This vegan Pesto Pasta is tossed with sautéed summer squash, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes for a light and refreshing dinner that can be enjoyed all summer long.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links.
Who else has been enjoying gardening this April?
Last year, in an attempt to get my children more excited about vegetables, I started gardening with them. My then-3-year-old was more interested in playing in the dirt of the unused garden beds, but my 5-year-old loved planing the seeds, watering them daily, and watching little edible things grow from the ground.
I didn't put much effort into my garden last year, growing mostly kale and snap peas but the experience was enough to turn my vegetable-hating daughter into a kale and snap pea lover.
To honor the beginning of this year's gardening season, I am sharing with you this vegan Pesto Pasta with Zucchini and Summer Squash. And despite not being able to use garden-fresh veggies yet, this recipe is now among my favorite spring and summertime meals.
Recommended Ingredients & Equipment
This Vegan Pasta with Pesto is not only delicious, but it is also super simple to make! This whole meal can be made in about 30 minutes with just a handful of ingredients.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Pasta - For this recipe, I use fusilli noodles, but really any type of vegan pasta will do.
- Olive Oil
- Summer Squash
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Pine Nuts
- Vegan Pesto - An easy combination of fresh basil, hemp seeds, nutritional yeast, garlic, lemon, salt, and olive oil. Feel free to use store-bought pesto if you can find it. I like Trader Joe's Kale, Cashew, and Basil Vegan Pesto.
Check out the full list of my recommended kitchen tools and gadgets.
How to Make Vegan Pesto Pasta
Step One – Prepare the Pasta
Cook the fusilli in a large pot of boiling water. When the pasta is done, strain it through a colander and set aside until ready to use.
Pro Tip: It is best to toss the pasta with a bit of olive oil as soon as the noodles are strained and rinsed in cold water. This prevents the pasta from clumping together as it cools.
Step Two - Make the Pesto
Add all the ingredients, except the olive oil, to a food processor and blend together. With the motor running, add the olive oil into the blender in a slow and steady stream. Once all the olive oil is incorporated, stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a spatula.
Process a little bit longer until you have a bright green, thick and creamy pesto.
Step Three – Sauté the Veggies
Heat oil in a large skillet. Once the oil is hot, add the summer squash, zucchini, and tomatoes. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until zucchini and squash have cooked all the way through and tomatoes have begun to burst open. Remove from heat.
Step Four - Assemble
Add the cooked pasta and pesto to the sautéed veggies. Stir until it well combined. Top with fresh basil and pinenuts and serve!
Serving and Storing
Serve immediately with fresh basil and roasted pinenuts.
Store leftover pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To reheat, gently reheat the pasta over the stove with 1-2 tablespoons of water.
Store Leftover pesto in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. You can also freeze pesto for up to six months. To freeze pesto, freeze it in ice cube trays. Once the pesto is frozen solid, transfer the cubes to a ziplock bag. When ready to use, just add the pesto to your pasta or vegetables to heat.
Tips and Tricks
- Strain the noodles when they are al dente. That means they still have a subtle bite to them. If the noodles are too soft, they will fall apart when mixed with the vegetables and salad dressing.
- It is best to toss the pasta in the olive oil as soon as the noodles are strained and rinsed in cold water. The oil prevents the pasta from clumping together as it cools.
- Want a gluten-free pasta? Just swap out the fusilli for gluten-free pasta of choice. (<<affiliate link)
More Vegan Pasta Recipes
- Skinny Creamy Garlic Sauce Pasta
- Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta with Bechamel Sauce
- Penne Pasta with Vegan Vodka Sauce
- Vegan Fettuccini Alfredo
Vegan Pesto Pasta
- Bring 2 quarts of water to boil and add fusilli pasta. Cook, uncovered, for 7-9 minutes until pasta is al dente. Remove from heat, strain through a colander, and set aside.
- While pasta is cooking, heat oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, reduce heat to medium and add summer squash, zucchini, and tomatoes. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until zucchini and squash have cooked all the way through and tomatoes have begun to burst open. Remove from heat.
- While vegetables are sautéing, place all the ingredients for the basil pesto EXCEPT the olive oil, in a food processor and blend until smooth. With motor running, slowly add the olive oil until it's completely incorporated.
- With the vegetables still in the skillet, add pasta and pesto and stir together. Serve immediately with toasted pine nuts and fresh basil (optional).
- Strain the noodles when they are al dente. That means they still have a subtle bite to them. If the noodles are too soft, they will fall apart when mixed with the remaining ingredients.
- It is best to toss the pasta in the oil as soon as the noodles are strained and rinsed in cold water. The oil prevents the pasta from clumping together as it cools.