Vegan Arugula Pesto Mélange

Otherwise known as a pasta-less pasta dish….

A bowl of goodness

More and more I’m going grain-free these days. I’ve found that I just feel a lot better if I stick to fruits, veggies, beans, nuts and seeds. My friend remarked, “you’re on the pre-agrarian diet.” We debated that a while, and decided it’s not entirely true. I’d need to be eating a lot more meat, and a lot more local for that to be true. But, I am eating a lot more whole foods, a lot more raw foods, a lot less processed anything.

Pasta, as tasty as it can be, is essentially a pretty processed food. Yes, yes, the ingredients in pasta, even the gluten-free variety, are all things we can pronounce and things we can buy ourselves. We’re not talking processed in terms of harsh chemicals. But, we are talking processed in terms of refined grains – grains that cause blood sugar spikes, despite how healthy they may appear in their whole form. (Quinoa – I’m looking at you.) And, frankly, when I make a meal like this, and leave out the pasta, I just don’t miss it.

Confession time. I did make a small side of quinoa pasta for the kid in the household. It worked – he ate all the veggies and beans and pronounced the meal a success. Whew.

Vegan Arugula Pesto Mélange

1 T. olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 can cannellini beans, drained and well-rinsed
1 head of broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces
3/4 batch vegan arugula pesto (see recipe below)
1 tomato, seeded and chopped
1/2 t. salt (or to taste)

Heat the olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook until softened (about 5 minutes). Add the beans. Cook until beans and onions begin to caramelize just a bit. Add the broccoli. Cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 more minutes. Add the pesto, tomato, and salt. Stir to coat. Cover the skillet and allow to rest a few minutes to let the broccoli steam. Serve garnished with additional basil if desired.

Vegan Arugula Pesto

1 clove garlic
1/3 cup raw cashews
2 packed T. chopped fresh basil
2.5 ounces baby arugula
2 T. nutritional yeast
3 T. olive oil
1 T. lemon juice

Place the garlic clove in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until minced.  Add the cashews. Pulse until chopped. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse until well-blended. (People’s preferences vary on how blended they like their pesto. I like the nuts to still be a bit nutty. It’s up to you. Go with what feels right. If you like your pesto salty, you can add some salt. I found I prefer to add salt when I incorporate it into the finished dish, as I have more control that way.)

Vegan Arugula Pesto Melange

This post is linked to Two For Tuesdays at A Moderate Life, and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free, and the August Pesto Challenge at the Gluten-Free Homemaker’s Gluten Free Wednesday Round-Up.

This entry was posted in arugula, basil, beans, broccoli, cashews, grain-free, main dish, tomatoes. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Vegan Arugula Pesto Mélange

  1. Deanna – this looks absolutely delicious!!! What a unique recipe for pesto! I will have to try this! Your veggies in these pics just look so fresh and delicious!! YUmmy!!

    • Deanna says:

      Thanks Carrie! I think the light was a little too harsh (and foodgawker agrees). But, so it goes. I have to get a photo studio set up – I’m already losing my good filtered evening light and soon it’ll be dark out when it’s time to take food photos. So sad!

  2. Ooh I love it! I also far prefer the accoutrements to the pasta. I like to eat pretty much the same way as you described without a lot of flour foods. The veggies and beans are the good part, anyway.

  3. girlichef says:

    Pasta-less Pasta, huh? Serve me up a bowl…it sounds delicious! I love the flavors you’ve combined. It’d be hard not to gobble this up. Thank you for sharing it with Two for Tuesdays this week! 🙂

  4. Hi Deanna and welcome to the two for tuesday recipe blog hop! I am always SO excited when new bloggers come and link up to the hop because I get to see their sites and experience tons of new recipes! I am giggling a bit because I made arugula pesto last week and loved it! It was gluten free, but not vegan, but thats OK cause there are so many ways to do the real food thing! I subscribed to your website and look forward to seeing more of you! Tomorrow I am putting up a guest post about what to do if you have to go gluten free and dont know what to do first! 🙂 Alex@amoderatelife

  5. I’m a celiac, and in the first few years post diagnosis, I ate my share of gf bread and pasta, but this year, I’ve found myself drifting away from grains altogether (except I recently discovered how to make quinoa), by instinct. So, I found this post very appealing. Thank you for linking up with Two for Tuesday.

    • Deanna says:

      I want to like quinoa, but I really don’t like it that much. Ah well. I’m enjoying this journey and figuring out what real food works best for me. It’s always interesting to hear about everyone else’s journeys, too!

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  7. Alisa says:

    That looks fabulous! I keep trying to cut out grains, but they call me back 🙂

  8. Christy says:

    I will take a big bowl of that goodness please. What a great link up to Two for Tuesdays!

  9. Linda says:

    I love seeing new pesto ideas and this one looks delicious. I love the colors in your photo.

  10. Holy Yum… this pesto sounds amazing!!!!!!!!! 🙂

  11. Hi Deanna,

    I wanted to let you know that I added this pesto recipe to my favorite recipes from last week! I usually find pesto to look extremely unappetizing. Yours is on the contrary though!

    ~Aubree Cherie

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  14. Laura says:

    This looks excellent! I have such a limited range of grains that I can eat that it’s hard to not overdo any of them…. so it’s good for me to have grain-free meals…. like this one! I find that cannellini beans are so soft and smooth that they give the same kind of texture that I’m usually looking for from pasta anyway… that chewy, full-mouth feeling. Thanks for a great recipe!

  15. McDougaller says:

    Fruits, veggies, beans, nuts and seeds… that’s exactly what Dr Joel Fuhrman recommends in Eat to Live! You’re a nutritarian! 🙂

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