Prep & Cooking Time: 35-45 mins
Type: Main Meal
Tools: Chopping board, sharp knife, grater, colander, large pot, food processor, silicone spatula, small bowl, measuring jug, mixing bowl and/or resealable container
Notes: This recipe contains: Vitamin A, B-Vitamins, Vitamins C, E & K, carbohydrates, protein, fibre, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, no added sugars and per serving is low in salt and saturated fats!
This pesto offers a nice alternative to other vegan pesto salads that use avocado, spinach or roasted vegetables. It has a lovely, fresh and uniquely satisfying taste, not to mention it’s easy to prepare!
Happy cooking everyone! 🙂
16g Garlic Clove
1 Lemon (30ml Juice, 1 tsp zest)
25g Fresh Basil
400g Fresh Tomatoes (your favourite!)
4g Ground Almonds
40g Pine Nuts
520g GF Fusilli
40ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2g Dried Onion Powder
Need an easy-print recipe? Print here. 🙂
- Wash the asparagus; trim and discard the ends.
- Peel the garlic. Wash the lemon; grate the zest from half of it and then juice it. Wash and dry the basil; discard the stems and save the leaves. Wash, remove the stem and then roughly chop the tomatoes.
- Meanwhile, place a large, non-stick saucepan full of cold water over a high heat. Bring to the boil. Add the asparagus. Simmer for 3-5 mins, or until tender. Tip: Ours took about 4½ mins to cook, but it’s finding a happy balance. Cook them too long and the tips disintegrate, not long enough and the ends do not blend very well into the pesto.
- Remove the asparagus from the pot, but do not empty the water from the pot. Transfer into a colander. Drain. Allow to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, begin preparing the pesto. Whilst the food processor is running, add the garlic through the pouring spout. Blitz into small pieces.
- Use a spatula and scrape the garlic from the slides and the lid into the base.
- Add about ¾ of the quantity of the pine nuts and all of the almonds.
- Blitz until the pine nuts are roughly chopped. Leave the mixture for the moment.
In the meantime, bring the saucepan of water back up to a boil. Add the pasta. Cook according to the packet instructions. Reserve some of the cooking liquid from the saucepan (approximately ½ cup) before draining. Tip: We removed some liquid about halfway through the cooking time; save more liquid if you want a really ‘loose pesto’. Drain. Allow to cool slightly.
- Meanwhile, chop the asparagus stalks into halves. Separate the ‘top’ halves from the ‘bottoms’.
- Chop the bottom halves into small pieces.
- Chop the top halves into thirds.
- Add 1 tsp lemon zest & 2 tbsp juice (or as much zest and juice as desired), basil, about 10 tbsp of the reserved cooking liquid (more if necessary), 40ml oil, about ¾ tsp onion powder and the ‘asparagus bottoms’ into the food processor.
- Blend until smooth. Season it with some salt to taste. Tip: Your pesto is now complete!
- Place the pasta into a large mixing bowl or resealable container. Add the pesto. Mix and thoroughly combine. NB: Ours went into this plastic tub (as it was going to be several lunches throughout the week!).
- Add the tomatoes and asparagus ‘tops’. Mix to combine.
- Season it with some salt to taste if necessary. Sprinkle over the remaining nuts.
Serve and enjoy!
Refrigerate any leftovers in an air-tight and resealable container; consume within 3-4 days.
- Make the pesto sauce and serve it over gnocchi, spaghetti or in a lasagne instead.
- If you are not concerned about gluten, give wholemeal or spelt pasta a try!
- Add some fortified nutritional yeast (with vitamin B12!) to your pesto for a more authentic taste and of course added nutritional value!
- Try making it with just ground almonds.
- For an extra creamy pesto sauce (minus the guilty calories!), add some unsweetened soya yoghurt; add the yoghurt to the food processor when processing the final ingredients.
- Use the pesto sauce as a dip for vegetables or multi-grain pita. If necessary or preferred, just add a little arrowroot powder to thicken it in a blender/food processor first.