Spinach Pesto Pasta

Spinach pesto pasta has become a staple in my household because it’s super easy to make, plus filling! 

For the actual pesto sauce, all you need is spinach and basil leaves, olive oil, your favorite vegan parmesan cheese, walnuts and a little sea salt. That’s it! I made homemade cashew parmesan for this recipe, but you can easily find a vegan parmesan in your local grocery store. 

I dare you to take this plant-based spinach pesto sauce and run with it!… Add it to roasted veggies or use it as a topper for salads and so much more. I decided to toss it with rigatoni noodles, then added Italian seasoned chickpeas cooked to a crisp for a dose of plant protein. Next, I added some cherry tomatoes for pops of color and additional flavor. 

Make this recipe your own creation by adding whatever pasta, veggies and a plant protein that you love. Get this 30-minute spinach pesto pasta recipe below!

Ingredients (5 servings)

  • 10 oz. dry pasta noodles (about 4 cups; rigatoni, penne or bowtie work best)
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes

Crispy Chickpeas (optional)

  • 15 oz. can chickpeas (drained, rinsed and patted dry)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning (or more to taste)
  • Sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)

Spinach Pesto Sauce

  • 4 cups packed fresh spinach leaves
  • 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil (or more for thinner consistency)
  • 1 clove garlic 
  • 1/4 cup vegan grated parmesan cheese or homemade cashew parmesan
  • 1 tsp. sea salt
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Directions

Cook Pasta

  1. Cook the pasta according to its package directions. When the pasta is tender, drain the water and set aside.

Prepare Spinach Pesto Sauce

  1. Add all the pesto ingredients to a food processor. Puree until a thick and creamy consistency remains. If you prefer a thinner sauce, add more oil or a little water (the sauce will thicken when it heats). Adjust seasoning as needed.

Prepare the Chickpeas (optional)

  1. Add 2 tbsp. oil to a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chickpeas, salt and Italian seasoning. Combine well and create a single layer of chickpeas over the bottom of the skillet. Cook for 2-3 minutes until the chickpeas brown.
  2. Stir in the garlic and continue to cook the chickpeas for 2-3 minutes until crisp.

Spinach Pesto Pasta

  1. If you’re adding the chickpeas to the pasta dish, then add the cherry tomatoes to the skillet when the chickpeas are crisp. If you’re not cooking the chickpeas, then add the 2 tbsp. oil to a skillet and add the tomatoes. Cook for 3-4 minutes until the tomatoes soften, but aren’t blistered.
  2. Stir in the pre-made pesto sauce. As the pesto heats, it will thicken; add more oil or water if needed.
  3. Add the cooked pasta and gently combine with the chickpeas (if using), tomatoes and pesto. Garnish with additional parmesan to serve. Enjoy!

Did you make this recipe? Let me know by tagging @strong.bold.healthy on Instagram or Facebook!

Try one of my other favorite pasta dishes: Pasta Veggie Marinara with Meatless Meatballs.


If you are following the SBH Plant-Based 21-day Meal Plan, one serving of Spinach Pesto Pasta is approximately:

  • 2 servings Grains
  • 1 serving Protein (Meat/Dairy Alternatives)
  • 1/2 serving Vegetables
  • 3 servings Healthy Fats

Note: Strong.Bold.Healthy does not promote calorie counting. However, being that some may use calorie counting as a tool to help maintain a healthy weight, 1 serving of Spinach Pesto Pasta is approximately 596 calories. 

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