We eat a lot of pasta and avocados in our house, but I had never thought to combine them until recently. Turns out they play really nice together! This creamy avocado pesto pasta has lots of fresh basil, garlic, and lemon. We top it with crispy shards of roasted kale and a little sprinkle of homemade vegan “parmesan.”
I used a lentil-based pasta to bring some quick plant-based protein into the picture. Since we’re using avocados as the base of our sauce, it gets extra creamy with a quick whizz of the food processor. This dish really is super hearty and satisfying. Half of an avocado has nearly a quarter of your daily recommended fibre along with all of those satiating healthy fats. Mix that up with the pasta and you have some deeply fortifying goodness to get you through these last couple weeks of winter. I’m telling you, fibre is the coolest ;)
This recipe also comes together fast! That’s not a thing I get to brag about very often with my recipes because I generally enjoy being extra lol. The food processor brings our super creamy and flavourful sauce together while the pasta and kale cook up real quick. If you pre-chop your kale when you get it home from the store and your avocados are perfectly ripe, you’re halfway there honestly.
Hope you give this creamy avocado pesto pasta a try. Its pretty bright green colour has me really dreaming of spring and warmer days.
CREAMY AVOCADO PESTO PASTA WITH CRISPY KALE
Print the recipe here!
NOTES: The avocado pesto sauce will seem almost too thick right out of the food processor! You’ll be adding the starchy pasta cooking water to it as you mix it with the pasta. All will be creamy and dreamy when you’re done.
-I used a lentil-based pasta to up the protein and make this a complete meal.
-Yes, there is fresh garlic and garlic powder in the avocado pesto sauce! They contribute different things. Fresh garlic is pungent and strong while the powder adds depth of flavour and umami to the sauce.
2 ripe avocados
1 cup fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
¼ cup shelled, roasted & salted pistachios
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon mellow/light miso
2 ½ tablespoons nutritional yeast, divided
1 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
1 teaspoon onion powder, divided
sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
4 cups chopped kale, lightly packed
1 tablespoon avocado oil
340 grams (12 ounces) short pasta of choice
Vegan “parmesan”, for serving (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment and set aside.
Cut the avocados in half, remove the pit, and spoon the flesh into a food processor fitted with the “S” blade. To the food processor, also add the following: basil, pistachios, garlic, lemon juice, miso, 2 tablespoons of the nutritional yeast, ½ teaspoon of the garlic powder, ½ teaspoon of the onion powder, salt, and pepper.
Pulse the avocado mixture until you have a thick and smooth paste, stopping the machine and scraping down the sides with a spatula as necessary. If you need to add a tablespoon or two of water to get it going, that’s fine. We’ll be adding pasta cooking water to the finished dish to loosen things up later. Adjust the sauce for seasoning if necessary and set aside.
On the prepared baking sheet, combine the kale, avocado oil, remaining nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, and some salt and pepper. Massage the kale and toss to combine and evenly coat in the seasoning. Arrange the kale in a single layer and bake until crispy on the edges and darkened, about 12-15 minutes.
Cook the pasta according to package directions in well-salted water, reserving 1 cup of pasta cooking water before draining. Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add the creamy avocado pesto sauce and stir, adding pasta cooking water as needed to loosen up the sauce and achieve a creamy, slightly fluid consistency. It should look and feel like green mac and cheese! Taste the pasta and adjust the seasoning to your taste.
Serve the pasta hot with little piles of the crispy kale on top. Add vegan parmesan if you like!