Spicy Vegan Cilantro Pesto Pasta
Author: 
Recipe type: Lunch, Dinner
Cuisine: Vegan
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 - 4
 
This easy vegan cilantro pesto pasta is flavourful, spicy, filling and calls for just 11 ingredients and about 25 minutes.
Ingredients
For the pesto:
  • 3½ cups cilantro, loosely packed
  • ½ cup spinach, loosely packed*
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • ⅓ cup slivered almonds
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 pimentos, seeds removed
  • 1 - 2 scotch bonnet peppers, seeds removed, more or less to taste*
  • ⅓ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • salt & pepper, to taste
For the pasta:
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 300g pasta (enough for 3 - 4 servings)
  • 3 small tomatoes, quartered
  • Optional: sliced olives and more cilantro and nutritional yeast for garnish
For the optional tofu:
  • ½ block (~ 1 cup) extra firm tofu, dried and crumbled*
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
Instructions
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions
While the pasta is boiling, cook the pesto:
  1. Add the pesto ingredients, except the oil, to a food processor and blend combine. While the machine is running, pour in olive oil through the spout
  2. Continue blending, scraping down sides as needed, until creamy and fully combined. If it has trouble blending add a bit more olive oil
  3. Taste and adjust seasonings and pepper as needed then set aside
  4. Once your pasta is cooked and drained, heat a large saucepan or cast iron skillet over medium heat
If using tofu, start with that first:
  1. Once the skillet is hot, add olive oil and garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, or until the garlic is fragrant but not burned
  2. Add the crumbled tofu and continue to cook until browned, stirring occasionally - about 3 - 4 minutes
  3. Add 2 - 3 tbsp pesto and stir until evenly coated
  4. Transfer the tofu to a plate and return the skillet to the heat
If not using tofu, continue from here:
  1. Add remaining olive oil and garlic to the skillet. Sauté for 1-2 minutes or until garlic is fragrant but not burned
  2. Add the tomatoes and cook for another minute before removing from the heat
  3. Add cooked pasta and toss to coat/combine then mix in tofu or other vegan 'meat' if using, and as much pesto as you'd like
  4. Serve warm with additional pesto on the side, and garnish with sliced olives and more cilantro and nutritional yeast
  5. Leftovers will keep in the refrigerator for 3 - 4 days
Notes
* can sub spinach for more cilantro or just leave it out
* can sub scotch bonnet pepper for more pimento or pepper sauce of choice
* can sub tofu for vegan bacon, ham, sausage, chick'n or 'meat' of choice
Recipe by Diary of an ExSloth at http://www.exsloth.com/vegan-cilantro-pesto-pasta/