I don’t create cooking content usually, but this time I’ve got something epic to celebrate! It happened that the strict lockdown measures enforced in my country, Italy, due to the pandemic, provided a perfect occasion to switch from a vegetarian to a vegan diet. Finally!
This vegan pesto pasta recipe I’m about to share with you is the most delicious thing I was able to create as a newbie vegan. My walnut chocolate cookies were delicious too, but nothing beats the satisfaction of knowing that I can now enjoy a basil pesto pasta with no cheese in it!
I was really addicted to cheese, I feel so lucky I’ve found the right way for me to detox from casein gradually and become a vegan. I’m Italian, I grew up eating cheese every day. Cheese is used in most of the traditional food from my hometown, Rome. The classic recipe of the Italian basil pesto contains garlic, parmesan cheese, and pine-nuts. My pesto recipe instead, is dairy-free and uses walnuts and some cherry tomatoes.
INGREDIENTS FOR THIS EPIC BASIL WALNUTS VEGAN PESTO RECIPE
Since I’ve been spending 44 days of total lockdown on my own and 12 more have to pass by until it ends, this is a recipe for a vegan pesto pasta for one person. If you cook for 2 or more, use more of everything… Consider that the portions will be abundant, as they would be on an average table of an Italian family… Pasta in Italy is the single course of a meal and can be followed by a light salad and sometimes a dessert. I recommend you use quality ingredients, the best you can get where you are at! If they come from your own garden then you are lucky 🙂
Preparation time: about 30 minutes from the fire to the table.
A handful of fresh basil leaves, rinsed in cold water and gently dried with a clean rag. If you want to use more leaves, go for it, it won’t hurt.
A handful of walnuts
8 cherry tomatoes (pull them out of the fridge one hour before you start cooking)
100 g. whole wheat packed spaghetti
Best quality extra virgin olive oil
Easily peel the cherry tomatoes Make sure the water is boiling constantly Sauté the spaghetti with the tomatoes My vegan walnut basil pesto looks like this Add the pesto cream to the spaghetti and mix[/caption]
How to make the yummiest basil homemade vegan pesto pasta
Put abundant water to boil in a pot on medium heat. Rinse the cherry tomatoes and remove the stalks.
In a blender, mix the walnuts with two spoons of olive oil and one spoon of water.
When the water boils, throw the tomatoes in it and count up to 1 minute. Remove the tomatoes from the water with a sifter or spoon and place them for a few seconds in a bowl full of cold water.
Now you can easily remove the peel with your fingers and cut the tomatoes in half.
Pour the tomatoes in a non-stick skillet over medium heat with a couple of spoons of oil and one spoon of water, half a teaspoon of salt, and cover with a lid. Let the tomatoes cook for a few minutes, about five or even less. You don’t want to make tomato sauce here, quite the contrary. Look at the result in the photos: you might crash two or three tomatoes while they’re cooking with a fork, but I find it more enjoyable to feel the juicy halves contrasting with the creamy pesto in my mouth… yum!
Pour salt (a bit less than a teaspoon) and the spaghetti in the pan with the boiling water.
Gently help the spaghetti with a fork until they’re completely under the water. The water needs to be always boiling. If it has stopped boiling, cover with a lid, the boiling will revive in a minute.
Check the cooking time of your spaghetti on the package. You want them “al dente”, it means that you need to drain them a couple of minutes before they’re perfectly cooked. This is very important because you will pan-fry them after!
At this point, add the basil leaves to the blender and mix them with the walnut paste. Leave two or three leaves out for the decoration.
When the spaghetti is almost perfectly cooked, start again the fire under the skillet with the tomatoes, add a scoop of the boiling water in it, drain the spaghetti and place them in the skillet.
***it’s always helpful to keep handy a cup of boiling water, you might need it if the sauce is results too thick in the end)
Now gently mix the spaghetti and the tomatoes over medium heat (you will need a spoon and a fork, better if wooden). When you start hearing that crunchy sound and it starts smelling really good, it usually takes 2 to 3 minutes, add in the vegan pesto sauce and turn off the fire.
Keep mixing until the whole thing is uniform… The delicious vegan pesto pasta is ready.
Move to your favorite plate, decorate with a few basil leaves, and enjoy it tasting it deeply mouthful after mouthful.
The thing I love the most about this homemade walnut basil vegan pesto pasta recipe is that the flavor is fragrant and delicate and so easy on the body.
Here are some more ideas for this vegan pesto pasta recipe
Garlic. Mix half a clove with the walnuts.
More salt. If you like it more savory, add a pinch of salt also to the pesto sauce.
Hemp seeds! They blend well with the other flavors. You can add a teaspoon to the walnuts when blending (check the paste needs a bit more water or not) or directly on your plate.
A pinch of turmeric and black pepper are never missing from my pasta plate. Add at the end just before eating.
If you liked my idea for a vegan pesto pasta recipe, I want to give you some reasons to eat it even more often.
The magical properties of basil for your diet
Having a pesto pasta is the perfect way to combine a delicious meal with the intake of raw ingredients which are tremendously beneficial for your body system. Let’s have a look into the properties of basil. The word basil derives from the Greek basilikon which means “royal plant”. Basil leaves are packed supporters of your health: vitamin A, C, K, copper, flavonoids, beta-carotene, and magnesium. In order to reap the full benefits of basil, you should eat it raw. Basil, like thyme, can be an ingredient for your salads as well.
Basil oxidizes quickly after you cat it with a metal knife. It’s better to eat entire leaves or to crumb them in a mortar, as the traditional cooking books and the grannies recommend. This is also the reason why you need to blend them just a few instants before combining them with your spaghetti!
This is the result! | Homemade vegan pesto pasta recipe
TIP: When you get tired of this pesto, try replacing the basil with arugula or other Italian green veggies like black Tuscan cabbage or spinach.
I would like to know what’s your best homemade vegan pesto pasta recipe! Leave me a comment or two…