pesto pasta

Everyone knows that pesto and pasta is a classic combination. Whether we’re eating it as a weeknight dinner or serving it up as a simple dish over the weekend, it’s one food that we all love to make. The flavours in pesto itself are always so delicious, refreshing and vibrant, and make the perfect addition to any meal. I really love the way that such a simple combination of ingredients like lemon, olive oil, garlic and fresh basil can merge together and transform into a sauce that’s simply mouthwatering.

With the tang and strength of lemon and garlic, toasted pine nuts always provide a nice mellow and classic taste within a pesto. But, with my recipe, I like to take this further and add in some nutritional yeast flakes to really balance out the flavours. Then, enhancing the overall taste of dish, I always add in some sea salt and black pepper.

Creating the recipe, I like to toast the pine nuts first, and quickly blitz all of the other ingredients separately to break them down. Then, I add in the pine nuts, and blitz them all together again to create a chunkier pesto. Doing this enables it to lightly cover the pasta, and add a subtly crunchy texture to the dish from the pine nuts. After this, everything is done! It’s such a quick thing to make. Of course, I love to serve this with pasta, but feel free to use this recipe with any other food you like to serve pesto with!

pesto pasta

serves 2-3:


for the pesto:

1 cup (50g) fresh basil

1/3 cup (50g) pine nuts

2 small or 1 large clove garlic, crushed

1/2 tsp nutritional yeast flakes

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/4 tsp sea salt

generous grind of black pepper

for the pasta:

2 1/2 cups (225g) pasta – I used brown rice penne


1. Firstly, cook the pasta following the instructions on its packaging.

2. Then, while the pasta cooks, prepare the pesto. Add the basil, garlic, yeast flakes, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper into a food processor/chopper. Quickly blitz all of the ingredients together, until the basil appears finely/roughly chopped. Set this aside, and toast the pine nuts.

3. Add the pine nuts into a pan and place onto a medium heat. Toss and stir them around the pan for about 30 seconds – 1 minute until lightly toasted. When this is done, remove the pine nuts from the heat, and add them into the food processor. Blitz all of the ingredients together, for about 30 seconds or so, until you’ve reached your desired consistency. You may need to stop and scrape some of the ingredients down from the sides of the food processor a couple of times. Then, set aside when this is done.

4. When the pasta has then cooked, remove it from the heat, drain, and move it into a large mixing bowl. Then, remove the pesto from the food processor and pour it on top of the pasta. Stir the pesto into the pasta until evenly covered, divide onto plates, then top with some ground black pepper and serve.

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45 thoughts on “pesto pasta

  1. Wow! What a lovely looking pesto pasta! Indeed classic and vibrant! Loved all delicious flavors here! YUMMY

    1. Thank you so much Anu!! So glad you like it 🙂

  2. Is there anything better? I adore a big bowl of pasta, especially one covered in pesto. YUM!

    1. Same here Jess! Thank you!

  3. This looks fantastic, Harriet! Love that you toasted the pine nuts first and used brown rice penne! So fresh and flavorful and the perfect summer dish!

    1. Thank you so much Kelly!! I’m so glad you like the recipe!!

  4. Pesto is my favorite sauce to use over pasta! This looks delicious, Harriet Emily! I think I could devour this in one sitting!

    1. Same here Gayle! Thank you so much!!

  5. So delicious! I love a good pesto on a turkey sandwich or in a pasta dish. Thank you for sharing. My basil is starting to thrive in the garden. Just a week or so until I can use it to make this pesto!

    1. Mmm that sounds so good Erin! That sounds like a great idea! I hope you enjoy it 🙂

  6. pesto is my fav! This looks so darn yummy!

    1. Me too Rachel! Thank you!

  7. What a fantastic idea to add nutritional yeast to this! The next time I make pesto, I have to add nutritional yeast into the mix too! Thanks so much for sharing this tip!

    1. Thank you so much Shashi! I hope you enjoy it! 🙂

  8. I’m planning to make pesto pasta this Friday for a barbecue, and I will use your recipe. That’s so cool! Our minds must be in sync!

    1. Ahh that’s amazing! Thank you so much Mir, I hope you enjoy it! Haha definitely – great minds think alike!!!

  9. Wow! Looks so delicious! Love that you toasted the pine nuts first and added nutritional yeast to this! That’s so cool and truly fantastic idea ! Thanks a lot for great share – pinned

    1. Thank you so much Deepa! I’m so glad you like it!

  10. Pesto is so awesome. I have lots of basil growing in my garden, thanks for the inspiration Harriet. 🙂

    1. It’s my favourite! I wish I had some growing at home, we are lucky enough though to have lots of mint growing at the moment – I’ll have to make a recipe with it. Thank you so much Linda 🙂

  11. Love pesto pasta! This one looks fabulous!

    1. Same here Mira!! Thank you 🙂

  12. I can’t believe I haven’t stumbled across your blog before, it is wonderful! That pasta looks delicious, pesto is a real favourite of mine and it makes all the difference when the pesto is homemade x

    1. Thank you sooo much Chiara! That’s so kind of you! Same here, homemade is always best!! 🙂 x

  13. Looks so delicious Harriet! I love, love pesto! I have a few on my blog and like you, I also add nutritional yeast, it’s a must for me! It replaces the parmesan that is typically used in traditional pesto! Pesto and pasta are basically comfort food. Gorgeous!

    1. Thank you so much Brandi!! Me too! It makes such a great addition – it’s got a great taste! I will have to try out some of the pestos on your blog!! 🙂

  14. I just gathered some ingredients for a pesto dish this week! Yum!

    1. Yum, sounds great Rebecca!!

  15. pretty much my favorite pasta! love it! looks perfect.

    1. Same here Manali! Thank you 🙂

  16. Harriet, you always manage to make me hungry, even after I’ve just eaten!! This pasta looks scrumptious! I love pesto, because I loveee basil. Great idea to incorporate the pine nuts; it gives such great texture, like you mentioned. I’ll take a bowl please with your ice cream sundae for dessert! 😉

    1. Hehehe I do try!! Thank you so much Beeta – same here! I will have to try to ship them to you!!! 🙂

  17. I’ve never made my own pesto but now you’ve inspired me! Yours looks so lovely and delicious! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Sam, I hope you enjoy it!! 🙂

  18. LOVE this recipe! pasta is my FAVORITE and I absolutely adore pesto! 😉 this looks delicious!

    1. Same here Michele! Thank you so much!

  19. Oh my goodness you are making me hungry! I love all things pesto, especially pasta! It’s so simple to make yet has such a strong flavorful profile – I love it! So naturally, I love your pasta recipe as well 😉

    1. Haha, love it Meg! I try!!! Same here, it’s such a great sauce! Thank you so much 🙂

  20. This proves again that simplicity is BEST!

    1. Definitely Angie! Thank you! 🙂

  21. I love making pasta with pesto. This look so yummy — love everything about it, most especially the simplicity. A good pesto makes everything better 🙂

    1. Me too, Audrey! Thank you so much 🙂

  22. This looks delicious! Pinned for later!

    Christine |

    1. Thank you so much Christine!! I hope you like it 🙂

  23. I love finding vegan pesto recipes! It’s so hard to find store-bought pesto so I love finding new recipes to create my own! Thanks for the recipe 🙂

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