For the past year I have been meaning to make pesto. I even bought a very expensive, huge bag of pine nuts from Whole Foods last summer. Yet, they have sat in my cupboard, waiting to be turned into something. My roommate makes pesto all the time and she inspired me to experiment with it. Combining a bunch of different recipes, I think I came up with a pretty healthy, very yummy pesto.
I decided to toss the pesto with some pasta and veggies to make a salad I could take throughout the week for lunch. This would be a great addition to any bbq, as it’s super light and has great flavor.
To start, make some whole-wheat pasta according to the package directions.
While it’s cooking, start the pesto by toasting some pine nuts and walnuts for about 5 minutes, watching them so they don’t burn!
As the nuts are toasting, put the basil, garlic cloves, Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, chicken broth and salt in a food processor. Add the nuts when they are done toasting.
Now, start the chopper and process the ingredients until smooth.
That’s it! Now you have a great pesto you can not only use for this salad, but for tons of other recipes!
Once the pasta is done cooking, drain and let cool a bit. Toss in a large bowl with the pesto, and veggies. I used cherry tomatoes, black olives and sun-dried tomatoes, but feel free to substitute others. Kalamata olives would be great, or maybe spinach and some red onions.
Top the pasta salad with a bit of cheese, I used goat cheese (Parmesan would also work) and serve. I have been eating this all week for lunch and it keeps really well and is super filling, helping me stave off the 4pm snack craving!
Pesto Pasta Salad (own recipe)
2 cups whole-wheat pasta
1 tbsp walnuts
1 tbsp pine nuts
1/2 cup fresh basil, packed
2 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup Parmesan, fresh and grated
1 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 tbsp chicken broth, low-sodium
1 tsp salt
4 oz black olives, sliced
1 1/2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, chopped
4 oz goat cheese, crumbled or 1/2 cup Parmesan, grated (to top off the salad)
Prepare pasta according to package directions, drain and let cool
Toast walnuts and pine nuts over medium-low heat, about 5 minutes
Combine basil, garlic, Parmesan, olive oil, lemon juice, chicken broth, salt and toasted nuts in a food processor or chopper to make the pesto
Process until smooth
Transfer pesto to a large bowl, toss with pasta and mix until well-combined
Add in olives, cherry tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes and mix everything together
Divide into bowls and top with goat cheese
Yields 4 servings