Simple Pesto Pasta

Simple Pesto Pasta

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!

Simple Pesto Pasta

Simple Pesto Pasta
Serves 8
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Prep Time
15 min
Prep Time
15 min
For the Pesto
  1. 1/3 cup walnuts
  2. 1 cup fresh spinach
  3. 1 cup fresh basil
  4. 2 Tbsp garlic (2-3 cloves)
  5. 1/3 cup shredded pecorino romano
  6. Juice of 1 lemon
  7. 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  8. salt and pepper to taste
For the Pasta
  1. 12 ounces pasta of choice (I used brown rice pasta)
  2. 1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  3. 3 Tbsp walnuts, chopped
  4. Basil and shredded percorino romano for garnish
  1. 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.
  2. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  3. Mix together fresh pesto, warm pasta, and tomatoes until well combined
  4. Top with shredded cheese, chopped walnuts, and fresh basil
  1. Parmesan cheese can be substituted for pecorino romano - or the cheese can be left out completely
Nutritional Information
  1. Calories: 201 Fat: 8 grams Carbs: 31 grams Protein: 4 grams
Simple Pesto Pasta

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