Make this an easy meal with some good organic garlic bread and a huge green salad. And please always use whole grain pasta if you can!
PESTO PASTA WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATOES
makes ~4 servings
1/2 lb. whole wheat spaghetti*
2 Tb. extra-virgin olive oil
2 medium garlic cloves, minced + more for pesto (see below)
1 C. sun-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 package chicken-less strips** (I used Trader Joe's brand)
sea salt & ground black pepper
For the Pesto Sauce:
3 medium garlic cloves, peeled
2 Tb. pine nuts
3/4 tsp. sea salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
3 handfuls fresh basil leaves, rinsed & patted dry
1/4 C. vegan Parmesan cheese (can omit this if you can't find the vegan version)
1/2 C. extra-virgin olive oil
Cook the pasta according to package directions; drain.
In large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes, stirring. Next, add the chicken-less strips and cook along with the garlic and sun-dried tomatoes until heated through, making sure not to burn the garlic. Season with salt and pepper.
Toss in the cooked and drained pasta, mixing until the noodles are well coated.
Using a food processor, combine the garlic and pine nuts first until finely chopped. Next add in the basil, vegan parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, processing until a paste forms. While the food processor is going, slowly pour in the olive oil. Process everything until it is well blended.
Use a spatula to scrape out the pesto sauce over the linguine in the sauté pan and toss well with tongs until the noodles are completely coated with pesto sauce.
*For the gluten-free version, use brown rice or gluten-free noodles. Just be sure to watch the cooking time as they tend to cook much faster than standard pasta. Also, add a splash of olive oil to the boiling water while the noodles are cooking to prevent sticking.
**Chickenless strips are optional as this dish tastes delicious with or without them!
NOTE: If you do not have a food processor, you can make the pesto sauce using a mortar and pestle, which is the traditional way: grind the pine nuts first, then follow with remaining ingredients. Be persistent with your grinding and it will turn out yummy! You can also use a blender to prepare the pesto.
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