This vegan, oil-free, pesto pasta uses healthy, plant-based ingredients like zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, basil and arugula. Enjoy this pasta cold to freshen up a warm Spring day or warm for a comforting night in.
- Whole Food, Plant-Based
- Quick & Simple
- Full of Plant Protein
The Health Benefits Of This Pesto Penne Pasta
There are many benefits to choose from when it comes to this spring-time pesto pasta, but for your sake we’ll just cover three of the most nutrient-dense ingredients.
Not surprisingly, all three of these ingredients are a vibrant green color (have you guessed I like the color green yet?). Zucchini, basil, and arugula pack a powerful nutritive punch in this bowl of pasta. Let’s chat about the top 3 health benefits of each.
Health Benefits Of Zucchini
Zucchini is an awesome health food to include in many meals. My favorite part of this pesto is that it sneaks in so many nutrients and you can’t even tell it’s full of veggies! Here’s why zucchini is a good choice:
1. Heart health. Pectin, one type of soluble fiber found in zucchini, appears particularly effective at reducing total and “bad” LDL cholesterol levels. Zucchini is also rich in potassium, which may help reduce high blood pressure by dilating your blood vessels. Healthier blood pressure is linked to a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.
2. Improvement of vision. Zucchini is rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene — two nutrients important for eye health. Zucchini also contains the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, which can reduce your risk of age-related eye diseases.
3. Strengthen bones. As mentioned above, Zucchini is rich in the antioxidants lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as vitamin K and magnesium, all of which can help strengthen bones.
Health Benefits Of Basil
Basil is a flavorful green herb that goes especially well with pasta. There are many different kinds, but today we’re using sweet basil. It’s pretty easy to grow sweet basil either indoors or outdoors so you can always have some handy.
1. Increase mental alertness. It has been shown that both the smell and taste can increase your awareness and alertness, helping you stay focused on tasks at hand.
2. Improve the health of your teeth. Basil can inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause dental decay.
3. Improve mood. Basil has even been shown to reduce depression related to chronic stress.
Health Benefits Of Arugula
I’ll be the first to admit arugula has an interesting taste. I don’t love it in many meals but it’s so good in this penne pasta! It adds a bit of crunch while blending well with the other ingredients.
1. Reduced risk of cancer. Arugula has been shown to have properties that can reduce the risk of various types of cancers.
2. Immune system support. Due to arugula’s high vitamin content (namely vitamin C and vitamin A), it can help boost and protect your immune system.
3. Reduce blood pressure. Arugula contains a fair amount of potassium, which may be beneficial for people with high blood pressure.
What You’ll Need To Make Pesto Penne Pasta
- Fresh basil leaves (about 3/4 oz.)
- Pine nuts
- Lemon juice
- Fine sea salt
- Whole wheat pasta (can use any pasta you’d like)
- Sun-dried tomatoes
How To Make Pesto Penne Pasta
First, cook your pasta according to the instructions on the box.
While your pasta cooks, blend all of the pesto ingredients in a high-powered blender or food processor until smooth and creamy.
Once your pasta is ready, pour and mix in the pesto until well-combined.
Add in the arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic. You can also add extra pine nuts and/or basil if you’d like.
Mix together well, then serve!
Pesto Penne Pasta
- Large Pot
- Serving Bowl
- 1 cup zucchini diced
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves
- 4 cloves garlic
- ½ cup pine nuts
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
- 10 ounces whole wheat pasta
- 1 cup loosely packed arugula
- ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes chopped
- 2 cloves garlic chopped
- First, cook your pasta according to the instructions on the box.
- While your pasta cooks, blend all of the pesto ingredients in a high-powered blender or food processor.
- Once your pasta is ready, pour and mix in the pesto until well-combined.
- Add in the arugula, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic. You can also add extra pine nuts and/or basil if you’d like. Mix together well, then serve!