Pasta Goes Rogue: Vegan Avocado Pesto

vegan avocado pesto
Every once in awhile, you come across a dish that changes everything. Something that radically alters the way you think about food. Much like the thrill of discovering the sneaky substitution of quinoa pasta for regular, or gluten-free, sugar-free black bean brownies, this vegan, avocado-based pesto has rocked my world. I’ve made it countless times since I discovered the original version, tweaking it each time.

Avocado, a dear friend of anyone looking for a creamy texture sans the dairy, is the star of the show. Even the most critical, picky eaters in our household have yet to suspect it’s anything less than a cheese-laden, straight-up basil pesto. This isn’t some funky-tasting Tex-Mex pasta masquerading as Italian food. This is honest, decadent-tasting vegan cooking at its absolute best!

Ingredients
1 lb. quinoa or whole-wheat linguine
2 avocados, peeled and pitted
5 tablespoons lemon juice
3 cloves garlic
½ cup pine nuts
leaves from 1 large bunch fresh basil, some leaves reserved for garnish
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¾ tsp. fine-grain sea salt
¾ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
one can 14 oz. cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
1 small package cherry tomatoes, halved

1.)  Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente, according to package directions. Drain and set aside.

2.)  While waiting for water to boil and/or pasta to cook, make the pesto. In a food processor, combine all ingredients from avocado through pepper in a food processor. Process until smooth.

3.)  Toss hot, freshly drained pasta with pesto and beans. Garnish each serving with cherry tomatoes and a few leaves of fresh basil.

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