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 AmazonPrint
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.