Friday, November 5, 2010

Pesto Veggie Spaghetti with Pesto Garlic Toast

I LOVE pesto and I love veggies, so naturally I would think this is one of the BEST dishes ever!  All of the gorgeous colors, flavors, and textures create an unforgettable experience that you'll want to repeat over and over and over!!  This is an impressive one to serve to guests, because you actually get to make your own pesto...(something that everyone thinks is sooo hard, but with this recipe, it's super simple!)  Trust me on this one, if you make it once, they'll BEG you to make it every time you see them!!

The Pesto:

1/2 c. pinenuts, toasted (look below for toasting instructions if you are unfamiliar!)
1/2 c. fresh basil (I have to admit, sometimes I've been known to cheat on this step and just buy a tube of fresh basil...I just use the whole thing instead of rinsing and chopping...shhhh, don't tell!)
1/3 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 t. freshly smashed garlic (or again, cheat and use the tube!)
1/4 t. sea salt
1 t. lemon juice

-Throw all these ingredients into a food processor, and mix until smooth and thick!  Go ahead and taste'll be SO impressed that you just made this!

The Pasta:

Bring a pot of water to boil and add about 8 oz of brown rice spaghetti pasta.

-cook according to instructions, until al dente (done but firm, not mushy)  set aside when done.

In a saute pan over medium heat combine:

1/2 t. lemon juice
1 T. coconut oil
1 t. dried basil
1 t. freshly smashed garlic (I cheat sometimes and use it from a tube to save time!)
1 T. balsamic vinegar
pepper to taste
1/3 of a block of extra firm tofu, pat dry and chopped into cubes (the tofu is optional, but it does add a good measure of protein to the dish)

-saute for a few minutes to get the flavors incorporated into the tofu.

-chop then add:

1 c. broccoli pieces
1/2 of a large zucchini
1/2 can of artichoke hearts

-cover with a lid and let steam, tossing frequently to coat with flavor. (check after 7 minutes)

-in a small saute pan toast 1/4-1/2 c. of pinenuts over medium heat.  Toss or stir frequently, because they'll burn quickly.  You'll know they're done when they're nicely browned, and you can smell them!

-chop 1/2 c. of grape tomatoes (or more if you'd like!)


-when the veggies are done, and the noodles are cooked, throw the noodles in with the veggies.  Add 1/4 c. of the pesto, and toss gently with tongs until evenly coated.  Garnish with chopped tomatoes and pinenuts!  Delicious!!

-Note:  there are so many other mix ins you can add to this are a few that I've tried:

kalamata olives, quartered
roasted red pepper strips
fresh spinach, add when you throw in the pasta and toss throughout
dried cherries/cranberries...just make sure they have no added sugar

-the above measurements for the veggies are just an estimate.  I rarely ever measure them...just chop until I feel like I have enough!  Come on, it's not like you're EVER going to have too many veggies in it!!

-My guess on portions is that you'll be able to feed about 3 people with this dish, maybe 4 if they are light eaters, and you have a salad and some garlic toast with it!  Speaking of garlic's a recipe for some pesto garlic toast that's a snap to make!

Pesto Garlic Toast:

Here is my cheaters version if you're only making it for 1-2 people...

Take your favorite whole grain bread, throw it in the toaster.  When it's done, spread coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil on it, and then generously smear your fresh pesto over top.  Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt, and put under the broiler until peso begins to bubble (around 1 minute)...DONE...easy...delicious!

If you're serving a large amount of guests...

Take a good loaf of whole grain french bread and cut horizontally into 2 long loaves.  Spread GENEROUSLY (and I mean slather) with coconut oil, then top with your pesto (again generously).  Sprinkle about 1/2 t. of sea salt on each half and bake at 350 for 5 minutes.  Finish under the broiler to crisp up the top.

Seriously, I do this for people, and they are FLOORED at the flavor, and always want to know how you do it.  Just smile and tell them the's really not that hard! :)


  1. This dish is awesome! I followed the exact recipe and it is really good. I did add; calamata olives, whole, toasted pine nuts! Will definitely make it again:) Next time I will try spinach and artichoke hearts, too:)

  2. So glad you liked it!!! It's so fun to hear about people who've tried the recipes and like them!!