Avocado Pesto Pasta

Healthy, Pasta, Sauces, Specials, Vegan, Vegetables, Vegetarian

DSC_0303Makes: 4 large portions
Preparation & cooking time: 20 minutes

Before I became vegan, homemade pesto pasta was a meal that I was obsessed with (I would have a few times a week without fail). As there is parmesan in traditional pesto I have been unable to eat it. I made the pesto minus the parmesan and don’t get me wrong it was delicious, but it did lack that creaminess and seasoning that the parmesan gave to it. I have found it difficult to find a pesto recipe that would offer the same end product until I tried adding in avocado to the recipe, and voila! With the addition of avocado this pesto recipe is so silky and smooth with a very satisfying texture and taste. Not only is it perfect for vegans, it is perfect for anyone who is looking for an amazing pesto recipe that takes minutes to make and has all the natural goodness that comes from adding the avocado. I hope you enjoy the recipe 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 400g spaghetti
  • A small courgette, sliced
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes, sliced
  • A handful of button mushrooms, sliced
  • A large bunch of basil 
  • 2 ripe avocados (peeled and pitted)
  • 60g pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 120ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Method:

1.   Bring a large pan of salty water to the boil, add the pasta and cook according to the packet. Cook the pasta 1-2 minutes less than what is stated on the packet as it will be cooked further later on with the pesto and you want it to remain nice and al dente. One minute before the pasta is ready, add in the courgette and mushroom slices to quickly blanch them.

2.   Whilst the pasta is boiling you can make the avocado pesto. Place the basil leaves, avocados , pine nuts, lemon juice, garlic and extra virgin olive oil into a food processor and blend until it is really smooth. Once the pesto is creamy and smooth season it generously.

3.   Put 4 large spoonfuls of the avocado pesto into a large frying pan and put the pan on the hob over a medium heat. When the pasta is ready add the pasta and vegetables to the frying pan. Do this with a pair of tongs as this will allow some of the pasta cooking water to emulsify with the pesto and create a silky smooth sauce. Toss the pasta with the pesto until all of the pasta is nicely coated. If the sauce is a bit stodgy add a spoonful or two of the reserved pasta water to loosen it. That is the recipe done!

Eat this immediately or you can always eat it cold. It is perfect for the summer as you can have cold at a picnic. 

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Bruschetta, 3 ways!

Healthy, Sandwich, Vegan, Vegetarian, Vini's Sandwiches

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Plain and simple, bruschetta is great! It is so convenient and easy to make that you can rustle it up so quickly with practically anything that you have lying around in your fridge and cupboards (you can even use stale bread!). You can be as creative or as simple as you would like, which is why for this post I have created three of my favourite recipes to show you some different ideas that you can use and hopefully give you some ideas so that you can make your own bruschetta!

 Tomato, Basil & Avocado Pesto Bruschetta

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Makes: 3 Bruschetta (with plenty of avocado pesto left over!)
Preparation & cooking time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 2cm slices of ciabatta (or whatever bread you prefer)
  • A handful (6-10 depending the size) of ripe cherry tomatoes
  • A drizzle of garlic oil (or extra virdin olive oil)
  • A drizzle of lemon juice
  • A large bunch of basil (reserve a few leaves for garnish)
  • 2 avocados (peeled and pitted)
  • 60g pine nuts
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 120ml extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly ground pepper

Method:

1.   Place the slices of bread under a really hot grill to get nice and crunchy. When the bread starts to colour rub it with a peeled clove of garlic and then flip it over for the other side to get toasted and when this side has colour rub it with the clove of garlic. Rubbing the garlic on the bread will give it such an amazing flavour! Once toasted take the bread out and leave to the side whilst you prepare the topping.

2.   Half the cherry tomatoes and then slice the halves roughly and put them into a bowl. Slice a few leaves of basil and put into the bowl with the tomatoes. Dress the tomatoes with a good drizzle of garlic oil (this is really easy to make, just peel and slice 6 garlic cloves in half and put them into a jam jar and then top this up with extra virgin olive oil. After a day or so this will start to have an amazing garlic flavour and is great to use in dressings!) or extra virgin olive oil will be great, followed by a squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of salt and pepper.

3.   To make the avocado pesto, place the remaining basil leaves (leave 2 for garnish) , avocados , pine nuts, lemon juice, garlic and extra virgin olive oil into a food processor and blend until it is really smooth. Once the pesto is creamy and smooth season it generously.

4.   To prepare the bruschetta, place a spoonful of the tomato mixture onto a slice of the toasted bread and top this with a few large drops of the avocado pesto. To make it look pretty, slice the left over basil leaves finely and sprinkle over the top and voila, you have a delicious bruschetta made really quickly! You can use the leftover pesto as a topping for pasta!

Balsamic dressed beetroot with herby bean cream

025Makes: 3 Bruschetta (with plenty of herby bean cream left over!)
Preparation & cooking time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 2cm slices of ciabatta (or whatever bread you prefer)
  • 1 large beetroot, boiled, peeled and sliced into cubes
  • A drizzle of good balsamic vinegar
  • A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 can of cannelini beans, drained (or any other white beans that you can get)
  • 60ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • A bunch of dill (or the herb of your choice)
  • Sea salt & frshly ground black pepper

 Method:

1.   Place the slices of bread under a really hot grill to get nice and crunchy. When the bread starts to colour rub it with a peeled clove of garlic and then flip it over for the other side to get toasted and when this side has colour rub it with the clove of garlic. Rubbing the garlic on the bread will give it such an amazing flavour! Once toasted take the bread out and leave to the side whilst you prepare the topping.

2.   In a bowl, dress the diced beetroot with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar along with a pinch of salt and pepper.

3.   To make the herby bean cream, blend the can of beans, oil, water, lemon juice, garlic cloves, dill and salt & pepper in a food processor until you have a silky smooth mixture.

4.   To make the bruschetta, place a big spoonful of the beetroot mixture on top of a piece of the toasted bread followed by a nice dollop of the bean cream. Slice some parsley or dill to sprinkle over the top of the bruschetta. There you have a delicious bruschetta ready. You can use the remaining bean cream as a dip with some warmed pitta breads or some steam veg and it is excellent!

Pea & Mint Bruschetta

032Makes: 3 Bruschetta
Preparation & cooking time: 5-10 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 3 2cm slices of ciabatta (or whatever bread that you prefer)
  • 280g frozen peas (thawed)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint (a little reserved for garnish)
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Method:

1.   Place the slices of bread under a really hot grill to get nice and crunchy. When the bread starts to colour rub it with a peeled clove of garlic and then flip it over for the other side to get toasted and when this side has colour rub it with the clove of garlic. Rubbing the garlic on the bread will give it such an amazing flavour! Once toasted take the bread out and leave to the side whilst you prepare the topping.

2.   To prepare the pea and mint topping, blend the peas in a food processor until they are roughly chopped. Stir in the mint, oil, salt & pepper. Place a spoonful of the pea and mint mixture on top of the bread and top with a sprinkling of the chopped mint. With the leftover pea and mint mixture you can make a delicious risotto!

I hope you like the different bruschettas; let me know what your favourite types of bruschetta are! 🙂