This quick and easy Avocado Pesto Pasta recipe is loaded with flavor. Homemade pesto, made with fresh herbs, parmesan cheese and garlic, paired with the silky creaminess of avocado make for a delicious vegetarian pasta recipe. Best of all, it can be ready in just 15 minutes.
Ingredients in Avocado Pesto Pasta
- Pasta: For this recipe, I chose fusilli, but you can use any pasta type you prefer. The pesto sauce works well with just about any noodle type. (Try this Pepperoni Caprese Pasta Salad Recipe)
- Avocado: The avocado adds a silky creaminess to the pesto sauce.
- Garlic: I believe the amount of garlic used in a dish is best measured with your heart. For me, there is no such thing as too much garlic. If you do not have fresh garlic on hand, substitute 1 teaspoon of minced garlic for each clove of garlic.
- Basil: Pesto is traditionally made with pesto, but you can use other herbs and leafy greens like parsley, cilantro, spinach, arugula, kale, chives etc. (Try this Tomato Tortellini Soup Recipe)
- Almonds: Traditional pesto recipes call for pine nuts, but I chose to use toasted almonds for this recipe. You could also use walnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, pepitas, or even cashews.
- Parmesan cheese: Some other great choices are pecorino Romano, grana padano, or asiago. You can even mix in a little ricotta cheese for extra creaminess.
- Olive oil: I like to use an extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil when making homemade pesto.
- Lemon juice: Fresh squeezed is best, but if you only have bottled, that works great too. You can also use lime juice, or even orange juice.
Step By Step Instructions
How to make Avocado Pesto Pasta
STEP 1: Add all of the ingredients for the pesto, minus the oil, to a food processor or high-powered blender. Pulse until everything is finely chopped and begins to form a paste. With the food processor or blender running, slowly pour in the oil. Continue to pulse until smooth.
STEP 2: Add the cooked pasta and pesto to a large mixing bowl and toss until the pasta is evenly coated in the pesto. Garnish with fresh basil, parmesan cheese and red pepper flakes before serving.
Recipe Tips and Variations
- Storage: Store the leftover avocado pesto pasta in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
- Reheating: Reheat on the stove top or in the microwave.
- Make it gluten free: For a gluten free version, swap out the pasta for your favorite gluten free noodle. (I like this brand)
- Make it dairy free: To make this avocado pesto pasta in a dairy free version, simply omit the parmesan cheese. To mimic the nutty, salty flavor that Parmesan cheese imparts, substitute nutritional yeast.
- Swap the nuts: For this recipe, I went with almonds as they are what I had on hand, but traditionally pesto is made with pine nuts. This recipe is also delicious made with pine nuts, walnuts, pistachios, or even cashews.
- Make it nut free: For a nut free pesto, simply omit the almonds.
- Add a protein: As written, this is a vegetarian pesto pasta, but it is also delicious with a protein like chicken, sausage, or shrimp added.
- Add veggies: This avocado pesto pasta is also delicious with sautéed spinach, mushrooms, and roasted red peppers added.
- Make avocado toast: Use the avocado pesto as a base for a delicious avocado toast.
Frequently Asked Questions
Traditionally, pesto is made with fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, olive oil, and Parmesan cheese. But you can also make it with other herbs and leafy greens, and different oils and cheeses to change up the flavor and texture.
Pesto is garlicky and has a bright, fresh, herbaceous flavor, with a rich saltiness from the parmesan cheese.
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