This is from the Jillian Michaels Master Your Metabolism cookbook and it’s one of my favorite recipes. It can be easily adapted to be vegan and gluten free- just use vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast and gluten free pasta.
This recipe is: vegetarian, vegan, gluten free
- 12 oz pasta of choice
- 1-2 pints cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 11-16 oz fresh spinach
- 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves
- 1/3 cup walnuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup parmesan (real or vegan) cheese (or can sub nutritional yeast)
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, more to taste
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- Fill a large bowl with cold water and ice. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Blanch the spinach and parsley in boiling water for about 30 seconds, in batches if necessary. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in the ice bath. Do not discard the cooking water. When all the greens have been blanched, place on a clean kitchen towel and squeeze thoroughly to remove as much water as possible.
- Add the blanched greens, walnuts, parmesan, garlic, tomato paste, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to a food processor. Process until you have a coarse paste. With the motor running, add 4 tbsp olive oil and 4 tbsp of the cooking water from the greens. Process until smooth, scraping down sides if necessary.
- Heat the greens’ cooking water and use it to cook pasta according to package directions. When the pasta is done, reserve 1 cup of the water.
- Combine the pasta, tomatoes, and pesto, adding reserved water to thin the pesto as necessary. Serve immediately.