Summer is the time for light meals that are loaded with summer vegetables. It’s also the time basil plants are huge. One of our favorite meals is pesto pasta with summer vegetables.
This summer vegetable pesto pasta dish is loaded with garden fresh vegetables such as yellow squash, zucchini, carrots, onions, and tomatoes.
- Enough cooked pasta to feed your family
- Yellow squash, zucchini, and white squash
- Carrots & green beans
- Garlic (or garlic powder)
- Salt & Pepper
- Italian Seasoning
- Parmesan Cheese (optional)
What pasta is best for pesto pasta?
Honestly, whatever pasta your family likes is just fine for pesto pasta. We’ve made it with regular pasta, gluten-free, whole wheat, homemade pasta, and even zucchini noodles.
When you’re deciding on the shape of the pasta remember that the smaller the pasta the more surface area there will be to cover with the pesto. Also, I like to chop the vegetables smaller or thinner if I’m using a smaller or thinner pasta.
So if I use angel hair or small shells, the vegetables will get chopped or sliced thinner than if I’m using regular spaghetti or medium shells.
What vegetables to use?
I usually make this recipe during the summer when we’re harvesting lots of zucchini and other summer squash, tomatoes, onions, and fresh basil.
But honestly, any of the following vegetables are great in pesto pasta…
- green beans
- summer squash
- spinach or other greens (such as sweet potato leaves)
- broccoli and cauliflower (chopped) as well as the leaves
Can I use store bought pesto?
Absolutely, store bought pesto is just fine for this recipe.
However, basil is super easy to grow. It even grows well in a container. And pesto is super easy to make. I like to make a bunch at one time and freeze it in jars. I even use pecans instead of pine nuts to keep the cost down. It costs only pennies to make pesto and a small jar is about $5 at the store.
How to make pesto pasta with vegetables
Cook your pasta with a little salt. Drain it and toss with some pesto.
While the pasta is cooking, chop all the veggies. You can chop them in chunks or slices – it is up to you. The more delicate you pasta is (like angel hair pasta) the smaller you should chop your veggies.
Saute the onions and garlic using olive oil (or butter, or coconut oil). When the onions are clear add all the other veggies and saute until they are the desired firmness. Add a little pesto, salt and pepper to taste.
Plate your pasta and add a big scoop veggies.
Pesto Pasta Variations
Add meat for protein. You can grill chicken or shrimp and serve beside the pesto pasta. Or cook chicken pieces in a skillet. If you’re really pressed for time, you can use a purchased rotisserie chicken.
If you want a saucier dish, you can add a little cream to the pesto.
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- 1 pound cooked pasta
- 2 tbsp olive oil (or butter)
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 medium yellow squash
- 1 medium zucchini
- 2 carrots
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 cup chopped tomatoes
- Parmesan Cheese for garnishing
- Cook your pasta with a little salt. Drain it and toss with about half the pesto.
- While the pasta is cooking, chop all the veggies. You can chop them in chunks or slices - it is up to you. The more delicate you pasta is (like angel hair pasta) the smaller you should chop your veggies.
- Sauté the onions, garlic and carrots, using olive oil (or butter, or coconut oil). When the onions are clear add all the other veggies and sauté until they are the desired firmness.
- Stir in the rest of the pesto, salt and pepper to taste.
- Plate the pasta and add a big scoop veggies.
- Garnish with chopped tomatoes and grated Parmesean.
You can use store bought pesto or make your own pesto.
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