Tonight's dinner: Bow Tie Pasta Primavera. Avocado-Pesto on Top. So excited about this colorful, inviting bowl. This recipe gave me a taste of spring or sunny summer in a the middle of winter. (Although, I do have to admit that LA has a bright blue sky today...) Lunch or dinner approved.
The Dish. Tender veggie-colored bow tie pasta is tossed with an array of colorful veggies: red bell pepper, bright green broccoli, zesty red onion, lively black olives, sweet crunchy carrots and optional capers too. This creamy melange of pasta and veggies includes a lemon-tahini-pepper dressing to start, then another rich pesto sauce on top, the side or folded in to create ultra-creamy pasta bliss. Serve this dish warm or chilled. Healthy veggies, comfort food pasta and rich delicious pesto all in one very cheerful bowl. Leftovers are amazing too! Get my recipe..
Pasta + Veggies + Sunny Accents & Flavors. I pulled some bow tie pasta from the pantry and instead of slathering those tender, pointy ties in red marinara sauce I decided to go with rainbow-colored dish. Pasta Primavera. This lively blend of veggies includes a lemon-tahini-pepper sauce for the pasta and veggies. Then over top I dollop on some rich avocado walnut pesto made using spinach and walnuts, garlic and avocado, a splash of EVOO and plenty of lemon too.
Dive into this colorful bowl and brighten up any winter day.
This dish is delish served warm or chilled!
Add the creamy pesto over top of old in to serve..
Oil Options! This is a fun recipe to use creative oils in. I recently received an email from a reader asking how in the world one uses healthy hemp oil. Well this pasta is great! Sub a few Tbsp of the hemp oil in place of the olive oil. You could also try pumpkin seed, walnut or grape seed oils. I don't always go overboard on adding oils to my food, but for pasta I really enjoy a nice drizzle in my pasta and veggies. It really gives everything a nice richness and the oil adds fat which adds to the satiety level of my food which helps you feel satisfied without over-loading your plate with pasta. I find that when my pasta contains oil I eat much less of it than when it is more low-fat or oil free.
Kathy's Pasta Primavera with lemon, pepper, tahini and pesto
vegan, makes 8 cups
Pasta + Veggies:
2 cups dry bow tie pasta (vegan)
2 cups broccoli florets (cut from one large head of broccoli, thick stem removed)
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced or diced
2 ounces black olives, sliced (or kalamata olives)
2 Tbsp capers (optional)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
Lemon Pepper Tahini Dressing:
3 lemons, juices + 1/2 tsp lemon zest (organic)
2 tsp maple or agave syrup (optional, adds hint of sweetness)
2-3 Tbsp tahini
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (use more or less according to tastes for richness)
1/4 tsp dried bell pepper
1/4 tsp dried onion or garlic
1/2 tsp fine black pepper
1/2 tsp chili pepper
1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
*all the spices in this dressing are adjustable to taste as well
Avo-Spinach Walnut Pesto:
1/2 cup raw walnuts
1 small avocado
1/3 - 1/2 cup pasta water (or warm water)
1/2 tsp chopped garlic or roasted garlic
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 cup baby spinach (1 large handful)
1-2 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
salt to taste OR add 2 tsp white miso paste which is naturally salty
1. Start out by boiling some salted water on your stove and dropping your bow tie pasta.
2. While your pasta cooks, you can prep all your veggies and mix up your dressing in a side bowl.
3. About 2 minutes before your pasta is tender, drop the broccoli into the boiling water. This will blanch the broccoli to a tender state, but not overcook it. This is also easy because you do not have to cook it separately.
4. Drain your pasta and broccoli and transfer to a large mixing bowl. I like to now add in my nutritional yeast and toss a bit. Also add in your fresh veggies: peppers, onion, carrots. Also fold in the olives and optional capers.
5. Next you want to gently fold in the tahini dressing. Be careful to toss gently so you do not break apart all the bow-ties. After you have tossed the pasta and veggies and dressing do a taste test and salt to taste. You can also add more seasonings and nutritional yeast if you'd like. Cover bowl and allow the flavors to settle and marinate while you prep the pesto.
6. Pesto: Add all the ingredients to a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Taste test and salt to taste. (I love using white miso paste to salt my pesto! Basic salt works too.) As you blend - add more or less water to thin out the blend.
7. You have two options, serve the pasta now slightly warm with the warm pesto OR chill everything. Then you can serve both chilled or serve re-heated pasta with chilled pesto or re-heat both. Both the pasta and pesto taste yummy warm and cold - so you cannot really go wrong here.
Pair with white wine and some crusty bread on the side.