Avocado Almond Pesto Pasta

Jun 16, 2020 | Quick and easy mains

Avocado. My Love. Actually, my kids’ love. These children eat avocado like its water. No joke. But hey, it’s a superfood loaded with healthy fats, and a nice balance of protein to carbs, so I’m really not complaining. Since I always have avocado on hand in surplus, I’m always looking for new ways to use them in recipes before they go bad. This is one that my family loves.

Truthfully, the recipe was invented because I had bought too much basil, but had no pine nuts at home to make real pesto. So I started experimenting. This is where all my recipe keepers sprout. So this recipe used almonds instead of pine nuts, and nutritional yeast instead of parmesan. If you are dairy free, or vegan, this one’s for you. The nutritional yeast is also the perfect swap  for those who keep kosher because you could top this dish with some grilled chicken breast and make a wonderfully balanced weeknight meal out of it.

I start by pulverizing some basil and fresh garlic. I love to use my immersion blender. I just find the cleanup to be much simpler than getting my blender or food processor involved. But obviously both work great. While this is happening, I just drizzle maybe a tbsp or two of olive oil over my blanched almonds to get them soaking and easier to blend down later. Important to note that I used the skinned almonds, but if you were to use whole almonds, I’d say soak them either overnight or for a few hours to make sure they fully breaks down into your pesto.

Next I add the almonds to the basil mixture, and keep blending to combine. Here’s where I add the fresh lemon juice, and the avocado to form the smooth mixture. To top off I sprinkle the salt and nutritional yeast, and give a few more pulses to fully combine.

I used black rice pasta this specific time because my kids chose the black spaghetti over the regular brown rice spaghetti. I always tell my fellow moms, whenever you are trying new recipes, always give your kids a choice in the ingredients. This trick gets my picky eaters excited to eat every time without fail.

I used Hasedeh brand rice spaghetti. Generally, I find their rice noodles to be great in texture, and really stick to sauces well. The key to using them though is to really follow cooking instructions, and rice under cold water right away to prevent them from getting sticky.

For the adult bowls, I often top it off with some roasted Portobello mushrooms, or broccoli and we have ourselves a nice comforting bowl of HEALTHY and balanced pasta. How often can you say that?!

Ok , enough talk. Let’s talk recipe

About Me

Hi! Thanks for stopping by! I’m Liat, a certified yoga instructor and dietician in training. My goal is to help you navigate healthy living here in Israel with recipes and tips that will show you just how doable healthy eating can be without sacrificing the dishes that you love! Happy navigating fellow fresh sabras xoxo

Avocado and Almond Pesto Pasta

Servings: Two

Ingredients

• ½ cup sliced bleached almonds*
• 3 tbsp. EVOO
• 1-2 garlic cloves
• 2 handfuls of basil (works with our without stems)
• Juice of ½ of 1 medium lemon
• 1 medium avocado
• 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast
• salt and pepper to taste
• package of you favorite rice pasta, cooked according to package directions**

Instructions

For the pesto
1. Drizzle your almonds with 2 tbsp EVOO, reserving the last tbsp. for a later step. Put up a pot of water while you prepare the pesto so that your water is ready for your pasta.
2. While the almonds are soaking. Pulverize the basil and garlic cloves with a food processor, or immersion blender. I guess you could go old school and use a mortal and pestle if you really wanted 😉
3. Add the almonds to the basil mixture, and pulse until completely ground and combined.
4. Add avocado, lemon juice, remaining EVOO, and blend until fully incorporated. Should be a nice smooth texture.
5. Add the nutritional yeast and the salt and pepper to taste. Pulse one or two more times to combine.

To assemble:
1. Strain your pasta, and rinse right away.
2. Put the strained pasta into a big mixing bowl and top with pesto. Top with some additional fresh basil and a sprinkle of nutritional yeast for some extra “cheesiness.”
3. Divide the pasta up into bowls, and top each bowl with some add ins of your choice!

Add ins:
• Top with parmesan, if you don’t need to go dairy free
• Grilled chicken breasts, for a balanced meal
• Roasted Portobello mushrooms or broccoli (both pair really well with the flavors of this dish)

Notes:
*Whole almonds can work in this recipe too, but you’ll want to have soaked them in some water overnight, or at least for a few hours prior to ensure they incorporate into the pesto nicely.
**You can absolutely use a regular pasta, or a spelt pasta, or really any pasta of your choice. Pesto is not picky

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