Lentil and Pesto Pasta Salad

I came up with this simple but yummy recipe earlier today when I was stuck sitting on a chair with a sleeping baby in my arms and so hungry I couldn’t stop thinking about what to have for lunch.  I love green lentils with pesto, and remembered I had fresh basil, spinach, pine nuts and some Violife Prosociano, so I decided to make a quick pasta salad with lentils and homemade spinach and basil pesto. Then when I was making it I saw some cherry tomatoes so decided to throw them in too.  It turned out so delicious that I had to share the recipe!

This was so easy to make, and since I used tinned lentils, it was all ready in the time it took to cook the pasta.  I used brown rice pasta, but using any kind of wholegrain pasta makes this a pretty healthy dish!  Lentils and pine nuts provide extra protein, and it’s an easy way to get kids to eat some green leafy veg.  Feel free to throw in any other ingredients that you like.  I think this would be great for a picnic or packed lunch.  I hope you enjoy this dish if you make it.  I’ll definitely be making it again soon!

 

 

Ingredients (about 6-8 servings):

  • 500g pasta (preferably wholegrain)
  • 1 tin of green lentils
  • 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes

For the pesto:

  • 1 handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 big handful of fresh baby spinach
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 25g pine nuts
  • 125ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 20g grated Violife Prosociano (or other vegan cheese or nutritional yeast)
  • Black pepper
  • Sea salt (optional, I left it out for the kids)

To serve:

  • Extra pine nuts
  • Extra Violife/other vegan cheese/nutritional yeast

How it’s made:

  • Cook the pasta according to package instructions.
  • While the pasta is cooking, drain and rinse the tin of lentils.
  • Half the cherry tomatoes.  Put them all in a large bowl.
  • Add the basil leaves, spinach, peeled garlic clove, pine nuts, olive oil, grated vegan cheese/nutritional yeast, pepper and salt (if using) in a food processor and pulse until it is blended to the desired consistency.  It’s nice with a little bit of texture.
  • When the pasta is cooked, drain and rinse it (to cool down).
  • Mix it with the lentils, cherry tomatoes and pesto.
  • Serve with some pine nuts sprinkled on top and some grated vegan cheese or nutritional yeast.