This dish comes together in 15 minutes. No joke! Sometimes we think we don’t have time for making a meal at home. If you want an easy, inexpensive weekday meal, then this is it!
I’ll be honest too, the pesto sauce was accidental, in a way. I wanted to make a spinach-leek soup but my son wanted pasta (which is his favorite thing) so I started to think how to merge the two cravings and came up with this. I was a little afraid it wasn’t going to be too good but I’m so happy with the results that I’m sharing it with all of you!
This is a vegan pesto meaning absolutely no animal products involved. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Traditionally pesto has Parmesan cheese but I just swapped that out for nutritional yeast et voila! You have cheese-y flavor as well as added nutrients like B-12!
Here’s some more honesty for you: pine nuts are commonly found in pesto as well but they are always SUPER expensive. I think I’ve only purchased them once. Pesto is super quick to make but can be expensive if making it yourself for a large family or group and IF you include pine nuts (at least in my area of the world) If pine nuts are a reasonable price for you then by all means use them but I used toasted walnuts instead. I also didn’t have any basil (it died as the snow came and I didn’t get to it in time) which is another common ingredient in pesto. Spinach works so well in its place.
I used avocado oil in this recipe simply because, well frankly it’s what I had on hand. Also since I knew I would not have to heat the oil I knew I could use a cold-pressed oil.
tip: any oil that is cold-pressed should not be used for cooking. This includes olive oil, avocado, flax, walnut, pumpkin seed etc. and only minimal amounts of cooking oil (ie: coconut oil) should be used for cooking added with a little water so as not to damage the oil.
You could buy pre-made pesto sauce but they usually come in small jars which, if you have a large family as I do, is not enough. Also, I haven’t found any vegan pesto yet so why not make my own? It’s quicker than running to the store to buy a jar of pesto. Honestly.
You could make this sauce ahead of time and place in a jar in the fridge for about 2 weeks to use on sandwiches or if you are not making a large portion of pasta. This made enough for my family of 6. You could easily make this gluten-free by using gluten-free pasta.
Spinach-Leek Pesto Pasta
- 1 leek
- 1 onion
- 2 tbsp fresh garlic (1 large clove)
- 1 cup walnuts
- 2 cups fresh spinach
- 1/2 cup avocado oil
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1/2 lemon juiced
- Cook your desired amount of pasta following package directions. While that is cooking prepare the pesto.
- Chop the onion and place in to a large pan heated on medium.
- Chop the leek and wash under cool water in a colander and add to the pan with the onion. Cook until crisp-tender (about 5 minutes) remove from pan into a heat-safe bowl to cool while you toast the walnuts.
- Place the walnuts in the pan and let toast, tossing frequently until browned and fragrant.
- Place all ingredients into a food processor and pulse until finely chopped with a chunky consistency. (about 3 minutes)
- When pasta is done, drain and add back in to the pot or serving bowl. Pour the pesto all over and toss to coat.
- Enjoy life in the pink!
- The nutrition label doesn’t take into account the pasta. It is only for the pesto. Please keep this in mind when calculating daily calories.