Grilled Vegetable Pesto Pasta

by Julie on January 16, 2010

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If you need to feed a large group this is a winning recipe that pleases a crowd and is easy to prepare ahead and then serve at room temperature.  You might also just prep the pesto and the veggies and grill with your friends around the BBQ and then toss with cooked pasta and pesto.  My family can’t get enough of this recipe but I am sure to always serve smaller portions with a generous plate of tossed greens in a light dressing in order to meet an 80/20 proportion of veggies to the brown rice pasta.  Proteins in the volumes of veggies, nuts, & hemp hearts are important nutritional elements that I like in this recipe. Also if everyone promises to nibble from a raw veggie tray which is a foundation plate on every supper table then I might make them a piece of healthy unleavened spelt garlic toast to accompany it.  This meal also takes into account the important food combining necessary to allow for healthy digestion.  In the past I might have added grilled turkey or sausages but the burden of having to digest this protein with the rice pasta is taxing on your system.  Every meal I prepare is designed with this in mind for optimum healthy digestion.  I must say though that when I stopped serving mashed potatoes with meat and gravy I had some sad looking faces at the table.  However, we’ve found so many yummy meals that pale in comparison to the old way of eating that my 8 yr old son has started rating some of his favourites which makes me smile since it has been a year long process to truly feel like everyone is happy with our meals.

Grilled Vegetable Pesto Pasta

serves a crowd of 8-10 (along side a big green salad)

Get ready for a yummy meal!  I usually prep the raw veggies first, turn the BBQ on to heat up, then make the pesto and set aside.  Then I put the water on to boil with the salt for the pasta and start grilling the veggies, meanwhile popping the pasta in the pot for approx 15 mins after which the veggies should be near done.  If not toss the pesto with the pasta and let cool and finish off the veggies.  I have made this soooo many times with rave reviews!  Just be sure to only grill the veggies to a point where they turn bright green and still have a crispness to them.  But do plan for this large quantity of veggies to take some time to heat up especially on a BBQ since it can be deceiving as to the length of time this takes and temperatures on BBQ’s vary so much.  The good thing here is that the grilled veggies are even more tasty at room temperature so you can do this ahead if you wish.

Pesto
1 cup of basil leaves
3 tbsp raw hemp hearts
1/4 c pine nuts and or raw walnuts, or raw cashews
1/4c olive oil and bit for consistency
1 clove garlic crushed
pinch sea salt
Method-blend well in blender or food processor. (I sometimes double this and freeze half for a quick supper next time around)
Pasta
1 pkg brown rice penne noodles,
1 tsp sea salt
Method-boil pasta for approx 15 mins and toss with pesto to your desired consistency.
Veggies
veggies prepared- large bowl of a variety of fresh organic veggies chopped roughly – I use 4-5 sweet peppers, 2 onions, 3 sm zucchini, 4 carrots, 1-2 sm    eggplant, 1 bunch asparagus- what ever suits your fancy!
approx 3tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp sea salt
cherry tomatoes-optional (added at the end for just a few minutes)
Method – toss veggies with olive oil and sea salt then pour into bbq grill pan, grill veggies till they are slightly tender and a tad charred.  Finally, toss roasted veggies with the pesto pasta.  Season with sea salt to taste and serve with a big green salad.  This is yummy even at room temperature so can be made a wee bit a head of time.  Enjoy leftovers the next day- that is if there are any! (Tip: this is one of those meals you could make earlier in the day and then transport to the beach for dinner with simple greens tossed with a light dressing.)  Enjoy!vibrant-colours-green-law

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