Almond Pesto and Black Bean Pasta

If you are an Italian food lover you can still find ways to eat gluten-free Italian food. And if you are a pesto fan, you can make this basil almond pesto. Almonds have a great flavor and really make for a fantastic basil pesto or cilantro pesto. Some other nuts you can use to make your pesto are pine nuts, walnuts, or you can get wild and use macadamia nuts.
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Total Time 45 mins
Servings 6

Ingredients
  

  • Sauce Ingredients
  • 1⁄8 cup Nature's Eats Sliced Almonds (optional topping or garnish)
  • ½ cup Nature's Eats Almonds
  • 1⁄3 cup olive oil
  • 2 cups packed basil
  • 3 large garlic cloves
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon red pepper flakes and some red pepper flake for garnish
  • 2-3 zucchini and squash
  • 4 stalks asparagus
  • 1 cup broccoli florets
  • 2 garlic cloves chopped
  • Pasta Ingredients
  • 1 package (8-12 ounces) black bean pasta
  • 2-3 garlic cloves

Instructions
 

  • Boil pasta, following directions on the packaging. Rinse, drain, and then place to the side.
  • Sauté the vegetables (zucchini, squash, broccoli, and asparagus) along with garlic cloves chopped for 1-2 minutes. Place in a bowl to the side.
  • Excluding the vegetables from step 2, the garnish items, and ½ cup of basil, place all the other sauce ingredients in a high powered blender like a Vitamix machine. Start on the lowest setting and then work your way up to speeds 4-5 until all ingredients achieve a creamy texture. Add in the most of the remaining basil and continue to process on levels 2-3 to leave decent-sized pieces of basil in the pesto sauce.
  • Returning to the sauce pan with the noodles, add the Almond Pesto Sauce and sautéed vegetables. Toss all items together until well mixed.
  • Garnish each plate with sliced almonds, red pepper flakes, and a little basil. Serve warm and add a little parmesan or asiago cheese on top (non-vegan option).
  • Although this is vegan and gluten-free, you would never guess it from the taste. There is a slight hint of heat from the red crushed peppers and a lightly creamy pesto flavor with bursts of basil and garlic throughout. The pasta has a unique texture and depth without feeling too starchy. Hints of Nature's Eats Sun-Dried Tomatoes blend in well with the broccoli, zucchini, squash, and asparagus. This dish tastes perfect as is; however, you may also choose to add some additional protein such as chicken, salmon, or tofu.