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Basil Pesto Pasta with Charred Tomatoes

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.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time35 mins
Servings: 6


Basil Pesto Pasta with Charred Tomatoes

  • 1 lb. penne pasta*
  • 20 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto
  • 2 handfuls fresh baby spinach

Basil Pesto

  • 2 cup fresh baby basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup Ligurian Taggiasca olive oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp. water (or as needed)


  • Prepare the pasta according to the instructions on the package.
  • 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.


*Here is a list of our favorite penne pasta:
Chickpea-lentil penne by Chickapea
Lentil-quinoa penne by Ancient Harvest
Lentil-brown rice penne by Explore Cuisine
Brown rice-quinoa-amaranth penne by Clearspring
*If you're on a keto diet, you can use shirataki penne (they have no real flavor and chewy, gelatinous texture) or make zucchini noodles out of zucchini.