Vegan Pesto Pasta with Broccoli and Avocado

Our Vegan Pesto Pasta with Broccoli and Avocado is one of the simplest recipes that you will find on our blog. Even making the pesto from scratch, this recipe is the perfect option if you are looking for a healthy meal on a busy weekday.

We make the pesto from scratch following our fresh basil pesto recipe. The only difference is that we use vegan pesto for this recipe, changing the hard cheese for yeast flakes. Making pesto is really simple once you have the ingredients. Still, if you want to save some time using store-bought pesto it’s totally fine, but we strongly recommend using fresh pesto when buying it premade. It tastes better and will be healthier too. Be aware that store-bought pesto is not vegan or vegetarian containing rennet.

Pesto pasta can be served on its own but we love bringing some more veggies to the dish. Adding broccoli and avocado makes this meal more complete nutritionally and they will give the dish some different textures. Since we first made it, it’s been a family favourite. Every time our basil grows, this dish is on our weekly meal plan. Our toddler Luca enjoys this meal as much as we do!

How to make Vegan Pesto from Scratch

To make pesto or other sauces like our lovely Romesco, we use our immersion hand blender that comes with a food processor attachment. It’s definitely one of the best investments we made for our kitchen.

Only 6 ingredients are needed when making Vegan Pesto: Basil leaves, nutritional yeast flakes, pine nuts, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and salt. Once you have all the ingredients, your pesto can be made in 5 minutes following these three simple steps.

  • Wash and dry with a paper towel the basil leaves. Make sure they are completely dry before adding them into the blender to avoid oxidation.
  • Add the basil leaves, yeast flakes, pine nuts, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and salt into a food processor or hand blender.
  • Blend until smooth consistency. Adjust to taste with salt.

Tips to make the best Vegan Pesto

  • Choose a basil plant that has small leaves. They tend to be sweeter and less bitter. As well, if you have your own basil growing, younger basil (first picked) will be sweeter.
  • To get a deep green colour in your pesto you would need to prepare your pesto chopping the basil leaves and garlic by hand but this can take a bit longer. We use our food processor when cooking pesto as it saves time and energy that we need for our little bundle of joy(welcome to parenthood). Leaving the basil leaves in ice cubes for a couple of minutes and the food processor blades in the freezer for 10 minutes, your basil will stay fresh and green while blending it.
  • Make sure you completely dry the basil before adding it into the food processor.
  • Use a good quality extra virgin olive oil. We are lucky living in Spain as olive oil is normally really good and not too expensive. The olive oil will define the taste of your pesto so you want the right one.
  • If you ended up making too much pesto, you can freeze it into portions using an ice cube tray.

Making Vegan Pesto without Basil

If basil is not in season, you can change these ingredients for another green. Our favourite leaves to use when making pesto without basil are spinach or arugula. You can use veggies such as broccoli or even avocado. So many different ingredients can be used to make green pesto when basil is not an option!

Which pasta do we use to make Pesto Pasta with Broccoli and Avocado

For this recipe, we used Short Mafalda pasta. This kind of pasta is wavy and perfect to grab the sauce. Pesto, containing olive oil, needs a pasta that the sauce will stick to. Other great options to serve this sauce would be fusilli, cavatappi, rotini or farfalle.

To make our vegan pesto with broccoli and avocado gluten-free, simply choose a gluten-free pasta. The rest of the ingredients are naturally gluten-free.

Vegan Pesto Pasta with Broccoli and Avocado

A simple and delicious pasta dish that the whole family will love!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: pasta
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Fresh Basil Pesto, Vegan Pesto Pasta
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

Ingredients to make Vegan Pesto from scratch

  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup yeast flakes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil extra virgin
  • A pinch of salt and pepper

Pesto Pasta Ingredients

  • 1/3 broccoli
  • 1 avocado
  • 350 g pasta
  • yeast flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

Instructions to make Vegan Pesto

  • Wash and dry with a paper towel the basil leaves. Add the basil leaves, yeast flakes, pine nuts, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and salt into a food processor or hand blender.
  • Blend until smooth consistency. Adjust to taste with salt.

Instructions to make Pesto Pasta with Broccoli and Avocado

  • Cook the pasta following packet instructions.
  • Cut the broccoli into florets and cook the florets in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain the water and leave to cool.
  • Cut open the avocado, use a spoon to scoop the flesh and cut it into cubes.
  • When the pasta is cooked, drain the water, add the pasta into a big pan and add the pesto sauce, broccoli florets and avocado cubes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Before serving, sprinkle some yeast flakes on the top.

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