Incredibly Easy, Delicious & Healthy Penne Pesto

I have to admit that I am just not a Corned Beef & Cabbage type of gal. Never was. Both of my parents love it, and I'm pretty sure my brothers do too. Not sure about my sister. My Mom uses the same recipe that was handed down by her Nana's parents, straight from Ireland. I remember nearly cringing at the taste...the brine I guess. I always just ate the Irish Soda Bread and the potatoes. : /   

So on this St. Patty's Day while many were enjoying more traditional dishes I at least got the color right. I had some Basil that I wanted to use up, and a half bag of whole wheat penne. I didn't have a full 2 cups of basil so I went half basil, half spinach. Also, I didn't have many pignoli (pine nuts) I went half pignoli, half almonds. And while warming my pesto...just before tossing it with my pasta...I whisked in some dairy free yogurt for some creaminess. Ohhh my! It turned out fantastic! Seriously delicious! Totally on a of those dig around the fridge and cabinets type of meals...and yet, a keeper of a recipe! If you'd like to give it a try here it is:

You will need: 

3 garlic cloves 
1/4 cup pine nuts & slivered almonds mixed, or sub walnuts
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh spinach leaves
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup vegan Parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast
Salt and pepper to taste
8 oz of whole wheat penne
1/4 cup plain dairy free yogurt or sour cream

First, get your pasta going. Your pesto will be ready before your pasta is ready! It is that fast and easy!

Now, In your food processor or blender, combine the basil, spinach, garlic, and nuts. Pulse until coarsely chopped. Next, add 1/2 of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Now add the rest of the oil and parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast). Pulse again till smooth.

Now, In a pan or pot large enough to hold everything ( I used the same pot I had boiled my pasta in ) Warm your pesto over low heat for about a minute or so, now whisk in your yogurt or sour cream. Season with salt and pepper, and toss in your penne!  That's it!

Serve topped with a bit more of your vegan parmesan or nooch!


If you give it a try I'd love to hear about it! 

xo Jenny


  1. That looks like a great spring meal. I will add it to my healthy recipes.

  2. I love making my own pesto. My hubby and I have a little basil plant near our window in our apartment. We love it!!! And we always put greek yogurt in it too!!! Yummy!!!

    Glad you enjoyed!!

    xo Dinah @ sunshine super glam

  3. Thank you for giving out a bit of vegetarian friendly St Patty's Day inspiration. I may try this next year :)

  4. It is impossible to express just how much I love pesto! You should try it mixed into scrambled egg. So yummy!

  5. @vintage honeybee Thanks! Oh gosh yes it is! Perfect for Spring! We have plans for an herb garden and I am so so excited to use our own basil! :) xo

  6. @Dinah Gacon Ohh perfect! Yes! I hope to get our herb garden going very soon! It has been so so cold here on the NJ Shore. And what a mess Hurricane Sandy made of our yard. Lots to do once it warms up! :) Isn't the yogurt such a fab addition?! Thanks for visiting! xo

  7. @kate Pirouette thanks Kate! Pesto is one of my fave things ever to cook and eat! It's not for everyone..but I've found with most people, that if you like love it! ha!

  8. @RaVani Ohh you are so welcome! Happy to share! It was so so yummy! and yep! Perfect for St. Pattys! xo

  9. @Sarah Me toooo!! Seriously!! Same goes for cilantro with me! I swear I think about it all day, if I know I have some in the fridge! ha! :) Ohh yes in eggs... :)

  10. @Julie Tucker Wolek Oh it was so good! Does your family like Pesto?

  11. @alesha Thanks! It was great! Give it a try! :)

  12. @Elizabeth King Thanks bunches! It was perfect! And I'm so glad I tried half basil, half spinach...loved it! Thanks for popping in! xo

  13. This sounds delicious, I love pesto pasta! I also use greek yogurt in creamy dishes. ♥

  14. Last time I posted I said this was the next recipe I would attempt!!! Mission accomplished! Thank you Jenny for providing recipes that inspire the girl who doesn't like to cook. My hudbands critique "It's freakin 'awesome"


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