The other day, while grocery shopping, I came across a fabulous deal on fresh basil. It was one of those deals, that made me take a second look, to make sure I wasn’t seeing things…am I missing a second zero in that price tag :). I obviously had to buy it, and all I could think of was fresh pesto. From that moment on, it seriously consumed my thoughts – it sounded so GOOD! Am I the only one out there that lets food consume my thoughts more often than is probably normal?
Anyways, I got home, put my baby down for a nap, and got started on my pesto recipe – forget waiting for dinner, I was hungry, and knew I could only be satisfied with fresh pesto. I was also anxious to come up with my own recipe, since most pesto that I taste are way too oil heavy for my preferences, and store bought pesto is heavy in canola or vegetable oil – – ummm, no thanks. I also wanted a little bit different flavor. Rather than pine nuts, I thought, why not try walnuts? Wow, am I glad I did. I like the walnut version of pesto much better than the pine nut version. It was a milder flavor that “fit” really well.
After a little bit of experimenting and a lot of taste testing, I think I got this Simple Pesto Pasta just right. I mixed the entire recipe with 12 ounces of brown rice noodles, 1 pint of grape tomatoes, and sprinkled some cheese and walnuts on top. It was the tastiest and healthiest plate of comfort food I have had in a long long time. I also added some grilled chicken to make it a complete meal, and it kept me satisfied all afternoon (no 3pm hunger)…Mission pesto comfort food craving = satisfied!
Note: This recipe includes Pecorino Romano cheese, which is a sheep cheese. I like using sheep or goat cheeses because they are easier to digest than cow dairy cheese. However, parmesan cheese works as a substitute, or you can leave it out completely for a vegan friendly pesto – it still taste fabulous!
- 1/3 cup walnuts
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1 cup fresh basil
- 2 Tbsp garlic (2-3 cloves)
- 1/3 cup shredded pecorino romano
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- 12 ounces pasta of choice (I used brown rice pasta)
- 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
- 3 Tbsp walnuts, chopped
- Basil and shredded percorino romano for garnish
- Combine all of the pesto ingredients together in a food processor and process until desired consistency is reached - add water, 1 Tbsp at a time if thinner pesto is desired.
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- Mix together fresh pesto, warm pasta, and tomatoes until well combined
- Top with shredded cheese, chopped walnuts, and fresh basil
- Parmesan cheese can be substituted for pecorino romano - or the cheese can be left out completely
- Calories: 201 Fat: 8 grams Carbs: 31 grams Protein: 4 grams