Heart Healthy Recipe: Basil Pesto Pasta with Seared Vegetables

Call us romantics, but there's something special about making homemade pesto. The fresh basil beautifully blended with oil, cheese, and nuts to create this symphony of flavors – UGH, we're drooling already.

Admittedly, pesto can be a bit on the decadent side. But with some simple substitutions paired with whole-grain pasta and heart-healthy veggies, this dish is deceptively wholesome without sacrificing an ounce of yum.


  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup avocado or olive oil plus 2 tbsp. divided
  • 3 portobello mushroom caps, stems and guts removed
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 yellow squash, cut into quarters
  • 1 zucchini squash, cut into quarters
  • 4 ounces whole-wheat pasta (rotini or penne)


  • In a food processor, combine basil, parmesan, garlic, walnuts, salt, and pepper and pulse until finely chopped. Slowly pour in 1/4 cup of oil and continue processing until your mixture is smooth and creamy. Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, coat your mushrooms, bell peppers, and squash with the remaining oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Preheat a frying pan over medium-high heat. Grill your veggies until browned and lightly seared, about 6-8 minutes on each side.
  • In a large pot of boiling water, cook your pasta according to the directions on the box. Reserve about a 1/2 cup of pasta water.
  • Whisk about 1/4 cup of pasta water into your pesto. Feel free to add more to achieve your desired thickness. Toss over your pasta and seared veggies and coat evenly.

Updated January 26, 2022


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