Creamy Hemp Pesto Pasta Salad
Creamy Hemp Pesto Pasta Salad- chilled pasta salad tossed with creamy basil hemp pesto, sundried tomatoes, and arugula. Packed with protein and omega-6 fatty acids thanks to hulled hemp seeds. Vegan, nut-free, oil-free and gluten-free.
Can we take a moment to stop and appreciate how amazing hemp seeds are?
I know the first thing that comes to mind for a lot of people when they hear hemp is marijuana but don’t worry, they have nothing to do with that. Well at least in the sense that they won’t cause side effects like paranoia, munchies and forgetfulness. Hemp seeds are completely safe and legal, and they are packed full of nutrition.
So what makes these little seeds so amazing? Let’s take a look:
- They’re considered a complete protein as they contain all 20 amino acids, plus 9 essential amino acids that are bodies are unable to produce on their own
- 2 tablespoons offers up a whopping 5 grams of protein
- They’re a significant source of essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
- Naturally low in carbohydrates
- Rich in minerals such as magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and iron
I try eat at least a few tablespoons every day, whether it be sprinkled on my toast or blended in a smoothie. The flavor is slightly nutty yet mild enough that they blend well with pretty much anything.
In spirit of the warmer weather approaching us, I wanted to make a chilled pasta salad that was light and full of flavor. Hemp seeds make a perfect base for the pesto because they have a naturally creamy texture that eliminates the need for nuts or oil.
The pesto is slightly tangy thanks to lemon juice with a touch of white vinegar and the sundried tomatoes offer a little hint of sweetness along with the fresh arugula for texture.
Served with whole grain (or gluten-free) pasta, it makes for a healthful lunch or a side item to bring to a spring or summer picnic. Cheers to warmer weather, friends!
Creamy Hemp Pesto Pasta Salad
Yield: 8 servings (approx. 8 cups)
Prep Time: 10
Cook Time: 15
Total Time: 25
- 1 and 1/2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Hemp Seed Hearts
- juice of 2 lemons
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 cup packed basil leaves (approx. 20 leaves)
- 1-2 garlic cloves*
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup sundried tomatoes**
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 12 ounces uncooked pasta of choice (gluten-free or whole-grain)
- 2 cups arugula
In a large pot, cook pasta as directed on package.
Meanwhile make the pesto by combining 1 and 1/2 cups hemp seed hearts, juice of 2 lemons, 1/2 cup water, 1 cup fresh basil leaves, 1-2 garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt in the bowl of a blender or a food processor then blend until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides in between blending.
Strain the cooked pasta then rinse with cold water. Shake the excess water off then add it back to the pot along with the pesto and stir until the pasta is thoroughly coated. Add the sundried tomatoes and the arugula to the pot and toss everything together. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
*If you are sensitive to the flavor of fresh garlic, only use one clove.
**I prefer to use sundried tomatoes that are not marinated in oil for this recipe, such as Trader Joe’s brand.
This post was created in partnership with a brand that I have used and loved for years, Bob’s Red Mill. As always, all opinions and text are entirely my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make it possible for me to bring you quality content. For more delicious recipes and a coupon for $1.00 off any product, please visit Bob’sRedMill.com.