This meal has been on repeat the past few months in my house for those evenings when I have zero motivation to create a complicated dinner and scrounge through my pantry for unique ingredients.
In my quest for a simple (read: 10 minute) meal that was still nourishing, I came across a variety of pasta dishes. Let’s face it, who doesn’t love pasta? I knew I was on the right track. However, I wanted a sauce that tasted “fancy” but required very minimal effort to accomplish; ideally this would be something that could be whipped while the noodles were boiling and require as few ingredients as possible.
Enter: walnut pesto! Well, the most pared-down-yet-still-delicious version of walnut pesto we can get away with. After an optional pan-roast to toast the nuts, simply combine in a food processor with one garlic clove, olive oil, sea salt, and dried sage. Voilà!
For photography’s sake I did jazz up this plate with some rainbow tomatoes and parsley, but please keep in mind that these are completely optional additions. I recommend tossing a can of white beans into the final product for added texture and protein, but this is not mandatory for a tasty final product.
Interestingly, both Dan and I prefer whole wheat spaghetti in this variation. I think it has something to do with its natural nuttiness? Feel free to try this with a different pasta and let me know in the comments how it turned out!
I hope you enjoy this super-simple pasta dish! It’s wonderful for a quick weeknight option or a day-before-grocery shopping meal. Serves about 4 people.
- 1 box whole wheat spaghetti
- 1 and 1/2 cups raw walnuts
- 1/2 cup of good quality olive oil
- 1 large garlic clove, crushed
- 1 tsp dried sage
- Large pinch sea salt
- 1 TBS lemon juice, optional
- 3 TBS nutritional yeast, optional
- Optional add-ins: white beans, cherry tomatoes, parsley
- Bring a pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions, reserving one cup of water before draining. Set aside.
- In a cast iron skillet, toast walnuts over medium heat until fragrant. They can burn quickly so be sure to stir frequently and keep and eye on the pan; it should take about 5 – 8 minutes. Remove and place in food processor.
- Pulse walnuts a few times until chunky. Add in olive oil, garlic clove, sage, sea salt, and optional lemon juice and nutritional yeast, if using. Pulse a few more times until evenly combined.
- Add pasta back to pot and spoon walnut sauce over top. Pour a little bit of reserved cooking water to achieve a smooth and creamy sauce. Add in white beans if using and enjoy!