5-ingredient vegan walnut pesto over zucchini noodles (vegan, gluten free, paleo)

vegan pesto pasta with zucchini noodles

Yep, it’s been waaay too long since I posted, but there’s a good reason for that.

If you saw my last post, you’ll know that I started on something new earlier this year. The name change of this online space was just the first hint of that! Since enrolling in my health coach training program, I’ve become even more excited by the possibilities for transformation that I can bring to my clients…and to you!

This online space will take a little catching up to what’s been happening “behind the scenes” since March. For now, I’m content not to rush it. In the end, it will mean better content for you and a space that feels authentically me.

Now about this recipe…

We’re in the thick of a heat wave and my enthusiasm for cooking over a hot stove in a house that lacks central air is way down. I’m not complaining though!

Instead, I’m using it as an opportunity to experiment with a summer meal plan and easy to prepare, refreshing recipes, like this vegan walnut pesto over zucchini noodles.

Here’s what I love about this dish:

  • It’s quick to prepare (the zucchini noodles take less time than cooked noodles!)
  • The vegan walnut pesto adds a boost of plant-based protein
  • You can serve the zucchini noodles warm or cold. Serve cold for a crunchier noodles. Pour warm water over them, then drain, for softer, warm noodles.
  • The zucchini noodles are an easy way to cut out carbs
  • It’s fun to make
  • You don’t need a stove

If you don’t have a spiralizer, you can use a cheese grate or slice the zucchini into long strips. This takes longer and isn’t as fun. However, it’s what I did the very first time I tried this since I didn’t want to buy a kitchen gadget without knowing if I’d like the results.

I found my first spiralizer at Whole Foods for only $5. More recently, I upgraded to a bigger spiralizer from Target (but you can find it a little cheaper here on Amazon *affiliate link)because it’s bigger and has three noodle shape/size options.

While I love this vegan walnut pesto for a cold supper option, my traditional pasta sauce also works well with these noodles, or even mix the two together!

*BONUS TIP: If you aren’t sure how you’ll feel about these zucchini noodles, and especially if you’re serving them to children for the first time, you can mix these in with spaghetti noodles. It’s what I do for my kids! Simply cook the noodles according to package directions and then add the zucchini noodles to the water just before you’re ready to drain the pasta. (BTW, I love the brown rice spaghetti noodles from Aldi)*

Five-ingredient vegan walnut pesto with zucchini noodles
Prep Time
15 mins
 

A quick and easy that's perfect for hot summer days...or when you want to shake things up for pasta night.

Course: Main Course
Keyword: vegan summer recipe, vegan walnut pesto, zucchini noodles
Servings: 2 adults
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups of basil
  • 1/2 cups of walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • dashes of freshly ground pepper
  • 3/4 tsp nutritional yeast optional
  • 1-2 medium small zucchini
Instructions
For the zucchini noodles
  1. Thoroughly wash the zucchini and cut off the top (the end that attaches to the stalk). Place in spiralizer and turn to form noodles. For crunchier noodles, leave cold. For softer noodles that will feel closer to spaghetti, heat water in a kettle, pour over noodles and soak for 1-2 minutes. Drain, then portion into bowls or onto plates.

For the vegan walnut pesto
  1. Place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and mix on high until everything is thoroughly combined. Spoon onto noodles of choice (I recommend zucchini!) and stir until noodles are coated. Personally, for my own bowl, I like to mix in the pasta by hand. Store any extras in an air-tight jar in the freezer.
Recipe Notes

*See post for additional tips and serving ideas

Product Review: Banza Penne Pasta

 

My review of Banza Penne Pasta is my own opinion and I was not compensated by the makers of Banza for this post in any way. Some links in the post may contain affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you.

I love doing these product reviews! To catch the others, click here. This week, I’m featuring this penne pasta by Banza. Since pasta is in my meal plan weekly and I’m always looking for ways to boost the nutrients in our diet, I had to try this when I saw a coupon for it in the Ibotta app*. If you want my go-to marinara sauce recipe, click here.

