A classic Italian sauce bursting with fresh herby flavor. It's simple, raw, and requires only a few ingredients - loads of fresh basil, raw garlic, rich nuts, cheesy nutritional yeast, and fruity extra virgin olive oil.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add a generous amount of salt, and cook the pasta according to the directions on the package. When the pasta is al-dente, drain and rinse it under cold water, and set it aside.
Add the basil, pine nuts, garlic, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and sea salt into a food processor and pulse until a loose paste forms. Slowly add the olive oil in a steady drizzle as you pulse the processor on and off. The pesto should be very smooth. Add 1 Tbsp. (15 ml) water at a time until a thick but pourable sauce forms.
Heat up a medium saute pan and lightly char and blister the cherry tomatoes. Make sure you don't add any oil to the pan. The pan should be dry. Let the pan cool down for about a minute.
Once the tomatoes are done and the pan has cooled a bit, add the pasta, give it a few tosses, and add a dollop of the pesto. Finish it all off with some baby spinach. Once you've added the baby spinach, give it a few tosses. Don't cook the pasta too much longer otherwise the spinach will wilt and sort of disappear into all the ingredients.
Store leftover pesto in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
For longer term storage, freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
*I used quinoa rigatoni pasta.
This recipe has been adapted from Food52.