Pistachio Lemon Pesto with Gluten-Free Pasta
This richly satisfying pesto features green leafy herbs loaded with plant protectors, including anti-inflammatory flavonoids. This is a garlic-free version of a traditional garlic-rich pesto, for those who do not enjoy or cannot tolerate garlic. To round out your meal, serve this pasta dish with some lean protein (like baked or broiled fish, a small piece of skin-free poultry, or braised tofu), along with a variety of lightly cooked seasonal vegetables, and/or a mixed vegetable salad. Add more plant protectors and fiber with a fruit-rich dessert.
- 1 16 oz pkg fusilli (corkscrew) pasta, cooked
- 1 cup basil leaves, washed, roughly chopped
- 2 cups parsley, washed, roughly chopped (I used 3 cups parsley + 2 tbsp dried basil)
- 1/2 cup shelled, dry-roasted, unsalted pistachios
- 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic, divided (use 1 tbsp tossed through cooked pasta)
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tbsp lemon zest (zest from a large lemon)
- ½ tsp salt
Cook the pasta “al dente” (not too soft). Drain & toss with 1 tbsp olive oil + salt & pepper to taste. Set aside while you prepare the pesto.
Puree all ingredients together in VitaMix or other high-speed blender, scraping down sides & pulsing as needed. You may need to add a tablespoon or two of water if pesto is too thick to drop into blades.
Mix the pesto into the pasta and enjoy.
Makes 8 portions (each about 1 cup). Each portion provides about 130 calories, 2g protein, 12g fat (2g sat), 0 mg cholesterol, 5g carbohydrate (1g sugar), 2g fiber, 45 mg calcium, 20 mg magnesium, 45 mg sodium, 215 mg potassium.
NOTE: You can create a variation on this recipe by substituting 1 cup fresh oregano leaves for the basil, and substituting 1 medium lemon (washed & cut into eighths) for the lemon zest and lemon juice. Because you are including the whole lemon, you will be adding soluble fiber to support a healthy gut microbiome. For this version, it’s best to increase the salt to about ½ tsp or to taste.