Ever since I changed my diet, my taste for wheat-based products has naturally fallen by the wayside. Although I can tolerate it and don’t have a gluten sensitivity, I’ve found that I just don’t like it as much. For years now, I’ve been using brown rice fusili which I buy at Trader Joe’s and brown rice spaghetti from Aldi. But I’ve missed the penne pasta shape and was excited when I saw Banza was making their garbanza-bean pasta in this shape.

 

HERE’S THE FULL SCOOP:

Where I bought it: Whole Foods

Regular purchase price: $3.99

On sale? No

Which money-saving app? Ibotta*

Cost savings: $1.50 ($.50 for the coupon + I an additional dollar off by earning the Weekend Warrior bonus – I only had to buy two products to earn an extra $2!)

Total purchase price: $2.49

How does it compare to what I normally buy? Even with the coupons from Ibotta*, it’s more than twice the price per ounce from what I normally buy. However, it also has more than twice the amount of protein per 2 oz serving size.

How did it taste? Watch this video which I recorded LIVE on my FB page:

 

Would I buy it again? Probably. Especially since my children seemed to like it – and that is often the biggest hurdle to overcome. Although it wouldn’t normally be part of my pasta rotation unless it comes down in price, I like having this option available to freshen up our meal plan and think it would be excellent in pasta salads. I’d keep a lookout for coupons and discounts though! I did find at a cheaper regular price at Target online. OR you can get it here (affiliate link – no cost to you).

 

If you have an idea for a vegan food, personal care or household product I should try, leave a comment telling me the product name, where you found it and why I should try it.

 

*If you’re not familiar with Ibotta, it’s a free money-saving app you download to your phone. I would love to have you join my team so we help each other earn more savings together! I do get a bonus when you join with me but there’s never any cost to you…just cost-savings including a $10 sign up bonus!

marinara sauce for pasta or pizza, oil & sugar free

100_0929For the longest time I could not bring myself to eat pasta with sauce on it.  Chalk it up to getting the flu after eating spaghetti for dinner. Instead, I requested my spaghetti be served with Italian Salad Dressing.

Years went by until I worked up the nerve to start eating pasta with a little bit of sauce, but it wasn’t until I went to Venice, Italy as a senior in high school that I finally understood why people love pasta.

I started making my own sauce a few years ago when I switched to eating vegan and also cutting back on oils (most store bought sauces contain oil and many also contain sugar). The inspiration for this recipe comes from the Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease book which also inspired my change in diet.

Since we are a family of six and this sauce freezes well, I make a large quantity. That way, I only need to prepare this about once a month. It makes enough to fill about five large mason jars plus a few smaller jars for pizza sauce.

When I don’t have tomatoes on hand from my garden, my favorite brand of canned tomatoes are Muir Glen’s organic diced or whole tomatoes because 1. they’re organic and 2. Muir Glen took the BPA out of their can lining. Thankfully, I can buy these in bulk at BJs to save money.

marinara sauce collage

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the marinara sauce recipe

oil & sugar free marinara sauce for pasta or pizza

Prep Time: 10-20 minutes

Cook Time: at least 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 medium-small onions, diced
  • 15-20 medium-large garlic cloves, minced
  • 5 28-oz. canned tomatoes
  • ½ c. fresh basil
  • 3 tsp. dried oregano
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • Dashes freshly ground black pepper
  • 1-2 6-oz cans tomato paste (optional)

Instructions

In a large stock pot, sauté onions and garlic with a little water to prevent the vegetables from sticking.

Meanwhile, in a blender or food processor, blend tomatoes in batches to desired sauce consistency.

Add blended tomatoes to stock pot along with other ingredients except the tomato paste.

Simmer at least 30 minutes or longer to let flavors develop.

For pizza sauce, set aside several cups of the pasta sauce and stir in tomato paste until thoroughly combined. Doing so in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat helps with this process.

Recipe Notes

I use Muir Glen’s organic whole or diced tomatoes and blend them to a fairly smooth consistency.

Garlic is the key to a tasty sauce, but if you’re not a big fan of garlic, start with a slightly smaller quantity.

This recipe makes a lot and it freezes well. One batch usually yields enough sauce for 3-4 pasta meals plus 3-4 pizzas.

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