Nut-Free Pesto Pasta with Tomatoes and Broccoli

Get ready for a flavor explosion in your mouth! This pesto pasta is beyond good. It is phenomenal. Lick the bowl, not one morsel left, phenomenal. I actually think it is better than traditional pestos that use nuts. Most pestos use pine nuts as a main ingredient and some use walnuts. We always avoid buying products with pesto or ordering pesto at restaurants, etc. With that said, cooking in my own home is a different story! I love making things from scratch. I especially enjoy making "safe" versions of recipes that call for nuts or that may contain. I want my girl to try curry, pad thai, mole and pesto- all of the dishes we normally stay far, far away from. In the safety of our own home, I show ingredients to our girl, talk about recipes and dishes, let her get messy and most importantly of all, I try to educate her. I talk to her about cooking safe at home and about how she can enjoy any dish she wants by substituting and/or omitting ingredients here or there.   

Instead of using nuts in this recipe, I use Go Raw's Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds. I love them and use them all the time in recipes that call for nuts. They are a fantastic substitution in just about any recipe! I also use italian parsley in this recipe. There are many different types of pesto - basil, parsley, even cilantro pesto. I personally love parsley the best but you can really sub whatever herb you like for this recipe.

One last little note. I never actually measure when I make pesto. I stand by the food processor with a spoon and make it to taste. So don't be mad, but these measurements are just general guesses. I know those of you who like to be exact are not very happy with me right now (because I used to be the same way when I first started cooking), but please don't stray. Stay with me and trust me on this - the measurements don't have to be exact. Make this one to taste!

So without further ado...

NUT-FREE PESTO PASTA WITH TOMATOES AND BROCCOLI  

  • 1/3 cup Go Raw Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds 
  • 1 1/3 cups (packed) fresh italian parsley 
  • 1 -2 cloves garlic 
  • 1/3 cup olive oil 
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 package of fettuccine or other pasta of your choice 
  • 1 bunch fresh broccoli 
  • 1/2 container (or a whole container if you are a tomato lover) of cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • *parmesan cheese to taste* (optional) 

*You can keep this recipe dairy free by not including the cheese. I typically don't include cheese but you can if you'd like!

Prep the parsley by removing the leaves from stems, washing them and setting them out on paper towels to dry. You don't want to add too much water to the pesto so it's important to blot the parsley dry with paper towels first. Toss the olive oil, Go Raw Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds, garlic, parsley, a pinch of salt and a pinch of black pepper into a food processor and blend. You can eyeball how smooth it is, but I usually stop after a few seconds, scrape down any ingredients from the sides that didn't get mixed in and then blend a few more seconds. Taste. Do you need more salt? Is it too thick (add a little more olive oil)? Is it bland (add more parsley and salt to pep up the flavor)? Is it "nutty" enough (you can add more pumpkin seeds)? Go with your taste buds! You can also make this as smooth as you want. It is best to pulse the food processor at the end to get the perfect texture for your taste.

Steam your broccoli. No need to add flavor here. Let the pesto do the work.

I like to sauté the tomatoes in just a splash of olive oil before tossing them in so that they are hot and pop with flavor when you bite into them.

Boil the pasta in salted water. Drain.

Toss the pasta, broccoli, tomatoes, and pesto in a large bowl. Serve family style and enjoy!