Blog Post

Plant Based Protein – Veggie Pesto Pasta

Many plant based diet advocates proclaim that it is easy to get enough protein from plants.  And while it is completely possible – it is not always easy!

Some days I struggle with getting enough protein.  Making sure you are eating all the necessary nutrients that your body needs while avoiding animal products takes more planning than the typical diet.  Save yourself from eating an entire block of plain tofu, and enjoy this pesto pasta dish!

This pasta dish is bright with lime juice, deliciously garlicky with pesto, and sweet with sauteed onions.

On top of that, this pasta dish has 30 grams of sweet, sweet protein!  It’s perfect for a post-workout fueling or an early dinner. The volume and fiber of this dish transform plain pasta into an incredibly filling and balanced meal.

I threw this recipe together with ingredients I already had in my pantry and fridge.  I recommend keeping your kitchen stocked with these versatile ingredients, as they can be tossed into any number of dishes on the fly.   Here’s a brief rundown on the protein powerhouses in this recipe.

Nutritional Yeast– I really want to contact an advertising agency to work on renaming nutritional yeast. This stuff is powdered gold. Nutritional yeast is deactivated yeast that has a cheesy, umami flavor. You can sprinkle nutritional yeast on popcorn, use it in salad dressings, or on avocado toast… endless nooch possibilities!  Best of all, nutritional yeast has up to 9 grams of protein per 2 Tablespoons.

Peas – I always keep green peas in my freezer.  They’re a perfect addition to vegetable bowls, casseroles, and summer salads.  A half cup of peas has 4 grams of protein.

Semolina pasta–  For this dish, I used tri-colored semolina rotini, which uses spinach and tomato as food dyes. One serving (½ cup) of this pasta has 7 grams of protein, compared to 3 grams of protein in regular pasta.  Semolina is made from durum wheat. It is coarser than regular flour, but makes an excellent pasta. In fact, many fresh authentic Italian pastas are made from semolina!

This recipe uses Trader Joe’s vegan kale pesto – you can find a recipe for homemade high protein pesto here.

Another benefit to this recipe is that it is extremely versatile.  You can use up whatever veggies you have in the fridge. It’s also a perfect dish for meal prepping!  I added zucchini and wilted arugula to my leftover version. The following recipe includes all of the mentioned vegetables.

I’d love to hear about your experience with this recipe!  Feel free to comment below.

Veggie Pesto Pasta

  • 2 tsp Avocado or canola oil
  • 1 Onion (Sliced)
  • 1 cup Semolina pasta
  • 1 cup Peas (Defrosted, if frozen)
  • 2 Tbsp Nutritional yeast
  • 1/2 cup Vegan pesto
  • 1 tsp Garlic (minced)
  • 1 Tbsp Lime juice
  • 1 pinch Sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp Green onions (chopped)
  1. Bring salted water to a boil and cook the semolina pasta according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

  2. Heat a sauté pan on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the avocado oil and then sliced onions. Allow onions to cook down until golden brown, tossing occasionally.

  3. Add the minced garlic to the pan and sprinkle with salt.

  4. Drain the pasta and mix all ingredients. Garnish with green onions.  Enjoy!