I love pesto on anything: pasta, warm salads, frittatas, etc. This pesto pasta with vegetables and fish is not only delicious but easy to make and highly nutritious.
I recommend using pulse/legume pasta for added fibre and protein, and lower glycaemic index. As a bonus, it is gluten-free. There are a few different brands available in supermarkets (e.g. San Remo, Barilla). We have been using Slendier fettucine lately but choose the brand and shape you like.
There are a few unorthodox ingredients in this pesto: baby spinach in addition to basil (a nod to Peruvian-style pesto), sunflower and pumpkin seeds instead of pinenuts, Pecorino instead of Parmesan and garlic powder instead of fresh. I also like the addition of lemon juice (again, not traditional) for brightness.
Pesto pasta is wonderful by itself but it usually doesn’t have enough protein. I find fish pairs particularly well, and using canned fish (e.g. sardines or mackerel in extra virgin olive oil) is more practical and convenient when you don’t have the time or ability to cook.
The recipe also calls for jarred artichoke hearts; make sure these are in brine and not marinated.
This recipe is gluten-free and can be low in carbohydrate and glycaemic index depending on the pasta you use.
Pesto pasta with vegetables and fish
- 2 cups basil leaves
- 1 cup baby spinach
- 1/4 cup sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup grated Pecorino + extra to serve
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- ground pepper
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 200 g pulse pasta (see recommendations above)
- 2x 280g jars artichoke hearts in brine
- 400 g cherry tomatoes
- green salad
- 4 cans fish in extra virgin olive oil or brine
- Place seeds in a food processor or blender and grind until they resemble coarse sand. Add basil, baby spinach, Pecorino, olive oil, garlic and salt and process until creamy. Add pepper and lemon juice and mix well.
- Drain artichoke hearts.
- Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain, reserving some pasta water.
- Return pasta to the pot and mix pesto in. Add a little pasta water if needed to adjust the sauce consistency to your liking.
- Serve pasta in plates or bowls, distribute artichoke hearts and tomatoes equally.
- If your fish is packed in extra virgin olive oil, feel free to keep some or all of the oil, otherwise drain before adding to the pasta.
- Serve with more grated Pecorino and a side salad.