2 tbsp olive oil sea saltCheesy Nut Dust and Vegan Pesto
1/2 cup / 70 g almonds
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 large handful basil
1 large handful spinach
1/3 cup / 80 ml olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
a few pinches salt
1 small avocado (use half if you have a large and serve the rest on the side)
chickpea pasta or pasta of choice, for 4 personsTo serve
Lettuce or baby spinach
cherry tomatoes, quartered
We’ve kept this dish vegan but if you are not vegan you probably don’t have nutritional yeast at home and in that case you can just grate vegetarian parmesan or pecorino instead. The obvious shortcut here is to buy a pesto, mix it with avocado and follow the rest of the recipe.
Set the oven at 200°C / 400°F. Break the cauliflower into small florets and chop the stem inte bite-size pieces. Slice the zucchini. Toss cauliflower and zucchini with a little oil and salt and spread out on a baking sheet. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until soft and golden. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to instructions on the package (reserve a little bit of pasta water when draining) and start making cheesy nut dust and pesto.
Add almonds, 2 teaspoons nutritional yeast and a large pinch sea salt to a food processor. Pulse on high speed until all nuts are mixed/pulverized into coarse sand/dust. Place half of the cheesy nut dust in a small bowl and leave the rest in the food processor for the pesto. Add 1 more teaspoon nutritional yeast, basil, spinach, olive oil, lemon juice and a little more salt. Mix until smooth, taste and adjust. This is your basic vegan pesto. Now add avocado and pulse for an even creamier pesto, you might want to add a little more lemon and olive oil at this point. Toss half of the pesto with the cooked pasta and a little bit of pasta water (add chickpeas, if using regular pasta). Arrange the pasta on four plates, add roasted cauliflower, zucchini slices, lettuce, tomatoes and a few dollops pesto on top. Sprinkle with cheesy nut dust and a little olive oil. Enjoy!
1. Try chickpea (or lentil) pasta. These new-style pastas made on chickpea or lentil flour taste good, have surprisingly pleasant texture and are more protein packed than regular pasta. If you want to use ordinary pasta, we’d recommend adding some cooked chickpeas to the dish as well. They taste great tossed with pesto.
2. Add avocado to your pesto. It will be much creamier, fluffier, richer and rounder. It will also be more fat, but it’s the gooood fat. If you want to make it lighter, replace half of the oil in the pesto with water. Also, use half basil and half baby spinach for a more affordable and nutrient packed pesto.
3. Make it vegan by adding nutritional yeast to your pesto and make a quick nut dust instead of parmesan.
4. Add roasted vegetables. Pesto pasta is good, but adding roasted vegetables is simply better. You get more flavors and something to actually chew on (because we all slurp spaghetti, right!?). It takes like 5 minutes to prepare one tray of roasted vegetables (oven time obviously not included), so if you have 5 minutes to spare, do it. Also, if you are smart, you’ll roast a second tray of vegetables simultaneously and you are halfway through dinner prep for tomorrow. We went with roasted cauliflower and zucchini coins this time because it was what we had at home and we know that the kids love ’em. Broccoli or parsnip or carrots would of course be just as good.
5. If you are not vegan and want to make a luxury version of this, try serving it with some torn burrata cheese on top.