Pesto Pasta Salad

It’s summer time! Bring on the cold vegetable dishes! This pesto pasta salad recipe is here to stay in our house. It is SO delicious! So nutritious and SO satisfying. I promise. Just about everyone will love this pesto pasta recipe.

I first made it over the weekend for a family party and quickly became obsessed with it. I made some revisions to “perfect” it and at lunch today my 9 year old  said “MOM you need to put this on the blog.” (we also ate it with some grilled squash. New favorite side.) Convinced yet? My daughter loves it. I told you, this recipe is a new favorite. There are no leftovers in sight.

Pre non-dairy days I LOVED me some pesto. Never mind the fact that it gave me some crazy indigestion most of the time, it was still delicious.  But with this recipe I used a vegan parmesan cheese (don’t let that word vegan scare you! plants are good!). This was my first time making a parmesan and it won’t be the last! HOLY SMOKES IT IS AMAZING! And dare I say BETTER than regular parmesan!? SO easy! It took me less than two minutes to make. There was more than enough for the pasta and some keep in the fridge for the week. Win!  I got the PERFECT recipe from The Minimalist Baker.

This pesto is so delicious and fragrant! The basil is packed with Vitamin K and gives a good punch of antioxidants! Something that smells so fresh and powerful has to be good for you. This was also my first time trying the POW pasta. It was pretty good!

Transparency for a moment. I’ve been struggling a little bit this week on WHAT to eat and what eating ways to follow. Should we eat meat? Should we be vegan? How much meat? How many times?  So much worrying is contradictory to good health. It’s so easy to get caught up in specifics of the world. But you can’t go wrong with WHOLE foods and eating MOSTLY plants, along with reducing stress. So that is where I will leave it. Eating good REAL food and mostly plants. Less worry : )

This pasta was the perfect lunch today after some yummy buffalo chicken wings last night! Give me all the plants!

I really do hope that some of you try it and please let me know how you like it, if you do!

Pesto Pasta Salad
(Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegan)

INGREDIENTS:
| for the parmesan |
3/4 cashews
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/4 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp good salt
| FOR THE REST |
1 cooked package of your favorite GF pasta (cooled)
2 cups fresh basil
1/2 cup cilantro
1/2 cup arugula
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup of frozen peas
1/4 cup of the vegan PARMESAN cheese + some to top
1/4 cup of olive oil
3 cloves of garlic
juice from 1 small lemon
1/4 cup of water
salt to taste

Directions:
(Take peas out to thaw.)
First make the parmesan by blending all of the ingredients in your Vitamix or food processor. Set aside. Then add basil, cilantro, peas, olive oil, garlic, lemon, water and salt in a food processor. Blend on high until smooth. Stop to scrap the sides with a spatula occasionally. Add an additional tablespoon of water if needed. Poor pesto mixture, arugula and tomatoes over your cooked pasta. Fold in gently until thoroughly combined. Sprinkle the top with the desired amount of cheese. This can be served immediately or chilled of an hour. Tip: When you cook and drain your pasta, run cold water over it until completely cooled. This and using slightly frozen peas will help it stay cool to eat right away!

Enjoy!

Peas: Peas have great phytonutrients which is beneficial for eye and vision health. They also have a special phytonutrient that helps against stomach cancer prevention.