I know. It doesn’t sound good. Fresh green sauce for pasta? Why, is the hulk coming for dinner? But I promise you, not only is this incredibly quick sauce healthy as heck, it’s also really tasty. PROMISE. Even my kids wolfed it down (although I may have told them it was monster pasta. I didn’t think fresh green sauce for pasta would be a winner there, tough crowd).
An easy alternative to pesto for dinner, or lunch, that comes together in less than twenty minutes, including cooking time. Packed with healthy fats, vitamins and minerals, eat this pasta dish alone, or accompanied by a fresh tomato salad to really get all the colours on your plate popping. In theory you can serve this sauce with any pasta, but long strands made for coating are my personal preference. So I recommend it with spaghetti, fettuccine, linguine, or tagliatelle.
When boiling the pasta, only salt the pasta water – do not add oil. Oil will coat the strands and make it more difficult for the sauce to stick to them. This dish is best enjoyed fresh, as even with the lemon juice, the avocado will make the sauce turn brown by the next day. (It will still taste yummy. It will just be not-so-fresh brown sauce with pasta). Use a good quality olive oil for the sauce and finishing off the pasta, and some nutritional yeast would be yummy sprinkled over the top (or parmesan, or crumbled goats cheese if you’re not vegan).
- 500 g spaghetti/fettuccine/linguine or tagliatelle
- 2.5 tbsp olive oil, divided
- ½ cup walnuts, 50g
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 tbsp lemon juice
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 100 g spinach
- 1 small avocado
- 35 g basil
- 3/4 tsp salt
- Pasta water 1 cup, reserved
- Put the water on to boil for the spaghetti and crush or finely chop the garlic cloves.
- Heat 1 tbsp of the olive oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat.
- When the oil is hot, add the (whole) walnuts. Toast for around four minutes, regularly stirring to avoid the nuts burning, but allowing their colour to deepen slightly as they toast.
- Add in the garlic and cook for a further two minutes, until the garlic is light brown.
- Tip the garlic walnut mixture into a blender or food processor. At this stage the water for your pasta should be boiling, so place the pasta in the pot, add a large pinch of salt, and when the pasta has softened enough to be pushed under the surface of the water, set a timer for ten minutes.
- Add all the rest of the ingredients to the blender or food processor and blend or process as much as possible.
- Stir the pasta to make sure none of the strands stick to each other, reduce the heat a roiling simmer, and remove half a cup of the pasta water. Add to the blender or food processor, push everything down with a spoon, and blend or process some more.
- Stir the pasta once more before it is done, and drain, reserving another half cup of pasta water. Run the blender again with the reserved pasta water, and then mix in with the hot pasta in the pot, making sure every strand is coated well.
- Divide into four portions and serve with the remaining 1.5 tbsp olive oil drizzled over the top, and season more if necessary.