Two things prompted me to make this Avocado pasta. One, I am in the throes of comprehensive exam studying and so I need quick dinners. Two, I had some cilantro and an avocado leftover from the salsa and guacamole I made for M’s birthday party last week and I didn't want them to go to waste. Don’t let the number of steps in the recipe fool you, this avocado pasta is very quick to make. If you are really strapped for time, you can skip the roasting of the almonds and tomatoes and, if you get a chance to make the pesto ahead of time, dinner will only take about 20 minutes to put together (including the time it takes to boil the water).
Avocado pastas seem to be circulating the internet food world of late and for good reason. They are deliciously creamy without the dairy products – which is great if you are lactose intolerant, vegan, or just don’t feel like consuming a cup of cream with your dinner. I made a version of this recipe some time ago but was inspired to add some cilantro pesto to the sauce by Katie at The Muffin Myth. She wrote a helpful blog post a few weeks ago on how to use up your leftover herbs (I love her blog, especially the how-tos). I am fairly certain I waste at least a half of a bunch of cilantro every time I buy it (terrible, I know. Managing food waste is an ongoing project of mine). This time I was determined to use it up and this recipe did the trick.
I realize that this is not a traditional pesto. I did not have any cheese, I used almonds instead of pine nuts, and the ratio of nuts to cilantro ratio is probably a bit off as I had more nuts to use up than cilantro. But I just went with it, and it was really good. I am already planning on using the leftover pesto on a pizza later in the week (but if I don’t get around to that, I will just freeze it).
For the Pesto:
1/2 Cup Almonds
2 Loosely Packed Cups Cilantro
3 Cloves Garlic
1/4 Cup Olive Oil
Pinch of Salt
For the Pasta:
1 Cup Cherry Tomatoes
Salt & Pepper, To Taste
4oz Spaghetti Pasta (I used Whole Wheat)
(Optional) Roast almonds in a 350 degree oven for 8-15 minutes. Check frequently to avoid burning and remove from the oven when they begin to darken.
Blend almonds, cilantro, and garlic in a food processor until they form a fine crumb. Add olive oil and blend together. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Set aside*.
Roast cherry tomatoes in a 400 degree oven for 15-20 minutes until they are wrinkly and beginning to darken. Remove from oven and set aside.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pasta and cook according to instructions (approximately 8-10 minutes), drain.
Cut the avocado and remove the pit. Chop, and blend in food processor until smooth. Remove from the processor and mix in 1/3 cup of the pesto.
Mix pasta with sauce and top with cherry tomatoes.
*This recipe makes more pesto than is needed for two servings of pasta. The remainder can be stored in the fridge or freezer for later use.