Quick Homemade Pesto Pasta

10-Minute Pesto Pasta

This student-favourite dish is the easiest, most forgiving of suppers and is a firm family favourite with us. During lockdown I’ve found the endless cooking of meals quite tiring, and I say that as someone who loves being in the kitchen! Most evenings I’m happy to stand for lengthy periods chopping, stirring and washing up, but sometimes – particularly during the hot weather we’re recently experienced – I just want to get a meal on the table within minutes and get back to spritzing myself with cold water while sitting in front of a fan on full blast.

Homemade pesto is a cinch to make. It’s true that you can buy jars of vegan pesto quite easily now (usually found in ‘Free From’ aisles in supermarkets almost everywhere) but a simple homemade recipe is great to have on standby and it really does taste better.

For such a fast and simple supper, this is very nutritious and loaded with plant-based protein. You can choose whether to use cannellini beans or green veggies or both.

Makes two big bowls, just double up if you’re feeding more (or just want decent leftovers in the fridge):

160g spaghetti
175g soya beans, broad beans or peas (frozen is fine; use one or a mix – but for aesthetic reasons stick to green!)
125g (about half a tin) of cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (optional – increase the green beans/peas instead if you prefer)

For The Pesto – Makes about about 4 good tablespoons. Use shop-bought if you prefer!:

2 large handfuls basil (about half a cup)
30g pine nuts or cashews (if using cashews, soak in boiled water for 10 minutes beforehand)
1 tbsp each: lemon juice, olive oil, water
1 garlic clove (or 1/4 tsp garlic granules)
1/4 tsp salt

  • Boil up a large pan of water and add the spaghetti, cannellini beans and/or greens. Boil for 9-10 minutes or until the spaghetti is cooked through.
  • While the spaghetti is cooking, make the pesto by blending all the ingredients until as smooth as you can get it. This is best done in a mini processor/blender or with a handheld blender.
  • Just before draining the cooked pasta and veg, carefully scoop out two tablespoons (30ml) of pasta water and add to the pesto to loosen it up. Pour the emerald-green mixture all over the spaghetti and veg and mix well.
  • Season to taste and serve!
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