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.
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.
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.
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).
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!
- Yield: 6-8 servings
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
Turmeric Pesto Pasta Primavera
Pesto, pasta primavera, and antioxidant rich turmeric come together in this dish to make a nutrient dense pasta that comes together in just 30 minutes, making it the perfect weeknight meal!
- For the Turmeric Pesto:
- 4 small cloves garlic
- 1 cup fresh basil leaves
- 3/4 cup full-fat coconut milk
- 2T olive oil
- 1T lemon juice
- 2 tsps MRM ground turmeric
- 1 tsp sea salt
- For the Pasta:
- 1 lb linguine or fettuccine pasta noodle - gluten free if needed
- 2T olive oil
- 1 medium sized yellow onion - thinly sliced
- 1 large zucchini or 2 small - cut into half moon shape
- 3/4 lb asparagus - cut into 2-inch pieces
- 2 tsps herbs de provence
- sea salt - to taste
- 1 batch Turmeric Pesto - recipe above
- 1- 10 ounce bag of frozen peas - add as much or as little as you like
- 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts - optional
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook pasta according to package instructions for al dente, 8-11 minutes.
- While waiting for the water to boil, combine all of the ingredients for the turmeric pesto in a small food processor, and blend until smooth. Adjust seasonings to taste. Also during this time, prepare veggies by getting them chopped, and rinse the frozen peas just to get the ice off.
- Preheat a large skillet. Once the pasta is added to the boiling water, add the onions to the pan. Saute ~3 minutes until they start to soften a bit. Add the zucchini and asparagus, continue cooking another 5-6 minutes until tender, but still bright green! Season with herbs de provence and sea salt, to taste.
- Drain the pasta and return the noodles back to the pot. Stir in the turmeric pesto, the sauteed veggies, and the now room temperature peas. Toss to evenly combine and to warm the peas through. Adjust seasonings to taste. If you need more liquid, add additional coconut milk or olive oil, 1T at a time. Serve warm, garnished with toasted pine nuts.