Vegan Pesto Pasta w/ Roasted Peppers & Asparagus

A few years ago I took my first restorative yoga class. It isn't something I would usually be drawn to as a class (even though I am all about putting my body in relaxing and restorative poses) but my mum was going and I decided to tag along. I can't say I remember many specifics of the class - dim lighting, bolsters, blankets, legs on the wall - but what I do remember is the feeling of being intimately connected to my own body in a way I had never experienced before. 

It is a rare moment that I hold myself, hug my own body, just for the sake of that experience. It felt super vulnerable which I wasn't expecting at all. I don't remember exactly when it hit me, but I think we were doing a restorative pose that involved holding the legs to the chest and lowering the head - almost a seated, upright child's pose. A deep well of emotion rolled over me, and I remember holding tightly to my own legs, almost afraid to let go and look up to the rest of the room. Something personal, heartfelt, new, and at the same time so intrinsic, was taking place. I don't really know if I can articulate it here, but I think you know. If you've felt it, and it would feel differently to each of us, I think you know what I am talking about. 

I've been thinking about this experience lately as an exploration of subjectivity. It can be a way to relate to another human being without trying to put yourself in their position. Even though empathy is a strong and great force, it can also diminish someone's experience. None of us really know what it feels like to have lived someone else's life, but we do know what it feels like to have a body, a mind, and for those parts of us to be so completely intertwined. I've been thinking lately that if you can fully realize that every person around you has an equivalent amount of subjectivity and sense of self, maybe it can become an exercise in kindness and compassion. If you can picture that person holding their own body and feeling those deep, emotional waves running through them, maybe it can help our own understanding of the people who live around us. 

Just some thoughts. Sometimes this space feels like a workshop for my ideas, and I always love to hear how you respond. 

On to the food. 

This is a super simple bowl, but entirely delicious and comforting. I think it is safe to say that this pesto pasta is both fresh and cozy! You have the carbs, creamy pesto, and then the springy roasted veggies. Roasted peppers have always been a favourite in pasta for me, and they pair so well with pesto. I added asparagus as a last minute inspiration, but the small bites of salty, roasted goodness almost make the whole dish. I can see this becoming a staple around here, so I really hope you try it out ♥ 

vegan pesto pasta w/ roasted peppers & asparagus

Serves 4 - 6

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Ingredients

Vegan Pesto

  • 2 cups packed basil, washed
  • 2 cups packed spinach
  • 1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • salt and pepper to taste

Pasta

  • 500g of pasta (your fave type - GF if needed)
  • 1 bunch asparagus, trimmed (plus oil, salt and pepper)
  • 2 red bell peppers
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • optional: nutritional yeast and sunflower seeds to serve

 

Notes

Preheat the oven to 400.

Chop the asparagus into approx. 2 inch pieces (each stem into thirds). Place on a baking sheet and toss with about 1 tbsp olive oil and salt and pepper to taste. Place the baking sheet with the asparagus on the bottom rack of the oven, and place the bell peppers (whole) directly onto the oven rack above. Roast the asparagus for 15 minutes, until crispy. Roast the peppers for 25 - 30 minutes, until the outsides are slightly charred. Place the peppers either into a paper bag for 10 minutes, or lay them on a cutting board and cover with a kitchen towel to sweat. Once the peppers have finished sweating, peel off the outer layer of skin, slice them open, remove the seeds, and cut into thin strips. 

While the veggies are cooking, boil a large pot of water for the pasta and cook it as per instructions on the package. Make the pesto by combining all of the ingredients into a food processor and blending until smooth. 

Drain the pasta in a colander and then return it to the cooking pot off the heat. Toss with the pesto until fully coated and evenly distributed. Add in the roasted veggies and toss to combine. Serve topped with extra nutritional yeast and sunflower seeds. This also works well as a cold dish, so you can easily have leftovers straight from the fridge!