Strawberry Pesto Pasta

  in Main Dishes, Recipes, Salads, Vegan

Recipe by Ali Lopez

4 cups baby spinach (you can also use half arugula)
1 cup fresh basil 
1/2 cup pecans, walnuts or almonds (toasted lightly and cooled)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 ripe avocado
2 cloves garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
12 oz package pasta (fusilli, rotini, penne)
2 cups fresh strawberries, halved
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives
1 cup mozzarella cubes or balls, crumbled goat cheese, blue cheese or feta (vegan suggestions: Miyokos mozzarella or Violife feta)

  1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil the pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  2. Place nuts and garlic in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times until they are chopped small. Add greens and basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, a few grinds of pepper and process until greens are finely chopped. Add avocado and with machine running, slowly drizzle in the olive oil until mixture is pureed. Add more oil if needed, to keep mixture moving. Use right away or if you store the pesto in the fridge add some olive oil on top to keep it from darkening
  3. Place pasta in a large bowl and toss with the pesto until evenly coated. Add the strawberries, olives, cheese and toss gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.