YOUR HEALTHY PLATE: Spinach Pesto

Here’s a special pasta dish with a gorgeous rainbow of colors that is perfect for when you want to make a good impression on someone special. And not only is it beautiful, but it’s so, so good for you. Each and every color represents a different phytonutrient, a building block for your good health. Nourishing yourself well is like playing roulette: you’re a lot more likely to win if you spread your bets all over the table. So think of each color as a different bet. And enjoy!

  • 2 c. fresh spinach
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed or chopped
  • 1/4 c. walnuts
  • 1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup each asparagus, red peppers, purple onion, zucchini (all cut into half-inch, bite-sized pieces)
  • 1 /2 lb. whole-grain pasta of your choice
  • 1 /4 c. pine nuts

1) Preheat oven to 400F. To make pesto, process spinach with olive oil in food processor or blender until mostly smooth. Add garlic, walnuts, yeast, salt and pepper. Blend again until smooth. adding up to 2 tablespoons more olive oil if needed to get the texture just the way you like it.

2) Place veggies on a cookie sheet with edges, and roast in oven for approx. 30 minutes, shaking occasionally. Set aside.

3) Toast pine nuts on a dry baking sheet for 2 minutes in the oven, and shake often. Don’t take your eye off them — two minutes goes quickly and pine nuts burn fast!

4) Prepare pasta according to directions. Reserve 1 /2 cup cooking water. Drain pasta, rinse, transfer to a bowl, and toss immediately with pesto. Add back a bit of reserved water at a time, just as much as you need to coat the pasta thoroughly.

5) Spread out the pasta on a large dish, top with roasted veggies, and sprinkle with pine nuts. Serves 2.

Thank you to vegweb.com for a prior version of this recipe!