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Creamy Avocado Pesto Pasta with Crispy Kale

Creamy avocado pesto pasta with crispy kale is a satisfying, super flavourful, easy, and wholesome vegan dinner. Naturally dairy-free and gluten-free!
Cuisine Dairy-free, Gluten-Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Diet Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword avocado, basil, easy, garlic, herbs, kale, lemon, nutritional yeast, pasta, pistachios, quick, spring, summer
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions

  • 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!

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.