Who else has been enjoying gardening this April?
Earlier this month, I turned over my garden beds, laid some fresh dirt and fertilizer, and got started planting seeds. At first I put in the snap and snow peas. Once they started peaking out of the ground, I planted a couple kinds of kale, some broccoli, onions, and red cabbage. Soon it will be time to plant my favorite backyard vegetables: zucchini and summer squash, and in a few months time, I can be making this recipe straight from my garden.
And so, to honor the beginning of gardening season, I am sharing with you this vegan Pesto Pasta with Zucchini and Summer Squash.
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.
This year I’m taking it further, hoping for the same effects on my son. Although it makes it a bit more difficult to plant small seeds and delicate starts with an energetic 4 and 6-year-old, I have given the each of them a set of gardening tools and whenever it’s time to do something to the vegetables, we do it together.
All for the love of vegetables.
I have also been encouraging my children’s natural love of cooking. We have been making this vegan pesto pasta together for the past few weeks and you know what happen when we work on it all together?
They eat it all up!
The simplicity of this recipe plus the fact that my children love it and are actually EATING VEGETABLES means that this vegan pesto pasta is one of my favorite quick weeknight meals right now. This easy recipe can be made in under 30 minutes for a hearty and filling pasta dish that is filled with sweet buttery vegetables and creamy basil pesto THAT YOUR CHILDREN MIGHT ACTUALLY EAT!
I mean, what’s not to love?
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.
- 1/2 lb fusilli pasta
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced into 1/4" rounds
- 1 medium summer squash, sliced into 1/4" rounds
- 1 heaping cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts, optional
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).