A spring-inspired recipe for Spring Pesto Pasta with Asparagus. This simple vegetarian pasta uses a homemade, garlicky almond and kale pesto sauce that pairs perfectly with asparagus, peas and penne noodles for a dinner that’s gluten free, dairy free, and easy to make.
All the pasta, please!
Is there a better night of the week than pasta night? Taco night, maybe? But more often than not I’ll be reaching for my fork and oversized pasta bowl and serving myself enough noodles to feed a party of three.
Can’t stop. Won’t stop.
And I definitely can’t help myself when pasta night is Spring Pesto Pasta night with garlicky, almond and kale pesto, tender crispy asparagus, bright peas all over penne noodles.
A simple and easy to make spring-inspired recipe for Spring Pesto Pasta with Asparagus. This vegetarian pasta uses a homemade, garlicky almond and kale pesto sauce that pairs perfectly with asparagus, peas and penne noodles for a dinner that’s gluten free, dairy free and vegan.
For the Almond and Kale Pesto:
- 1 cup fresh parsley
- 1 cup (packed) chopped kale
- ½ cup unsalted, roasted almonds
- 1-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 clove of garlic
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt (or more to taste)
- ½ teaspoon raw honey (optional but I really like the added sweetness)
- 4-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (depending on your preferred pesto consistency)
- 2-4 tablespoons water (depending on your preferred pesto consistency)
For the Pasta:
- 4 cups uncooked, short-cup pasta noodles (about 1 340g package)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
- ½ cup peas
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Chopped almonds, extra parsley, nutritional yeast or parmesan cheese for serving
- Cook pasta according to package directions.
- While water is boiling and pasta is cooking, make the pesto. In a food processor, add all pesto ingredients. Blend until mostly smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Season with addition lemon or salt. Set aside.
- In a large skillet over medium, heat oil. Cook asparagus, stirring frequently, until just tender and starting to brown, 8-10 minutes. Add the peas and lemon juice and cook for another minute.
- Turn heat to low and add the pesto sauce to the pan and stir to coat the veggies. Let sauce warm and simmer until pasta is cooked.
- When the pasta is ready, reserve ½ – 1 cup of the starchy cooking liquid before draining.
- Stir the cooking liquid into the pesto sauce – start with about ½ cup and add more until desired consistency is reached.
- Add the drained pasta to the pan and stir to coat the noodles with the pesto sauce. Season with salt, pepper or lemon if needed. Top with addition chopped almonds, parsley, nutritional yeast or cheese. Serve immediately.
Another quick note on this sauce: It’s a hearty pesto sauce. And by hearty I mean thick and creamy and thick. If you like a more delicate pesto sauce use a little more oil when making it, don’t quite use the whole batch and thin to desired consistency with starchy cooking liquid.
MORE ABOUT THIS SPRING PESTO PASTA RECIPE
Did I mention the garlicky almond and kale pesto? It’s far from a traditional pesto but just as delicious. It may seem like an odd combination (and let’s be real – this was a combination that was put together simply because it was the only combination, as almonds, kale and a scant cup of parsley were the only ingredients left in the fridge after a long, busy week) but it’s one that we couldn’t stop eating.
Parsley (leaves, stems and all), kale, roasted almonds, garlic, a little bit of fresh lemon juice, balsamic vinegar (the real star here!) and olive oil make a crazy-good, super nutty, really bright and delicious sauce for any pasta but definitely for a short-cut penne and lots of spring veggies.
The asparagus – simply sauteed up in olive oil until just tender then finished with a splash of lemon juice and some peas (peas have a super short season where I live so I pretty much always use frozen). Then asparagus and peas meet sauce.
One last quick note on this pesto sauce: It’s a hearty pesto sauce. And by hearty, I mean thick and creamy and thick. I L.O.V.E. it this way – more herbs and greens and flavour per bite. If you like a more delicate pesto sauce use a little more oil when making it, don’t quite use the whole batch and thin to desired consistency with starchy cooking liquid.
I hope you like this recipe as much as I do! If you give this Spring Pesto Pasta a try let me know in the comments below and be sure to share a picture on Instagram using the tags @alwaysnourished and #alwaysnourished. I love to see what you’re cooking!