Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Broccoli and Spinach Pesto

For Valentine’s Day my hubby wanted a pasta dish. Since I we don’t have pasta as often as we used to I obliged and made him a whole wheat pasta with healthy pesto. I used walnuts in place of pine nuts for the omega 3 fatty acids. I omitted the olive oil all together and used a little nutritional yeast to give the sauce a little cheesy umami in the background. Lemon was added to up the flavor in this low fat dish.

Whole Wheat Spaghetti with Broccoli and Spinach Pesto
Serves 8


1 pound whole wheat spaghetti, cooked until al dente
4 cups broccoli, lightly steamed
4 cups baby spinach, raw
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
¼ cup walnuts
Water necessary to process
Salt and pepper to taste


Combine the broccoli, spinach, lemon zest and juice, garlic, nutritional yeast, and walnuts in your processor and process until smooth. Add as much water as is necessary to create a paste/sauce. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the hot pasta and pesto together until combined. If the pesto is too thick adds some of the pasta cooking water and continue to toss until the pesto loosens enough to evenly coat the pasta.

I served this with sun-dried tomato marinara and little sprinkle of my homemade vegan parmesan.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 253.69
Calories From Fat (12%) - 29.53

Total Fat - 3.47g
Saturated Fat - 0.42g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 36.34mg
Potassium - 401.4mg
Total Carbohydrates - 48.55g
Fiber - 3.04g
Sugar - 1.43g
Protein - 11.6g


Most pesto recipes are loaded with fat from the olive oil, nuts and cheese. This pesto is crazy healthy compared to the traditional versions. If you use oil when cooking you may want to either increase the walnuts or add a little extra virgin olive oil. We found this to be great as it was.

Each serving of this pasta contained approximately 2,200IU of vitamin A, 50mg of vitamin C, 90mg of calcium, 120mg of folate, 135mcg of vitamin K, 210mg of phosphorus, 115mg of magnesium, and 44mcg of selenium. Not too bad for 2 ounce serving of pasta with a little pesto.

Unrelated Note:

I have a crazy dish planned for tonight. It is one of those things that could go either way. Hopefully it will be worth sharing. Even if it is bust I will let you know what I did since it may spark an idea for one of you. I will be back later tonight with the recipe.

Their highnesses the felines were all well behaved today for their grooming session. Since they have long hair they don’t enjoy being brushed. But today no one was ill tempered and tried to bite or scratch. Luck must have been with me today.

I came across this recipe this morning on the Vegetarian Times site.  Since I am going to try it I thought some of you may be interested so here is the link to a Dr. Fuhrman green smoothie.


  1. Great inspiration there! I was just assessing the refrigerator, as I have about 40 hours to clean out perishables before leaving the house to the kids for a long weekend. I know I have broccoli that may have passed its prime and some fresh spinach and both pine nuts and walnuts, plus some jarred roasted red peppers that need to be used up. I'll see what I can do!

  2. Cindy,

    Glad I could help. I will toss about any greens together to make pesto. Broccoli is one of my favorites since it is more nutritious the less it is cooked.

    Have a nice long weekend,

  3. This sounds incredibly good Alicia! Oh Boy! When I make this I'll let you know how it goes! Love you! :)

  4. This sounds like a great combination and it looks delicious...I love that sun-dried tomato marinara...this is going on the list for my next pasta fix...

  5. Valerie,

    Thanks! I hope you enjoy the pesto. We eat pesto on crostini as well if you don't want to bother with the pasta. In my less healthy days I would drizzle olive oil on top of the pesto. It tastes good that way, just not as good for you.

    talk to you later :)

  6. Rose,

    This was good. I think John will like it too. It has a lot of flavor from the lemon and sun-dried tomato marinara. Dan is happily taking the leftovers for lunch.


  7. This looks delicious! I have never thought about making pesto from broccoli before, what a wonderful idea!!!!
    It looks super yummy!!!!
    I bet the sun-dried tomatoes made this dish!!!

  8. The pasta looks great. I love pesto so definitely need to try this out. Can't wait to hear about your recipe testing tonight!

  9. This looks delicious! It also fits in really well with how I like to cook - use as many veggies as possible. I'll definitely try it soon, especially the modified pesto recipe!

  10. Brandi,

    I make pesto out of almost anything. The only pesto we normally see in the the US is Genovese pesto with basil but in Italy there are many different versions. Arugula and dandelion greens also make good pesto.


    Thanks. I love making different types of pesto.

    Can't wait to hear what you think of tonight's dinner. It is a little out there.


    Nice to meet you!

    I love to use as many veggies as possible too. You can't have too many antioxidants is my motto. I hope you like the pesto.


  11. Hi Alicia! Can you tell me why you are a vegan epicurean? What is an epicurean? I've been wondering now for a few days. I'd love to hear your answer! OR if you've explained this before, just direct me to your post, or where ever, and I will eagerly read it! Thanks again! Love! :)

  12. Valerie,

    I have not explained the name before because you are the first to ask where it came from.

    When I finally decided to start a blog it needed a name. It took me about a month to come up with a list of names I liked. I wanted something that described my food and food philosphy in a few words and vegan epicurean was the winner. Healthy vegan epicurean is probably a better description, but it is a little too long.

    An epicurean is someone that loves pleasure, particularly of food and drink. Both my hubby and I love good food, and always have. Becoming vegan didn't change our love of good food, only the materials I could work with.

    great question,

  13. Hi! I am a vegetarian transitioning into a vegan lifestyle. I was just wondering if boxed whole wheat pasta is vegan? thanks!

  14. Sugar Magnolia,

    Typically boxed boxed pasta is vegan but you should check the ingredient list of any brand you are unfamiliar with.



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