This simple, sophisticated Primavera Pasta is sunshine in a bowl! A fresh dish, bursting with exotic flair from Mediterranean flavours, including basil pesto, Kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes and fresh arugula leaves. On Tuesday, my dear friend, Nina, and I whipped up this recipe after a golden promenade run. We craved comfort food in the Cape Town cold but wanted a healthy alternative to traditionally heavy, refined pasta dishes… Something that is high in protein, low in fat and goes down well with a bottle of Leopard Leap’s (vegan) Pinot Noir Chardonnay. I love Mediterranean flavours and decided to jazz up my favourite basil pesto pasta with a few extra ingredients, including Happy Earth People’s protein-packed red lentil pasta screws. The final product is a palette-pleasing pasta, not only high in protein, but also iron (from the spinach in the basil pesto and from the flash-fried spinach in the pasta). Adding sundried tomatoes (vitamin C) to the spinach mixture also helps with iron absorption into the body! Hope you enjoy this hearty, wholesome recipe as much as we did!
Mediterranean Pasta Primavera
- 2 packed cups of baby spinach
- 1.5 packed cups of basil leaves, thick stems removed
- 1 clove garlic
- Juice of 1.5 lemons (about 4 TBSP)
- 1 cup of sunflower seeds, soaked in hot water for an hour
- ½ avocado
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- 1 box Happy Earth People Red Lentil Pasta
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 punnet button mushrooms, sliced
- 1 teaspoon mixed herbs
- ½ cup white wine (optional)
- 1 bunch spinach, cored and shredded into strips
- 1 packet Woolworth’s sundried tomatoes or 15 cherry tomatoes, cut in half
- Juice of ½ lemon (about 1 TBSP)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 15 Kalamata black olives, pitted and halved
- 2 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
- ½ avocado and fresh rocket for garnish
For the basil pesto:
For the pasta:
- Make the basil pesto: Drain the sunflower seeds and add all the ingredients into a food processor. Blend until it reaches a pesto consistency (very fine but not completely smooth). Set aside.
- Cook the pasta according to instructions, drain and set aside.
- Add the olive oil (or water if you prefer) to a big wok. When hot, add the chopped onions and minced garlic. Add the paprika and cayenne pepper and coat the onion mixture.
- When onions are soft, add the mushrooms, white wine and mixed herbs.
- When mushrooms turn brown, add chopped spinach, cherry tomatoes, squeeze of lemon juice and salt and pepper. Cook until spinach turns bright green.
- Add Kalamata olives and nutritional yeast and stir through.
- Add the pasta and basil pesto to the wok and stir through.
- Serve with fresh rocket and avocado on top.