Pesto pasta is probably one of the few meals that my ENTIRE family can agree on. The kids ask for it regularly, and I make it on a bi-weekly basis. When summer was still here I would go into our garden and pick all the basil off our plants to put into this recipe, which would make it so easy and fun. The kids would get involved, of course, and it was always a competition who could pick more leaves. This pesto pasta is packed with super food ingredients and it only takes about 10 minutes to put together, which makes it a wonderful weeknight meal.
The recipe calls for pumpkin seeds which are a nutritional powerhouse, with a wide range of nutrients ranging from magnesium and manganese to copper, protein and zinc. They also contain free-radical antioxidants, which give you health an added boost. In addition to pumpkin seeds, I also add hemp hearts, which are a complete protein, contain essential fatty acids omega 6 and omega 3; they are also a good source of fiber and are packed with vitamins and minerals including A, B1, B2, D and E, as well as the minerals calcium and iron. These two ingredients alone should hopefully convince you that this is worth trying out!
Now to take the flavour up a notch, I also add candied tomatoes to the pasta, which makes it incredible. These babies pack in a LOT of flavour as they are baked in balsamic vinegar, thyme and a bit of sugar. I can’t even tell you how amazing these tomatoes are. You really do need to try this out for yourself. My kids won’t touch the tomatoes (which is fine by me, more goodies for Matt and I). I don’t mind as the pesto contains so much healthy ingredients that it is a complete meal in itself.
Before perfecting this pesto pasta recipe there were a few others that I played around with. The difference was really in the type of nuts that I used and whether it included hemp hearts or not. Having tested this one out on the family the last few times that I have made it, everyone agrees that this is by far our favourite version and it has been given a huge thumbs up by the whole fam.
I so hope that you give this one a try. It makes for an easy, healthy and delicious weeknight meal that takes no time at all to put together. We love feedback, so if you try one of our recipes, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it and don’t forget to tag us in our IG photo’s using #sneakymommies. Never miss another recipe again by subscribing to our Sneaky Mommies newsletter. As a member, you will also receive EXCLUSIVE bonus recipes not found on our blog. Sign up today!
- FOR THE PESTO:
- ¼ cup organic raw pumpkin seeds
- ¼ cup hemp hearts
- ⅔ cup EVOO (2 portions of ⅓ cup each); plus up to ¼ cup more to thin out the pesto paste
- 3 cups packed fresh basil leaves
- 2 large garlic cloves
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
- FOR THE TOMATOES:
- 1 cup halved mini tomatoes
- 2 tablespoon EVOO
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon good quality balsamic vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- salt and pepper to taste
- In the bowl of your food processor add your pumpkin seeds, hemp hearts, garlic and ⅓ cup EVOO. Process until the pumpkin seeds and garlic have been chopped and everything is blended together.
- Add the basil leaves, salt, pepper and remaining ⅓ cup of olive oil. Pulse until the the mixture resembles a paste.
- Next add your cheese and pulse some more. To thin out the pesto a bit pour up to ¼ cup of EVOO through the food processor feed tube and process some more until full blended and it is the consistency that you like.
- Remove the pesto from the food processor, place in a bowl and cover with a thin layer of olive oil until you are ready to use it.
- To make the tomatoes line a baking sheet with parchment paper sprayed with non stick baking spray and preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Add the halved tomatoes onto the baking sheet and sprinkle with EVOO, balsamic vinegar, sugar, thyme, salt and pepper. Gently mix everything together so that it is thoroughly coated. Turn the tomatoes to face cut side up and roast for 45min or so, until liquid is reduced.
- While the tomatoes are roasting make your pasta as per the directions.
- When the tomatoes are done, in a large skillet add your cooked pasta, top it with the pesto to thoroughly coat the pasta. You can either add your tomatoes in at this time or separately on individual plates.