is really up to you!
To make cooking go a little faster, I only choose to roast 2 vegetables for this dish: broccoli and cherry tomatoes. For the rest of the vegetables used, I simply steamed them. But you can roast as little or as many as you want! Some other yummy ideas could be mushrooms, garlic, squash, eggplant, green beans, zucchini, etc. Sometimes this dish ends up being a “clean out the fridge” dish for me, since I use whatever I happen to have lying around.
Without using any oil or seasoning, I simply wash and place my vegetables on a plain baking sheet and bake at 375 F for 30-40 minutes. The vegetables get nice and crispy/charred this way.
Healthy Pesto Sauce
There are a few more components to this recipe that make it healthy. The first component, is that it’s packed full of fresh vegetables. I mentioned above that I used a variety of different ingredients. All vegetables provide unique benefits, some of the ones I used are high in Vitamin C, or antioxidants, iron, etc.
But this dish is also very healthy because of the pesto sauce! I’ve shared an oil free pesto sauce on my blog before, and the one I used in this dish is basically the same. The ingredients are:
- Lemon juice
- Garlic powder
- Nutritional Yeast
The last 4 ingredients listed are for the vegan Parmesan cheese I blend beforehand, to then use when blending the pesto together. Traditional pesto usually just calls for basil leaves as the green component, but I like throwing in big handfuls of spinach and kale into my pesto sauces too. When blended together, the spinach and the kale mix perfectly with the rest of the ingredients, so that their flavors are hidden in the sauce. I like using this little trick to make my pesto sauces even more healthy!
Just remember, the more vegetables you eat the better. 🙂
Superfood Pesto Pasta
Once your vegetables are roasted/steamed, and the pesto sauce is blended, all you have to do is boil some whole wheat noodles and serve!
I was feeling spiral noodles today, but I also like linguine style noodles, penne, angel hair, bowties, etc. I always either buy brown rice pasta, or whole wheat pasta. When it comes to choosing a noodle, always go for whole wheat (or something similar). White/enriched noodles have had all of the fiber and protein (and most all nutritional value) stripped from the dough, so it’s always best to go for one of the darker, healthier (fiber-rich) alternatives.
At Costco I’ve come across boxes of “Edamame noodles” before too, and that’s a good choice as well! Sometimes I even make “zoodles” or zucchini/spaghetti squash noodles.
That pretty much sums it up for this superfood pesto pasta recipe. It’s really simple, and fast to make. It has minimal steps, it’s extremely healthy, and filling too! It’s one of my go-to recipes and I’m happy that I could share it today on the blog. I hope you like it!
If you do come up with any interesting roasted vegetable combinations, I’d be interested in hearing about it. Feel free to post a comment below!
- ¾ cup raw cashews
- 3-4 TBS nutritional yeast
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp garlic powder
- 2-3 handfuls fresh basil leaves
- 4-5 handfuls fresh spinach/kale (optional)
- 4 TBS vegan Parmesan cheese
- 4-5 TBS lemon juice
- Water as needed
- 1 box whole wheat noodles
- 2-3 large broccoli heads
- 2 cartons cherry tomatoes
- 1 yellow bell pepper
- 1 red onion
- ½ cup frozen peas
- ½ cup frozen edamame
- 1 large carrot, shredded (optional)
- 2-3 sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 375 F
- Roast the broccoli and the cherry tomatoes on separate pans for 30-40 minutes. They will be done when the outsides/tops of them begin to get charrged/crispy
- To make the vegan Parmesan cheese, combine all the ingredients in a blender and blend until a powder is formed
- To make the pesto sauce, combine all of the ingredients together in a blender and blend. Add a few splashes of water until it reaches the desired consistency. You may need to taste as you go to adjust seasoning to your liking*
- Chop and steam the rest of the vegetables until cooked and boil your noodles while you wait for your oven vegetables to finish roasting
- Mix everything together in a large bowl and serve