Avocado Pesto Pasta Salad

Well it’s summer, it’s hot outside and I have all this lovely fresh produce that is finally starting to come out from my garden. I was trying to figure out what to do with an over abundance of fresh basil and thought of making pesto. When I figured out that you can make vegan pesto that was a total game changer for me since I am lactose intolerant. Hope you like my adaptation and attempt to use up some of the fresh produce in my fridge.

Ingredients:
Pesto:
1 bunch basil
1/3 cup nuts, roasted (pine nuts, almonds, pistachio, etc)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
3-5 cloves garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbs dairy free parmesan (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

Pasta:
1 – 2 cup dry pasta
1 avocado, mashed
1 lemon, juiced
1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes
2-3 cups tomatoes sliced
1-2 cobs of corn (around 1 cup of corn)
1 cup peas
dairy free parmesan (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:
Step 1: Making the pesto
1. Place the nuts in a dry frying pan, and stir until the aroma comes out and the nuts look a little toasted. Cool.
2. In a blender, add the basil, cooled nuts, nutritional yeast, garlic, olive oil, parmesan (if using), salt and pepper and blend until smooth.

Step 2: Roasting the Tomatoes
You can prepare the tomatoes in two ways (depending on time)

Option 1: Slow roast
1. Place the sliced tomatoes (I like to use cherry tomatoes for this method) cut side up on a cookie sheet.
2. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle some salt and pepper to season the tomatoes.
3. Place in the oven at around 250F until they look a shrivelled up and dried. This might take a few hours.

Option 2: Pan fried
1. Place the sliced tomatoes on a frying pan.
2. Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle some salt and pepper to season the tomatoes.
2. Turn on the stove to low heat, and stir until the tomatoes dry up.

Step 3: Preparing the pasta
1. In a pot add the pasta, corn and peas into salted water and cook until the pasta is the consistency that you like.
2. Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the pasta from continuing to cook.
3. Add in the roasted tomatoes, sun dried tomatoes, mashed avocado, lemon, parmesan (if using), salt pepper, and then mix in the pesto a little at a time until it is the consistency and taste that you like.

Notes:
1. Most likely you will have extra pesto. I like to scoop it into an ice cube tray and freeze it so that I can have some on hand for future use. Or you can try the grilled cheese avocado pesto recipe.

2. Since I used mostly items from my garden, or things I wanted to use up from my fridge and pantry, some of the measurements like the amount of basil and pasta are more or an eyeball measurement. Feel free to add or delete according to your taste.

3. I used store bought dairy free parmesan (because I had some in my fridge), but there are some great recipes online if you want to make it yourself.

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