Lately, I’ve been trying to focus on protein.
No, I’m not ignoring how food tastes and shoveling protein shakes in my face. I’m going about things in a more intentional way, considering how I can thoughtfully incorporate more healthy protein sources into my daily diet. Ya dig?
Turns out, to get more protein, simply pay attention to how much protein foods offer, and make each meal count. If you’re looking for a list of protein-rich foods, check out my post on 15 Vegan Protein Sources and round-up of Easy Protein-Packed Plant-Based Meals. I also found this article really helpful.
Whether you’re looking to get more protein into your diet or not, this recipe is a must-try. Gluten-free pasta is tossed in a creamy, incredibly flavorful vegan PEA pesto (!!), along with sun-dried tomatoes and arugula. Delicious, nutritious, and ready in 30 minutes!
Yes, peas in pesto. Why, you ask?
First, they’re delicious. Second, they offer 8 grams of protein per cup! That’s crazy, right? I know, it is. Lastly, they create an ultra creamy base for this pesto infused with basil, Italian parsley, garlic, lemon juice, and vegan parmesan cheese.
To keep this recipe gluten-free, I relied on my go-to gluten-free Fusilli Pasta from Trader Joe’s, which is just quinoa and brown rice! I have a discerning palette and can attest that this passes the real pasta test, and doesn’t give off “healthy pasta” vibes.
Plus, it’s protein-rich, with 1 cup cooked providing 5 grams of protein. And let’s be real, we’re totally eating at least 2 cups, so you can go ahead and clock in 10 grams of protein (see how I did that? It’s the power of magic and math).
I hope you guys LOVE this pasta! It’s:
This would make such a great meal when you’re looking for something both comforting and healthy. And since it only takes 30 minutes, it’s doable for both lunch and dinner! Also, can we just talk about the leftovers? So delicious.
And in case you’re curious, 1 serving boasts 15+ grams protein, so if you eat 1/3 of the recipe (like me), that’s 20 grams of protein! Serious plant-based protein powerhouse here, people.
If you try this recipe, let us know what you think! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a picture @minimalistbaker on Instagram! We’d love to see your pasta in action. Cheers, friends!
Pea Pesto Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Arugula (Vegan + GF)
- 1 ½ cups packed basil
- 1/2 cup packed flat leaf Italian parsley
- 1 cup green peas (if frozen, thawed)
- 4 cloves garlic (4 cloves yield ~2 Tbsp)
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (plus more for serving // or sub raw walnuts, but omit as garnish)
- 1 medium lemon, juiced (~2 Tbsp or 30 ml per lemon)
- 1/4 cup vegan parmesan cheese (plus more for serving)
- 1 pinch sea salt (plus more to taste)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 10 ounces gluten-free pasta
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes*, chopped
- 1 cup loosely packed arugula (organic when possible)
- Fill a large saucepan 3/4 full with water, salt generously, and bring to a boil.
- In the meantime, prepare pesto. To a food processor, add basil, parsley, peas, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice, vegan parmesan cheese, and sea salt. Mix to combine. While the machine is running, stream in olive oil through the spout.
- Continue blending, scraping down sides as needed, until creamy and fully combined. If it has trouble blending, add a bit more olive oil or water.
- Taste and adjust seasonings as needed, adding more lemon juice for acidity/brightness, vegan parmesan for cheesy flavor, salt for saltiness, or peas for sweetness.
- Next add pasta to boiling water and cook according to package instructions. Be sure not to overcook, and drain when noodles are ‘al dente’ and still have a slight bite to them. Return to pan off heat and set aside.
- Once your pasta is drained, heat a large saucepan or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add olive oil, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant but not yet browned.
- Turn off heat and remove skillet from burner, then add cooked pasta and toss to coat.
- Transfer to a serving platter or mixing bowl and add 3/4 of pea pesto and the arugula. Toss to combine.
- Serve warm with additional pesto on the side, and garnish generously with additional parsley, pine nuts, and vegan parmesan cheese.
- Best when fresh, though leftovers will keep in the refrigerator up to 2-3 days. Enjoy chilled or at room temperature.
*Recipe inspired by my Sun-dried Tomato Pesto Pasta and adapted from my Vegan Pesto Parmesan Breadsticks.
*This recipe (as originally written) yields enough for 2-3 entrée portions or 4-5 side dish portions.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.