There are many, many nights when my desire to just get something on the table rivals my need for a dinner that’s simultaneously healthy, satisfying and, of course, delicious. It’s on nights like these – especially in the warmer months – when I turn to pesto pasta. It’s quick, no doubt, but even better, it’s one of those meals that is ridiculously customizable. Pesto can be made with nearly any herb or dark leafy green, and nuts can be swapped out for whatever you have in your pantry.
Spinach Macadamia pesto just might be my new favorite variation. The spinach adds a vibrant green hue and packs a big nutritional punch, and the macadamias make this sauce creamy and buttery without the dairy. Miso might seem like an unconventional addition (and it is!), but it adds the wonderful salty umami that cheese usually brings to classic pesto recipes. This recipe makes enough pesto to generously coat 1 pound of pasta, but if you prefer a lighter dish, use a little less and save the rest to use throughout the week as a veggie dip, a sandwich spread, or dolloped into buddha bowls. If you can’t find campanelle pasta, substitute with orecchiette or farfalle.
- 1 pound campanelle pasta
- 5 cups baby spinach, tightly packed
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup macadamia nuts
- 6 cloves garlic
- 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 Tbsp white miso
- 1 tsp salt
- ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
- Place a large pot of well salted water over medium high heat and bring to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. Before straining, reserve ¼ cup of cooking water. Strain pasta and place in a large pan.
- Add spinach, olive oil, parsley, macadamia nuts, garlic, lemon juice, miso, salt and nutmeg to the bowl of a food processor fitted with an S blade. Process until smooth.
- Heat pan containing cooked pasta over low heat and toss pasta with pesto and cooking water until well combined. Remove from heat and serve immediately.
Pesto can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen for up to 3 months.