Creamy Avocado & Basil Pesto Pasta

Created by Laura Wright
5 from 4 votes

This creamy, flavourful avocado pesto pasta has lots of fresh basil, garlic, and lemon. It’s a quick and easy plant-based meal, and one of my favourite vegan dinners! Top with crispy baked kale for an added crunch.

An overhead shot of avocado pesto pasta in a dark green bowl with a yellow linen nearby. The pasta is garnished with crispy pieces of kale.
This post is sponsored by Avocados From Mexico
An overhead shot of avocado pesto pasta in a dark green bowls with a yellow linen nearby. The pasta is garnished with crispy pieces of kale.
An overhead shot of ingredients for avocado pesto pasta with crispy kale on a white background.
An overhead shot of an open food processor with avocado pesto sauce ingredients.

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. Also, if you love this flavour combo, I recommend checking out my arugula pesto pasta. We top this one with crispy shards of roasted kale and of course a little sprinkle of homemade vegan “parmesan” because I top every vegan pasta recipe with it.

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!

Buying & Storing Avocados

  • I usually buy avocados when the peel is green and the flesh is super firm because I prefer ripening them on my counter at home.
  • The avocado is ripe and ready when the outer peel is dark green/almost black and slightly pebbled in appearance. When pressed on gently with a finger, there will be some give.
  • If I need to ripen avocados as soon as possible, I place them in a brown bag with some ripe bananas and close the top of the bag as tightly as I can.

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 avocado basil pesto 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, all in about 30 minutes of cooking time.

Hope you give this creamy avocado pesto pasta a try. Its pretty bright green colour has me really dreaming of spring and warmer days.

An overhead shot of crispy roasted kale on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
Avocado-based pesto sauce being mixed inside the bowl of a food processor.
An overhead shot of avocado pesto pasta being stirred in a white pot.
An overhead shot of avocado pesto pasta in a dark green bowl with a yellow linen nearby. The pasta is garnished with crispy pieces of kale.

Creamy Avocado & Basil Pesto Pasta

This creamy, flavourful avocado pesto pasta has lots of fresh basil, garlic, and lemon. It’s a quick and easy plant-based meal, and one of my favourite vegan dinners! Top with crispy baked kale for an added crunch
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Servings 4


  • 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)


  • 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.


  • 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!
An overhead shot of avocado pesto pasta in a dark green bowl with a yellow linen nearby. The pasta is garnished with crispy pieces of kale.

04/03/2020 (Last Updated 31/10/2022)
Posted in: autumn, creamy, earthy, gluten free option, kale, main course, pasta, quick, refined sugar-free, roasted, salty, sauce, side dish, spring, summer, vegan, winter


Recipe Rating

  • Sav

    5 stars
    Thank you again, Laura! I couldn’t even finish my meal without leaving a comment about how delicious this is! I am obsessed with eating kale this way and had never thought to combine it into pasta. And don’t even get me started on the avocado utilization *chef’s kiss!* I also wanted to say that I did not have access to a food processor or blender, so I just finely chopped the basil/garlic and smashed the pistachios in a bag before adding them to the mixture. I’m sure it’ll be even better with the proper equipment but this absolutely worked for anyone who doesn’t have access to it! So delicious  

  • Ragga

    Sososo freaking goood!!! Proves once again how amazingly tasty vegan food can be. Thank you

  • Smadar

    Hi Laura, if you had to substitute the pistachios which nuts or seeds would you use? Thanks

    • Laura

      Hi Smadar!
      I would use any of the following, or even a combination: pumpkin seeds, walnuts, pine nuts, cashews, or sliced almonds.

  • Leslie

    Small avocado tip, if you place avocado in paper bag with apple, it will speed up ripening. Usually I do like Laura and just leave on counter until it turns dark. Refrigerate once it seems it’s softened if not using right away.

