When you are gifted a bag of pine nuts and a large bunch of basil, you make pesto! Or, at least that is the way I think. That is just what happened last week, and I had some whole wheat spaghetti on hand so it was perfect! Back in the day when I first got interested in cooking (college), basil pesto was one of the first things I made with pasta. I mean, it is so simple and so easy and you can be eating dinner in no time. Not only that, it is super delicious as well!
Over the years I have made many different kinds of pesto, I started off with cheese included of course because I was a vegetarian at that point, then later moved on to adding nutritional yeast for that cheesy flavor. Or just leaving it out all together, that is good too depending on what mood I was in. Normally I do not actually use pine nuts jut because they are so expensive (at least where I live), so I used almonds or walnuts instead. I was lucky this time though since I was gifted the pine nuts for the pesto so I could use them.
They do make the pesto a little more buttery and smooth, I can see why they are in the classic pesto. I like mine with plenty of lemon juice and a good amount of garlic as well! Kinda like hummus, I add those two ingredients to that too more than most people. The pesto comes out super flavorful and pretty smooth since I used a Vitamix to blend it. It even tastes a little rich from the pine nuts! That is actually the only source of richness in this recipe since I did not use oil in it. It didn’t need oil.
This is the perfect thing to make for dinner on a summer night when you don’t want to put in a lot of effort into making dinner, but still want something really satisfying, delicious and packed with flavor. It is kind of like summer comfort food!
Summer Basil Pesto Pasta
- 2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 3/4 cup pine nuts or almonds
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 cup filtered water or as needed
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 4 oz organic whole wheat spaghetti
- 2 cups organic cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- To make the pesto, combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender and blend until almost smooth (adding a little more water if you think it is too thick to coat pasta). Set aside.
- Cook the pasta according to package directions.
- Drain the pasta, then place back into the pan and stir in the basil pesto and tomatoes until the pasta is coated.