Go Back

Creamy Olive & Arugula Pesto Pasta

Creamy olive and arugula pesto pasta is a naturally vegan main course that is siple to prepare, very flavourful, and comes together quickly.
Cuisine Dairy-free, Italian, Vegan, Vegetarian
Diet Vegan, Vegetarian
Keyword all seasons, arugula, fall, garlic, lemon, nutritional yeast, olives, pasta, spring, summer, walnuts, zucchini
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 4


  • 2 cups baby arugula, packed (plus extra)
  • ¾ cup pitted green olives
  • ½ cup walnut halves, toasted
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1 ½ tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • cup + 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • ¾ lb (340 grams) penne pasta, or other shape that you like
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into thin half moons
  • ¾ cup non-dairy creamer (see notes)
  • chili flakes, to serve (optional)


  • Start bringing a large pot of salted water to a boil over medium-high heat.
  • In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the “S” blade, combine the arugula, olives, walnuts, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse the mixture until everything is finely chopped. Then, place the lid back on and, with the motor on, drizzle ⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons of the olive oil into the feed tube. Once you have a slightly creamy paste, stop the motor. Check for seasoning, adjust, and set aside.
  • Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to package directions. Drain the pasta and wipe out the pot. Place the pot back on the heat.
  • Add the oil to the pot and swirl it around. Add the zucchini to the pot and saute until soft, bright green, and lightly browned on the edges, stirring often. Then, add the olive and arugula pesto to the pot and stir. Add the non-dairy creamer and stir until the sauce is silky, fluid, and heated through.
  • Add the pasta to the olive and arugula pesto sauce and stir to thoroughly coat and combine. Stir in an extra couple handfuls of baby arugula if you like.
  • Serve the pasta hot with chili flakes.


  • I used walnuts for the base of my pesto, but you could also play around with toasted almonds, pumpkin seeds, or the super traditional (albeit expensive) pine nuts.
  • My favourite unsweetened non-dairy creamer is original nutpods, but I offer a homemade alternative to this ingredient in this recipe (¼ cup raw cashews blended with ¾ cup water until smooth).
  • I cooked zucchini to go with this because it’s what I had on hand. Mushrooms would be sooo perfect!