  • Alex

    Made this tonight, it was amaaaazing. A new regular! Thank you x

  • Stephanie

    Just made this recipe and it’s like a flavor explosion in my mouth! Love love love it and so far, all your recipes. Thanks for the great site, beautiful photography and amazing recipes. BTW: I find this site super easy friendly and love the format of your blogs (I design and build sites for clients and wouldn’t change a thing on yours). Cheers!

  • Dorothy D. Piper

    Looks yummy! I am very excited to try this at home.

  • Jill

    Hi Laura, This looks amazing! You must have sensed I was craving pasta (which is unusual – I know!) However, my question is in regard to the kale. I’ve made kale chips a few times and they’ve only turned out good once. They have been flat and oily tasting – I tossed them. It’s so simple that I can’t imagine what I might be doing wrong. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    • Laura

      Hi Jill! The most important thing with kale chips is to bake them in a single layer on a large baking sheet. Each leaf needs to have a bit of space so that the oil can properly crisp up the edges (and not steam and sit into some soggy/oily folds). Kale chips also crisp up significantly once you’ve taken them out of the oven–usually after about 10 minutes of cooling. Hope this is helpful!

      • Jill

        Thanks, L! I’m going to try it again and keep your tips in mind. It’s going to be cool and rainy (thank goodness!) in SoCal next week and this pasta will be perfect for spring-ish rain.

  • Elizabeth

    How would leftovers fare do you think? I’d love to make this as meal prep but avocados give me pause. Thank you for all you do!

    • Laura

      Hi Elizabeth! I don’t think I can recommend this one as a meal prep option in good conscience. The avocado pesto sauce would probably go off in colour and I think it may thicken up a bit too much as well. This one is best enjoyed right away. Love this question though! It will be helpful for a lot of people :)

      • Elizabeth

        Thanks for confirming my instinct – will definitely be trying this one fresh!

  • Kavita

    Hi Laura! This looks delicious. Is it possible to substitute the miso with something else? Would soy sauce or tamari work?

    • Laura

      Hey Kavita! Yes, a good dash of tamari would be perfect :)

  • Marissa

    Hi there! Can’t wait to try this – any recommendations for a lentil-based pasta that you like?

    • Laura

      Hi Marissa,
      I love Chickapea brand as well as the lentil “sedanini” available at Trader Joe’s! Barilla makes a really nice chickpea casarecce as well (if you eat chickpeas).

  • Jana

    I sooooo miss your old website design…I really don’t mean to be rude or unkind, but this new one just isn’t as fitting as the one you had before. It feels too clean cut and generic… I love all your recipes as always though, and your photography is always so amazing. But I do kinda cringe every time I see the new First Mess heading

    • Tanya

      It’s not very kind or necessary to say that you cringe at Laura’s new First Mess heading.

    • Michelle

      Literally no one asked you!

    • Renée

      Excellent! Fast, tasty, healthy – what’s not to love? I will make this again soon.

    • Nicole

      I actually think this website is so much cleaner and user friendly!

      • Mary Ann

        Absolutely devine!! Other than using an air fryer for the kale chips, I followed the recipe to the letter. Everything came together like a dream, and the pesto was creamy, fresh, abundant, and delicious. My husband and I were literally licking our plates clean. A definite keeper!!!

  • Tracey

    Hi Laura:

    Do you have any tips for choosing avocados? I’ve been disappointed lately when i cut into what looks like a perfectly ripe avocado. I usually will use for a smoothie but was just wondering your thought?

    • Laura

      Hi Tracey!
      A ripe avocado will have a dark (brownish-black), slightly pebbled looking skin that is SLIGHTLY tender/has give when you push on it gently with your finger. The stem of a ripe avocado will also come off with minimal pressure. If the stem is unyielding, the exterior feels hard, and the skin is green, it’s not ready. I prefer buying avocados that have green skin and letting them ripen on my counter vs. trying to find already ripe ones at the store. Hope this is helpful!