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A Delicious Hack For Adding Even More Veggies To Your Pesto

Image by Nataša Mandić / Stocksy
May 20, 2022
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From vodka penne to carbonara, there are numerous delicious sauces to choose from when dressing your pasta dish. But perhaps one of the most loved of all? Pesto. Typically crafted with pine nuts, this versatile spread can sit atop your bowls of pasta, add flavor to any sandwich, or even function as a savory dip with crackers at your next picnic.

At mbg, we're partial to the homemade route, and this recipe straight from cookbook author Rachel Mansfield's Instagram is complete with avocado, pumpkin seeds, and healthy greens to offer even more nutritional benefits than your classic store-bought sauce. Sneaking extra vegetables into your pasta sauces is an easy way to level-up your meals, and avocado brings healthy fats and brain-boosting benefits to the table, while creating that creamy and decadent consistency we all know and love. 

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Walnuts help to give the sauce a touch of plant-based protein, as well as being one of the best nuts to improve cognitive function—and it's no secret that greens such as spinach and arugula are rich in vitamins and minerals.

But if you really want to bump up the nutritional value of your meal, adding a scoop of mbg's organic veggies+ will not only support regularity with probiotics and prebiotic fiber but also pack in a variety of fruits and vegetables to enhance your pesto with hidden benefits.* Yeah, we're making this for dinner tonight too.

Avocado Pesto Pasta

Ingredients: 

  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1 cup arugula or spinach
  • ⅓ cup raw walnuts or cashews
  • ¼ cup pine nuts or pumpkin seeds
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons of water (or more as needed)
  • 1 box pasta (I used GF rigatoni)
  • optional: 1 tablespoon mbg organic veggies+
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Method:

  1. Prepare the pasta according to instructions.
  2. While that is cooking, add all the avocado pesto ingredients to food processor or blender and pulse until creamy and well combined (should be smooth and not chunky; I needed about ¼ cup).
  3. Once pasta is ready, strain and enjoy with desired amount of avocado arugula pesto.
  4. You can also add your choice of protein (chicken is yummy in this!).

Note: I recommend eating within one to two days of making or freezing the sauce in an airtight container for a month.

Merrell Readman
Merrell Readman
mbg Associate Food & Health Editor

Merrell Readman is the Associate Food & Health Editor at mindbodygreen. Readman is a Fordham University graduate with a degree in journalism and a minor in film and television. She has covered beauty, health, and well-being throughout her editorial career, and formerly worked at SheFinds. Her byline has also appeared in Women’s Health. In her current role, she writes and edits for the health, movement, and food sections of mindbodygreen. Readman currently lives in New York City.