This Green Veggie Pasta dish is perfect for dinner or as a warming and nourishing lunch. Use seasonal green vegies and the flavours will jump out of the bowl.
Everyone knows that greens are good for you, and this pasta is LOADED with them. Here’s the list of just SOME of the amazing benefits of this dish! (The references are at the bottom of this page.)
1. Broccoli is full of antioxidants and anti-cancer phytonutrients.
2. Spinach is high in iron, antioxidants and vitamin K.
3. Rocket is a bitter food, and aids digestion.
4. Basil is packed with Vitamins A and C, which supports eye and skin health, as well as the immune system.
5. Walnuts are a particularly good source of Vitamin E, which is a potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant agent. Vitamin E also supports the immune system and is important for eye health. Walnuts contain omega 3s (as well as omega 6s) and are a good source of magnesium and protein.
This is a very easy dish to put together. You can make up the pesto a day in advance and store it in the fridge if you wish. This will help develop the flavours as well as save you some time.
Ingredients (Serves 6)
1 cup tightly packed fresh basil leaves
4 cloves crushed garlic
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1 cup raw walnuts (pesticide free if possible)
⅓ cup grated organic parmesan
125mL extra virgin olive oil (for the pesto)
300g wholemeal spaghetti
1 tblsp olive oil (for sautéing)
350g baby spinach
450g broccoli, cut into florets
10 cherry tomatoes, halved
200g organic cottage cheese (optional)
Heat a medium sized frying pan on a low heat and toast the walnuts (no need to add oil) for about 5-7 minutes, to give them some crunch. Then set aside. At this point you can roughly chop ½ cup of these walnuts, for serving.
Place the basil, rocket, 2 cloves of the crushed garlic, lemon rind, parmesan, ½ cup of the toasted walnuts and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a high speed blender, and blitz on medium-high to make the pesto. You’ll probably need to scrape down the sides a few times. Drizzle the rest of the olive oil (for the pesto) into the blender as it’s running, until you achieve a smooth consistency. Add salt and black pepper if you wish.
Use a large saucepan to boil up enough water to cook the pasta and broccoli together. Initially cook the pasta on its own for about 6-8 minutes (check the packet for cooking instructions), and add the broccoli 2 minutes before the pasta will be cooked. Once the broccoli has been boiled for the 2 minutes, drain the whole saucepan.
When you add the broccoli to the pasta, heat a large frying pan with the 1 tablespoon of olive oil for sautéing, over a medium heat. Add the remaining 2 cloves of crushed garlic and the spinach leaves, and stir gently for a couple of minutes, until the spinach starts to wilt.
Add the drained pasta and broccoli, the cherry tomatoes and the pesto to the frying pan and stir to combine the mixture. You may need to add some extra water to this.
For a creamier pasta add the organic cottage cheese.
Serve in bowls and sprinkle some chopped walnuts over the top. Add cracked black pepper for some extra spice.
Susie Garden is a Clinical Nutritionist and a Yoga and Meditation Teacher who is passionate about inspiring people to take control of their health through nourishing food, moving the body and mindfulness. She created her website Head This Way, to help people find useful and well researched health information that can support their health journeys. You can download her free healthy recipe eBook and follow her on Instagram.
National Institutes of Health. (2013). Vitamin E fact sheet for health professionals. Retrieved from http://ods.od.nih.gov.
Osiecki, H. (2014). The nutrient bible (9th ed.). Eagle Farm, Qld: Bio Concepts Publishing.
Tabrizian, I. (2015). The visual textbook of nutritional medicine. Bicton, WA: NRS Publications.