Seasonal Pesto Pasta

Last week’s vegan (cheeseless) pesto recipe gets a workout here on a hodge-podge salad from seasonal veggies.  A “clean out the fridge” recipe that turned out pretty delish.  This could easily be made vegan or gluten free with the appropriate pasta.

  • 1 pint mixed cherry tomatoes
  • 1 large heirloom tomato
  • 3-4 cubes pesto
  • 2-3 lemons, zested and juiced
  • 4 small zucchini
  • 1 C toasted walnuts
  • 2 C white beans
  • 2 C arugula or other seasonal greens, hand torn
  • 1/2 C packed fresh basil, hand torn
  • 1 pound rotini pasta, cooked al dente
  1. Select a large bowl or rectangle pan for the elements to be assembled.  As the ingredients are finished with their first phase you can just toss them together as you go to avoid destroying the integrity of the veggies by trying to stir or toss together at the end.  The pesto will incorporate easily this way as well.  You do not want a huge bowl of mush at the end.
  2. Tear arugula and basil into pieces and put in the bottom of this large bowl or pan.  The warm ingredients added will wilt this for you saving you a cooking step.
  3. Boil water and cook your choice of pasta noodle, al dente, drain water and toss back into warm pan with pesto cubes, juice and zest of two lemons.  Turn noodles to coat.  Toss into big bowl-this will wilt your greens easily.
  4. Warm a little olive oil (1 tsp or so) in a wok or fry pan, toss in walnuts and toast until slightly browned and super crisp.  Toss into big bowl.
  5. Cut zucchini into little wheels of uniform size.  In the same pan without adding more oil, saute the bite-sized squash pieces for a few minutes, then add the juice and zest of one lemon, salt and pepper to taste.  Do this over high heat and don’t let your zucchini get soggy.  Remove when it still has a bite to it and toss into the large pan with the other ingredients.
  6. Cut tomatoes into bite-sized pieces.  Toss into big bowl.
  7. Finally add your two cups of white beans.  Mine usually come from the freezer as I bulk make beans every few weeks, but using canned is cool with me.  If you do so, be sure to rinse them well, to get all the unnecessary ick off them.
  8. Toss all ingredients together and serve.  This makes a TON of salad.  It keeps well in your fridge for up to a week if you don’t let it dry out.  I make sure plastic wrap is touching the leftovers and that seems to keep it fresh, not dry.  If yours becomes dry, refresh with a little bit of olive oil, water or lemon juice before serving.

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