Vegetable Pesto Pasta recipe
Vegetable Pesto Pasta

Vegetable Pesto Pasta

Prep Time + Cooking Time - 60 minutes

Servings - 8

Serving size - 1 cereal or fruit bowl

Ingredients

Grains

  • 300 gm high protein penne pasta

Protein / Dairy

  • 1 container of fresh mozzarella cheese cherry size

 

Oil

  • 5 teaspoons EVOO

For pesto sauce

  • ½ cup EVOO

Vegetables / Fruits

  • 1 lb. baby spinach chopped
  • 24 oz. whole Portabella mushrooms cleaned and sliced into bite-sized chunks
  • 2 red bell peppers or capsicum sliced at an angle into long strips
  • 1 cup julienned carrots
  • 1 cup julienned zucchini
  • ½ cup precut butternut squash
  • 27 cherry tomato sliced into half
  • 1 cup green beans sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup cauliflower cut into large bite-sized chunks
  • 8 stalks chopped broccolette or broccolini
  • 6 spears of asparagus cut into long slices

Herbs / Spices / Seasoning / Sauce 

  • Iodized salt to taste

Ingredients for pesto sauce

  • 4 bunches of basil leaves from small potted living plants
  • 3 sprigs of tarragon
  • 1 handful flat leaf Italian parsley
  • ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 4 Tablespoons chopped sundried tomato
  • 1 Tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 Tablespoon zest of lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ cup parmesan cheese
  • Iodized salt to taste

Method

Cook pasta & roast the pine nuts

1. Boil water in a pasta pot. Add ½ teaspoon of olive oil and salt to taste.

2. Add the high protein penne to the boiling water and follow the instructions on the package. It usually takes about 10 to 11 minutes for the pasta to cook. If you prefer a softer texture than the popular al dente, cook for an additional 3 to 4 minutes.

3. Preheat oven to 325°F.

4. Toast ¼ cup pine nuts on a baking sheet or pan for 1 to 2 minutes until they turn a light brown color.

Roast the vegetables

5. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

6. Peel and slice 2 carrots into long strips or julienne the carrots.

7. Slice 2 red bell peppers also into long strips.

8. Julienne the zucchini.

9. Cut the cherry tomatoes into half.

10. Use a baking pan that is coated with 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Toss the carrots, red bell peppers and zucchini with a 2nd teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Roast these veggies in the oven for 9 minutes.

Add butternut squash

11. Add the precut butternut squash and cherry tomatoes to the veggies already roasting in the oven after 9 minutes. Mix well so that all the vegetables are well coated with the extra virgin olive oil.

Roasted veggies

12. Roast all the mixed vegetables for a total of 40 minutes.

Cook caulifower and other vegetables

13. Cut green beans and asparagus at an angle into long pieces.

14. Cut the cauliflower into bite-sized pieces or chunks and chop the broccolette.

15. Microwave the vegetables from 13. & 14. in a glass bowl with a few teaspoons of water. Cook for 20 to 22 minutes until the vegetables are tender. Add more water if necessary.

Now for the delicious pesto sauce....

16. Wrap a bulb of garlic in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 30 minutes at 400°F. I usually just roast the garlic alongside the vegetables that are already roasting in the oven and remove after 30 minutes.

17. Use the leaves of living basil plants or use 4 large bunches of fresh basil leaves.

Fresh Italian Basil Leaves

The star ingredient of pesto sauce

Making the pesto sauce....

18. Grind together red pepper flakes, black pepper powder, salt, 6 cloves of garlic, sundried tomatoes, 3 sprigs of fresh tarragon, a handful of fresh parsley leaves, 4 large bunches of fresh basil leaves and the zest of 1 lemon with ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil.

Basil leaves with lemon zest

The lemon zest adds a fresh aroma and taste.

Making pesto sauce....

19.  Grind to a coarse texture.

Making pesto sauce....

20. Add ½ cup of parmesan cheese to the mixture in the blender and grind to a smoother sauce.

Clean & trim

21. Clean and trim the mushroom, cut into bite-sized chunks.

Clean & trim the mushrooms

This maintains the beautiful green color of the pesto sauce.

Chopped mushrooms

22. Roast the mushrooms in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes at 375°F.

Sauté the spinach

23. Chop the baby spinach.

24. Sauté the chopped spinach in a large pan with 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil for 2 to 3 minutes over medium heat.

Simmer the vegetables in the pesto sauce....

25. Add all the roasted vegetables and those that were cooked in the microwave to the same pan with the baby spinach. Sauté for 2 to 3 minutes. Add salt to taste.

26. Now add the pesto sauce and mix well over low heat. Stir in the cherry mozzarella and let it simmer for 3 to 4 minutes.

Adding the high protein pasta

27. Mix in the cooked penne pasta and sauté on low heat for 1 to 2 minutes.

Nutrition Tip - To increase the protein content, I add cannellini beans or any other beans that I have available at home.

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