This quick and easy veggie pesto pasta is a healthy dinner the whole family will love. Ready in less than 30 minutes, it’s the perfect dish for a busy weeknight!
If like me, you’re swimming in tomatoes, zucchini and basil right about now, then I’ve got the perfect pasta for you. It’s an easy one skillet kind of meal that comes together in less than 30 minutes, great for a busy weeknight when you’re low on time and energy.
On days when I just want to make something fast and fresh I make this pesto pasta with vegetables. It’s an easy, healthy dinner that everyone will love.
While I’d gladly eat this pasta all year-long, using tomatoes, zucchini and basil makes it the perfect dish for this time of year. Penne pasta is cooked al-dente then tossed together with a homemade basil pesto and quickly sautéed zucchini and cherry tomatoes in this veggie pesto pasta.
(Here are a few notes about the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe. As always find the full list of ingredients and directions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.)
- Pesto – Vibrant basil pesto gives the pasta its fresh flavor. I’ll show you how to make an easy homemade dairy-free pesto but feel free to substitute store bought if you’re short on time.
- Pasta – I like to use penne pasta because its ridges do a great job of holding onto the dressing but anything with ridges will work as well. As for the kind of pasta, my favorite is lentil or chickpea pasta for the high protein and fiber content. The flavor and texture of both are superior to many of the gluten-free pastas out there. Of course if you have a favorite pasta feel free to use it instead.
- Vegetables – I’m using a mix of zucchini and cherry tomatoes for this pasta with pesto and vegetables but you could easily add or substitute other sautéed vegetables like asparagus, spinach etc…
How to Make Pesto Pasta with Vegetables:
(Here are the basic steps and some helpful tips on how to make the recipe. Find the full directions in the recipe card at the bottom of the post.)
- The first step is the pesto. You’ll whizz together fresh basil, garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and a bit of almond flour to create the pesto. Feel free to substitute the more traditional pine nuts for the almond flour if you’d prefer. I like to keep a jar of this pesto in the fridge so I can throw together a meal in minutes anytime I need.
- Next is the pasta. Cook the pasta according to the directions until al dente. Then strain and set the pasta aside while you sauté the vegetables.
- Next you’ll add your chopped zucchini to a large skillet coated with olive oil to sauté and throw in your tomatoes right at the end. Just a few minutes are all you need to quickly brown the zucchini and blister the tomatoes.
- Once the vegetables are done, take your skillet off the heat, toss in your pesto and cooked pasta, give it a good shake and you are ready to serve!
Want to mix things up? Try these variations
- Use store-bought pesto instead of homemade either dairy-free or regular.
- Use your favorite type of pasta instead of penne.
- Mix up the veggies and use your favorite combination of sautéed vegetables like, broccolini, asparagus, spinach or snap peas in addition to or instead of the zucchini and cherry tomatoes
- Add in olive and capers for a Mediterranean flavor.
- Top with grated cheese either dairy-free or regular if desired.
More Vegan Pasta Recipes:
Whip up an easy, healthy dinner in 30 minutes with this veggie pesto pasta recipe.
For the pesto:
- ¾oz/21g fresh basil leaves
- 1 small clove of garlic
- 1 Tablespoon/14g almond flour
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon/5ml fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 3 Tablespoons/45ml extra virgin olive oil
For the pasta:
- 6 oz/170g gluten-free chickpea penne pasta (or other pasta of your choice)
- 2 Tablespoons/30ml extra virgin olive oil
- 2 small zucchini, cut into half moons
- ½ pint/ 226g multi-colored cherry tomatoes, sliced in half if large
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ⅛th teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Make the pesto:
- Combine pesto ingredients in a small food processor and pulse until combined. Set aside until needed or make ahead and refrigerate.
Make the pasta:
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and cook pasta according to directions on package until al dente. Strain (reserving about a ¼ cup of cooking water) and set aside.
- Meanwhile, sauté zucchini in a large skillet with half the olive oil and half the salt over medium heat for about 2-3 minutes until zucchini is just starting to brown. Add remaining oil, salt, pepper and cherry tomatoes, sauté for an additional 2 minutes or until tomatoes are just starting to blister. (If your skillet is crowded sauté the zucchini and tomatoes individually in two batches instead and combine afterwards with pesto and pasta before serving.)
- Remove pan from heat (the pesto retains its color better if not heated), add strained pasta half of pesto to start and toss to combine adding a Tablespoon or two of reserved cooking water if necessary to thin out the sauce or adding a Tablespoon of pesto to thicken if needed.
- Serve warm.
Use store-bought pesto instead of homemade either dairy-free or regular.
Use your favorite type of pasta instead of penne.
Use your favorite combination of sautéed vegetables like, broccolini, asparagus, spinach or snap peas in addition to or instead of the zucchini and cherry tomatoes
Add in olive and capers.
Top with grated cheese either dairy-free or regular.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3-4 days.
Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Vegetarian, Vegan, Dairy-Free, Egg-Free
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 370Total Fat: 32gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 27gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 182mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 11g
Nutritional information for recipes contained on this website, such as calories, fat, carbs, etc. are only estimates and are not guaranteed to be accurate.
Sylvie Shirazi is the recipe developer and food photographer behind Gourmande in the Kitchen. For the last 10 years she's been making eating more healthfully easy and accessible with gluten-free, grain-free, paleo and vegan recipes that are free from processed ingredients.