Vegan Green Pea Pesto

Updated: Dec 28, 2019

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PESTO is one of my favorite condiments! Not only can the ingredients support wellness, but the flavor is full bodied, and the recipe is widely versatile. (Ideas to use the pesto below the recipe!)

  • Both olive oil and almonds have mono- unsaturated fats that support optimal heart health.

  • Basil is a source of vitamin K, manganese, iron, vitamin A, and vitamin C. It's also has calcium, magnesium, and omega-3 fatty acids. Some people extract the basil essential oil and use it for treating cuts, wounds, and skin infections

  • Spaghetti Squash has a neutral flavor. I can be swapped in for spaghetti as a lower calorie option for those looking for this option. It can also provide hydration as compared to the wheat pasta as it is higher in water weight. And for me, I find it to lighten up the entire dish as compared to wheat pasta.

  • Also, this recipe is vegan, but I don't recommend that everyone eat a vegan diet. It is just an option! If you eat cheese, I have that recipe below, too!

Ingredients:

  • 1 or 2 spaghetti squash – about 7 inches long each *There will be enough pesto for 2 squash but check out my tips at the bottom for the extra pesto if you cook only 1*

  • 1 cup fresh parsley, stems and leaves

  • 1 cup frozen, thawed green peas

  • 1 cup fresh basil, stems and leaves

  • 3 cloves of garlic

  • ¼ cup soaked cashews (for at least 1 hour In filtered water) - for the cheese creaminess that we omitted

  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast - for the cheese flavor that we omitted

  • 1 lemon, juice and zest

  • ¼ cup of almonds or pine nuts, can toast for 5-10 minutes to ramp up the flavor. I choose almonds for convenience and budget but pine nuts are classically used for pesto

  • 1/3 cup cold pressed extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup water (more as needed to loosen the pesto)

  • 1/8 tsp pink salt

  • FOR THE NON-VEGAN RECIPE ** If you eat cheese, then instead of cashews and nutritional yeast, add 1/4 cup grated pecorino romano cheese. Also omit the salt as cheese has a high sodium content. You can taste and add salt as needed.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. Prep your squash. Cut your squash lengthwise and use a spoon to scoop out the seeds. *TIP* You can dry and save seeds for summer gardens or toast a snack for later.

  3. Put the squash FACE DOWN on a parchment lined backing sheet. Add water to the pan until it rises about ¼ inch up the sides of the squash.

  4. Roast for 25 minutes face down, then flip and roast for another 20-25 minutes face up. **this allows the water to evaporate and makes the 'noodles' less soggy.

  5. Let the squash cool to room temperature. Then, using a fork, scoop out the inside of the squash into a bowl. it should appear like spaghetti strands.

  6. For the pesto: Add all the ingredients to the food processor or blender (you may need to do it in two batches if your processor is small. Pulse until chopped and mixed.

  7. Add your spaghetti to a large bowl. Pour about half of the pesto on top (if using 1 squash).

  8. Use tongs or two salad spoons to cover all the 'noodles' with pesto.

  9. Eat at room temperature OR add desired amount to a pan and sauté until warmed through.

  10. FOR THE EXTRA PESTO... (Because wasting good pesto is basically a crime!): Add to an air tight container in the fridge up to a week. For freezing, smooth the top of the pesto out and add olive oil on top until a thin coat covers all of the pesto. Then cover and freeze.

  11. ALTERNATE IDEAS FOR THE PESTO: 1. Smear it on Salmon or Chicken then bake. 2. Add olive oil and basaltic for a quick dressing for salad or cold noodles 3. Toss cubed veggies with it and roast in the oven until cooked. 4. Add 1 tbsp on top of tomato soup. 5. Mix into cheery tomatoes, then sauté until tomatoes burst for a quick warm 'bruschetta' or new sauce for pasta or proteins. 6. Mix into leftover quinoa for a fresh meal idea. Serve with salmon or shrimp.

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