Post sponsored by Barilla. See below for more details.
There is nothing quite as delicious as a simple bowl of pasta tossed with a bit of pesto. This take with an easy broccoli pesto pasta is one of the ways I keep the pasta/pesto combination alive during the colder months when basil isn’t as abundant. Best of all, this dish is gluten-free (thanks to Barilla chickpea pasta) with a suggestion on how to make it vegan!
About the pesto:
One of my favorite items to play around with is the concept of pesto. A few herbs, some cheese, garlic, and lemon juice. It’s simple but the possibilities are endless. This broccoli version is a favorite of mine in the cooler months, especially when basil isn’t in season and it can get quite expensive at the store.
How else to use it
This pesto version can be used in all the same ways traditional pesto is used. Slather it on grilled cheese sandwiches. Use on grain bowls. Or, try it in one of my favorite’s, a broccoli melt.
Swaps you can make
Of course, you don’t have to use broccoli. I also love to make a similar pesto using hearty greens such as kale or chard. You could also add nuts, such as pine nuts (traditional), almonds, or walnuts (a good choice with the broccoli!)
Make it vegan
There are a couple things you need to change to make this vegan but it’s not terribly difficult. First, swap out the cheese. For the pesto I’d recommend using a sprinkle of nutritional yeast in place of the parmesan and just leave the parmesan off the topping.
As for the cream, play into the pesto a bit and use a nut-cream of a nut that would work well with the broccoli. Try almond or walnut cream. Or, if you happen to have it on hand already, cashew cream would work well in place of the heavy cream.
Barilla’s Chickpea Casarecce Pasta
This chickpea casarecce pasta is part of Barilla’s new line of legume-only pasta. I love this fun shape and it’s the perfect pasta for saucey pastas. If you’re using this pasta as a swap for traditional pasta, you might need a bit extra sauce- it soaks up the sauce fast. I like to keep a bit of extra pasta water on hand to thin the sauce as needed!You can find all four varieties (Red Lentil Penne, Red Lentil Rotini, Chickpea Rotini and Chickpea Casarecce) on Amazon
Broccoli Pesto Pasta with Chickpea Casarecce
During the cooler winter months, fresh basil can be expensive. I like to swap most of the basil for hearty, winter greens and vegetables like in this broccoli pesto.
2 cups broccoli florets
⅓ cup grated veg-friendly parmesan
¼ cup fresh basil
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ teaspoon sea salt
Water, for thinning
1 box Barilla Chickpea Casarecce
½ cup heavy cream
¼ cup oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, minced
Grated parmesan, for serving
To make the pesto, blanch the broccoli in boiling water for 4 minutes. Drain and transfer to an ice bath. From there, place the broccoli in a food processor or blender along with the parmesan, basil, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt. Pulse/puree until smooth; adding water as needed to thin the sauce for blending.
To make the pasta, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the chickpea casarecce and cook until al dente, 7 to 8 minutes. Drain, reserving 1 cup of the pasta water, and set aside.
To the pot you cooked the pasta in, add the heavy cream and the pesto. Stir to combine and cook over low heat until the sauce is hot. Add the pasta to the sauce and stir to coat; adding a splash of the pasta water as needed to thin the sauce enough to coat the noodles. Fold in the sun-dried tomatoes and serve with grated parmesan and julienned basil if desired.
I did not like tomatoes as a child. My mom grew tomatoes in our garden and I always turned up my nose at them. What a missed opportunity to enjoy something so delicious! As an adult with my own garden, I was excited to grow a big harvest this summer. Unfortunately, both tomato plants died before they produced any fruit! If you’re lucky enough to have a homegrown bounty of fresh tomatoes still warm from the summer sun, I beg you to make this marinated tomato and avocado salad.
In fact, I beg you to make this marinated tomato and avocado salad even if you don’t have a vegetable garden. That is, unless you’ve discovered this recipe in the dead of winter and all you can find are bland greenhouse tomatoes. In that case, bookmark this page and come back in summer when tomatoes have the absolute best flavor. I used pearl tomatoes on the vine for this recipe because they’re the perfect bite size when sliced into quarters. Feel free to use whatever tomatoes you have on hand!
This marinated tomato and avocado salad is a fantastic summer recipe whether you’re barbecuing at home or headed out for a picnic. The tomatoes can chill in the fridge while you prep the rest of your feast, making this a really simple recipe to prepare if you’re in charge of multiple dishes. Dice and add the avocado just before serving for the best results.
While incredibly fresh and delicious on its own, there are many ways you can bulk up this marinated tomato and avocado salad if you need to feed a crowd. Try adding cooked quinoa, couscous, or farro. Or, turn it into a pasta salad by adding cooked and cooled shells or penne. I have big plans to spread this salad on crusty bread for a bruschetta-inspired appetizer.
1 or 2 ripe avocados, diced (depending on your preference and the size of your avocados)
⅓ cup cilantro, chopped
Quarter the pearl tomatoes and place them in a large bowl. Peel the red onion and cut it in half from tip to root. Place the flat part of the onion on your cutting board and carefully slice it into thin half moons. Add the onion to the bowl with the tomatoes.
Combine the chopped garlic, lime juice, olive oil, agave, salt, and black pepper in a small bowl and stir to combine. The marinade should be salty, tangy, and just a tad sweet – adjust the ingredients until balanced.
Pour the marinade over the sliced tomatoes and onion and gently toss to coat. Marinate the tomatoes in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
Just before serving, drain any excess liquid from the tomatoes. Tip: if you’re serving this salad with cooked quinoa, couscous, or pasta, reserve the marinade for extra dressing. Transfer the marinated tomatoes and onions to a serving platter and add the diced avocado. Top with chopped cilantro and serve fresh.