This pesto pasta recipe is so tasty! It’s also healthy and very customizable to your needs and preferences! With the most simple pesto that’s packed with the best flavors and a lot of fresh basil leaves. The entire recipe is really quick to put together and it’s easily made vegetarian or with your favorite meat added! Using brown rice pasta, this dinner is completely gluten free and has an option to add in a bit of mozzarella cheese or simply leave it out to keep it dairy free. If you love pesto as much as I do, this recipe is definitely worth trying and I hope you enjoy it!
This pesto pasta recipe is made with simple ingredients you’ll love and it’s also gluten free, nut free, refined sugar free and has a dairy free option as well!
Even More Healthy Dinner Recipes
If you want even more healthy dinner recipe options, here are a few of my favorites. Go ahead and check them out if you like!
- Paleo Cilantro Lime Chicken Skewers (Gluten Free + Dairy Free).
- Healthy Fried Rice Recipe with Shrimp (Gluten Free + Dairy Free).
- Easy Vegetable Thai Curry Recipe (Gluten Free + Dairy Free).
- Dairy Free Butter Chicken Curry (Gluten Free).
Pesto Pasta Ingredients:
Fresh basil leaves: I like to buy a large basil plant and take off the leaves from there. Pesto uses a lot of fresh basil to create the lovely fresh flavor, so using an entire plant is usually necessary.
Extra virgin olive oil: Use a high quality olive oil you prefer here. Of course, you can try substituting an avocado oil in it’s place but it will change the flavor.
Garlic powder or garlic clove: You can use whatever you prefer in this case. I’ve used both and they work well to add the perfect amount of flavor.
Lemon juice: This is a very important addition to balance the fat and add a fresh acid. Use fresh lemon for the best taste.
Lemon zest: This addition is so amazing to bring even more of that delicious lemon flavor. I don’t recommend leaving this out.
Sea salt: You can adjust the amount up or down depending on your preference. The amount in the recipe makes it fairly salty.
Pumpkin seeds: This is an important part of any pesto sauce. You can definitely replace the pumpkin seeds with another neutral tasting nut or seed. Some that work well in pesto are: cashews, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
Brown rice pasta: This is my favorite gluten free pasta option. You can use any pasta you prefer and enjoy.
Grape tomatoes: I love the way grape tomatoes look and taste with pesto pasta. But if you like, you can cut up whole tomatoes or leave them out altogether.
Raw mozzarella cheese: This ingredient is completely optional and you can leave it out or substitute an alternative that works for you. I’ve found I can tolerate some raw, organic cheese now and I added it in the recipe for those that might want it.
Pesto Pasta Recipe Tips:
- I love to make a double batch of this pesto and save half in the fridge for use throughout the week. It can be amazing on sandwiches, over rice bowls with your favorite protein, and anything else you can want!
- Buying an entire basil plant with the roots intact has become the best option for me when making pesto. It uses so much basil and I find that to be cheaper and a better way to keep the herb good for longer.
- The pesto is already very simple but feel free to switch up some ingredients for ones you have on hand. You can use another fresh herb instead of basil or use a mixture of ones you like the taste of together.
- If you don’t have pumpkin seeds, try replacing them with pistachios, pine nuts, cashews, sunflower seeds or any other nut/seed you prefer.
- This dinner is great to make after you already have some protein cooked and ready. I like to add chicken or shrimp that I have left over or meal prepped for the week.
Healthy Pesto Pasta Recipe (Gluten Free + Dairy Free Option)
Keyword: pesto pasta
Homemade Pesto Sauce
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 garlic clove
- zest from 1 lemon
- juice from half a lemon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (use more or less to taste)
- 1/4 cup shelled pumpkin seeds (I used salted but unsalted are great too)
- about 50 grams brown rice pasta (I used Jovial Foods because it’s the best gluten free pasta)
- a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
- 2 cups grape tomatoes (halved)
- 4 ounces raw mozzarella cheese (optional or use your favorite dairy free cheese)
- Start making your pesto by adding basil leaves, olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest and sea salt to a blender. Blend for only a few seconds until there are no whole basil leaves. Then, add in pumpkin seeds and blend until you have your desired consistency (I like it a little bit chunky instead of completely smooth).
- Place your pesto in the fridge if you aren’t using it right away.
- Prepare your brown rice pasta according to the package instructions, drain off the water and add a drizzle of olive oil before stirring to keep the noodles from sticking together.
- To a large fry pan on medium heat, add fresh basil leaves and grape tomatoes stirring occasionally until leaves are wilted. Add all of the pesto sauce and cheese if using. Start adding small amounts of pasta at a time to make sure you have your desired amount of sauce to pasta.
- Serve warm or cold and add any other toppings you like, such as grilled chicken or shrimp.
More Gluten Free Recipes
There are so many gluten free recipes on my blog and here are a few dinners you can take a look at.
- Healthy Stir Fry Orange Chicken (Gluten Free + Dairy Free).
- Healthy Fish Tacos with Tzatziki Sauce (Gluten Free + Dairy Free).
- Grilled Chicken Strawberry Salad with Honey Lime Dressing.
Thank You For Visiting
This post is a recipe for healthy pesto pasta which is gluten free, nut free and has a dairy free option! If you like this dinner, please consider checking out my other recipes on the blog! I would love to hear how like the pesto pasta if you make it, so please, leave a comment below. Thank you so much for your support and for visiting my website today. Have a wonderful day!