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.