Happy Meatless Monday! We’re celebrating today with Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Kale Pesto, Zucchini, and Roasted Tomatoes. And it’s so good. Oh, so good.
The kale pesto is balanced, delicious, and full of flavor. It’s lemony. Salty. Cheesy. Nutty. Basil-y?
And seriously, it’s packed with all good-for-you ingredients.
Kale, you nutritious powerhouse you. You’re packed with vitamins. You’re super high in antioxidants, which protect us against free radicals. Your flavonoids, quercetin and kaempferol (I promise these are real words), lower blood pressure and have anti-depressant, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer qualities. Also, you’re delicious.
Walnuts, you crazy nut. You’re ridiculously good for our hearts, and that’s why we love you. Plus, all those antioxidants and Omega-3s? Also, you’re delicious.
Oh, hey, olive oil. We swear that when we call you fat we mean you’re the good fat. We really dig all of your heart-healthy, anti-inflammatory properties and just love the Omega-6/3’s, Vitamin E, and Vitamin K you offer. Also, you’re delicious.
What’s up, garlic? You boost our immune systems, which is pretty awesome. And we can’t forget all the other great things you do: reduce blood pressure and cholesterol, detoxify the body, and improve bone health. And all those studies that say you help in reducing Alzheimer’s and dementia? Not to mention: you ward off vampires. Also, you’re delicious.
And then there’s you, basil! You smell really good. You contain lots of E-beta-caryophyllene, which I can’t pronounce. But I do know it’s a pretty great anti-inflammatory. And, no, I’m not forgetting about your Vitamin A/K/C or your potassium, magnesium, and iron. Also, you’re delicious.
Oh, lemon. How could we forget you? You deserve so much more than to be just an ade. Your alkaline-forming ways really help us out. You contain 22 anti-cancer compounds and a vitamin for nearly every letter of the alphabet. You control high blood pressure, relieve indigestion, and help cure scurvy. Although, I don’t know if we need that last one as much anymore (but we still appreciate it). Also, you’re delicious.
And then there’s (a little) Parmesan. You may not be as beneficial as the others, but you are high in protein and calcium. Also, you’re soo delicious.
And then I threw in some other also-good-for-you-things! Like whole wheat pasta, zucchini, and tomatoes.
This recipe is also actually fairly easy. The tomatoes do the all the roasting themselves. The shallot and zucchini cook in a breeze. And the machine does all the work for you on the pesto, which can also be made in advance. Just store it in the fridge in a glass mason jar with a little pool of olive oil on top for protection.
You’ll use around 1/2-3/4 of this pesto, depending on your taste, for this recipe. You could go ahead and cook a pound of pasta and use it all if you’re serving a crowd. If you do that, you may want to roast extra tomatoes. Any leftover pesto you have can be stored in the fridge for up to a week. It is delicious in grilled cheese and sandwiches or topped on crostini or scrambled eggs.
You can use any pasta you’d like. Make it with fusilli or penne and keep leftovers as a cold pasta salad for another day.
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Looking for some more Meatless Monday inspiration? Try these from myself + friends:
+ as always, check out Meatless Monday for even more plant-based good-for-you goodness!
- 2 cups chopped packed kale, stems and ribbed removed (about one small bunch)
- 1 cup packed basil
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ cup toasted walnuts, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 large lemon, juiced and zested
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup pasta water
- 10 ounces whole wheat spaghetti (or pasta of choice)
- 2 small zucchini, julienned
- 1 large shallot, diced
- 10 ounces grape tomatoes, sliced in half
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Sea salt and pepper, to taste
- Pinch of red chili pepper flakes
- Grated Parmesan and basil, for serving
- Make the pesto. Combine the kale, basil, walnuts, sea salt, garlic, and cheese in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add in the lemon juice and zest and slowly pour in the olive oil with the processor running. Mix until combined. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss halved grape tomatoes with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sea salt and pepper on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake about 25-30 minutes, until blistered.
- Cook the spaghetti according to package directions until al dente, reserving ½ cup of pasta water. In the meantime, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet. Saute shallot until softened and fragrant. Add zucchini and cook until just softened, seasoning to taste with salt, pepper, and a pinch of red chili pepper flakes.
- Combine pasta with desired amount of pesto; about ¾ of the recipe should do. If you need to thin the pesto a little to evenly coat the pasta, add pasta water to the mixture one tablespoon at a time. Gently toss pasta with the tomatoes and zucchini mixture.
- Garnish with fresh basil and Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately.