This pesto pasta with veggies is easy to make and ready to devour in 20 minutes! The recipe is made with orecchiette pasta, protein-rich green peas, and spicy arugula tossed in a creamy pesto sauce made of avocado, pistachios, and fresh basil!
Pasta with pesto and veggies is ridiculously easy to make in 20 minutes and it's incredibly tasty! The pasta and veggies are tossed in pesto that's made with creamy avocado, buttery pistachios, and loads of fresh basil. It's a delicious combination that will have everyone coming back for seconds!
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Fresh Basil - Fresh herbs are best when it comes to making pesto.
- Pistachios - Pistachios give the pesto a delicious and unique buttery flavor. You can substitute cashews, walnuts, sunflower seeds, or pine nuts.
- Avocado - This makes the pesto so creamy!
- Garlic - Dried garlic can be used if you don't have fresh.
- Lemon Juice - This brightens the pesto and adds flavor.
- Olive Oil - You can use avocado oil or any neutral oil. If you're oil-free, you can replace the oil with water, vegetable broth, or aquafaba (the leftover liquid from the can of chickpeas).
- Baby Arugula - Baby arugula is a little bit spicy and it adds a lot of flavor to the pasta and veggies. You could also use fresh spinach or thinly sliced and massaged kale.
- Green Peas - I added peas for plant-based protein, but you could also use any type of legume like chickpeas, great northern beans, or green lentils.
How To Make It
First, boil water in a large pot to cook the pasta. While the noodles are cooking, make the pesto. Add the fresh basil, avocado, shelled pistachios, lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic to a small food processor cup and blend until it's smooth and creamy.
Drain the pasta when it's done cooking. Put the noodles back in the pot along with the pesto and green peas. Toss to coat the hot pasta with the pesto. Stir in the arugula and the heat from the pasta will start to wilt the leaves. Serve and enjoy!
Frequently Asked Questions
This pasta with veggies can be enjoyed as a main course or side dish. Salad with dairy-free ranch dressing, vegan sloppy joes, arugula tomato salad, crispy baked tofu, or a TTLA sandwich would all be delicious served with it.
No, simply stir it into the pot of hot pasta with veggies and it will warm the pesto right up. You don't need to dirty another pan just to warm up the pesto by itself.
Asparagus, broccoli, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, or artichoke hearts would all be good veggies to add to the pasta.
How To Store It
Store the leftover pesto pasta with veggies in the fridge for 2-3 days or you can freeze it for a future meal. Put it in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for 2-3 months.
To reheat, remove the container from the freezer and put it in the fridge to defrost for 24 hours, and then you can warm it up in the microwave or in a pan on the stovetop over medium heat. Add 2-3 tbsp of water or vegetable broth to the pan if it's dry.
Instead of mixing the pesto with pasta, you could use it in the following ways:
- Spread it on smoky chickpea wraps
- Add a layer to lasagna
- Put dollops on top of quinoa crust pizza
- Use it as a filling for stuffed portobello mushrooms
- When you are removing the shells from the pistachios, use one half of a shell to stick into the opening of a whole pistachio and use it like a wedge to open it up. Doing this will save your fingers and nails.
- Before you cut the lemon, roll it back and forth on the counter a few times to help it release more juice.
- Make sure that the avocado you use is ripe so it will be easy to blend into the sauce.
- Use noodles that have ridges or pockets that will catch the sauce. I use orecchiette because I love how the little pockets hold the pesto and you get a burst of flavor in each bite.
- Gluten-Free - You can make this recipe gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta. I recommend chickpea pasta, I think it tastes the most like flour-based noodles.
Want More Delicious Pesto Recipes?
- Pesto Quinoa Stuffed Tomatoes
- Pesto Pasta Casserole
- Pesto Veggies Bake
- Portobello Mushrooms with Pesto Lentils
Veggie Pesto Pasta
- Large Pot
- Food Processor
- 16 oz orecchiette pasta (use gluten-free noodles if necessary)
- 3 cups fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup unsalted pistachios (shelled)
- 2 small garlic cloves
- ½ large avocado
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (or water)
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp black pepper
- ½ cup hot pasta water
- 1 cup green peas
- 3-4 cups baby arugula
- In a large pot, bring water to a boil, and cook the noodles.
- While the noodles are cooking, make the pesto. Add 3 cups basil, ½ cup pistachios, 2 garlic cloves, ½ avocado, 2 tbsp lemon juice, ¼ cup olive oil, ¼ tsp salt, and ⅛ tsp black pepper to a small food processor or blender and blend until smooth and creamy.
- Before you drain the pasta, reserve ½ cup of the hot water. Add the pesto, green peas, and reserved pasta water to the pot with the pasta. Mix it well to coat the noodles with the pesto sauce.
- Stir in the arugula and let it sit for 1-2 minutes so the heat from the pasta will start to wilt the greens. Add more salt and pepper to taste.