Pasta Primavera- aka “Spring Pasta”- is getting a makeover today because 1) as of a couple weeks ago, it’s no longer spring, 2) I’m leaving out the cheese *gasp* and 3) I’m literally brightening things up with the addition of the nutrition powerhouse, turmeric! And so, allow me to introduce you to Turmeric Pesto Pasta Primavera.

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I was recently watching the Food Network, and one of the chefs was making an incredible pasta primavera, doused with heavy cream and laden with likely a pound of parmesan cheese.  Other than those two ingredients, this naturally vegetarian dish easily was transformed into a vegan entree.

The first time I made this, I just tossed in a handful of fresh basil, and it simply wasn’t enough.  Fresh basil is one of my favorite parts about summer- I’m literally obsessed with just walking out on to my deck to pick a bunch whenever I need it. So, I found myself just adding more and more and more, to the point where my pasta primavera was becoming a pesto. Considering pesto pasta has been one of my favorite meals since I was a kid, I’m not mad about it.

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So I wouldn’t lose the bit of creaminess in traditional pasta primavera, instead of nuts and a lot of oil, I blended my pesto with coconut milk, and a dash of lemon juice to add a tiny bit of zang like creme fraiche.  Additionally, pesto doesn’t typically contain any spices aside from garlic & basil, but for the past 6-12 months, I’ve been trying to include turmeric into as many of my meals as possible, as it seems every day another amazing benefit of this ancient herb is being discovered. Despite Western society being late to the turmeric party, Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine have been using this golden spice in their practices for hundreds of years as a powerful anti-inflammatory, to treat digestive and liver problems, skin issues, and topically to assist in wound healing.

Most recently, turmeric has been extensively investigated for its abilities to treat and help prevent diseases such as Alzheimers and various forms of cancer. Curcumin, the major active compound in the spice, is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants fight free radicals in the body, to prevent the damage they cause to cell membranes, DNA, and other important biomolecules.  In addition, curcumin lowers the levels of two important enzymes in the body that cause inflammation. It also stops platelets from clumping together to form blood clots.

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Just as with any ingredient, supplement, or herb that has acclaimed benefits, quality does matter. Not every capsule or spice shaker at the grocery store will be created equal, which why I choose to use MRM’s Turmeric Root Powder* because it is raw, organic, Non-GMO Project Verified, vegan, and gluten free! The pouch on their site will last you a LONG time (and you can save 40% when you use the code ELLEN at checkout) so it’s time to start adding in this incredible spice to as many meals as you can! To get you started, check out my Chana Aloo (Chickpea and Potato Curry), Veggie Korma, and Aloo Gobi (Indian Potato & Cauliflower).

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So go grab a pile of in-season veggies, handfuls of fresh basil, then boil off some pasta, and you’ve got yourself a delicious dinner of Turmeric Pesto Pasta Primavera…I can’t wait to hear what you think!

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