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Vegan Italian Pesto

Pesto Sauce is an Italian spread that doesn’t get much love. Everyone always thinks of marinara (red) sauce when you’re talking Italian dishes but pesto sauce has quite a history in Italia. Growing up eating numerous Italian dishes, pesto has always been one of my favorites but if you know anything about pesto (or Italian dishes in general), it has a lot of dairy in it. Originating from Genoa, Liguria which is in the northern part of Italy, the sauce consists of garlic, salt, olive oil pine nuts and basil. I know sounds delicious right, but the heavy creamy texture is do to milk and cheeses in pesto and since I’ve recently gone vegetarian, those aren’t in my wheel house anymore…

So you could imagine my excitement when I found out my friends at STI Fine Foods have a Vegan Pesto sauce that looks, feels and smells like the real thing! That’s because it is! Using fresh ingredients and no dairy, they’ve found a way to make this pesto sauce even better than the real thing. Matter of fact, they have two different flavors of pesto available, a Hemp Curry Zucchini Pesto and a Black Kale Pesto!

To make a low carb, high protein, vegan meal for 2-4 people, here’s what you’ll need:

  • 1 Package of Green Pea Fusilli (Vegan/Gluten Free)
  • 1/2 bottle of Vegan Pesto Sauce (for this I used Hemp, Curry Zucchini)
  • 1/2 cup of mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup of spinach
  • 1-2 tsp of Avocado Oil (or Olive Oil)
  • 1 spoon full of Vegan Butter
  • 4 chopped Gardein Meatballs (optional)

Have TWO pots going at the same time (3 pots if you’re cooking the meatballs). In the largest pot, bring water to a boil (filled over half way), this will be for the pasta. In the other pot, toss in the mushrooms and the oil, simmer on low.

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Once the water is boiling, toss in your Green Pea Fusilli pasta and cook for 10-12 minutes on low. Side Note: Since I like to get messy in the kitchen, my hands are always busy that’s why I use Alexa to set my timers for me 😉 it’s a game changer. Turn off the burner and strain the pasta.

By the time the pasta is done, the mushrooms should be cooked perfectly in the other pan. Now add vegan butter to the mushrooms (and chopped meatballs), lightly stir and add the pesto sauce. To give it a creamy texture you can add almond/coconut milk or a little cheap white wine.

Now that you’ve strained the pasta, simply mix the pasta and sauce together while still simmering on low. Before removing the pasta from the pan, toss in a 1/2 cup a spinach for added color and nutritional benefits. Once you’ve mixed everything in the pot for a couple of minutes, ensuring the sauce is spread throughout the pasta, your meal is now ready to consume!

For added deliciousness, I baked some gluten-free ciabatta bread for about 10 mins so it’s nice and toasty and topped it off with Bruschetta spread from STI Fine Foods

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If you’re interested in cooking this meal using STI Fine Food ingredients, visit their website, find a few things you’d like to try out and when you’re in the checkout section, use the code theberardo to receive a great discount.

Thanks for reading and have fun cooking Vegan Italian food! Salute!

 

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