I can’t believe that it is almost DECEMBER already!? Looking back over the last few months, I can’t even remember what I did, and I am constantly wishing time would slow down- just a bit!
I am always a bit anxious for the holidays. They are chaotic, a bit stressful, and the busiest time of the year. More often than not, I have a harder time keeping up with my exercise routine, sleeping takes a back seat, and there always seems to be an abundant amount of food or holiday parties to go to! I mean, don’t get me wrong, I LOVEthe holidays – Christmas is my absolute favorite, the snow, food, the holiday movies, spending time with family- just everything about it….plus my birthday is just a few days after the New Year. But I just have a harder time saying no to social events or trying out new holiday desserts, or simply taking a time out for myself.
With that being said, I try to set a few mini goals each week; meal prep on Sundays, sign up for a few morning workout classes ahead of time, and not feel guilty if I have to say no to certain things - when I sleep and eat better, I feel SO much better. I am more productive during the day, less anxious, and I have more energy. Anyone else?
This week, I prepped a super delicious Barilla®Chickpea Casarecce pasta with pesto, arugula, cherry tomatoes and roasted brussels sprouts. Maybe the best part about this dish is that the entire thing can be prepared in less than 15 minutes from start to finish. The homemade pesto is nut free, nutrient dense, and so addicting! I think that pasta and pesto is my favorite combination…it always feels light but really satisfying. I love how the pesto gets stuck in every nook and cranny of the Chickpea Casarecce.
When I want pasta, I look for those that are made with legumes and include only real, simple ingredients; legume pastas feel better on my body, provide plant-based protein, and are gluten free! Luckily, Barilla recently launched a line of legume pastasthat comes in four varieties: Chickpea Casarecce, Chickpea Rotini, Red Lentil Penne and Red Lentil Rotini. The best part is they are made with justONE simple ingredient; no gums, no fillers, just chickpea or red lentil flour.
Barilla has been my favorite brand of pasta and a staple in my home since I was a kid. I feel grateful that they have these options available now. It truly is a healthy option and the perfect plant-based fuel. I love to cook enough pasta for the week and each time add in something different; veggies, red sauce, homemade veggie burgers; really just about anything.
With this recipe, I wanted to keep it simple. Just 15 minutes and you’re done. Full of protein, dairy free, plant-based, grain-free and something that you can enjoy hot or cold! Also, it kind of has a holiday feel to it; reds, greens…it would make the perfect side dish for any party!
The pesto is simple to make, too, and you’ll have leftovers to add into salads, spread on toast, or sprinkle over roasted vegetables. I decided to make this pesto nut free, dairy free (of course!), and with minimal ingredients. I actually didn’t even use basil for the recipe, instead I used arugula. That way, you do not have to waste any ingredients and can use them interchangeably, and it gives the pesto extra nutrients and a peppery taste.
After the Barilla Chickpea Casarecce is finished cooking, you will need to drain it, then pour it into a big serving bowl. While still warm, add the prepared pesto, chopped cherry tomatoes, fresh arugula (& any roasted veggies if you want!), and mix everything until well combined. It can be served warm or cold and lasts up to a week in the fridge!
Hope you love this dish as much as I do, and if you’re curious as to where you can find the Barilla Legume Pasta, click here!
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 7 minutes
Total time: less than 15 minutes
Yields: 4-6 servings
Pesto yields: 1.5 cups
1 box of dry Barilla Chickpea Casarecce (or any variety from Barilla)
2 cups diced cherry tomatoes
2 large handfuls of arugula (for the pasta)
1 cup roasted/cooked vegetables of choice (optional!)
Yields: 1.5 cups
2 cups pumpkin seeds (or any seed of preference)
2 cups packed arugula
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 tbsp. chia seeds or hemp seeds
dash or two of sea salt
pepper to taste
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 lemon squeezed (optional)
In a large pot, prepare the pasta according to the directions.
While the pasta is boiling, prepare the pesto sauce and the vegetables if using. You can either quickly cook the vegetables over the stove top with olive oil until tenders or roast in the oven.
In a food processor or blender, add the pumpkin seeds and the chia (or hemp) seeds. Blend until you have reached a fine consistency.
Add the arugula and the remaining ingredients EXCEPT the olive oil. Blend until combined (1-2 minutes).
Add the olive oil and pulse until well combined. If the pesto is feels too dry or not to your liking, slowly add more olive oil.
Set the pesto aside. Chop the cherry tomatoes.
Drain the pasta and add to a large mixing bowl with the cherry tomatoes, 2 handfuls of arugula, roasted or cooked vegetables of choice and 1/2 cup of the pesto to start. Mix until well combined. Adjust to your needs!
For the pesto, you can sub any seed or nut of choice as long as it equals 2 cups.
You can replace the arugula with the same amount of basil if you prefer.
The addition of nutritional yeast in the pesto will give the pesto a “cheese” taste; completely dairy free.