This healthy Spring Pesto Pasta combines homemade vegan pesto, peas, asparagus and artichokes, for a perfect, one-pot weeknight meal!
So far this Spring has not felt like Spring. We've had unexpected snowstorms, we've had cold windy days, we haven't had much sun, and yet still the flowers are peeking through the ground, the grass is turning green and the birds are singing. It's an exciting time of year; it feels like we're all coming out of hibernation and back into the light.
Food wise, I couldn't be more excited when Spring finally arrives because it means we starting seeing locally grown produce start popping back onto the shelves. Asparagus, greens, peas, fresh herbs. So vibrant, so aromatic and so flavorful!
Today I'm using some of my weekend farmer's market finds to create this delicious spring pesto pasta with peas and asparagus!
This is one of my go-to weeknight recipes because it's quick, easy and tastes amazing. It comes together in under 20 minutes and can be made (almost) entirely in one pot.
The base is your favorite gluten-free pasta, of course! Lately, I've been really loving bean-based pastas because they're an easy way for me to enjoy one of my favorite comfort foods (pasta) and still get in lots of protein.
Don't get me wrong, brown rice pasta is also delicious, but I figure why not go for the double whammy at mealtime? Then I also don't have to worry about where I'm getting my protein from!
In terms of bean-based pasta, I've tried quite a few and have narrowed down my favorites. If you have yet to try one of these brands, almost all of them can be found on Amazon and Thrive Market!
- Tolerant Foods. Their pastas are made mostly from lentils (red and green) and they're definitely my favorite. Their red lentil spirals are a staple in our house! One (3oz) serving has 300 calories, 11 grams of fiber and 21 grams of protein!
- Banza. Probably the most famous bean pasta, Banza makes all of their pastas from chickpeas (I'm using their cavatappi in this recipe). They have more variety in terms of shape than tolerant does, but I do find the flavor is a bit stronger. One (3.5oz) serving has 360 calories, 13 grams of fiber and 25 grams of protein!
- POW Pasta from Ancient Harvest. These pastas are fairly new to the market but have a relatively good flavor. The only thing is that the POW pastas are made with a blend of bean flour and grain flours (usually quinoa), so they're not entirely grain-free if that matters to you. One (3.5oz) serving has 360 calories, 12 grams of fiber and 25 grams of protein!
- Explore Cuisine. This brand I don't see as frequently in stores, but they are available online. I'd say they're my least favorite brand in terms of taste and texture. Their pastas don't hold together quite as nicely, but they do have a clean ingredient list which I appreciate. One (2oz) serving has 205 calories, 12 grams of fiber and 21 grams of protein!
So as you can see, bean pastas are an awesome alternative for those of us who are gluten-free AND plant-based. They have a great flavor, usually a good texture (especially Tolerant and Banza), and make eating a big pasta dinner that much more enjoyable!
Now let's talk pesto!
If you haven't tried my Everyday Vegan Pesto, now is the perfect opportunity. It's my go-to recipe and uses just a few simple ingredients. It's also customizable!
Don't have pine nuts/they're too expensive? wap for another nut/seed!
Not enough fresh basil? Add in some spinach or kale!
Follow an oil-free diet? Use water instead!
And I promise you won't miss the cheese! I've served this pesto to dozens of people and everyone loves it. It also freezes well, so you can make big batches during the Spring & Summer and keep them all year long.
And finally, let's talk preparation!
Like I said at the beginning of this post, this entire meal is made (almost) entirely in one pot. All we have to do is boil our pasta according to the package instructions, and when there are 5 minutes remaining on the cook time, add in your peas and asparagus.
Finish cooking the pasta, drain everything, return it back to the pot and add your pesto and artichokes (if you'd like).
Stir it all together and dinner is ready!
I love creating these easy recipes for you since I know you're super busy and finding the time to make a healthy, balanced meal can be tricky.
Having recipes like this in your arsenal will make the process feel much less overwhelming and will also show your family that healthy eating doesn't have to taste bland and boring. It can taste just like the “real thing”!
And yes, this recipe is also kid approved 😊
One Pot Spring Pesto Pasta with Peas & Asparagus
Whip up this Spring Pesto Pasta for a healthy, one-pot weeknight meal! Flavorful, veggie-packed and makes awesome lunch leftovers too!
- 1 box gluten-free pasta of choice
- 1 small bunch asparagus cut into 1
- 1 cup fresh or frozen green peas
- 1/2 cup Everyday Vegan Pesto or store-bought
- 1/2 cup artichoke hearts optional*
- Pepper flakes and basil to garnish
- Cook the pasta according to package instructions. When there are 5 minutes remaining on the cook time, add in the asparagus and peas.
- If using homemade pesto, prepare the pesto while the pasta cooks.
- Once pasta is al dente, drain the entire pot into a colander and rinse quickly under cold water. Transfer pasta (and veggies) back into the pot. Stir in pesto and artichokes.
- Serve immediately and garnish with pepper flakes and fresh basil if desired.
* you could also use another vegetable of choice. If using raw veggies, add them to the boiling water with the peas, if using cooked, stir in with pesto.
New to cooking quinoa? Grab your FREE Quinoa Starter Guide!
Become part of the Simply Quinoa community and receive weekly emails with exclusive content that I only share in email, as well as my in-depth guide to starting your quinoa journey.