There are many nights of the week that I need something quick for dinner. Work keeps us late, we want to play outside when we get home, and before you know it, the evening has escaped us. I’ve learned over the years that quick doesn’t have to mean frozen or take-out. There are so many things that are easy, quick, and delicious. Using my vegetarian rule of thumb: find a grain, find a vegetable. Need protein? Add a legume of some kind. This recipe is one of my favorites and it is so very easy!
There are so many days where I absolutely crave cooked greens. I love them. Just like I’ve said about lentils, I could probably live on just cooked greens. This recipe works well with any kind of green, so don’t feel obligated to use Kale. Chard is a favorite of mine, as is Spinach and Arugula.
You can’t do pasta without a sauce. Well, you can, but it wouldn’t be as fabulous. Pesto seems to always carry the connotation that it’s super fancy and difficult to make. Perhaps the $4 2 oz jar at the store is to blame? Anyway, it’s another one of those beyond simple things to make once you know how. And it’s flexible. I’ve made pesto with pistachios, mint, hot peppers. The options are endless (but always end delicious! ;) ). You can kick up the nutrition by adding in some seeds or nuts. In this recipe I went with flax seed. Flax seed is a party pack of fiber, good fat, and micronutrients. The base of the recipe is pretty standard: basil, parsley, garlic, but I added lemon zest for a bit of zing. Basil and lemon is one of my favorite combinations and this balance is just right over pasta. It’s refreshing, while remaining savory.
The key to this quick recipe is my little food processor. It’s a KitchenAid and for something so small, a total beast. This is my absolute favorite kitchen tool and I’m not sure how I ever lived without it. I use it at least 5x a week, if not more. If you don’t have one, get one. It will change your [kitchen] life. I don’t have a ton of cabinet space, so a huge processor just wasn’t an option. I was worried when I got it that it would be too small to work for our needs, but it’s been nothing but perfect. And it stores nicely up on a shelf in my kitchen. The red is pretty cute, too!
We got our pasta from our local amish grocery store. I prefer that store because of the lack of packaging. It’s all very simple, just a clear bag and twist tie. Easy to recycle. The money stays in our community. When we don’t buy the pasta there, I like organic whole wheat. I used penne for this recipe, as it’s one of my favorites, but any variation of pasta would work well for this.
Up until the end this recipe is 100% vegan. You can omit the white cheddar garnish to remain completely vegan. It’s equally as delicious with or without.
Flax Seed & Lemon Pesto Pasta with Kale
- 1 package of pasta, penne or your choice
- 16 oz organic garbanzo beans (drained, rinsed)
- 1 bunch organic kale
- 3-4 green onions
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 3 T dried basil
- 3 T dried parsley
- 1 lemon (for zest and juice)
- 2 tsp flax seeds
- approx 1/4 cup olive oil
- Bring water to a boil, cook pasta according to package instructions
- Saute beans and onion in 1 tsp of olive oil over medium heat
- Add kale and cool until bright green/wilted
- While all of the above is cooking, make the pesto
- In a food processor add olive oil, basil, pesto, garlic, lemon zest, and flax seed. Pulse until creamy, slowly adding in the olive oil as you go until desired consistency is achieved.
- Squeeze the lemon juice over the sauted kale and beans mixture
- Once pasta is finished, drain and return to pot.
- Add in kale mixture along with the pesto. Stir until equally distributed.
- Serve warm, top with shredded white cheddar cheese if desired