This Pea Pesto Pasta Salad Is the Perfect Dish to Ring in Spring
The delicate sweetness of fresh green peas makes this pasta salad super refreshing.
Classic pesto is a simple combination of nuts, greens, oil and cheese and offers a simple solution to dealing with bumper crops in the garden. In summer, it’s all about basil, but we get to use peas in spring. The delicate sweetness of fresh green peas balances out the otherwise herbaceous quality of the basil, the richness of the nuts and the salty Parmesan cheese, yielding a rich sauce you could eat by the spoonful. And while we certainly don’t judge, we prefer it tossed with whole-grain pasta, chickpeas and a mountain of veggies for colour and crunch.
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- 3/4 cup fresh cooked green peas or frozen
- 3/4 cup fresh basil
- 3/4 cup spinach
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1 small clove garlic
- 3 tbsp lemon juice
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- 1 ripe avocado
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Pasta Salad
- 8 oz short-cut whole-grain pasta like penne or fusilli
- 1 cup sugar peas trimmed
- 1 cup colourful baby tomatoes halved
- 1 can no-salt-added chickpeas rinsed and drained
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives pitted
- 2 tbsp pine nuts toasted
- 2 tbsp sliced almonds toasted
- Purée peas, basil, spinach, almonds, pine nuts and garlic together in a food processor until they reach a paste-like consistency. Add lemon juice and zest, avocado, oil and cheese; continue to purée until well combined. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
- Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; let cool to room temperature.
- Mix pasta with pesto, peas, tomatoes, chickpeas and olives. Top with pine nuts and almonds; enjoy at room temperature.
Nutrients per serving: 756 calories, 29 g protein, 34 g fat (3.5 g saturated fat), 86 g carbohydrates (21 g fibre), 5.5 mg cholesterol, 373 mg sodium