Fresh Cashew Pesto with Pasta

I couldn’t help myself when I walked past the bunches of fresh basil at the market on Saturday.  There is nothing I love more than pasta!!  In the old days one of my favourite restaurants to visit is Pagliacci’s in Victoria.  The rich and creative dishes inspired me through my university days – and their signature bread was to die for.

Today I try to limit my pasta intake unless I have a big ride or run the following day, but when I decide it’s time to whip something up, this is one of my favourites.  Who needs parmesan when you’ve got cashews?  Move over Pags!

Servings:  4
Prep Time:  10 minutes
Cook Time:  10-12 minutes

1 340 g package of gluten-free pasta (I chose Pasta Joy Spinach Pasta, Spaghetti Style)
1 cup cashews soaked overnight
6 cups fresh basil
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of one lime
at least 4 cloves garlic (I used 9-no vampires here!)
sea salt to taste
1/4-1/3  cup pine nuts

Wash the basil and remove the leaves from the stems.

In a food processor, process the cashews, olive oil, lime, and garlic.  Because the volume of basil, you will have to process in two steps.  Add the first half of basil and turn on the machine.  Add the second half and blend until smooth.

Bring 4 liters of water to the boil in a large pot.  Add 1 tsp salt.  If you use the same brand of pasta that I have, the directions call for 15-16 minutes of cooking time.  Be careful.  I tested my pasta at 10 minutes and it was ready.  When desired tenderness is reached, rinse the pasta with cold water.  Drain well.

At this point I put my pasta back into the hot pot which it came from and added half the pesto sauce and the pine nuts.  This recipe makes enough pesto for two packages of pasta.  You can freeze the remaining half, or keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days and make another batch!

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3 Responses to “Fresh Cashew Pesto with Pasta”


  1. 1 *dalyn September 20, 2010 at 7:40 am

    so, do cashews in general have/add a cheezy flavour? *d

    • 2 Melissa McMahon September 20, 2010 at 8:08 am

      In the kale chips its the nutritional yeast/cashew combination (more nutritional yeast but the cashews give it the richness). In the pesto, it doesn’t necessarily taste “cheesy” rather than rich/creamy. I also use cashews as a cheesecake base….so that kind of explains that “rich, creamy” thing.

  2. 3 *dalyn September 20, 2010 at 8:45 am

    love to try your vegan cheesecake as the real thing is something i can never have due to being lactose intolerant! get cookin’!!


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