Lemony Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pasta

Lemony Pumpkin Seed Pesto Pasta

This nut-free take on herby pesto is the perfect combination of bright and bitter flavor, which nicely complements hearty whole-grain pasta.

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Serves: 4

Make sure to double up on the pesto from this recipe from the Dreena’s Kind Kitchen cookbook to use as pizza sauce, as a filling for stuffed mushrooms, or as a unique addition to vegan grilled cheese.

What you need:

¾ cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds, plus 2 tablespoons crushed pumpkin seeds for garnish
2 tablespoons tahini
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
2 cloves garlic, peeled
3½ tablespoons lemon juice
¾ teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
1 cup loosely packed spinach leaves
2 to 5 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 pound whole-grain pasta
½ cup sliced cherry or grape tomatoes
Lemon wedges, for serving

What you do:

  1. Into a food processor, add pumpkin seeds, tahini, nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse a few times until roughly chopped. Add basil and spinach and process again. Start with a tablespoon of water and pulse again, adding additional tablespoons as needed until a smooth consistency is reached. Add lemon zest and pulse. 
  2. Cook pasta according to package instructions. Reserve a ¼ cup of pasta water and then drain pasta, but don’t rinse. Return pasta to pot and toss with pesto, plus a tablespoon at a time of reserved pasta water, until pasta is desired saucy consistency. 
  3. Divide into 4 serving bowls and garnish with crushed pumpkin seeds, basil, sliced tomatoes, and lemon wedges.

Photo credit: Dreena Burton

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