I've moved! Follow me over to The Balanced Baker.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Lemony Almond Spinach Pesto Pasta

As summer was drawing to a close, I decided it was time to get as much as I could out of our happy little mint plant.   We also had precious little grilling weather left, so that was a must!   Since I was pairing it with grilled chicken and vegetables, I omitted quite a few ingredients, and then substituted pine nuts for the almonds because… well… I felt like it. :-) 
This is, perhaps, my first time using mint in a savory dish, and it turned out really good.  I tried it once in mint ice cream and found it way too grassy for my taste – so I guess that’s why it works so well here.  The pesto is great, and a nice variation to have on hand for when the basil plant isn’t being quite so fruitful.  Next time I will definitely have to go the tuna and almond route – I can see how that would be a fabulous pairing!
Lemony Almond Spinach Pesto Pasta
Source: Clean Eating Magazine, Sept/Oct 2009, page 63
  • 1/2 lb whole-wheat pasta, any shape
  • 3 cups tightly packed baby spinach (3 ounces)
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh mint
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp Pecorino Romano cheese, grated
  • Zest and juice of one large lemon (2 tsp zest and 1/3 cup juice), divided
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/4 cup unsalted toasted almond slivers
  • 1 6-ounce can solid white tuna, packed in water
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cored seeded and diced small
  • 1 small zucchini, diced small
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (or 1 15-ounce can low sodium white beans, drained and rinsed)
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.  Drain pasta and rinse with cold water to stop it from cooking further.  Set aside.
  2. Put spinach, mint, garlic, cheese, and lemon zest in a food processor and pulse to form a chunky paste. Combine lemon juice  and oil in a liquid measuring cup. With food processor running (on but not pulsing), add juice-oil mixture through the food chute in a slow drizzle until a thick, smooth pesto forms. Combine pesto with cooked pasta in a large bowl. 
  3. Put almonds in processor and pulse about 10 times, until finely chopped.  Stir almonds into pasta.
  4. Drain tuna and flake with a fork.  Add it to pasta, along with yellow pepper, zucchini and beans. Toss to combine and season with salt and black pepper.


Tasha - The Clean Eating Mama said...

Amazing!! Looks great!
Healthy Eating

Kelly said...

I just made this last night and OMG! It is sooo good!!