Today is Friday, which means most of you are like yay weekend! Personally I will be getting up at 5am tomorrow morning to work a stall at the farmers market, so my Friday night plans involve going to bed at an embarrassingly early hour. It’s ok though, my stall is conveniently located right next to the bakery stand, so I have some early morning motivation.
Anyway I’m coming at you today with a pre-weekend, super-charged healthy pasta dish for that pre-alcohol carb loading. Do yourself a favor and feed your body some good stuff and skip the Burger King run on the way home tonight, yeah?
This is a dinner I made up when I felt like I need an extra boost and a good dose of greens. I probably ate a bunch of gummies the day before or something (my biggest vice). I challenged myself to what I call the All Green, All the Time Pasta Challenge. It’s just a simple pasta, but you’re only allowed to put green foods in it. Nothing else. You know, sometimes it gets old trying to encorporate the green veggies, the most important ones, into every meal. So I figured I would make the green stuff the star. It’s a bit monocolor, but I still think it’s beautiful. It’s the food equivalent of color blocking!
Again, notice there are no expensive or specialty ingredients in here! And it always makes me feel full and fantastic 🙂
ALL GREEN, ALL THE TIME POWER PASTA
(Enough for 2 as a main. There’s a lot in here so portions don’t need to be big).
(Also, these measurements are arbitrary. Make it with whatever green veggies you have, in whatever ratio!)
~2 cups pasta
1/2 crown broccoli
1/2 bunch asparagus
1 cup frozen peas
1/2 a zucchini
Handful of spinach or kale
1/2 an avocado
1/2 cup pesto (See my Beet Greens Pesto recipe, or to make some new then you’ll need 1 cup of greens (such as basil, spinach or kale), 1/4 cup nuts and 1/4 cup olive oil).
2 garlic cloves
First, if you don’t have any pesto whipped up, we will have to take care of that. I made this the day after making my Beet green pesto, so I used that (about half a batch). But if you have another green you want to use up (such as spinach, kale, basil, arugula, whatever) we can totally work with that. Again that pesto ratio is 4:1:1 greens to nuts to olive oil. Add the nuts you want to use into a food processor and grind them up. I also add a garlic clove and some nutritional yeast, but this is optional. Then add the greens and give it a whirl again until combined. Then slowly add in the olive oil until it has the right consistency. Set aside for now.
Cook the pasta according to package directions / common sense.
While that’s cooking, chop up the green veggies (broccoli, zucchini, asparagus) to the size you want them. (Asparagus trick: They have a natural break point where you want to cut them to get rid of the tough ends. Just bend them a bit and they will easily snap off at the right place.)
When the pasta is done, drain and set aside to cool.
Heat up a large skillet with a bit of olive oil. We will be adding pesto later, so go easy on the oil. Add the broccoli first. I like it charred, so I let it go until it starts getting a bit brown on the sides. Mince in the 2 garlic cloves and then add the zucchini and asparagus and let them sauté for a while. Add the peas last. From frozen is fine.
While you’re letting those get a little crispy, half a ripe avocado and add it into the pesto. Mix it in pretty well with a touch extra olive oil. The avocado just adds a bit of lovely creaminess to the pesto (again, optional. Nothing to run to the store over).
After the veggies look deliciously done and are getting some golden / charred coloring on the sides, add in the spinach or kale (I did a bit of both), the cooked pasta and the pesto. At this point you might need a tablespoon or two more of olive oil, depending on how think your pesto is. I also loaded up on ground black pepper. Combine it all really well and let it cook all together for a few more minutes.
Eat and become superhuman.
- I’ve also made this dish without pesto – using just olive oil, garlic, and throwing in a bunch of fresh basil, parsley and oregano from the garden. Also really fresh and good if you wasn’t to just skip the pesto part, just a little less indulgent!
- If you made too much pasta and have some plain left over, just toss it in a little of the extra pesto and save it for a salad with some tomatoes, greens and balsamic vinegar.
- Save the other halves of the broccoli, zucchini and asparagus for recipes to come….