If you want a quick and easy weeknight meal, this dairy-free pesto pasta will not disappoint! It’s dairy-free, gluten-free, and absolutely delicious. The cashew basil is so good you’ll want to eat it with a spoon. You can also sneak in an additional handful or two of spinach or baby greens for added greens and nutrients (you can’t even taste it!).

 

Benefits:

Basil is a great anti-inflammatory that supports cardiovascular health.

Cashews support bone health and your immune system, and are great for boosting energy. They contain a variety of minerals that help you de-stress and keep you at an ideal weight.

Bean-based pasta is a delicious gluten-free alternative to wheat pasta. It contains more fiber and protein than regular pasta, but it has a similar taste and texture.

Here’s the recipe:

Dairy-free Pesto Pasta

Ingredients:

2 cloves garlic

2 cups tightly packed fresh basil

1 cup cashews (soaked overnight, or at least 4 hours, and drained)*

1/4 tsp salt

1/3 cup olive oil (or more, depending on the consistency you want)

1-2 cups of baby spinach or mesclun greens (optional)

1 package your favorite alternative bean-based pasta (chickpea, lentil, mung bean, etc.)

 

Instructions:

FOR THE PASTA

  1. Cook according to package directions.

FOR THE PESTO

  1. Put garlic in high speed blender or food processor and pulse until chopped.
  2. Next add basil, and pulse again until it is broken down into small pieces.
  3. Add cashews and salt, and process on low so that the cashews are broken into tiny pieces, but still maintain a little texture. If using cashews that haven’t been soaked, you may want to process on a higher level to get a creamier consistency.
  4. Finally, with the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until completely combined.

 

Notes

*Soaking cashews bring out the creamiest of textures. Simply put them in a bowl, cover with water, place a cover on the bowl, and let sit on the counter overnight or for at least 4 hours. (If you let them sit longer than overnight, refrigerate). When ready to use, simply drain.

If you forget to soak them, you can still make the pesto, but note that it will have a different texture, and won’t be as creamy.

Get the printable recipe here.

Author: Maria Marlowe is an Integrative Nutrition Health Coach who has helped thousands of people improve their health by optimizing their diet. She has created meal plans and programs to help you lose weight, clear up acne, and spend less time in the kitchen yet still eat healthy.  

She has been featured in Vogue, The New York Times, NBC, Well + Good, and more. Her first book, The Real Food Grocery Guide, will teach you how to eat healthy without going broke.

Download her free 3-Day Real Food Challenge Meal Plan, check out her site, www.mariamarlowe.com, or follow her on  Instagram @MariaMarlowe and Facebook for more healthy recipes.