We have been loving all the fresh herbs coming from our Aero Garden this winter. This recipe was created to use all the extra basil we have! While not a traditional pesto with pine nuts and parmesan cheese, it definitely gets the flavor profile across. And the spiciness from all the raw garlic was perfect with the pasta.
I used whole wheat penne for this because its what we had in the pantry, but I would like to try this with other kinds in the future (rotini, orechetti, radiatore, etc).
Vegan Kale & Toasted Walnut Pesto
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: Makes 6
For the Pasta
- 16 ounces (or 1 box) Whole Wheat Penne, sub gluten free if desired
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 cup mushrooms, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 cup frozen peas
- 1 cup chopped kale
For the Pesto
- 2 cups kale, roughly chopped
- 1 cup fresh basil, julienned
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 5 cloves of garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1/4 cup parsley
- 1/2 cupExtra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1/4 cup water
To Make The Pasta
- In a large pot, bring 8 cups of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions.
- In another large saucepan, toast the walnuts about 5 minutes until they warm and begin brown around the edges. Turn off heat and transfer nuts to a cutting board.
- In the same pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and sauté the mushrooms, cherry tomatoes, and frozen peas about 10 minutes until they are nice and soft. Season with some salt and pepper. Add 1 cup of the chopped kale and stir until its wilted (about 5 minutes) and all veggies are soft.
To Make The Sauce
- In the food processor combine 2 cups kale, fresh basil, fresh parsley, garlic, and toasted walnuts from above. Pulse on high, and stream in the olive oil while the pesto is mixing.
- Do a little taste test, and if the pesto needs a smoother consistency, then pulse again and slowly add in the water. I added about 1/4 cup.
- When pasta is done cooking, drain and add it to the saucepan with the mushrooms, tomatoes, and kale. Then fold in 1 cup of pesto and mix! I finished it with a little garlic salt this time.
This recipe made about 2 cups of pesto, so I had a whole extra cup of liquid gold…. which I plan to enjoy for dinner again tonight! Maybe with a different shape of pasta and a sautéed zucchini.