When summer’s heat starts to kick in, the last I feel like doing is turning on the oven. I want something easy and nutritious that can be whipped up with as little heat as possible, please and thank you.
Pesto pasta is one of my favorite easy meals to make in the summertime. It takes all of ten minutes to whip up a fresh pesto that bursting with flavor and outside of waiting for the water to boil, cooking pasta is a cinch.
Instead of going the traditional basil route, this pesto features kale for an extra boost of vitamins and fiber. I based it off of Kate’s Kale Pesto Pizza, which has quickly become a staple in our house. In addition to kale, it combines pecans with fresh garlic and lemon juice for a slightly different twist on pesto that we adore.
To keep with the summer theme, we’re tossing in burst cherry tomatoes which are also prepared on the stovetop and take just 10 minutes to cook.
The whole combination is simple enough to make on a weeknight but still flavorful enough to please any palate. If you’re not into pecans, feel free to substitute walnuts or pine nuts or use toasted pepitas to make it nut-free.
We like to top our pasta with a sprinkle of grated parmesan cheese and fresh basil. If you’re dairy-free, you can omit the parmesan. It will still be just as delicious without it!
- 3 cups chopped lacinato kale stems removed (about 1 bunch)
- 1/2 cup raw pecans or nut of choice
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice about 1 small lemon
- 2-3 garlic cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 8 ounces whole grain spaghetti
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Fresh basil and/or grated parmesan cheese for serving
- In the bowl of a food processor, combine the chopped kale, pecans, lemon juice, garlic cloves and salt. Pour in the olive oil and blend on high for 15 seconds, until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides a few times in between blending.
- Next, bring a large pot of water to a boil and add a pinch of salt. Add the spaghetti and cook as directed.
- Meanwhile, cook the tomatoes. In a separate medium-size pan, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and a pinch of salt, then cover and cook for 10 minutes, until the tomatoes begin to burst open. Remove from heat and set aside. (Be careful not to lift the lid when the tomatoes are hot, as the juices and the oil will splatter! You can shake the pan by the handle to toss the tomatoes as needed.)
- When the pasta is tender, remove from heat and drain. Transfer the pasta back to the pot, then spoon the kale pesto on top. Toss until the pesto is evenly distributed. Add the tomatoes to the pot and toss together. Serve warm, garnished with fresh basil and/or grated parmesan cheese.