There’s just something about pasta that makes me happy. I am not sure what it is, maybe simply because CARBS, but nothing has ever made me happier. Even as a child, when my mom cooked up a pot of spaghetti with a bolognese sauce, I’d be a happy camper. When I graduated from high school, I was allowed to decide what we’d have for lunch that day…and pasta it was. How can something so simple make life so perfect!?
When I first found out about wheat-intolerance, I stopped eating pasta altogether. Yes, there is spelt pasta or rice pasta, but I felt like nothing really tasted as good as wheat spaghetti. That was, until I realized I had been eating whole-spelt pasta and never tried spelt pasta. Oh, what a difference in taste it makes to use the refined version of the flour.
Yes, you could argue that whole-flour products are the better choice. You’d probably win that argument, too. But I have started to realize more and more that eating healthy continuously and rigorously is not actually the best way to go for me. I have always eaten healthily, I always watch what I eat – so for me, the real challenge isn’t eating the right food, it’s allowing some “illegal” food into my diet without condemning myself.
Which brings me to today’s delicious dish. I have long sworn off bought pestos, as they almost always contain some sort of cheese I am not allowed to have due to my cow-dairy-intolerance, and because I realized that homemade pesto isn’t only more delicious, but also a lot cheaper to make. Of course, I usually make pesto when it’s summer and the herbs growing on my balcony are in full bloom, but I will occasionally give in to my pesto-pasta cravings in winter, too, and buy some herbs at the store.
The best herb to make pesto out of must be basil. There are few herbs I love as much as basil, be it in salad, smoothies, or pesto…try my Cherry Basil Smoothie if you don’t believe me that it tastes amazing in smoothies. When combined with pine nuts and nutritional yeast, it makes for the most flavorful and creamy pesto! I added steamed broccoli to this dish because a) I like adding some veggies to a pot of pasta and b) I absolutely love broccoli on everything.
I could have broccoli every day, I think. I usually steam a whole head at the beginning of the week and then just add a few florets to everything I eat, be it salads, rice bowls, pasta, or just as a side when I’m eating some toast. I recently discovered that steaming frozen broccoli works swell in a microwave and only takes about 10 minutes…as you can imagine, that was a happy moment in my life.
As a fun crunch, I added some freshly sliced green onions to the pot. If you aren’t trying to avoid cheese, you could also grate some fresh parmesan on top, but I didn’t need it as the nutritional yeast gives the pesto such a cheesy flavor that it’s really not necessary.
This huge platter is bound to make anybody excited, am I right!? It’s green, it’s creamy, it’s crunchy, it’s filling, it’s unbelievably good. I LOVE PASTA.
Green Broccoli Pesto Pasta
- 250g spelt pasta
- 1 head broccoli
- 1 green onion
- 1 cup basil
- 1/2 cup spinach
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 Tbs. pinenuts
- 2 Tbs. nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- Cook the pasta according to the directions on the packet.
- Steam broccoli for 10 minutes until tender.
- Slice the green onion and set aside.
- Mix all the other ingredients together in a food processor to make a smooth pesto. For a thinner consistency, add more water. For a thicker consistency, add one more Tbs. pinenuts and then place in the fridge for 10 minutes.
- Mix the pesto with the pasta, broccoli and green onion. Serve with a side salad.
The amount this pesto makes is enough for the entire pot of pasta. I added some leftover baby spinach leaves to the pesto to give it more substance, but you could either skip it or add some other leafy green to the food processor. The pesto will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days, if not longer.
I made myself a salad on the side, and topped some greens with red onion, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, bell pepper and a bit of apple. The dressing is made from 1 Tbs. lime oil, the juice from half an orange, 2 Tbs. apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar, 1 tsp. agave, dried salad herbs and salt and pepper. The toppings and dressing are enough to make two to three side salads, so there were left-overs for the following days.
I ended up topping my salad with some hulled hemp seeds, and I love how colorful my side salad turned out. For more ideas for side salads, check out this simple guide to making side salads.
This recipe makes 2-3 servings, which means that you’ll not only get to enjoy this for dinner once, but at least twice, depending on your portion sizes. I was quite hungry when I made it, so I actually only separated it into two portions, but I would usually not have 125g of pasta in one sitting!